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Excerpts from the Staggering Stories Blog:


Staggering Stories Podcast #258: That Osgood and Kate Sound
by Staggering Stories Podcast
Sun, 12 Mar 2017 09:00

Summary: Adam J Purcell, Andy Simpkins, Fake Keith, Jean Riddler and the Real Keith Dunn discuss possibilities for the next Doctor on Doctor Who, review the first three Big Finish UNIT New Series boxsets, and a variety of other stuff, specifically: 00:00 – Intro and theme tune. 01:20 — Welcome! 01:42 – News: 02:04 — […]


Staggering Stories Podcast #257: Holistic Double Banking
by Staggering Stories Podcast
Sun, 26 Feb 2017 09:00

Summary: Adam J Purcell, Andy Simpkins, Fake Keith, Jean Riddler, the Real Keith Dunn and Scott Fuller discuss BBC America/Netflix’s ‘Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency’ and Douglas Adams’ time on Doctor Who, play some games, and a variety of other stuff, specifically: 00:00 – Intro and theme tune. 01:20 — Welcome! 02:14 – No news […]


Staggering Stories Podcast #256: The Double Whammy
by Staggering Stories Podcast
Sun, 12 Feb 2017 09:00

Summary: Adam J Purcell, Andy Simpkins, Fake Keith, Jean Riddler, the Real Keith Dunn and Scott Fuller discuss Peter Capaldi’s departure from Doctor Who and the legend that was John Hurt, find some general news, and a variety of other stuff, specifically: 00:00 – Intro and theme tune. 01:25 — Welcome! 02:09 – News: 02:20 […]


Staggering Stories Podcast #255: The Six Idiots
by Staggering Stories Podcast
Sun, 29 Jan 2017 09:00

Summary: Adam J Purcell, Andy Simpkins, Fake Keith, Jean Riddler, the Real Keith Dunn and Scott Fuller review the Big Finish Doctor Who boxset ‘Classic Doctors, New Monsters: Vol. 1’ and Sherlock Series 4, find some general news, and a variety of other stuff, specifically: 00:00 – Intro and theme tune. 01:35 — Welcome! 02:49 […]


Staggering Stories Podcast #254: Bad Awakenings
by Staggering Stories Podcast
Sun, 15 Jan 2017 09:00

Summary: Adam J Purcell, Andy Simpkins and the Keith Dunn review the 1966 Doctor Who story ‘The Power of the Daleks’ and the 2016 film ‘Passengers’, say what we’ve been up to recently, find some general news, and a variety of other stuff, specifically: 00:00 – Intro and theme tune. 01:14 — Welcome! 02:18 – […]


Staggering Stories Commentary #189: Doctor Who – The Return of Doctor Mysterio
by Staggering Stories Podcast
Sun, 08 Jan 2017 09:00

Summary: Adam J Purcell, Andy Simpkins and Keith Dunn sit down, supered, in front of the 2016 Doctor Who Christmas special, ‘The Return of Doctor Mysterio’, and spout our usual nonsense! This Doctor is desperate to get Amy back, the Ghost has a baby to monitor and Lucy is channelling Lois Lane. But enough of […]

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Buccaneer Chronicles

The Buccaneer Chronicles:
Catharcerous

By Keith Dunn (despite interference by Tony Gallichan and Adam J Purcell)


Part Three - Can I burn the maze as I go? Can I, I don't think so

Chapter Five - Down In The Meadow Where The Wind Blows Free, In The Middle Of A Field Stands A Lightening Tree...

 

Macfadyan stood in a large auditorium, people were scattered around him like a rash. Standing next to him a thin rat faced man, his receding hair was cropped short and his goatee was neatly trimmed. He was talking avidly and kept glancing around himself nervously. But all Macfadyan could hear was a far off mumbling. He took the opportunity to glance around him. In one corner surrounded by what looked like silhouettes or shadows was a clown. He was entertaining them by juggling globes that were painted like planets. Strolling through the hall were two mismatched figures. One was a tall blond haired figure, made even taller by a Gallifreyan collar and headdress .The robes he wore were scarlet and orange. His hands and arms waved wildly, is body wobbling with the depths of his emotions. The other figure was small compact and squat, the baggy white shirt was frayed and stained, and the greatcoat had lost its lustre. His own gravely voice counterpointed the others, sometimes agreeing sometimes not. One man stood watching in a corner that Macfadyan could not see. He wore simple subdued clothes, grey white hair; his face was intricately lined and careworn. Macfadyan tried to see what he was looking at. The man at his side kept pulling at his arm to get his attention, the crowd parted revealing the hidden corner. A woman stood there, dressed in a gentleman's pinstriped suit that was at least two sizes too big for her, the tie done up tight to the shirt but hanging loose around her slender neck, the black/ red hair was cut short in a bob style. The scarlet painted lips was pulled back in a half smile of amusement.

Suddenly the rat-faced man grabbed his arm in fear. Macfadyan looked round to see what had scared him, a figure all in white approached them as if in a hurricane, coat billowing out behind him, one hand held a hat made from a newspaper, on his tight curly black haired head, his full beard was closely cut. He approached his face alight with joy, hand out stretched in greeting. Macfadyan reached out an involuntary hand. There was a blinding white flash that dazzled the eyes.

Macfadyan woke to find Cre'at looking down at him

* Cancel the autopsy. His function is no longer impaired! *

Macfadyan sat up.

"Ah yes, the renowned Sot'm sense of humour. Well ha ha!"

He looked around the cell and groaned with heartfelt emotion. It wasn't that there was a minimalist bed or amenities; it was the fact that the walls were neon blue. Macfadyan sighed "Blue, blue, electric blue, that's the colour of the room where I shall live!"

All around the top and bottom of the walls were what looked like a border freeze in raised lines and circle patterns. The border also ran around the middle of the wall, but it was incomplete and unfinished. The last thing Macfadyan noticed was the complete absence of any form of door. In the cell with him and Cre'at was Crillia, brooding on the bed.

Macfadyan wondered around the cell polishing the odd symbol when his meanderings brought him within range, he pantomime whispered "How long as he been awake?"

* The Guard Captain was conscious when I reactivated. *

His frown increased,

"You mean I was the last to..."

He strolled off, polishing more symbols even more vigorously; he spun round almost shouting,

"And why were you knocked out? Hmm?"

* There was a surge of energy of a type I was unfamiliar with. It was beginning to override my insulation; I had to shutdown to save my core systems. *

Macfadyan stalked off to examine a small panel to one side of the sleeping pallet muttering so every one could hear,

"What's the point of having an indestructible companion if he keeps falling asleep?" He poked the panel that was about the size of a small keypad but with a flat surface where the key should be. His finger left an indentation on the surface that after a few seconds rose to a slight bulge then returned to a flat surface again.

"Interesting. Have you seen this, Cre'at?"

* Yes. It is a form of touch sensitive mnemonic metal. *

"Oh. Well. Pardon me for breathing. What's wrong with Crillia?"

* The Guard captain is sulking because I would not let him attempt to open the door until you were upright. *

"Too difficult for you, eh? Well never mind. It probably need's some one of my intellect to sort it out ".

Crillia stared from the bed,

"No! Cre'at didn't want to carry you and I didn't want to leave you on your own, no telling what type of mess you would get in to."

Macfadyan started to inscribe symbols on the flat keyboard with far too much vigour than necessary

"Every ones a critic!"

With a flourish he finished inscribing the symbols that were missing from the boarder Patten (in the right order) and the door melted in. They all turned and rushed for the door, only to bump into Blanche and Jalke, who were standing outside about to open the door and let them out. Macfadyan's flourish fell flat along with the delight on his face. He stalked off through the crowd of people.

"I'm glad to see you all worked it out for yourselves. I mean, I'm not going to be here all the time to hold your hands. So its nice to see you standing on your own two feet."

 

Rablan relaxed in a giant bath, steam billowing around him. An empty decanter and glass with the last dregs of claret lay to one side of the bath. He was laying back eyes half closed drowsing. A servitor Chell marched into the chamber. A sudden thought pulse awakened Rablan.

"The subjects have left the holding area."

"What? Really? It took them this long?"

He rose out of the bath,

"Have my clothes laid out, allow the princess another one of her escape attempts and then herd her to the others. Then I suppose they had better find their way to the command centre."

 

It had taken Aralan about a week to get the right items and gather enough wine. The Chell entered her chambers at roughly the same time. The two of them took up their customary positions at the door. She lit the end of the rag that was stuffed in to the wine bottle and threw it as hard as she could. It shattered on the Chell's armour spreading the burning contents over both Chell. They staggered forward, batting at the flames and emitting a curious hissing sound. Aralan took a run and leaped through the flames that had spread to the doorframe. Hitting the floor in a roll on the other side, she came up running and sprinted down the corridor.

Macfadyan stood by the ornate window staring out at the green rolling fields with his Stattenhiem burbling away in his hands. He was taking sightings and making readings of the surrounding countryside,

"Well according to these readings the ship is about two miles away and about a mile down in that direction", he said, pointing at a blank wall.

"What we really need is some form of information outlet. This way." He raced off down the corridor leaving a bewildered crowd of people in his wake. A sudden consternation from round the corner of the corridor behind the group caused everyone to take up defensive positions. Aralan came racing round the corridor, pulling down candelabras behind her. She was followed about thirty seconds later by five servitor Chell. There were cries of joyous exclamations followed by shouts of warning and alarm. Jalke and Crillia, who were closest, disposed of two of them while Cre'at systematically shot down the rest. Macfadyan thundered down corridor activating his Dalek gun, then looked slightly crestfallen when he realised that the gunplay had finished.

"Ah yes. Aralan. Well its good to see you, alive. It seems you made a remarkable escape and just in time for our little visit no less!" Jalke rounded on Macfadyan,

"Just what is that supposed to mean? As you could see she was being chased by Chell!"

"Forgive me, Jalke. I didn't mean to raise a mark against Aralan, its just our stage manager is getting a bit kack handed!" He turned back up the corridor, shouting back up it,

"Come on, let's go see the man behind the curtain!" The corridor opened up to form an enlarged area, a form of stylised T-junction with a grand staircase, leading down to another level. Installed in the wall at the top of the stairs at about waist height was a recessed control panel. Standing next to it with some form of diagnostic unit was a servitor Chell. Creeping down the corridor, using the furniture as cover was Jalke, Crilla and the rest. While standing at the other end was Macfadyan watching with bemused amusement, with Blanche pressed flat against the wall hissing at Macfadyan to:

"For Christ sake, get down!" They crept forward using only hand signals for communication. Silently they pulled their swords and rushed forwards. They had spent their lives' fighting Chell and even with them covered in chitin's armour they still had weak spots. The fight was short, brutal and one sided. Once it was over Macfadyan ambled down the remainder of the corridor,

"Now that you've finished playing soldiers, perhaps we can finish, Mmm?" He started snapping open panels and hatches to take a look in side "Hello, hello. What do we have here?" He crouched down and stared into one of the hatches while reaching in to one of his pockets and retrieving his Stattenhiem remote and held it in front of the contacts to plug in diagnostic equipment. Metal oozed out of the front plate on the remote's front plate, toothpaste like. When he let go it remained fixed in position. He then taped a contact on its surface and a wire frame keyboard and monitor swirled in to existence. He flexed his fingers and brought them to rest on the green glowing, floating keys. Aralan stood at Macfadyan's shoulder, staring in fascination at the holographic read out. Waving her hand through the screen she jumped as it broke up into interference. Macfadyan lightly slapped her hand.

"Don't do that! You'll disperse the field!"

"My lord Macfadyan, what is it?"

"Merely the TARDIS remote data relay operated via the Stattenhiem remote rod. The monmenetic control pad is run by the block transfer program, making it a universal plug in plate and with the holo interface I can enter any data system. Of course it would be much more quicker if I could interface it directly via the telepathic circuits, but no, the designers tell me that this looks much nicer! Hallo what's this, it looks interesting? Cre'at what do you make of these "?

As Macfadyan's hands had been typing over insubstantial keyboard, information and data had been steaming through the air in Gallifreyan script, finally resting on a 3D model of the building they were in. Cre'at floated up to gaze critically at the plan from one side and then the other paused for a few moments.

* Energised photons. *

"Not the projection! What it's projecting!! Here and here!" Macfadyan pointed at sections of the wire frame model, and then pressed a luminous green key and the view zoomed in to one of the points he had highlighted. Even before Macfadyan could point to them again Cre'at ventured,

* There are at least fifteen industrial class tractor beam emitters placed throughout the superstructure of the building. A power loss would cause the walls and floor to peel away from the inner structure. The surface area of the building is only five hundred meters, the foundations only go down as far as two hundred meters. There is a high percentage the TARDIS is not here! *

Macfadyan snorted and his fingers played over the keys,

"Jalke, if we want to find this 'Rablan' I would suggest you look here first" The view shifted and changed to highlight two areas "We are here, this down here seems to be some kind of command chamber".

"Then that's where we will have to go!"

Macfadyan begin to shut down the Stattenhiem.

"Cre'at, a word in your audio receptors!"

 

 

The room was almost a long corridor, a hall in white marble, large stain glass windows down one side let multi-coloured light to stream in augmenting the readouts from the high tech equipment that lined the other wall. The furthest wall away from the entrance was draped in a crushed red velvet sheet that was pleated down to fit in the back of a high tech throne. Slumped on the throne, stabbing listlessly at the in built controls was Rablan.

Crouching round the edge of the entrance hall were Crillia, Alamour, Blanche, Jalke and Aralan. Further down the corridor Cre'at and Macfadyan was pouring over the readings on the Stattenhiem. Cre'at was pointing to part of the holo-display and Macfadyan was vigorously shaking his head. Jalke made a countdown motion with his hands. When he reached zero they charged in, coursing Macfadyan to look up in annoyance.

"Induction to destruction who wants to die?"

Rablan jumped in surprise and anticipation as a crowd of people rushed in. There was a nervous smile plastered on his lips as the servitor Chell were rapidly dispatched. Without their more advanced weaponry they had no combat skills to speak of. The fight was brief, brutal and one sided. Afterwards only the attackers were left standing.

Rablan stood, clapping his hands very slowly

" Bravo, bravo, congratulations on such a wonderful display I enjoyed it enormously. But all rather pointless really." He made an aggressive gesture with his hand and the group was picked up and slapped against the wall at above head height and was fixed their under tremendous pressure. Rablan stepped way from the throne to examine them, in much the same way some one would look at paintings in an art gallery

"You know, they don't look to comfortable dangling up there like that".

Rablan, believing he was alone, whirled round, startled, to find Macfadyan sprawled over his throne, legs dangling over one of the arms. A ghost of a smile played on Rablan's lips

"And who might you be, Sir?"

"I might be any number of things. My friend calls me Macfadyan but you can call me my Lord".

"Are you here to beg for your life, for theirs? " Rablan nodded up to his groaning captives. Macfadyan slide round on the throne until he was sitting normally.

"No, I'm here to bargain for yours!"

"Of all the arrogance. I am ruler of every thing I see. Everything was put on this world to serve me, even you!" Rablan made a claw like gesture and Macfadyan was lifted to the centre of the room, to hang there like a puppet, "So, you're the great Time Lord. You're not as dangerous as they thought. Perhaps we can put you in storage."

Macfadyan, pressure building up on his ribs, looked at Rablan, while one hand slowly slid to his pocket.

"Who thought I was dangerous? Who's working with you? Tell me!"

"Don't you know? You're a Time Lord; I thought you know every thing? Well it's . . . no I think it would be more fun if you find out for yourself, the look on your face will be exquisite."

"Alright, child, that's enough gloating. Now, Cre'at!"

Cre'at who had been hiding just round the door arch, floated into view and started to vibrate rapidly. Macfadyan succeeded in pulling out his Stattenhiem remote rod, fingers rapidly playing over the surface and it also started to vibrate. The noise that Cre'at and Macfadyan produced rapidly passed into the ultrasonic range. The people trapped against the walls slowly started to slide down them. Macfadyan was dropped to the floor but landed with cat like grace. Rablan looked around himself aghast, shouting almost like a child

" Stop it! Your not allowed to do this. Stop it!"

Jalke hit the floor in a roll and came up throwing his knife. Macfadyan only got time to shout" NO!" as the knife caught Rablan in the left eye. His head jerked back from the impact. He looked around; mouth opening a couple of times but no words were spoken. A viscous clear liquid from his ruined eye rolled lazily down his face. There was a sparking sound and the smell of burnt components, and then the back of Rablan's head blew off in a splatter of skull and blue grey brain matter. Rablan fell forward on to the floor. More clear jelly-like fluid seeped from the gaping wound. Crystalline elements of optical chips could be clearly seen, the knife had pierced one of them. Macfadyan crouched down to take a closer look. Morbid curiosity dragged Aralan over.

"Now that doesn't seem right! Hmm. What is wrong with this picture?" Aralan looked at Macfadyan

"What is the problem?"

It was Cre'at that answered her.

* Green! The colour of monsters is Green! *

There was a groan from deep within the building's structure. Macfadyan looked around.

"Ah nutbunnies! I had hoped this wouldn't happen!"

The others looked around wildly. Blanche cornered Macfadyan.

"Alright, longshankes, what the hells going on?"

Macfadyan gave her a piecing look.

"The tractor beams that held this building together have shut off with the death of old Rablan there. This building is about to peel apart like a ripe banana!"

Blanche looked puzzled, "What's a Banana?"

Another deep vibrating groan shock the building coursing the floor to pitch at an alarming angle. "Proceed to the centre of the building and find your way down as fast as your bipedal motivator units will carry you!"

Aralan looked at Cre'at blankly.

"What did he say?"

Macfadyan rolled his eyes skywards, "He said RUN!"

The floor shifted again as one everyone turned and ran for the door. The floor sank by another three meters and tilted sideways with daylight streaming through the gaps that had opened up in the walls.

In the corridors outside, handfuls of Chell foundered around aimlessly, stumbling and falling whenever any tremor struck the building. They only succeeded in getting in the party's way as they tried to leave. Rock dust and masonry rained down upon them. The distant rumble rapidly increased to a deafening roar. With growing bruises they made it to the relative safety of the core superstructure. With a shattering crack the din faded away leaving a louder silence to ring in their ears. They stood in the centre stairwell, staring out on the rolling green fields. It took them another two hours to climb down past fractured walls and shattered stairs.

Once they reached the bottom, they paused to take stock of the situation. Macfadyan turned to Cre'at, "What would you say the damage to that building is?"

"There is eighty three percent damage to the building. However if the tractor beams are reactivated and the main slabs are reintegrated the damage is only fifteen percent."

"Thought as much. Aralan, Jalke this is your world, where do we go now?"

Jalke looked at his men thoughtfully, "We need somewhere to rest, gather our strength and find out exactly where we are."

A sudden look of realisation came over Aralan features, "When I was up in the tower trying to get out I noticed the spire of a large building beyond the forest, in that direction". She waved her hand in a specific direction. Macfadyan glared in the direction she had indicated and considered his next move thoughtfully,

"Is there now? That's interesting."

Blanche stood in front of him looking up at his face for a few moments, "Are you going to stand their thinking how wonderfully heroic you look or are we going to get moving?" Giving her a scowl he stalked over to talk to Cre'at. Jalke looked around him at what was left of his men, "We will have ten more minuets rest and then move out to investigate what this building is. It will be dark soon!"

 

It was just turning dusk when the travelling party broke out of the forest on to the edge of the monastery's cultivated lands. As they approached, what looked like gas powered street lamps, situated in the lanes between the cultivated plots, sparked in to ignition. On closer inspection it turned out they were little electric bulbs with their elements designed to flicker and dance like little flames. The monk's that were gathering up their tools for the night stopped to watch the travellers. Macfadyan took a long hard look at the monastery. It was about twice the size of the one he used to visit at Glastonbury, before the dissolution of the church, (He liked it there, it was quite restful). He tried and failed to place the social level. The best way to describe it was an ultra baroque style structure, full of buttresses, arches and columns. Huge stained glass windows stared out in to the gathering darkness, like the compound eyes of a huge fly. A delegation of Brothers approached out of the darkened interior of the monastery to greet them. There was much restrained curiosity from the Brothers that gathered around them. Jalke bowed low before them.

"Brothers of the cloth, please forgive the disturbance on your lands but we crave your indulgence, a meagre rest bite, for food, a place to rest and could you perhaps tell us where we are?"

The Brother, who was in charge of this welcome party, bowed even lower.

"But of course, my lord we would be a poor order if we sent away every pilgrim who knocked at our door". He turned to one of the younger acolytes "Brother Marlkshal inform the Abbot that we have guests". The young Brother picked up his vestments and raced back to the citadel. With that business dealt with the leader turned back to the party,

"Can you make it to the temple or do you need assistance?"

Jalke looked relieved, "No holy one, just food and rest".

The Brother just smiled and led the way. They entered through the main door and crossed the great hall, with all the pew's passed the altar and entered the vestibule, through a side door and down a corridor with lots of doors leading off. At the end of the corridor were large ornate double doors. Coming from those doors were smells that ignited their hunger with a vengeance. Placemats had been set and a steaming tureen of soup rested in the centre of the long table with small crusty loafs of bread by every plate. This was followed by roasted lamb and spiced vegetables and finished with fruits. Accompanying these was wine, watered down so as not to intoxicate but to quench the thirst. Throughout the whole meal the Abbot quizzed them about every aspect of their saga so far. He was a small but robust man with snow-white hair that lay long around the rim of his head, and his rose red cheeks spoke of a life ether outside or in the wine cellar. Gradually, one by one, the travellers excused themselves and were shown their quarters by one of the Brothers. Until all that was left was the Abbot, Jalke, Cre'at, Macfadyan and Blanche. But Blanche had long ago surrendered to sleep and her head was pillowed in her arms. The Abbot called a halt to the proceedings claiming that he was not as young as he once was but looked forward to see them all in the morning. A group of young monks stood at a discreet distance waiting to show them all to their rooms. Macfadyan walked over to where Blanche sat sleeping, bent over and scooped her up his arms. With a small moan of discomfort, she nuzzled deeper into his shoulder but did not wake. And he nodded to the Brothers to show him the way. He was shown to a small chamber with a sleeping pallet, basin (which indicated internal plumbing) and the strange electric light. The Brother pulled back the quilt from the bed, informing Macfadyan that he was quartered next door and that Cre'at was in the room adjacent, then made his excuses and left. Macfadyan laid Blanche down on the bed. She immediately buried her head deep in the pillow. He covered her with the quilt and sat down on the edge of the sleeping pallet. In an unconscious gesture he brushed her hair from her face. With all this sun it had taken on the look of finely spun gold. Suddenly he was elsewhere, in the depths of his memories. London a lifetime ago, when they were two different people literally. She had managed to steal his tracer and lead him and Cre'at on a merry dance through the back streets. She was covered in dirt and dressed only in what was little more than rags, making her of indeterminate age and sex. He had invited her into the TARDIS and watched her grow from a frightened lost child into an intelligent fun loving young lady. It was her who first called him the Buccaneer at the Hyde-Pierce fancy dress party. He had come as a pirate, (what else?), and she a Gypsy. Macfadyan smiled at the memories. Of course, that was before all the bitterness and recriminations, the dark looks and scowls, that was before... The pain that his wandering mind unearthed made him jump up off the bed as if bitten. Wiping his eyes, he left the room determined to find Cre'at.

He opened the door to the chamber next to his to find Cre'at floating near the middle of the room; arms folded staring intently in to the distance. Macfadyan looked at him for a few minutes, realised just what the Sot'm was doing, then rolled his eyes and sat down on the bed. He dug out the Stattenhiem, activated the keyboard function and set to work. He accessed the TARDIS scanners. According to the readings, the ship was about a mile beneath the cathedral. He looked up again. This time Cre'at was pointing determinedly at a point at the wall. It seemed that the ship was at an entrance of a dimensionally enlarged chamber. He couldn't learn anything more this way so he shut down the Stattenhiem, got up and walked to the door. He turned back to look at Cre'at who was stroking his 'beard' thoughtfully.

"Are you going to stay here and practice that ridiculous sport all night or are you coming"?

* Ready to proceed in full. Investigational analysis of all anomalies in local area needed. *

Macfadyan gave him a look a walked from the room.

 

The Abbot once again knelt in front of the alter. The green glow from the Icon deepened the gloom and lengthened all the shadows.

"We have received the thirteen members of the latest cull. They are undergoing first stage processing now."

The musical voice rang round the room.

"It is imperative that the Time Lord is located among them and processed."

"I can confirm the presence of the Time Lord. He goes by the name Macfadyan,"

"The delegation has entered the edge of the system. E.T.A. for landing is twelve hours. We need those resources."

"As is your will so mote it be".

The glow flicked of and the Abbot rose to his feet, composed himself and hurried away through one of the side doors. Macfadyan leaned forward, out from behind one of the fluted pillars and into the 'candle' light.

"Interesting!"

 

A little while later, a technician walked down the corridor his booted feet clanging on the metal grid that was the floor, taking readings from the sides of the softly glowing blue, glass tubes that lined the wall and entered those findings on the electronic clip board he carried. He wore a white lab coat over his monk's robes and slowly proceeded with his task oblivious to any thing else. As time went on he slowly proceeded out of sight round the curvature of the corridor. Macfadyan stepped out from behind one of the tubes; laying his hand on one he snatched it back rapidly. It was ice cold. Waving it rapidly in the air in a vane attempt to make the pain go away he grabbed a handful of his coat and rubbed it on the glass to clear away some of the ice to see what was inside. It held the distinctive features of Rablan, so did the next one and the one after that, the other side contained Magyar's. With a determined face Macfadyan started looking for the ventilation shaft that lead him in to this place.

"Les yieux sans visage. Eyes without a face, got no human grace, your eyes without a face." he hummed grimly to himself.

 

A little later still the light of the twin moons reflected off the rippling water of the lake. Cre'at stared passively at his reflection. The rope in his hands taught with the weight that was hidden beneath the water. He wondered if this was what fishing was like. He would have to ask Macfadyan when he next popped up. The water around the rope started to bubble and froth, then a dry hand, holding a sonic screwdriver broke the 'surface' of the water and pulled on the rope. A dry Macfadyan emerged from the lake, paused a moment to slip the screwdriver into his pocket then pulled, puffed and panted the rest of his way up the rope. It didn't help that Cre'at was gradually sinking down wards lower and lower. Macfadyan finally made it out only to lie gasping for air on the ground.

"You know, I'm really not built for this kind of exercise".

* Would you like a modification? *

"No thank you not just yet. Well there's a stellar class spaceport and facilities down there that would make Ernst Blofelt spit with envy. Even Pardec Jumall would think twice about turning down such a facility"

* Who? *

"Pardec Jumall. He was what was termed a super villain. Rose to power in the early 21st century England, Home Counties. Made everyone watch Warner Brother cartoons. Still this is a way in. I think we've done all that we can at this time we better be getting back, collect Blanche in the morning and get the TARDIS."

The bright spring morning light shone through the small stain glass window casting a rainbow light on the faces of the diners when Macfadyan strolled in. The Brothers ate their breakfast in silence, but all the noise came from Blanche. She was talking animatedly about Macfadyan and their adventures together. Macfadyan watched her with a slightly crestfallen look on his face. She was sitting with the incursion party discussing avidly about things from the past and things about the future. Blanche saw them and waved them over almost bouncing up and down with enthusiasm,

"I've just been talking to Aralan and Jalke, they want to carry on the fight. Now that Rablan is gone they can free the other worlds in his vast empire. We have to help them, after all its what you do best!"

Macfadyan considered for a few moments then grabbed her by the shoulders spun her round and shook her with his enthusiasm.

"But of course we must. We have to do every thing to free the galaxy!! I think you me and Cre'at should discuss this further in your quarters. If you would all excuses us?"

Every one stood as they left the room. Jalke reached out his hand to Aralan "We have tings to discuss also."

 

They entered Blanche's sleeping cell. The bedclothes were still rumpled. Macfadyan strolled over, straightened up the quilt and removed the pillow. Blanche filled them all in on what the Brothers had informed her. The Brothers were, it seemed, the custodians of the information and technologies dating from a time before the coming of Rablan, when Catharcerous was part of the galactic co-operation. Macfadyan pottered around the chamber making encouraging noises while she was speaking, moving the bed, pulling out a gold and silver trinket. Flicking a contact on the side of the object it produced a discrete whine like a charge building in a common flash unit. He moved Blanche to a particular spot when he realised she had stopped speaking and was looking at him expectantly.

"What? Oh yes, absolutely. I would like to take a look at their space fleet to see if it is still space worthy after all this time. Oh, by the way child, catch!"

He tossed the trinket at her which she automatically snatched out of the air, there was aloud zap sound and the smell of ozone permeated the air in the little cell and Blanche flew across the room to land on the repositioned bed blinking rapidly.

"Keep an eye on her for me, would you Cre'at".

Macfadyan set about ripping the pillowcase off the pillow, revealing that it was covered in a fine silver and gold mesh, he gave a nod of confirmation

"Thought as much. Kenotic induction, she's been brain washed."

With a deep heart felt groan Blanche sat up on the bed

"What was I drinking last night? Oh, hello Mr. Balloon, OH GOD!"

She suddenly shot across the room to the sink. Cre'at watched with interest.

* Blanch is evacuating her digestive system. *

"Good, good. When she's finished give her one of these". Macfadyan fished out a capsule of pills. Wiping the drool from her mouth, she turned to him.

"What the hell just happened?" Handing her a glass of water he informed her

"I'll tell you later."

 

Jalke and Aralan strolled through the cultivated plots, deciding whether this was the way they wanted their futures to go. Leaving behind the planet they knew, accepting mechanical grafts into their bodies. But the freedom of the galaxy was at stake.

It was at this point that Aralan noticed a pale figure standing still and silent in the meadow. The sun was in her eyes so she couldn't see exactly who it was but he seemed to be a distant figure, not really there. It was like he was wearing white mist. She blinked and the figure was gone. And in that moment she remembered the words of Magyar

"He can set my people free, but the cost would make my peoples atrocities look like spilt pigs blood. He is the Beloved of the dark lady".

 

Catharcerous: Chapter Six