The Buccaneer Chronicles:
Keeping the Peace
By Andy Simpkins (despite interference by Keith Dunn, Adam J Purcell and Tony Gallichan)
Part Three - "You're In The Army Now."
Chapter Three - Any Portal in a Storm
Night had fallen over Jerusalem. The rioters who had occupied the area surrounding the excavation site had been dispersed, or had been taken into custody for a few hours before being sent on their way with a formal caution and,for the moment, all was quiet. The heat of the day had subsided, thanks to the breezes that blew in from the desert and it was another cool evening. Overhead, the stars looked down and shone in a sky unblemished by clouds. Off to one side of the excavation site, two UNIT soldiers had taken advantage of the quiet moment presented to them and were having a well-earned cigarette break. They were both hunkered down on a rock that jutted out of the sand and were indulging in light-hearted conversation and swapping dirty jokes and off-colour stories. Both their heads snapped around as they hear a soft but unidentifiable noise commence behind them. Grabbing at their rifles that lay on the ground in front of them, they made their cautious way over to the edge or the pit that delineated the excavation site. What they saw made them almost drop their firearms. The artefact that was due to be excavated fully the following day was emitting an unearthly ethereal glow. As the two UNIT soldiers looked on in stunned disbelief, the artefact began to punch a hole through our reality to somewhere... and somewhen else...
Blanche sat and stared into space in one of the chairs dotted around the main control room of the TARDIS. She had been like that for the best part of two hours. She had long since finished crying and sat there, rocking gently while she had her arms wrapped around her knees.
Unfamiliar with a situation like this, Cre'at had tried to comfort the girl but was at a loss as to what to do.
"I've never seen 'im like that before. It was as though the old Bucky 'ad gone and there was somethin' 'orrible in his place. I've bin scared before but never like this." she whispered.
* I, too, share your concern. His behaviour in that instant was abberant, to put it mildly. His last regeneration was traumatic and he may still be showing after-effects, even now. It is something I must ponder upon... * The Sot'm lapsed into a contemplative silence.
"'Is eyes. It looked like there was a wild animal in there, about to escape." said Blanche." 'E might be a pompous prig at times but he looked like 'e was going mad back there!" She sniffled.
At that moment, there was a loud banging at the main doors of the TARDIS. Blanche jumped and Cre'at turned around to see what was up. From behind the door, there came a muffled voice, shouting urgently:
"Miss Simmonds! Cre'at! If either of you are in there, please open the door. Captain Curtis has sent me to find you and get you to help us. A...situation...has developed and you are the people best qualified to help us! Please, if you are in there, please, open the door!"
Blanche wiped at her reddened eyes and walked to the door. Upon opening it, a private dressed in UNIT fatigues rushed in. Looking over his shoulder as he entered, Blanche saw a column of soldier's quick timing past, supported by numerous military vehicles and troop carriers setting off to a destination that she could not see. She could also see that a strong wind was starting to be whipped up by an unknown source. Sand was being blown in through the open TARDIS doors that scoured the skin on her face and whirled around in mini dust storms around outside the doors.
The soldier, who had performed the perfect double take at the interior of the Ship, straightened up, saluted briskly and said:
"Private James Henderson, attached to UNIT Special Forces for the Middle Eastern region. Is the person known as Macfadyan present? We need his help urgently!"
Closing the doors behind her and brushing sand from her clothing, Blanche replied: "No, we ain't seen Macfadyan for at least a couple hours.' E was in a right state when he was at the excavation site. I thought 'e was going to break down or commit murder, judging by the look on his face."
Cre'at floated over and said:
* I have been tracking his whereabouts using the equipment on the TARDIS and have pinned down his location to somewhere near the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. I cannot determine his position any further as his bio-signs seem to be 'out of phase' and shifting in and out of this time line. I am at a loss to explain and I would deduct from the information available that he is in a place where there is a high degree of temporal flux. *
The UNIT soldier gawped at Cre'at for a moment, slightly wondering how a two foot high oil drum with metallic humanoid features, moving mouth parts and extendible arms could hold itself supported in mid-air without any visible means.
"With your knowledge of other worldly technologies, you will be of help to us. Please, come with me, as we need your help. There is a crisis of extreme magnitude forming and with your expertise in alien encounters and technology, you are needed." Henderson said desperately to Cre'at and Blanche.
They exited out of the TARDIS into a howling wind that enveloped them and swirled around their bodies. Almost blinded by the sand that was whipped up, they had to hold onto each other's sleeves or coats so they did not lose sight of each other as visibility was reduced to about 5 metres. Shouting over the din that the wind made, Blanche shouted:
" 'Enderson, where are we going??"
"To the excavation site. That is where the nexus of the disturbance is!"
"Woss a 'nexus'?" said Blanche
"You'll see..." said Henderson grimly.
Curtis was at the scene, his features set in a scowl as he directed men and munitions to selected areas around the outside edge of the site. "Glad to see that you could make it, I wouldn't want you to miss out on this little spectacle. Where is Macfadyan? I gave you express orders to locate him, Henderson!"
"He cannot be located, sir. He went missing a few hours ago and despite numerous searches, cannot be located in this area."
"Damn the man! As much as it pains me to say so, I could do with his help right now. Now, Miss Simmonds, Cre'at," Curtis said with an expansive wave of his arm, "You will see the scale of the dilemma we are all facing now!"
They followed the direction that his arm was pointed in and caught their breath. In Cre'ats case the saying was purely subjective as he did not need lungs to respire but what it and Blanche saw made them look on in awe and horror.
The alien artefact that until an hour or so ago had been quiescent in its resting place in the sand was ablaze with an unearthly and almost blinding glow. Approximately 20 feet in front of it, the air had puckered, expanded and was forming into a swirling vortex about 20 feet in diameter. Sand and small objects were drawn towards it to be caught in its grasp to circle around the nexus of this unearthly sight. At the eye of the storm was a circle or sphere, approximately 10 feet in diameter. It was hard to tell if it was a solid object, an opening or something else as it seemed to absorb all the remaining light around it and hurt the eyes of the onlooker if they looked at it for too long. The sphere or opening was black...pitch black in colour and suggested the depths of infinite space and held back a vacuum that threatened to engulf them all.
"What on Earth is it?" Blanche shouted to Curtis, who was shielding his eyes from the sand that was whipping around and blowing into their eyes.
"No, it is not on Earth, Miss Simmonds, I have been briefed about this before. It is a spatio-temporal rift. Something is on the other side and it wants to get through to this time and place!! Whether it is friendly or hostile, I cannot tell."
Cre'at hovered over to where they were standing. The Sot'm was having difficulty in maintaining its position in mid air and both Curtis and Blanche could hear the Sot'ms internal gyroscopes whining as it tried to maintain its equilibrium.
* According to my internal sensors, I am detecting multiple life-signs on the other side of the opening. I am also detecting an object which I believe is a twin to the artefact we see before us. It is still slightly out of phase with our space-time coordinates but I am led to believe it and whatever life forms are with it are slowly converging and will occupy our space-time in a matter of minutes. If I may use an analogy with which you are familiar, the object in the pit is like a reel, pulling a bubble of space-time and whatever is contained within it towards itself. The two will merge very shortly. I would exercise extreme caution. *
As they looked up the opening had lost its aura of blackness and what taken on a dull glow. In side they could see the vague outlines of humanoid figures moving about, in what seemed to the observers, a state of anticipation. Curtis looked decidedly uneasy and shouted orders to his men to take up defensive positions on all sides of the opening.
At that moment, the artefact in the pit emitted a shrill whine and enveloped the surrounding area in a brilliant green-white glow. The opening lost some of its opaque appearance and the life forms inside could clearly be seen.
"Stand by, men, they're coming through!!" bellowed Curtis. His words were whipped away by the wind so he reached for a loud hailer and repeated the order.
There was a soundless explosion of light as the two sections of reality met and the first of the invaders came through, particle and energy weapons blazing furiously. The reply from the UNIT troopers was bursts from semi-automatic machine guns and hand-grenades thrown towards the interlopers. Several of the invaders fell to the concentrated bursts of machine gun fire and the others who came streaming through to take up defensive positions behind machinery which had been overturned by the gale which still howled around them.
They were squat bipeds covered in a silvery space armour. Domed helmets covered their heads and they held rod like weapons between their three, stubby fingers.