The Buccaneer Chronicles:
City of Gold
By Tony Gallichan (despite interference by Keith Dunn and Adam J Purcell)
Part One - Your shadow falls on me revealing a silhouette reality.
Chapter Five - The Lady Vanishes
Once again, the humidity hit them like a brick once they had exited the Ship. The sounds of the jungle; birdsong, insects, primates, all blended into one glorious whole. Sunight streamed through the gaps in the canopy of branches and leaves above them, striking off the spectrum of colours that was the stunning combination of flowers and birds, making the scene perfect and beautiful. Nature in her glory.
Sadly, neither Cre'at, who didn't really go for those kind of things, though he did enjoy art, nor Macfadyan, who's mind was frantically whirling on a course of it's own, were able to appreciate the botanical wonder that greeted them.
* Well then? *
"Yes, well then. here we are. At the dawn of a new age for this country, this very continent. Shame the humans couldn't find a better way to achieve it."
* In what way? *
"Murder, Cre'at. Murder most horrible and plentiful. The Spaniards who come here thought the people here savages, and wiped them out. Typical human idiocy. If you don't understand it or approve of it, then kill it. You know, it surprises me that they became as successful as they did."
With that, Macfadyan turned back to the Ship and locked the small door at its rear. Then, deciding to make the most of the fact that the Ship had stuck to it's drink vending machine disguise, he punched a couple of the large illuminated buttons and removed the resultant cans from the dispenser tray. Popping them in his waistcoat pocket and adjusting his hat, he rolled up his shirtsleeves and started forwards. Cre'at just waited patiently, following the strutting Time Lord's progress. He began to silently count the seconds to himself.
He had reached fifteen by the time Macfadyan realised he had no idea where he was heading to and stopped to check the readings from the Stattenhiem. After making a show of looking at the sun, checking the wind direction and even going so far as to get to his knees and listen to the ground, he strode back in Cre'at's direction, passed him and carried on towards the other side of the clearing.
"C'mon, Cre'at. There's work to be done."
This time, Cre'at followed him.
What they hadn't realised, was that eyes had watched all of this. Eyes that had been very surprised at the appearance out of thin air of a Coca Cola vending machine. The eyes furrowed as their owner concentrated. Then, they opened fully again, this time with a gleam of fierce determination.
For a couple of hours Macfadyan and Cre'at had struggled through the forest. Every now and again Macfadyan stopped to take readings and adjust their course accordingly.
* How can you be getting readings if the temporal anomaly hasn't happened yet? *
"Ah, but it has. Then again, it hasn't. This time period exists in a bubble. That's why we had so much trouble getting here. It's a nexus point within a nexus point. I don't know how long it will be stable for. I do know, though, that we have to make sure that not only is it stable, but that the bubble of alternate time around it is burst allowing this reality to once again become the only one. Where we were in the future was in the alternate future...which had an alternate past. Here we are in the prime reality...cut off now from the space time vortex proper, do you see?"
To Cre'at, that rambling explanation horribly did actually make sense. If you thought about it, but just not to much.
"Of course, there are some that would delight in all this temporal messing around. Chronovors, Eternals, even that Gallifreyan boogyman, Faction thingy. Never was too clear on that. Thought it a load of nonsense, myself though. I mean, honestly, how can anyone take pleasure in a paradox just for fun, hmm?"
Cre'at looked at the Time Lord. Again, this simply wasn't like him. Not this incarnation, anyway. he was normally very tight lipped about things, but now it seemed as though a door had opened and all these thoughts were just flooding out. A stream of consciousness that had been released somehow.
"Paradoxes are very funny things. I remember our temporal science tutor at the academy. Strange little man he was, always kept a gnarled wooden cane to hand so he could hit you over the head with it if you weren't able to recite the laws of time in the correct order. I only found out later on that because they are so closely linked with Rassilon and Time herself, they keep changing, in order, wording and severity. Very odd. but then again, typical of my people. That's why I didn't go back for her. You see? That's why I simply couldn't. Do you understand now, hmm?"
Cre'at looked around to see just who Macfadyan was now talking to, The Time Lord had stopped and was apparently talking to thin air, making expansive, desperate hand gestures.
* Macfadyan. You are hallucinating. The heat has affected you. I suggest immediate withdrawal to the TARDIS. We shall stop and rest first. Drink your weak lemon drink now. *
Macfadyan stopped and looked lost for a second.
"What? What do you mean, I'm hallucinating? Weak lemon drink? Do you need an oil change or something? Dear oh dear, Cre'at. You must be getting old. Imagining that I'm prone to hallucinations, I ask you.." He started to chuckle, but non the less, reached into a waistcoat pocket and removed a can. Opening it easily he took a long pull and then wiped his lips.
After a short time, Macfadyan suddenly halted. He crouched down, a keen look on his face.
"There's someone up ahead."
Sure enough, Cre'at could hear movement up ahead. Rustling and a sound that identified as human. But there were no actual words as such, just a strange moaning noise. The two of them edged closer. Slowly Macfadyan gently eased a couple of branches out of his eyeline and looked into the clearing.
There, squatting down and making drawings in the sandy soil, was a human. He had a shaded skin and long black hair. He was dressed in what could only be described as some kind of loin cloth. He was making strange noises as he moved the large stone in his hand through the soil.
Macfadyan took a breath and stepped through the bush into the clearing. Immediately, the human shrank back, then got to his feet looking around wildly.
"It's ok, child. Neither myself nor the Sot'm here will harm you." Macfadyan said, soothingly.He continued to make placating noises and gestures but the human started to make noises that sounded like the was starting to panic.
* This ape primitive is broken? *
"Or he could just be monkeying around." quipped Macfadyan. At the sound of the Sot'm's voice the human turned and ran. Macfadyan looked annoyed.
"Oh, laugh with me, Cre'at, laugh with me."
Macfadyan decided against pursuing the human. Instead they looked at what he had been drawing. The images, though crude were striking.
"Hmm. That looks like it could be some kind of lizard creature. Three eyes, look."
* Do they have these creatures on this planet? *
Macfadyan didn't answer. he was deep in thought. Something about the image had struck a chord.
* Macfadyan? *
"I'm not sure, Cre'at. I can't quite put my finger on this. I seem to recognise these creatures, but was it in the past or the future? I need to check something." He pulled out the Stattenhiem again and began to check through the Ship's data banks. But when he got to the section he thought he needed, it was blank.
There was nothing else for it. They would have to walk back to the Ship. Macfadyan added that it would give them a chance to check on Blanche. He didn't pass on that his interest wasn't for her well being, but to use her as some kind of temporal thermometer. The worse she got, the less time they had before this reality came crashing down around them.
After a long and arduous trek, they finally came upon the clearing where the TARDIS was.
Or rather, where it should have been.
The clearing was empty.
Macfadyan ran, skittishly around the spot where the Ship had been.
"My Ship... My TARDIS..."