The Buccaneer Chronicles:
Keeping the Peace
By Andy Simpkins (despite interference by Keith Dunn, Adam J Purcell and Tony Gallichan)
Part Two - "I've just dipped into the future. We must be prepared for the worst."
Chapter One - Long, Hot Summers in Jerusalem
The third man turned away from the time rotor on one of the panels of the hexagonal console to look at the two faces staring back at him expectantly. One of the faces was that of a young human woman, in her late teens or early twenties. She wasn't too sure herself. Her name was Blanche Simmonds. She had a round, pleasant face but had a hard bitten and street-wise look about her that spoke of her tough upbringing working for a gang of pickpockets and cut-purses and, later, living rough, surviving by her wits alone on the streets of Victorian London. She was about 5 and a half feet tall, with ether very light brown hair, or dark blonde, once keep short in a crop to hide her female attributes from the male members of the street gang she was once a member of. At this moment in time, it was longer and she had it swept up into a bun tied up on the back of her head. She was dressed in a loose fitting t-shirt and jeans which had become her preferred dress since becoming one of the Buccaneers traveling companions The second face was metallic in composition, belonging to a race of bio-mechanoid life-forms called Sot'ms and it's name was Cre'at. It was about two feet in height, cylindrical in form with a thick, black beard of organic strands framing its mouth from which it drew nitrogen from the surrounding air to power its internal systems. Two portals on either side of its head where human's ears would be contained two extendable or removable arms. On top of its cranium was a small, but potentially lethal laser cannon.
It was then that the Buccaneer said to his traveling companions:
"Right, that's the time rotor sorted out. This old girl of a TARDIS has been around the block a few times and can be rather cantankerous at times. I know we were stuck in the vortex for a few days but now everything should be sorted. Look, what do you expect after that nasty business with the time ram, hmm? Do I have to do all the thinking in here? Right, where would you both like to go? No. Actually, neither of you deserve to choose. You, Blanche wimped out last time and as for you, head..... Well, I mean........ what do you think you were doing not telling me about those tracks, hmm? Sometimes I wonder where your loyalties lie, dear Sot'm"
"'Ere, Bucky, why don't we try a nice 'oliday planet somewhere. I could do wiv putting my feet up and loungin' by a nice pool somewhere with a long tall glass of something strong wiv all those bits in it." Blanche said. Her pronounced Cockney vowels cutting through the air.
* I must concur with the adolescent human female. It would do well to partake of some enforced idleness and as you say 'recharge your batteries'. I find this phrase grossly inaccurate. You organics survive by the inefficient breaking down of proteins and carbohydrates and not by absorbing energy through directly implanted power cells. * Stated Cre'at in its usual mechanical and monotone voice.
The Buccaneer sighed. Sometimes the Sot'm could be quite literal in its speech and could be exasperating at times but it managed to convey its meaning across, albeit, in the most circumspect means possible.
"Right. As it happens I was going to suggest a holiday anyway. I want a picnic! If we are all agreed, with a flick of a switch and some inputted spacial and temporal coordinates, we shall go a 'holidaying. I am already attired for any suitable surroundings and the TARDIS knows where to go. We shall be there in just a thrice!"
Blanche raised a hand to her face to hide a smile and to stifle a snigger. Suitably attired! He was clad in his usual garish garb. What she saw was a 6 foot tall humanoid male, with long dark blond hair tied in a pony-tail and with a light beard framing his face. He was clad, in what he considered to be muted clothing. He was wearing a knee-length purple velvet overcoat, underneath was a waistcoat, black in colour, heavily decorated with gold brocade and was wearing a white shirt with enormously baggy sleeves poking out of his overcoat. Flared pantaloons were tucked into knee length black leather boots. A belt buckle carved with an elaborate double infinity symbol completed the outfit. The Buccaneer liked to compare himself to the corsairs of 17th and 18th century Earth but he bore more than a marked resemblance to followers of the New Romantic music movement that was prevalent in England in the early 1980's. His sartorial elegance was questionable but he was a more than competent Time-Lord. Well, at least, that's what he thought.....
The time column hummed quietly to itself and operated for approximately 20 seconds before grinding to a halt. Despite the Buccaneers entreaties and flicking of switches, the time column stayed irresolutely immobile.
"Hmmm, strange. Checked and double-checked the blessed thing and still it malfunctions. As I said, this TARDIS is rather set in its ways and wouldn't malfunction without a reason. We seem to have landed somewhere. Lets have a look out of the viewer and have a peek at what is going on..."
He flicked a switch on the console and a hologram immediately lit up between two of the gothic arches with a view of what was outside. It, unfortunately, wasn't too impressive. All that the trio of travellers saw was a wall. Stretching about 10 to 15 metres into the air and was pitted, scratched and marred by the passage of time. Bending over the console, Macfadyan checked the temporal and spatial coordinate readouts.
"Well, Blanche, we are somewhere hot and sunny and not too far from your place of temporal origin. We are on Earth, late 20th century and in a place called Israel which is situated between what is called by the locals, the Red Sea and the Mediterranean Sea, It might not be quite what we had in mind but we can at least spend some time here and have some rest and relaxation."
Taking a parasol from a hat stand near the main doors of the TARDIS, he activated the doors to allow egress to the world outside.
The heat hit them all as soon as they exited the TARDIS. Blanche was sweating as soon as she set foot on the sandy soil outside. Cre'at was, however, impervious to extremes of heat, pressure and cold due to his structure and could tolerate the heat and humidity indefinitely.
"Come now, child. Given the temperature, I have made provision for a few bottles of water with which to keep ourselves hydrated while we are here. "She eagerly snatched the proffered bottle of water and gulped from it greedily.
"Phew, Bucky, just like a hot and sticky day in Victorian London. All we had to drink from if we were thirsty was a horse trough outside one of the local taverns."
The Buccaneer set aside that particular mental image and turned around to look around at the TARDIS." Hmmm, must make a note to repair the chameleon circuits at sometime or other. It doesn't quite fit in...." he murmured absently.
The TARDIS, its chameleon circuits, in an almost constant state of disrepair, had taken on the appearance of something.....almost....approximating that of 20th Century Earth. Its appearance was that of a shop. However, in it's windows were 5 shop window dummies that were clad in clothing that could be best described as 'abbreviated'. Painted on each of the windows was the image of an apple, red in colour and with a bite taken out of it. Above this image was, in English script, written the words 'Ann Summers'
The Buccaneer strode purposefully on, Cre'at hovering after him and Blanche bringing up the rear, occasionally glancing back at the disguised TARDIS and shaking her head in disbelief and curiosity. Already, a few tourists were strolling up to the 'shop' and taking photos while a small crowd of locals had gathered around it in bemusement.
The trio of travellers spent their next few hours wandering around the markets that were prevalent in the ancient city of Jerusalem. From all around, vendors hawked their wares and a small smile was seen to appear over The Buccaneers features. Offering a polite'la, shucran, effendi' to some of the more persistent Arabic salesmen who offered cheap souvenirs and tourist trinkets in his direction. He was like a child, gazing upon the world through fresh, wondering and uncorrupted eyes. Even Cre'at, normally impervious to such distractions, had entered into the spirit of the occasion. It had chosen a cardboard body and had attached it to its underside. It was in the form of flowing Arabic robes and, for good measure, had wrapped a headscarf around the top part of its cranium to conceal its head-cannon. Regrettably, given its appearance, it had taken on more than a passing resemblance to a local politician whose face was featured on some tattered and peeling local election posters that had been plastered up on walls and columns. The baffled Sot'm had to, for the next half hour or so, fend off the attentions of locals who wanted wish it good luck in the forthcoming elections. Having no hands to shake with, apart from the ones it had mounted in its cranial cavity, it could only pass on its best wishes and ask them if they would like some ham. This caused bafflement amongst the locals and they went away, shaking their heads and wondering if he had been sampling too much of the apple tobacco that was commonly smoked through the tall hookahs that were commonplace in this part of the city.
The trio stopped, pausing to take sips from the water bottles they had with them. It was then that the Buccaneer noticed Blanche's pockets had taken on a distinctly bulging appearance. The Buccaneer rolled his eyes heavenwards and said:
"Blanche, if you would be so kind as to empty your pockets..."
"Awww, Bucky..."said Blanche imploringly.
"Now would be a good time!..." said Macfadyan reproachfully, already having a good idea of what would come out.
Out of the young woman's pockets came two compact APS cameras, several wallets containing a variety of dollars, pounds, deutchmarks and other international currencies and some pass-cards to some of the more well known international hotel chains who had hotels here.
"Blanche, this is supposed to be a holiday and I do not want your kleptomaniac tendencies to run riot. You are not in Victorian London now and you must keep your pick-pocketing habits in check!"
"Well, a girl 'as to keep 'erself in good practice..."she offered in a half hearted and none too convincing attempt to placate the Buccaneer. Macfadyan sighed inwardly and made a mental note to himself that he would have to make sure that any future clones of Blanche would have their light-fingered tendencies taken away from them. It wasn't too important but he added it to the list of things that he had to do around the TARDIS. However, before moving on, Macfadyan paused, as if to sniff the air. There was a strange tingle at the back of his neck, something he had never felt before. It was mildly perturbing. However, deciding to put it to one side also, he strode off, head held high and with his usual look of contempt for the primitive Humans around him.
Henderson and Curtis pulled up in the jeep, it was obvious where the dig was located, the crowds of people, large earth moving equipment. Curtis climbed out of one side Henderson out of the other, almost immediately they were accosted by a tall lean man with a thin angular face, his close-cropped hair and bearded had a light scattering of grey. He was wearing an outlandish Hawaiian shirt, khaki shorts and a multitude of cameras around his neck; he flashed a press pass under Curtis's nose
"Joss Momos, The Guardian international correspondent. What is U.N.I.T.'s interest in this dig and the artifact that has been found?"
Eyeing what he hoped was a Dictaphone instead of a lie detector (there was a whole range of flashing L.E.D's that reacted to the sounds of his voice) and grateful he wasn't being questioned by Alf Roland, the notorious Press hound, he replied,
"Not at all Mr Momos. We are here in a U. N. capacity. Merely to make sure there is no trouble and that the historical artifact goes to the correct repository."
Joss looked at him rather askew
"Oh my dear Captain Curtis, we are mere months a way from the dawning of the new millennium. We are bound to see things of miracle and wonder, lasers in the jungle, the camera following us in slow...mo"
This time it was Curtis turn to look at him oddly
"Well yes quite, if you would please excuse me Mr Momos." With that Curtis and Henderson pushed pass.
Adh Saidh was still looking around himself in interest, dropping the manic smile as he dropped Joss Momos's press card back into his pocket. The back of his neck tingled for a moment and with a sudden start he recognised Cre'at gliding through the crowds. Quickly he started looking for the arrogant form of Macfadyan. Yes, there he was strolling around with his nose in the air as if he'd sniffed a permanent bad smell,
"What a tosser!"
With a slightly sad look towards Blanche Adh turned and disappeared in to the crowd.
It was then that Macfadyan looked around him and then announced:
" It would seem, in our perambulations around this quarter of Jerusalem, we have almost come back to where the TARDIS is. I would suggest that we head back there and have a bite to eat. It will be sunset in a couple of hours time and I wish to see some more sights before we set off."
There were gestures of assent from Blanche and Cre'at and they set off towards the landing site. As they drew near to the site where the TARDIS had materialised, Macfadyan noticed that there was unusual activity at a fairly large pit near the Western Wall. Digging equipment, of the Jumall Corp, surrounded it. He noticed that there were a few academic types wandering around, clutching clipboards, tape measures and other tools of their trade. There were also a few military types, looking casual in their stance and demeanour, but ready to spring into action at any given opportunity. Around the periphery was a small crowd of curious bystanders, jostling each other in an attempt to see what was going on.
Lifting up the length of tape that had been pulled around the circumference of the site to keep any over-enthusiastic observers at bay, Macfadyan, Blanche and Cre'at casually wandered over to a spot on the excavation site where there were two scientists and two man clad in the khaki green of the local military, one of them hunched over a shape half-buried in the soil. They did not notice his approach as they were deep in conversation and were totally oblivious to his presence, overhearing the man in green khaki who was crouching over the half buried object mutter "better tell H.Q. we've got a 'Police Box' incident"
Macfadyan harrumphed loudly, peered over their shoulders and said:
"Hmmm, if I am not mistaken. That is Keldian in construction, very high-tech, very hard to get hold of and probably there for all the wrong reasons..."
All three turned around in surprise and the military officer did a double take as he saw whom the stranger was.
"Ha! Look Cre'at! It's lieutenant, erm, ah........Crumbly, isn't it?
And the grin his face held was a textbook description of the word; "wicked"