The Buccaneer Chronicles:
City of Gold
By Tony Gallichan (despite interference by Keith Dunn and Adam J Purcell)
Part Two - I try and speak to god. But he just laughs at my plans.
Chapter Seven - "...Otherwise know as Great Grumbleduke!"
Dona and Cre'at strolled along the jungle paths with Cre'at asking her for the local names for all the paths and flowers. Macfadyan marched out in front muttering equations to himself.
They came to another clearing that had been hacked into the jungle. They were heading towards the center in which stood a low, long, wooden hut. As they approached the sounds of people in pain could be heard. Dona Linda begin to hang back and noting her apprehension, Cre'at floated over to her .
* You do not have to enter the vegetable matter construction. * She flashed a smile of appreciation, but first walked up to the door and untied the bolt that held it closed. Then she retreated to the edge of the clearing. With a bewildered expression on his face, Macfadyan pulled back the bolt, opened the door then disappeared into the gloom of the hut.
Inside, the stench was overpowering; the smell of too many unwashed bodies in close proximity, the smell of human waste and spoiled food. There were figures moaning and shuffling around in the lamplight. Cots and beds had been made up in regimented rows, but the sheets had long been spoiled by mildew and bodily fluids. The occasional bed was occupied by fat bloated figures long dead; they could have been lying there for days, weeks or months, such was the heat and humidity. The air, not surprisingly, was thick with flies.
Macfadyan approached the nearest human wreck that was rocking backwards and forwards holding itself. Crouching down, Macfadyan noticed that every space was covered in crudely drawn pictures of mammoths, woolly rhino's and other extinct Earth animals. Speaking in a voice that almost dripped with honey, he reached into a pocket.
"Hallo there, no don't get up, I'm not here. But I do have some thing for you".
He handed over a pad of blank paper and a pack of colored pens. There were a few moments of confusion as Macfadyan tried to get the top of the pens off and show the wreck how they worked. Then with a fevered gasp the man snatched the items out of Macfadyan's hands and began filling page after page with crude, primitive images. For a while Macfadyan just watched, then he reached over and tried to extract a few of the pages. With a scream that boarded on the hysterical, the Human then launched himself at the Time Lord and both of them crashed to the ground. Rolling around on the filthy floor, the wreck momentarily gained the upper hand. Scrambling on top of Macfadyan he proceeded to throttle the life out of him. Fighting against the strength that was born out of insanity, Macfadyan managed to prise the hands away from his neck and croak the words,
Cre'at watched slightly curious. It was obvious that these images were important to the broken organic life form and any attempt to remove theses images from the wreck would produce such a reaction. Macfadyan should have realized this; he had proved that he had this wisdom in the past. Perhaps, as an inefficient organic, he had forgotten this fact. Setting his head cannon onto the lowest setting, he fired a pulse that sent the organic spinning from Macfadyan's torso, who then shot to his feet. Brushing himself down he gave Cre'at a dark look,
"You took your own sweet time there!"
Stretching down he removed the pad from the sticky floor. Ripping out the pages he wanted, Macfadyan tossed the pad over his shoulder and left the hut without a backward glance.
Dona Linda stood outside the hut lost in the dilemma of whether to find out what the commotion was in the hut or to go for help. When the door finally opened, the relief on her face was a joy to behold.
"My Lord, did you find anything?"
Macfadyan stood looking at her nonplussed for a few long minutes, and then he realized just who she was.
"Marginally successful, er, Lady Linda, only marginally". Shaking the worst of the filth from the pages he spread them out on the ground "Right on these first couple of pages we have what looks like bison, mammoths and wooly rhino's. But as our rather crude artist got into his muse, his art rapidly slid down the evolutionary scale until we reach images that would have been ancestral memories when Lucy first decided to climb down from the trees".
Dona looked confused
"Who is Lucy?"
A slightly dreamy quality stole over Macfadyan's face,
"Australopithecus afareneis, basically the first ape to walk upright. They had a party when they first found her, someone put on a Beatles song and the rest as they say is history". He stopped suddenly and a look of pure horror crossed his face.
"Thankfully, they didn't put on THAT version of the song. I keep meaning to pop back to pre war Canada and stop him being born. Yes. That's what I should do. Yes. HAH! Let's see how he likes them apples!" He shook himself rapidly as his mind snapped back to the present, "But that's not going to help us here now is it? Right, you see these figures on the last sheet? These are the ones we are interested in.!"
The pages were covered in humanoid figures, large and chunky. Some had three eyes, some had fan-like fish tails where their ears should be. They had a reptilian look about them.
Dona looked mystified.
"What are they? Devils?"
"What? No, no, no. Of course not. They are Silurian and Sea Devils."
* That statement is incorrect. *
Macfadyan give Cre'at a look of pure venom.
"All right, all right. If you want to be pedantic. These creatures ruled this planet around six or seven hundred million years ago and they had no real name for themselves. Their technology was roughly comparable to Earth's in the 22nd century but surprisingly they never made it into space. A disaster hit the Earth and these creatures went into hibernation. A scientist discovered them in the late 20th century and mis-named them Silurian. The Sea Devils were named from the ocean legends around the same time. Funnily enough, in the war for the domination of the Earth against Humanity, they adopted these names as a mark of contempt. But the proper name for them would be homo-suraus."
* Incorrect. The correct term, using Earth idioms, would be… *
"Yes, thank you Cre'at, we don't have time to sit here and listen to your …bu, bu, bu, bu, abada, er..." He tailed off for a second, " Oh what's the word? Its on the tip of my mind. Idiot stands up in front of a lot of uninterested people and waffles on about nothing that nobody wants to hear."
Cre'at thought hard about this one for a few moments.
* Government, a circus, organized religion, education, a pantomime? *
Macfadyan's voice boomed in a sudden explosion of noise and spittle.
"LECTURE!! Hah, knew it would come to me, always does, yer know."
"What do you intend to do now, Lord Macfadyan?"
Macfadyan sat back, looking thoughtfully at Dona, or rather, through her.
"Now we know just who we are against and that they are reasonable beings. We shall now go to the source, the temple city and talk some reasonable sense into them. Naturally it would be best for me to do all the talking. I have considerable diplomatic experience and exactly the right kind of temprament to bring this matter to a swift, safe conclusion."
Suddenly, six Spaniards burst out of the undergrowth. Swords and flintlocks drawn, they took up defensive positions around Macfadyan and Cre'at.
"Be careful men, don't hesitate to fire if they take on other forms!" The leader turned to Macfadyan "You will accompany us back to the camp where you will answer all the questions put to you by Father Diaz!"
Cre'at looked at Macfadyan, and with a very straight face indeed, plainly intoned,
* Blimey. I did not expect... *
He was cut off by a stern Gallifreyan digit pushed into his face and a muttered warning to not finish the sentence on pain of something very painful indeed.
Macfadyan looked at the guards with an affronted expression.
"Will I indeed? Well he's not getting my recipe for fruit cake, I can tell you that for nothing!"
Once again noncommittal and surly Spaniards, who refused to engage them in any form of conversation, herded Macfadyan and Cre'at through the jungle. When they reached the camp the two prisoners noticed that it was different from the last time they had arrived; instead of curiosity there was open hostility in the faces of the people who met them, hands rested firmly on flintlocks and sword hilts and the air of hate was a physical thing.
In the center of the camp an improvised open-air courtroom had been erected. Macfadyan, Cre'at and Dona were placed in the position reserved for the accused. Macfadyan looked briefly around the camp at the faces muttering to himself.
" 'Standing on my own, it didn't mean that much to me, I thought I had it all, I didn't see the mystery.' " He then caught sight of Father Diaz and they stared at each other for a few long minutes, taking the measure of each other.
Captain Merida y Santunder stood.
"This inquiry into the actions of the being known as Macfadyan is declared open. Father Diaz, your opening statement please."
With a flourish, the Father stood.
"We are in a world beset by demons and devils. Many of our troops, good clean wholesome men, have been struck down by illness and poison, by witchcraft and devilry. As it has been shown in the old texts these creatures of Satan can only be anchored to our realm by a human soul!"
As he said this he spun on the spot and pointed an accusing finger at Macfadyan.
* Macfadyan is not human *
You will keep your familiar silent or it will cause the death of your wanton strumpet!"
Dona stifled a sob of fear. Macfadyan glanced over to her; she had gone very pale. Looking back, he could see a familiar look of puzzlement sliding over Cre'at's face.
* What would a trumpet be wanting? A... *
"Not now, Cre'at"
"SILENCE!" Diaz's voice echoed throughout the camp, "You are a warlock. You travel with a demon whose invocations must be disguised on the stiffened parchment which hangs beneath him. You are here to gather the forces of evil in this unholy land and stop our work of the one true God. Now we will have the truth of the matter, remove your coat and shirt or I will have my men remove them for you!"
An expression of polite bemusement appeared on the Time Lord's face.
"I beg your pardon?"
Macfadyan raised his hands and his voice.
"ALRIGHT! Alright! No need for violence, I am a big boy now I don't need any help to undress".
Stripping off his coat he suddenly realized how bedraggled and filthy it now was. Placing it distastefully on the bench, he laid his vermilion waistcoat next to it and his shirt on top of that. "Satisfied? Hmm?"
Father Diaz circled Macfadyan like a hawk; hands buried in the sleeves of his robe.
"The fact we have a Familiar is not enough. We need to know who controls it, who feeds it, who sends it out in the dead of night to corrupt and poison men's souls and who nurtures it".
* No one feeds or nurtures me, primative organic. I absorb nitrogen from the atmosphere. *
Diaz ignored Cre'at, looking intently at Macfadyan. "We need to find the witch mark!"
"Have you tried E-Bay? Or maybe Amazon would be more approp..."
But Diaz was already moving with alarming speed, stabbing Macfadyan in the arm with a bodkin.
Macfadyan took a deep breath to yell but realised that there was no pain.
Diaz turned to his audience. "As you can see captain, there is no blood on the pin or the flesh. What more proof do you need? Burn the warlock now and we can finish these demons that beset our men."
"Just a moment, can I have a look at that?"
Moving just as quickly as the Father had, Macfadyan had spun round, grabbed the Father's hand and twisted the bodkin out of his grasp. He gave it a quick visual investigation. "Interesting!"
Pushing the pin hard down on to the bench, he let go, and sprung loaded, it shot back up in to the air. Macfadyan snatched it triumphantly.
"Quite nifty. Fake needle. With a performance like that you should go in to the street magic profession. Oh, you know you really shouldn't go that color, you know, its not healthy".
The priest was speechless with rage.
There was a distant rumble of some thing akin to thunder, it was both distant and near. Macfadyan gasped in pain, as if some thing had slapped him hard across the synapses, then sunk its claws deep in to his brain. He dropped to the floor, legs like jelly. He hit the ground hard, looking up his vision blurred a huge distortion wave crept towards them, like bleach in water, but only he could see it. Rainbow like colors shot out of it as it absorbed trees and rocks and people. It struck Macfadyan and he screamed as every nerve was dipped in pain.
When after what seamed like eternity his vision cleared he was kneeling on the ground, next to Dona Linda, Cre'at was floating over him and the pages covered with the primitive art was spread out on the ground in front of him.
"What? Why in the..."
Six Spaniards burst out of the undergrowth to rapidly surround them, swords and flintlocks drawn.
"Be careful men, don't hesitate to fire if he takes on other forms!"
Macfadyan looked directly at Cre'at, but it was the Sot'm that spoke first
* Some thing has changed! *