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 Two - Vision On
All three were in Curtis' office. Macfadyan and Blanche were seated opposite Curtis who was on the opposite side of the desk from them. Cre'at hovered nearby, observing the scene and was recording it, both visually and aurally.
"Now that we are all here, perhaps you could tell me what you are doing here? It has been several months since your last appearance on Earth and, needless to say, there have been no alien invasions, disembodied spirits running amok and the Channel Island of Jersey is gradually rebuilding itself after having a little brush with primordial emotions and subconscious fear being unleashed en masse. Frankly, Macfadyan, I find your presence here unnerving...."
Macfadyan studied his nails for a long moment before answering.
"Frankly, my dear Crumbly..."
"That's Curtis!...Captain Colin Curtis" He interjected annoyed.
"As I was saying, given the circumstances on Jersey, I think I handled the situation quite well. Admittedly there were quite a few dead and a lot of walking wounded but people are malleable and will soon forget about the incident. Humans are very adaptable and can cope with any situation, however grave, and overcome it. I am sure, given time, they will be grateful for my intervention in what could have been a very serious situation."
Curtis choked slightly as he took a sip from a glass of water that had been placed on the desk. "The sheer gall of the man!" he thought.
As Curtis was recovering from his coughing, he continued:
"As you are aware, my TARDIS does not do things without a reason, however vague and obscure they might be. After we left you on Jersey, we had some business to attend to on your planet, approximately 100 years in your past, subjectively speaking, and then had to settle a little matter in Central America, 500 years in your past. After a little journeying elsewhere, we decided to set a course for a holiday planet for a little vacation. Saving Earth is rather taxing so we all thought that it would be best to take some time out, as the saying goes, and relax and enjoy the scenery."
Cre'at frowned slightly Macfadyans statement was at odds with his own memory, but perhaps he hadn't mention Catharcerous because it was outside the human's remit.
Curtis growled deeply in his throat. He had found Macfadyan to be a thorn in his side the first time he had encountered him and his impression of the Time Lord had not improved in the slightest. He found Macfadyan to be pompous, over-bearing and too fond of blowing his own trumpet far too much of the time. The Time Lord was also fond of taking the credit where it should have been given to others. The sour taste that was present in his mouth when he first encountered Macfadyan was starting to creep back.
"Continue,..."Was all he managed to say. Any more provocation and he would have given Macfadyan a good tongue-lashing and would have told him what he could do with his over-blown ego. The end result would have been both interesting and anatomically impressive.
"As I was saying, my good fellow, my TARDIS, old and rickety as she is, detected a temporal distortion emanating nearby to this place and time, one previously unencountered by my fellow Time Lords, and it piqued mine and the TARDIS' curiosity enough that we should stop and take a look."
Both Blanche and Cre'at both turned around in surprise. Macfadyan had said nothing of this when they had set their original course for a holiday planet.
"'Ere, Bucky. I thought you said that we were going for a spot of rest and recuperation. You never said that that you were dragging us into another scrape!" said Blanche indignantly.
* I find your concealment of the true meaning of our course and destination to be somewhat alarming. This statement is somewhat inaccurate. As we Sot'ms are incapable of emotion, I can only say that I am slightly disconcerted that you chose to conceal our true destination from us. * Said Cre'at. Somewhere within the Sot'ms interior structure came a slight grinding noise indicating that it was having difficulty in comprehending the situation and neural pathways in its processing unit were coming into conflict.
The Buccaneer dismissed their protestations away with a casual wave of his hand and said:
"Something like this cannot be ignored. We have all seen the artefact that was unearthed at the site and I would like to go back there and examine it further. The technology, although belonging to a definite race and time line, is indeterminate in its structure and function. This has made me curious and I wish to find out more."
"Very well." said Curtis. "However I must remind you that the site in question is of a highly contentious nature given the nature of the artifact and both of the predominant religions in this city laying claim to it as one of their holy relics. This is understandable given the obscure origins of it and the circumstances with which it has appeared in this city. I will accompany you along with a small detail of my men so you can examine it at your leisure. My men are provided for your protection, as you will understand."
"That is all I ask, Captain, and it is very gracious of you" Curtis could hear the sarcasm in Macfadyan's voice. ."If we are finished here, then we should go to the excavation site without anymore delay." the Time Lord continued.
The sun was just starting to set as they made their way from the provincial UNIT headquarters to the site. Upon reaching the site, they all noticed that there was a small crowd gathered around the edges of the site. The mood was unsettling as many members of the crowd were shouting abuse at each of the opposing religious denominations. Egyptian locals, clad in robes and headscarves, were catcalling at members at of the Orthodox Jewish community, who for the most part, endured the comments stoically whilst reading from the Talmud and nodding their heads in prayer. A few of the younger members of the Jewish community were shouting back at their Arabic counterparts in Hebrew and gesturing offensively. The UNIT officers who were stationed around the edge of the site looked uneasy and were clutching their rifles nervously. In short, the situation was akin to a powder keg waiting for a match to be applied. Looking at the locals, listening briefly to them and feeling the atmosphere, Macfadyan's face contorted into a sneer. Idiots, he thought. All that fighting over religion and that inability to let go the past and try to build a new, safer world for their offspring. Pathetic. I have no time for primitive killers. And he turned his back. It never even occurred to him that turning one's back on a situation like this was to make one almost as guilty as the killers he despised.
Climbing down into the trench where the object was first uncovered, Macfadyan squatted down and peered closely at the orb. It was approximately the size and shape of a football, metallic in appearance with a few small indentations and markings of an unknown nature scribed into the surface of it. There were no switches or any other signs of how to activate it on its surface.
Macfadyan straightened up and rubbed at his chin thoughtfully.
"Well, it is definitely Keldian in design but as to its purpose, I am at a loss to explain. I am familiar with most of their technology and they are simply not geared to any thing militaristic. They are a pacifist culture and only use technology to further their own well-being. In short, Crumbly..."
"That's Curtis!" the soldier snapped irritably.
"...I am at a........... loss to explain."
Blanche was looking around her nervously. In the short time that they had been examining the artefact, the mood of the crowd had grown decidedly uglier. The shouting had escalated and there were signs of pushing and jostling in the crowd. As they watched, the jostling progressed at an alarming speed until blows were exchanged. The UNIT officers stationed at the edges of the crowd started shouting orders to try and quell the unrest but to no avail. In a moment, the unruly crowd were exchanging blows and the situation threatened to turn into a full-scale riot... and somewhere amongst the mob, someone picked up a small rock and threw it...
Seeing the rock arcing gracefully through the air Macfadyan razed his arm to deflect it, but he was too slow. The rock bounced of his arm and rolled up his temple.
It felt like he was falling through the earth, tumbling end over end, a tunnel of stars streaked by. Then he shot out in to deep space, floating there with no up or down, his brain started to work at double time 'this is not real some form of mental link, a vision, hallucination? What ever it was, time to wake up now, wake up now! WAKE UP NOW!!'
The pattern of the stars in which he floated were intimately familiar to him but they escaped his memory. Suddenly space heaved and swirled, then ripped asunder as a wormhole opened in front of him and a flotilla of ships poured out of the gap. The wormhole then collapsed behind the last ship but instead of vanishing it seemed to collapse into the last ship. Macfadyan spun round with the ships and followed them down to a broken planet. By the time he reached it, some of the vessels had landed. Time had passed mechanical diggers were out in force and the strip mining of the planet was well underway. Focusing in on what was obviously the command ship he dived ghost like through the bulkhead, down a corridor and through three walls. In to a cabin that appeared to belong to the Captain, a large bull necked aggressive man, who was watching a holographic representation of a thin angular faced man with a goatee beard and a light scattering of grey at the temples,
"Adh Seidh answer me".
The man looked up disinterestedly and a car sales man's smile splashed a crossed his features
"Why my dear Executor Reeve! Just as I was getting settled in, up you pop with your florid face to stop me from getting too complacent. To what do I owe the pleasure of this manifestation in my humble abode?"
Before Macfadyan could hear the aggravated reply he was of again speeding through metal, rock and land. Before him stood a great escarpment, a massive mountainous rock slammed down in the middle of the craggy plane; diving through it he got the sense of worship and devotion. The centuries of chanting and incantation hung heavy in the air. He plunged in to the main chamber, surrounded by gold tapestries, cushions and quilted rugs. In front of him stood an all female congregation in saffron robes of yellow, orange, red and gold, every where there was a flame motif. On the high chair sat a handsomely attractive woman, whose countenance seamed much older than her years.
Blanche was hovering around the edge of the natural coven fingering the gold weave of some of the tapestries that hung on the walls, Cre'at floated near the floor with Curtis who was seated on one of the cushions, who was looking around himself in polite interest. Macfadyan was seated on one of the purple cushions directly in front of the centre chair. In a most strange way he dived in to his own head, it was like being a passenger in his own mind.
There was a definite feeling of hostility in the air, like the time he want to the Spanish court with the English ambassador, just before the Spanish Armada attacked
The high priestess leaned forward in her chair
"We no longer smash ships as the other Time Lord asked. People are here now, not many but some. They leave us alone, but give us respect. Then ye kind came, he brings with him humans, who are grey of mind and have greed in their bellies. They come to pillage and rape our planet. You Will have them removed!"
"ME! Why me?"
"Because it is one of ye kind, ye share the responsibility as much as if it was your own"!
"Now look just because this interloper happens to be a Time lord doesn't..."
"SILENCE! It has been decided!"
He surged to his feet; it was one of the few times that he understood the term towering rage
"NOW JUST ONE MOMENT MADAM!! Do you have any comprehension with whom you are dealing with! Do you know who I am?"
The priestess sat bolt upright and gazed in to the middle distance
"Ye are the butterfly before the storm, the Father of sin, Grandfather to Paradox, Lord of the Flies, Holder of the Sword Sinister. The sins of those that come after can be laid at your door because it is ye they are trying to emulate. Ye are the first link in the end of days and the last chance to stop it. Magus! Warlock! Judder Man! Ye are the path to hell. Destiny's wish! Time's curse! Death's Champion!"
Macfadyan fell to his knees in Jerusalem.
Blanche saw Macfadyan stagger for a moment as the rock glanced off of his skull. He slumped to his knees and clutched at his head. Rushing over to him, periodically punching or kneeing someone to gain access to the ailing Time Lord, she reached his side and crouched down beside him, an anxious look on her face. Cre'at joined them a moment later. Hiss face was only capable of limited expression but he had a look of consternation and concern on his metallic features.
"'Ere, Bucky. Are you all right?? Are you okay??"
The Buccaneer straightened up to his full height. An almost alien look crossed over his face which made Blanche take a step back in surprise and fright. He touched the side of his head in disbelief and bellowed:
"NO, BLANCHE!! I AM NOT ALRIGHT!!!"
"Bucky...?" Blanche said, in a voice, which was a cross between a whisper and a whimper.
"HOW DARE THEY!!? HOW DARE THEY!!!?LOOK AT THEM!!TELL ME, WHAT DO YOU SEE??"
His voice had a raw, ragged edge to it and the mischievous light that was normally present in his eyes was gone, to be replaced by something that hovered just this side of sanity...
"I'LL TELL YOU WHAT I SEE...A BUNCH OF SEMI-EVOLVED HUMANOIDS.THEIR HEARTS SET ON THE STARS AND THEIR BRAINS STILL STUCK IN THE PRIMORDIAL SOUP!!I HAVE SAVED THIS MISERABLE BACKWATER PLANET NUMEROUS TIMES FROM DESTRUCTION OR FALLING INTO THE HANDS OF ALIEN POWERS AND THIS IS HOW THEY REPAY ME!!"
He ranted at Blanche, Cre'at and nobody in particular.
"THEY STUMBLE BLINDLY THROUGH THEIR LIVES WITHOUT GIVING HEED TO WHAT LIES BEYOND THEIR IMMEDIATE EXISTENCE,UNAWARE OF WHAT LIES OUT THERE,WAITING TO TAKE THEIR LIBERTY,OR EVEN WORSE,THEIR LIVES AWAY. I HAVE THE POWER AT MY COMMAND TO CONSIGN THIS PLANET TO THE SAME FATE AS CATHARCEROUS;A JUMBLED HEAP OF MOLTEN SLAG AND ROCKS TUMBLING AROUND THE ORBIT THAT A PLANET USED TO OCCUPY!! AT THIS MOMENT IN TIME,I WOULD GLADLY SEND THIS PLANET TO THE SAME FATE AND YET I STILL STRIVE TO PROTECT THESE IGNORANT AND MENTALLY STUNTED BARBARIANS FOR REASONS I CANNOT DEFINE OR EXPLAIN!!!"
"Listen, Bucky, why don't you come back to the TARDIS wiv us, put your feet up and relax for a while??" pleaded Blanche, tears were forming at the corners of her eyes as she tugged at his sleeve in a futile attempt for him to see sense and to seek the shelter and security of his ship." We've 'ad a few tough times recently so please, come back wiv me an' Cre'at so we can talk about it."
He angrily shook away her hand and said:
"No, Blanche. Leave me alone. I wish to be on my own for a while!"
Blanche and Cre'at could only look on as Macfadyan half ran, half stumbled, with tears in his eyes and his throat constricting in anguish, pausing only long enough to fell a passer-by who had accidentally got in his way with a single blow. Through the twilight streets, running away from something he could not see and something he could not escape...
There was one other person who had witnessed the outburst that Macfadyan had unleashed. The rioters had been quelled and were being sent on their way and Colin Curtis, Captain in the United Nations Intelligence Taskforce, stood in the middle of a deserted Jerusalem street, a heavy frown creasing his features...