Messages from Gallifrey

Episode #3: BBC After Dark

4 Jan 1562, 0300

As the group sleeps in their rooms at the Sheep’s Head in Chesham, Cali Armstrong has a dream.

Cali is in a bar on New Earth, the same bar in which she met the Doctor.

A song is playing on the jukebox, “One is the loneliest number that you’ll ever do…”

As Cali slips into the song, she hears it for the first time because now the Doctor isn’t here to talk over it. Suddenly, she realizes there’s an object on the table in front of her. The object is a clear cube.

Then the TARDIS cloister bell rings. Cali awakens in her room at the Sheep’s Head, just in time to feel the floor shuddering from some impact in the distance.

Ian Fleming wakes to the feeling of a tremor in the floor. He looks out the window to see a fire in the distance, as if an aircraft had crashed.

Cali and Ian rush to awaken Al Capone, Sun Tzu, and Jodana Kelzor, and they all run to the crash site, two miles away. There, they see a lone silhouette in the flames. Sun scouts ahead and finds the creature is humanoid, very tall, and covered in suckers—a Zygon. Then the Zygon changes its form to look like Sun, and they fight, trading blows until Ian, struggling to keep his wits about him, shoots one of the Sun Tzu in the head. It falls and Ian is relieved when the dead one shifts back into its natural Zygon form.

They see a second Zygon in the distance, darting between trees, attempting to escape. A third Zygon climbs from the downed spaceship, clutching a transparent cube—a Stasis Cube!

Cali confronts the Zygon holding the cube, and it changes its form to look like her. She fiddles with her Sonic Watch, jamming the creature’s shapeshifting ability and forcing it back into its natural form. Sun bisects the creature with a single upward stroke, and Cali scoops up the cube. After examining the cube, she concludes that the cube will never function as a stasis cube, so the group concludes that it is either an elaborate facsimile or was burned out somehow.

While the rest of the group discusses what to do next, Jodana climbs into the wreckage and discovers the charred corpses of two more Zygons, bringing the crew count to five. He searches for anything with information, but finds only the Home Box, damaged enough that while it still has the most recent flight data it will never fly home.

Eventually, the group decides they cannot let even the one remaining Zygon loose on 16th-century Earth, so they track the creature down. Jodana and Cali invite the creature to talk, so it stops momentarily and introduces itself as Pillbox.

Where did you get the cube? “We got it from a human. His name was O’Bannon.”

How did you get here? “O’Bannon hooked up a Vortex Manipulator to our ship, just enough to let us fly in time.”

Why do you need this cube? “It is the salvation of my people.”

Why do your people need salvation? “Our world was destroyed in the Time War.”

You can’t have this world, but we can find you one. “You have a ship?”

This cube is a fake. It will never do what you want it to. “You lie! It is our salvation!”

Sun is convinced that the creature is hiding something, Ian accuses the Zygon of lying and tells it to give up the truth. In response, the Zygon changes form and suddenly there are two Ians! The Zygon attempts to put the group off-balance by irritating Ian with an imitation game, and Ian takes a swing at the Zygon, who dodges and counters with a punch of his own, knocking the real Ian backward into the dirt. The creature then turns to run, but Sun chases it down and kills it.

Meanwhile, Jodana scans the data in the ship’s Home Box, and finds the ship stopped twice before crashing here. First it stopped at the Maldovarium, then it stopped at The Library. There is limited data about the ship’s temporal telemetry because the ship was not designed for time travel, but Jodana extrapolates likely temporal coordinates based on what he knows from his time.

The group makes their way back to the TARDIS, and they figure they are done here. Cali flips the switch, and the TARDIS dematerializes, shudders, shakes, and groans its way to the group’s next destination.

The Library – c. 5045

The TARDIS materializes in the lobby of The Library, and Jodana is relieved to see that there are people roaming about, so at least the Vashta Nerada haven’t arrived yet. He approaches the librarian at the main desk, who confirms the date for him—it is Jodana’s first day of work in The Library. Eager to avoid crossing his own timeline, Jodana recalls that his first day of work was in the Biography section, halfway around the planet. He rushes to the staff data terminal and accesses the camera footage from the Zygons’ visit:

Two of Michael O’Bannon walk up to the terminal. The one on the left presents his Time Agent credentials and accesses the terminal. He performs several data searches:

  • Time War – No results
  • Stasis Cube – Several legends of a Time Lord device, capable of saving a slice of time in a 4-D painting. Only one has been seen, in the recently-constructed Delirium Archive, but the piece was stolen within days of going on display and was never recovered.
  • Human History – A brief primer on England before 2000. The two O’Bannons stood there for several minutes reading the primer, then the left one downloaded coordinates into his Vortex Manipulator.

At this point, Jodana was worried about the multiple O’Bannons, and that at least one (if not all) was a Zygon, and he called Jonathan Klaus, the Time Agency supervisor who had arrived in 1562 to take custody of O’Bannon.

“It’s funny you should call at this time. O’Bannon has escaped, and his Vortex Manipulator has gone missing.”

And then Jodana told him the group thought O’Bannon might have been a Zygon all along.

“I’ll have to look into that and get back to you.” <click>

Cali then activated the tracking program she had installed on O’Bannon’s Vortex Manipulator. It appeared to be on Sorath, a tropical moon the group had tried to reach just after Susan Foreman had picked up Cali. The group decided a nice tropical vacation would be a nice change of pace, so they hopped back into the TARDIS. This time, the TARDIS shuddered and groaned more than usual, and then it landed off-course.

The Maldovarium – c. 5045

The TARDIS lands, and the group exits into a large metal room lined with boxes and crates. Sun and Ian hear a voice on the other side of the room, shielded by stacks of crates, but they cannot make them out. As the group approaches, Sun scouts ahead and hears the voice more clearly:

“All this to imprison one child? Oh, I know what you’re up to. I hear everything in this place. I even hear rumours about whose child you’ve taken. Are you mad? You know the stories about the Doctor, the things he has done? God help us if you make him angry!”

Sun peeks around the corner and sees a fat blue man talking to a trio of hooded monks. They have handed him a pouch, and he has handed them a small metal box. “The memory core of a Judoon. Within are the security codes you need.” The monks depart through a door to a hangar bay.

The blue man speaks again. “You can come out now. I was not talking only to the Headless Monks when I said I hear everything in this place.”

Cali steps forward toward Dorium Maldovar, since she has dealt with him before, and asks about the Stasis Cube she holds up. “I have not seen that one before. But…” he pauses. “Perhaps I should not meddle in your timeline too much.” Eventually, the group convince him to tell them more.

“I had acquired a Stasis Cube a while back, but you traded a Vortex Manipulator for it about a year ago. No, I don’t still have the Vortex Manipulator. It sold very quickly.” Sun attempted to cajole more information out of him about who bought the Vortex Manipulator, but he would only say, “She tried to poison me,” before staring past the group toward the hangar bay and becoming nervous. The group turned to see one of the Headless Monks had stayed behind and was now beginning to chant.

“I think I will have to leave you to your work. It’s time for me to close up shop,” Dorium stammered as he fled the cargo bay as quickly as his body would carry him.

As the chanting grew louder, the group ran to the TARDIS and took off.

Next time: Faux-Bannon on a Tropical Vacation


RobertLoper RobertLoper

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