The Buccaneer Chronicles:
Dreaming on the Spires of Immortality
By Andy Simpkins (despite interference by Keith Dunn, Karen Dunn, Adam J Purcell and Tony Gallichan)
“"When I try and sleep at night, I can only dream in red. The outside world is black and white, with only one colour dead..."”
Upon reaching their quarters, Nicola turned around and said without preamble:
"Right, you are all wondering what the Hell I am doing here. Please allow me to introduce my self. My name is Nicola, or if you you prefer me to be pedantic, Nicola..Zoe....Marr..."
For some odd reason, a mental image flitted through Colin's mind of a creature, bizarre and alien in appearance, with large ears and long flailing arms standing beside a large black door with the number 10 on it. Quickly suppressing that image and the question as to whether she had an older brother called Andrew, he shook his head and resumed listening to what the newcomer was saying.
"You are all right in thinking that I am from a time frame that is a few years in your objective futures..." Turning to Colin with a warm smile on his face, Nicola said:
"Whatever trials and tribulations you fight your way through over the next few years, you will make it back to Earth and to Jenny. Your wedding will be simple, yet lovely..."Mentally taking a step back, she then said:
"But, I must warn you, when you are in a certain bar on Cyrenia, watch out for the tall, muscular yet extremely drunk man at the bar with the Dalek plating he has as a shield and decoration over his right shoulder. Be careful as he has a chain-sword for a weapon and he's not afraid to use it..."
Mentally taking note of that incident that may happen in his future, Curtis turned as Nicola focussed her attention on Blanche.
A look of pity crossed her face and barely suppressed tears filled her eyes.
"Blanche, even though this is the first time we have met, you are like a sister to me. We both accompany men who have the weight of the ages on their shoulders. Whereas yours is kind yet flawed, mine is more self-centred and cynical. A man who is a mirror image of your Macfadyan and yet so different. You may think of him as something akin to a spirit who, in Gaelic folklore, haunted those who had guilty secrets to harbour.."
Macfadyan stirred suddenly upon hearing that. That phrase struck a responsive chord within him for some unknown reason the name Adh Seidh sprang unbidden to his lips
Changing track completely before she could unwittingly divulge any more of their collected futures, she continued
"A few years ago, my time, I was working as a sneak thief doing the occasional job for various masters. Breaking into bank vaults, looting passenger starships in mid-flight and hacking into supposedly impenetrable computer systems. It was all very good and the money was fine but I was looking for bigger fish to fry. That is when I bumped into the man who would be both a mentor and a curse to me. A tall, slim man who dressed completely in black. He had had close-cropped hair, black yet greying at the temples with a goatee framing his mouth and chin. Yet whenever I looked into those eyes of his..." She shivered slightly to herself. "...it was though you were looking into two deep, dark unfathomable wells. He was a cold and calculating so and so, very much given to working to his own agenda. He paid me well for the work I did for him until things took a turn for the strange one day..."
"I had just come back from a successful job turning over a bank vault on the Phrygia continent on Cygnus Alpha. Going into his office, he was sat behind that desk of his, flicking those bloody stupid chess pieces of his back and forth on the board on his desk. Looking up at me with those eyes of his, he asked me if I was willing to take on a job, a very special job that I would be ideally suited for. Bolstered as I was by evading the security and making off with several million credits in untraceable denominations, I readily agreed."
"He did tell me that I would be meeting someone 'very high up in the chain of command and you are not to be frightened by his appearance'.Little did I know what a loony I would be meeting up with. It was then that he clamped around my wrist some sort of metallic bracelet with winking lights on it. The room swam for a few moments and I then found myself in a boardroom but it was all...wrong...It was like the dimensions of the room followed no geometry known to man and the corners of the room seemed to fade into nothingness and the angles of the floor were tilted at all sorts of insane angles...The whole place was like a bad dream or a Nuke-induced hallucination. All was there but nothing seemed right...."
Macfadyan suddenly had a vision, viewed as though it was looked at through rippled glass or smoke, of a madly laughing countenance, daubed with hideous clown make-up, guffawing insanely at a riddle or joke only he could understand. Macfadyan also could dimly see that the figure was seated on an grotesquely carved throne at the head of a long conference table. Seated around the table were a dozen shadowy figures, their faces obscured but he had a strong feeling of recognition and that he would be, or had been acquainted with each of them, even the insanely bellowing clown-like figure, rocking uncontrollably on his throne with hysterical mirth...
Snapping suddenly back to reality, he was surprised to see Nicola looking at him with an expectant look on her face...
"Have I got your full attention or would you let your mind take a stroll through the gardens?" She said sardonically
"Sorry, I do apologise..." he muttered absently to himself as he shifted in his seat and continued listening to what Nicola had to say.
"Let me tell you, this guy was weird, creepy and just a little...mad but he knew what he was talking about. I have never been interested in all that four-dimensional stuff, like time travel and trans-dimensional jumps but when he said that three people and an it..." she said, looking over at Cre'at, who hovered motionless nearby "...were in need of help, and that there was substantial financial inducement involved, how can a girl resist?"
She said, affectedly placing the palm of her hand on her chest.
"This guy then came over to me and clamped another of those weird bracelets on my wrist. He said they were only good for one way travel and I would successfully find my own way out when the job was done. One thing that he did tell me, emphatically, was that I am to be sent back in time to warn and help you, Macfadyan."
"You are a marked man and I am here to stop you from being killed!"
"Who by?" was all that Macfadyan could gasp.
"They call themselves The Knights Of The Temporal Heart. An order of quasi-religious fanatics who believe they have the divine right granted to them by their deity: God-Time. They were formed a hundred years ago and regard anyone who travels through time without their express permission as a heretic and must be punished. They model themselves on the Inquisition of Old Earth, they believe that Time travel is next to godliness and only the select few have the divine right bestowed upon them to travel time. Anyone who transgresses their laws would be burnt at the stake after making a superfluous and probably very painful confession..Needless to say, things have moved on since the Middle Ages on Old Earth and I am sure their methods of punishment are a lot more up to date..."
"Why are they after me?" said Macfadyan
"Because you are a Time Lord and you have done a few things in the past that have risen their holy hackles. All that monkeying around on Jersey. All those needless deaths and walking wounded. As for Central America and Cre'at spooking those Silurians? They are puffing their chests out and getting in a right old state."
"But all of that is in the past and I have learnt from my....mistakes." He protested
"That won't make a blind bit of difference. They have located you to this temporal nexus and they are on your trail."
"How come you know so much about all of this?"
"The one I spoke to, I cannot reveal who he is for fear of muddying the time line even further, said that I was to come back and protect you. I have been enough fire fights in my time and I can look after myself..."
Casting a sisterly look over at Blanche, she continued:
"Besides, when he told me more about this assignment, my curiosity was piqued. There is something about this whole place that doesn't ring true and I, like you lot, would like to find out more.."
Striding over to the door, she then said:
"A whole host of secrets surround this place that need to be unraveled. How say we all take a little stroll and see what we can find out about this place."
The door whirred open and Nicola poked her head out into the dim green twilight illumination of the corridor. Looking left to right, the party filed out into the corridor.
No time pieces or clocks showed what time it was but the all-pervasive air of quiet and stillness filled the air. The corridors surrounding the council chambers were scarcely populated, whatever time it was and usually by small groups of proctor-captains on their patrols.
A few minutes later, their wanderings took them to the space adjacent to the big double doors that were the entrance to the council hall. Strangely enough, the doors were slightly ajar with no-one to guard them.
Frowning slightly, Macfadyan pushed at one of the doors and it gave very easily. Peering cautiously in through the gap, he saw that there were no proctor captains on duty and the dais was unoccupied, the almost skeletal occupants elsewhere.
"I want to have a sneak look at some of he information they may have stored on those comp-term consoles dotted around the chambers, indicating the raised consoles on their stone-like bases. "That way we can find out more about what this place is..."
Gingerly and with nerves on edge, the party made their way over to the nearest console. Upon tapping a few of the keys and hieroglyphs on the key pad, a nearby screen lit up with a kaleidoscopic display of colour which slowly began to resolve itself into intelligible sequences of words and diagrams.
Before they could progress any further, an alarm rent the air and the distant footfalls of approaching proctor-captains could be heard.
"This way!" said Nicola as they barged through a set of doors into another corridor. Running through the dim green twilight, they soon became lost but the footfalls they heard soon petered off into the distance.
"Perhaps this corridor will take us back to the courtyard and to where the TARDIS is..." gasped Macfadyan.
Picking up the pace, they made their way down the seemingly endless corridor, seeking escape from the proctor captains and the perceived wrath of the council members.
All but breathless, they turned a corner and they saw a sight which took what little of their breath which remained away.