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Not the homecoming we were hoping for.

The carriage moved slowly down the street, pulled by two horses made of pulsing green light. The driver held one arm out, a similar green light shining through his white embroidered coat. It passed by another carriage, coming against it on the other side of the road. This one not drawn by horses but floating through the air on a foggy haze. The drivers tipped their hats at each other in courtesy.

 

Flukia waved at the floating carriage as well, it wasn’t often that she saw an air mage like herself. She wondered if it was transporting a royal envoy from the Northern states, that would seem to be the most likely scenario. The curtains on the carriage were closed but she could sense the breath of at least one person inside, probably a man, he gave a deep sigh of relief.

 

She continued to look out the window once it had passed. The carriage was taking her back into Sothwood, the Capital city of the Western states. The only road entrance to Sothwood was beside both a cliff and lake. She could see the lake from this side, it was a deep red from the algae blooming on the surface. The lake broke out to sea at its south-most point, right there was where Sothwood had been built.

 

The story was that Knarrian the Avatar of the Ocean was trapped here, he turned himself into a gigantic whale and forced his way out of the lake. On the other side of the lake was Knarria, a smaller town that housed the Western states military academy. Flukia had just come from there she could just make out the shape of the watchtower she had occasionally been posted at.

 

“We have arrived young lady.” The driver called out as the carriage slowed and came to a halt. Flukia waved her hand at the door behind her a white light flashing on her hand, it popped open a little too fast and made a thud as it hit the carriage.

“Sorry! Can you get my luggage?”

“Of course.” He replied trying to hold back an indignant tone.

 

Flukia climbed out of the carriage, she was wearing her under-armor overalls with a light blue dress over top, the same colour as her hair that was held back loosely in a bun. The overalls were made from white dragon fur, they could stop a sharp blade that was being dragged across them even a blunt one with a stab. Her dress, she had fashioned herself from the same material, but used one of her air charms to make it appear the blue colour. It was her favourite.

 

The building they had arrived at was an old church of Knarrian, it had been damaged during the last war but had since been refurbished and turned into a kind of nursing home. It was a place for those who by all other means would be dead if not for their own magic keeping them on this plane. It had a great view of the lake.

 

She caught a glimpse of the horses as they faded into a green mist. Back to the else-plane, not to be confused with the place people go when their magic is gone. Those trained in the arcane can easily come and go from the else-plane, it would have been how this driver made those horses his own, if they had not been passed down in the family.

Flukia had been there, just like all the other recruits, a trip to the else-plane to find an animal companion. Those who have never been liken it to going to the stables with a bag of gold but it is not that simple. There are a myriad of eldritch beasts present there, most of them hostile, many of them deadly. Also the spirit animals that are peaceful are not always easy to befriend, which you would have to before you could summon them.

 

“Are you sure this is where you wanted to go?” The driver’s arm was now covered in white stone as he struggled to carry Flukia’s trunk. It was holding all of her worldly possessions.

“Yes, I’m meeting a friend here. I have your payment sir.” She pulled a couple of silver coins from her pocket and held them out to him.

“I can carry this inside if you like.”
“I’ll manage, thank you.”

 

He put down the trunk and accepted the coins. Waving his arm the stones disappeared and the green light shone through once more, the horses reformed with the sound of snapping a branch.

 

Flukia turned around and looked up at the nursing home. It had some marvelous brickwork, stones that had been placed to look like waves crashing onto the entrance way. Flukia wasn’t looking at the bricks however she didn’t have an eye for that.

 

The patchwork that had been done interested her though, magical fire was the same as any other but in the war there were much more powerful uses of all forms of magic. Around the new brick were large sections of melted stone and a lingering feeling, the twang of the arcane. No wonder they kept the elderly here, it would supplement their own magic at least a little bit, take the edge off. Flukia pointed her arm over towards her trunk.

 

Invisible patterns on her arm became clear now as white light shone from them. Her trunk wobbled like a defiant toddler then gave into her power, rising from the ground. A dark cloud formed below it, blossoming around it into a cushion. It floated over to her as she put her arm down, the tattoos on her arm still white but not as bright.

 

She entered the old church calmly, using her buoyant trunk to push open one of the large doors.

 

“Flukia?” There was a young woman sitting behind a desk just inside the door. She was scratching at her arm, consciously avoiding where she had recently got a new tattoo. It was a dark blue and seemed to move as she did. Water mages were more common in Sothwood, it being the original proficiency for the Western states, but it was also more expected in a caring facility as they have innately stronger healing magic. “Abhain has been waiting for you. He’s up on the second floor.”

“Thank you.” Flukia nodded. “Do you mind if I leave my trunk here?”

 

*

 

“Kia! You made it.” There was both joy and relief in Abhain’s voice. “How was the trip?”

“Good to see you too Abby.” Flukia have a cheeky grin. “No stick ups, so as pleasant as it could be.”
“Mmm, I heard there were some bandits on the roads, but I knew you could handle them.”

“Is that why you were stressing out the lady at the desk?”

“Aquiquese is pretty used to my stressing.”

 

“No patients up here then?” Flukia looked around, the second floor at this end of the building was a long chamber overtop of the main entrance hall. There was a wooden table lined with chairs in the center and right at the back was a circle of more comfortable cushioned chairs.

“Not patients Kia, they aren’t sick.”

“They’re just not well.”

 

Abhain just smiled at her, he thought about continuing to correct her but knew it was in vain.

 

“No, the patients aren’t allowed up here.”
“So why a nursing home Abby? As far as I knew you were one of the top healers.”
“A lot has changed since you enlisted.”

“No it hasn’t, your mother wrote me too you know.”

 

“I wanted to help people Kia.”
“And you would have, people who had a chance.”

 

He turned away and walked up to the window looking out to the lake. He put his head against it with a thunk.

 

“And why did you enlist then huh? Why did you even think that they wanted a air mage in the Western Corp?”
“You know what I’m good at.”

“Fighting, I know, but you didn’t have to do it for them. You could have done it here. Why did you want to get away from me?”

“Abby, you know that’s not the reason.”

 

“What was I supposed to think? You didn’t tell anyone until you’d already done it.”
“I’m sorry Abby, I was selfish back then.”

“It’s only be three years.”
“That’s a lot of growing, even more so when everyday is an intense training program.”

“So why you leave then? That sounds like your dream.”

“Just because I’m good at it doesn’t mean I like it.”

 

They stood quietly. Flukia walked up to the window beside him and looked out at the water.

 

“So was the nursing home ‘cause of me or…?”

“I don’t know. I think it was probably just me lashing out at the world.”

“Weird way to do it, but that’s you in general, right?” Flukia teased.

 

Abhain laughed, put his fist on her shoulder gave her a hardy push. That used to be enough to shift her balance but this time she stayed stiff. She grinned back at him.

 

“I couldn’t have got this view working at a hospital or apothecary.”

“Very true…” The high pitch whistling of an alarm cut her off, she spun away from the window.

 

Flukia flicked her hand down beside her lightly tapping her leg. There was a swirl of air around her flapping her dress. Suddenly she was holding a short sword. It’s blade glinted silver in the light, the hilt was wrapped in white fabric.

 

“That’s not an attack alarm Kia. Someone has reached critical magic le…” Several similar alarms started drowning him out. “What in the four realms is that?”

 

Flukia turned back to the window. The lake had gone dark, but it wasn’t the algae it was the sky that had turned black.

 

An energy storm had started to form darkening the area. The telltale red and blue arching of magic gave it away.

 

“A portal to the else-plane.”

“In the sky?”

 

The storm spread out in a ring across the sky with a boom of thunder leaving behind an unfamiliar starry sky. Once it reached the horizon the ground shook violently knocking them both off their feet.

 

Flukia was suddenly holding a shield over top of the protecting them from debris.

 

The shaking slowed to stop but the sound of crumbling buildings continued. There were a few muffled shouts then nothing, complete silence.

 

They both jumped up, Flukia glanced out the window and froze in place.

 

The water was being displaced, drained out to sea, revealing the bottom of the lake. The sand had started to move, huge black tendrils underneath it wiggling their way out.

 

Each tentacle moved independently but had the common goal of burrowing to the surface.

 

“A demon under the lake?” Abhain asked, Flukia hadn’t noticed that he was staring along with her.

“No not a demon, an else-plane guardian.”

“Did the portal bring it here?”

“No… We were brought to it.”
“B…but, how is that possible?”

“Your patients! You need to go sa…” There was another quake but they both stayed on their feet.

 

The wet sand had finally cleared away and the guardian was now exposed. The tentacles weren’t just black but they seemed to drain the light around them diffusing the very sight of them. Its central mass was much the same but covered in large pure white spots, eyes.

 

A piercing screech dulled their hearing even though they tried to block it out with their hands. Flukia knew what came next but trying to warn Abhain would have been in vain. She didn’t know if there was anything he could have done anyway.

 

The guardian sucked in air and puffed itself up to about twice the size. The eyes rolled around until the pupils were visible, huge and black with the thin outline of white.

 

Abhain fell to the floor, he wasn’t braced for his magic to get drained away.

 

Flukia’s sword and shield turned to smoke.Her vision grew dim as she tried to fight it, even the worst magic fatigue would never have felt this bad. Her fingers and toes felt like they were covered in molten iron. Every bone in her body started to ache and she felt stabbings all over her back. She put her hands onto the windowsill ignoring the broken glass, trying to hold herself up.

 

The draining stopped but the pain remained. With another quake the guardian lifted itself up and pushed off the ground floating off into the sky, still bloated but now with magic instead of air.

 

She would survive with this remaining amount of magic, so Abhain probably will too. She fell back onto the ground with a sigh of relief knocking herself out.

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The USS Katenai Kore

“Cadet Ja…”

“Please, call me Kat.”

“Kat, you have been at the Academy for a few years now so this may not be fresh in your mind but please, walk me through your reasoning, why did you enroll?”

“It’s actually very simple really. Starfleet Academy is the single greatest collection of knowledge and education in the quadrant.”

“What about the Spock institute on new Vulcan?”

“Even after a hundred years they still haven’t recaptured the prestige that was the Vulcan Science Academy.”

 

Kat stood with her hands held behind her back at the end of the conference table. Her long Auburn hair tightly packed into a tidy bun.

 

“There is no logic in choosing based on prestige cadet.”

“Where did you study Lieutenant?”

“At this Academy, but that was before the Spock institute was built.”

“But that was…”

“A hundred years ago, yes.”

“I knew Vulcan’s had a longer natural life span but that’s incredible.”

“I would still even be considered a young man if Vulcan still existed.”

“Did you grow up there? If you don’t mind me asking?”

 

The Lieutenant paused, for much longer than was usual for the Vulcans Kat had met before. She guessed that he was having an emotion.

 

“I do not ‘mind’ cadet. No, I grew up on Vulcanis the old Lunar colony. But I do remember seeing Vulcan hanging in the sky.”

“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to…” Kat trailed off.

“You do not need to apologise, Vulcans do not feel, nostalgia.”

 

Kat gave a half smile and nodded.

 

“So other than explain my life choices what can I do for you Lieutenant?”

“You have been recommended for the Bridge Officers course. As the daughter of a Vice Admiral I wanted to make sure that you weren’t gaining an advantage by your connections”
“I would never use my parents status to…”

“I’m not saying that you would Cadet, my investigation has revealed your pure intentions. The only reason I bring it up is because the recommendation came from starfleet command. Yet not from either of your parents.”

 

“So what are you saying?”

“I am congratulating you upon being accepted to the course. Also I wanted to tell you that there is an entrance exam that is tomorrow at thirteen hundred hours.”

“That’s not really long enough for me to prepare for an exam.”

“Your success on this test will not affect your position on the course nor will the course as a whole affect your final Academy grade. It is merely meant to help those who are senior officer material become so more quickly.”

“I have heard that we are running low on red shirts lately.”

“Not all senior officers wear red cadet.”

“I know… I meant… nevermind.”

 

*

 

“Kat! I didn’t know that you were in the officer’s course!” Kat couldn’t help but scrunch up her face as she heard the voice.

 

Vissian’s had only joined the federation in the last year but as part of reconnection with them many of them had been allowed to enter Starfleet Academy. All of those who joined were of the Vissian’s third gender, previously known as Congentior but now called Comale. As documented by the original Enterprise crew the Comale gender was less physically able but highly intelligent even compared to the rest of their species.

 

Just before the reconnection with Humans there was a revolution of sorts as the Comale gender rose to over a third the population they had previously only made up to three percent.

 

Calla was one of the Vissian’s that had enrolled and was deeply interested in every detail of the human world around them, which came to mean Kat, one of their first year dorm mates.

 

“I only found out yesterday. Are you on the course too?” Kat straightened out her face and spun around smiling as politely as she could. The lecture hall was buzzing with other conversation.

“No, I don’t think I’d be a good fit for any sort of command, but they did ask me to help out with the entrance test.”

“Interesting. I guess it’s more hands on than I was expecting.
“Cadets.” Another Lieutenant Kat had never met caught the rooms attention. “As you may have noticed only about half of you are here to take the entrance exam. Those of you who are not are here to assist where we need stand-ins for non-bridge personnel.”

 

There were hurried whispers around the room.

 

“Do not worry, you will not be marked on their performance, unless it affects your performance. Some of you will not have the full range of this exam done today, that is okay, if this course intersects with any of your other courses the lost material will provided to you. Now, first things first, who want’s to be the Captain.”

 

Hands shot up in the air at warp speed.

“You, Cadet.” The Lieutenant pointed at Kat, even though she didn’t have her hand up. “It’s not like I asked for a show of hands.” Several of the hands shot back down, others hesitantly lowered. “Cadet Kat, am I right?”

 

“You are correct sir.”

“Alright Kat, the first lesson I can teach is that leadership is sometimes not something you can choose.”

 

*

 

Hologram technology was starting to find its way into everything. At first it was used as a simple advertising tool, projecting a product into your self driving car or even living room. Then it was used for theatre upon its resurgence. Now that passive force fielding has been able to replicate texture it has been used to simulate a variety of scenarios.

 

This has been incredibly useful for those who get Virtual Reality sickness. Unfortunately it cannot currently create an entire room or landscape but once the force field emitters have been miniaturized enough it may be possible for interactive avatars to walk around like anyone else.

 

Kat stood in the middle of the simulated bridge. The chairs that they had installed were surprisingly uncomfortable.

 

“Location?” Kat asked the room.

“We’re on the border of No-man’s space, there’s a war going on in there. If we enter we could take stray fire.” The stand-in helmsman swivelled around to answer her.

“Two species at war and we can’t step in, disappointing isn’t it Captain.” Her security officer was Klingon but she was normally not this eager, she seemed to be putting it on for this exercise.

“No, just a waste of life that I would rather not see.”

 

“Captain, we’re getting a distress signal.”
“From where?”

“Inside No-Man’s space, the USS Katenai Kore.”
“USS? That hasn’t been used in years.” One of the stand-in officers blurted out in the background

“We’re simulating the past remember.” Someone else muttered angrily.

 

“They’re a science vessel, testing a new warp core, ended up off course and without power. Forty people aboard, mostly civilian.”

“Alright. Take us in, start transporting them off as soon as we’re in range.”

“Into No-Man’s space Ma’am?”

“Yes, I understand the risks.”

 

The helmsmen entered in the command and the view screen changed to show the damaged ship in distress. An older ship but with the normal two nacelle configuration.

 

“We’re in transporter range beginning transport cycle.”

“Keep us moving helm.” Kat kept staring at the view screen.

“Signals showing on sensors. Self guided neutron missiles.”

“Red alert. Keep trying to teleport, evasive maneuvers and tactical try to take them down.”

 

The simulated bridge rocked to indicate impact.

 

“The other side has fired too, cloaked plasma torpedos, I can’t track the rest of them.”
“Hull integrity on port side down to seventy percent.”

 

“Tactical, I saw photon torpedos in the manual can you modify them.”

“Yes ma’am.”
“Invert the field repulsors on eight of them and fire them to port in a spherical spread half on that side of the Katenai. How are we doing with the teleport?”

“We have ten of them.”

“Photon torpedos away, Photon dispersal field has been erected.”

“Fire on any plasma torpedos shown by the field.”

 

“The neutron missiles have shields Captain and have adapted to our phaser frequency. I can’t change it enough to be effective.”

“Lower the power by half and shoot twice, the lower power will result in a different frequency.”

“I have fifteen of the scientists.”

“We’re being hailed Captain.”

 

“On screen.”

“You have invaded our space.”
“I believe that is currently being contested actually.” Kat spoke firmly.

“Regardless, you’re interference with our weapon systems will not be tolerated.”

“We are only trying to evacuate our own people, if you could please wait another five minutes, we would be well out of your system.”

“Not good enough.”

 

“Ship uncloaking off the port bow.”

“Fire the remaining photon torpedo’s focus on weapon systems.”

“How much longer on the transport?”

“Twenty more, halfway there.”

 

“Another ship detected uncloaking on our starboard, not of the same configuration. Charging weapons.”

“Be ready to raise shields if they fire on us.”
“But ma’am the transport!”
“You heard me.”

 

“The other ship has fired on the cloaked one and destroyed it. It’s weapons are not powering down.”

“Transport?”
“Twenty five. Another five in progress”

“Helm full impulse directly at the ship on my mark… mark!”

 

The bridge rocked again to show another impact.

 

“Starboard hull at ten percent, micro fractures detected.”

“Transport?”

“I have five of the last ten coming down now.”

 

“Ma’am, another silo of Neutron missiles, too many to fire on.”

 

Kat twisted around and jumped over the divide between the main area and tactical. She pushed the stand-in science officer out of the way and tapped furiously on the console.

 

“I don’t have time to explain this.”

“She’s overriding the shield emitter safety precautions.”
“Captain, we’ll lose their transporter signals.”

 

Kat said nothing but kept tapping.

 

“The starboard nacelle is going into overload.”

“She’s used the shield emitters…”

“To project a warp ripple from nacelle.”

“The missiles have been deflected, but will come round for another try.”

 

“I have them all Captain.”

“Turn about. Maximum warp.”

 

The room was silent. Kat’s boots made metal tapping sounds as she calmly walked back to the main area of the bridge around the divide.

 

She sat down in the Captain’s chair very slowly.

 

“Well…” The Lieutenant from her interview spoke behind her, Lieutenant Tuvok. “Congratulations Captain Kathryn Janeway, you’ve won a no-win scenario.”

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Jamee The Unwitting Necromancer

The dirt was liquid under her feet, each step was a battle. The mud fumed out a pungent fog of tree sap and the decomposition of flesh. She had a long strip of fabric wrapped around her head, keeping her mud-caked hair and the disgusting smell out of her mouth or nose. The fabric was well made, a silk and cotton blend dyed purple, the same as her dress.

 

Another step forward revealed the torn section of her gown, it now only came up to her knees. The remaining pieces of her outfit were soaked in blood. She reached out and grabbed a low hanging branch of the nearest swamp tree. Pulling with all her might she managed to free herself from the ground and swing her legs up as well.

 

She lay there on the branch for a while, regaining her strength. She tried to figure out where she was, there weren’t many swamps she could remember. The smell pretty much gave it away however. This was the Grutal Marsh. About twenty years ago this was a battleground, there’s only a thin layer of mud between her and hundreds of dead men, women, horses.

 

“How did I get here?” She asked herself in a whisper, her voice raspy. She coughed, winced in pain and rubbed at her throat. There was a scab there, from the back of her chin to her collar bone. The crusty piece of skin had already started to come away from her neck.

 

There was a sunken area of skin where the scab had been, where it had struggled to grow over the area. ‘How did I survive a cut like this?’ She thought, being sure not to speak. ‘Did I survive?’

 

She knew the stories about the Marsh, about the battle that was fought here. A fight against the dead. Not that she really believed it. Necromancy was such an abhorrent magic, there was no-one who could really consider using it. This couldn’t be the case anyway, the battle was won, the dark magic’s vanquished.

 

But maybe, the magic lingered. It has a habit of doing that, the unexpected.

 

Using what strength she had regained she reached out her arm and focused her energy. The dirt on her arms shook right off as her skin started to glow purple. Her hidden runic tattoos revealed by their use. A pale lilac mist formed around her. There were no other magics at work here.

 

She didn’t notice that the mist she formed floated down to the ground. It swirled around underneath her, overcoming the swamp’s natural fog.

 

The mud began to move.

 

Now with enough physical strength she decided to move, jumping down. The mud didn’t squelch, ‘looks like I got out of the flooded area’ she decided.

 

Up ahead she could see a clearing. Maybe things were looking up for her after all.

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I love a rainy night

This is kind of a continuation of ‘Taidan for fear’ so if you haven’t read that one, I suggest you go back and do that.


Nova turned away from me, giving away the truth of her appearance. She became a flurry of random pixels, a ‘snow crash’ was what I’ve heard some people call it. The holographic avatar was designed for face to face communication nothing more.

 

“What were you doing there?” She turned back to face me, the pixels realigning to my vision like stepping out of the rain.

“I could smell something dead.”

“Well of course you could, why didn’t you just call the Superintendent?”

“The super should have picked it up before I got there.”

 

I looked around me, Nova’s office hadn’t changed since I went on leave four months ago. Soft black carpet, small green couch and matching single chair. All immaculate.

 

Her hologram moved behind her long metal desk and appeared to sit. She wanted me to know that she was upset with me, holograms can appear however you want them to that didn’t have to represent your current state. Nova had made her avatar look like herself as many do, dark skin, big green eyes and purple, dead straight hair.

 

“We put you on leave for a reason. So that you could stop working so hard.”

“I had a nice vacation.”

 

I walked over to the window. Nova had a corner office with a window large enough to see the horizon. It was under the cloud layer which meant I could see the city tonight during the scheduled rain cycle. The reds and blues of the bustling metropolis twinkled in the water droplets. I could see my building from here but not my floor.

 

“It wasn’t long enough. So you’re staying on leave.”

“That’s fine. Have you followed my lead.”

“Yes.”

“Can you at least tell me what you found out?”

 

The hologram squinted at me.

 

“You aren’t planning on working this case.” That wasn’t a question.

“No, I’ve got tickets for an off world trip actually.”

“Fine then. We couldn’t find her missing tattoo in the Earth crime database.”

 

I shifted my weight onto my other foot but kept looking out the window. An automated police drone flew past on its way to the detainment entrance. It looked like it had a passenger, at this time of night it was probably vagrancy. Not that they wouldn’t have had a home to go to, but a lot of people get too drunk and can’t make it there.

 

“So we had Interpol check all the databases from the inner systems.” Nova liked to talk through all the steps. I half wished I hadn’t asked. “But there was nothing there either.”

 

I brought up my AR, still looking out the window. The view became a sea of colour and flashing lights. Advertisements. In the Real Reality, even in the Virtual one, advertisements have been regulated beyond affordability. Cannot be targeted at children, must be in context, cannot be for ingestible substances. But in AR those regulations don’t exist, they can’t be regulated, AR above the last floor of any building was declared free game and written into the Declaration of Virtual Realities and Matrices.

 

“But obviously you described it as a Taidan character so we had the embassy from that sector send us their database. As it turns out, that is the gang symbol for a Yakuza style gang they have out there called…”

“Fear.”

“Well yeah, but in Taidan. Not sure how they pronounce it though. There probably isn’t even one. The gang is supposedly based on the Taidan homeworld. They mainly deal in drugs, ones that are still illegal in that part of the galaxy, but they’ve been working up into the slave trade. We’re checking incoming and outgoing to see if we catch any of them in our space.”

 

“Can you send me any information you get regarding this?”

“You’re now added to the case file.”

“Thank you.” I turned away from the window and started to leave.

 

“So where’s the destination of your off world adventure? I hear that the Virgo Constellation just got a new luxury space station.”

“Not sure yet. Probably the Taidan homeworld.”

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The New Pilot

So I really struggled to write anything this week, I was getting over a cold/flu that was rather tenacious so I barely had the energy to be at work.
Anyway that means we’re pulling out of the archives, here is the first part to that Doctor Who fanfiction/spin off I started. Let me know if you would want to see more of it.

 


Susan Campbell was old now, the oldest person on Earth was her title these days. She had never wanted to leave unlike many of her friends throughout the years who had made their way off world.

 

There was a knock on her cabin door. She silently cursed her strange ability to make friends with these humans, despite being far more evolved than them she could always empathize so well. She’d even married one, that’s what got her so stuck here in the first place.

 

She wriggled in her bed not really wanting to get up. There were another few knocks. ‘Ugh’ she thought then slid herself around the bed her joints complaining heavily. Sitting over the side she paused to breathe and gather strength. As she grabbed her metal cane she heard more bangs on her door.

 

“I’m coming, hold on!” What could possibly be so urgent that you’d pester such an old woman. Susan was already wearing her night robe, must have slept in it. She pulled herself up and hobbled towards the door.

 

Susan was not suffering from arthritis or any of those age granted ailments that humans suffer from, three hundred Earth years have just taken their toll. The human doctors, at least the ones still on earth, had tried their best to help but they couldn’t do much. They normally just wanted to try and give her replacement parts which Susan would never have agreed to. She always wondered how much different humans could be from her when she was able to have a child with one.

 

“What can I do for you?” Susan asked as she started to open the door. The warm breeze flowed over her, it was mid afternoon so she shouldn’t have been late for anything.

 

“Doctor?” Susan’s heart jumped in her throat, like it did every time people addressed her by her title and not her name.

“What have I told you about that Kalis? My name is Susan.” The man at the door was one of her many students, she had taken up teaching physics over the years, once the humans were at her level of knowledge anyway.

“Susan, something as appeared in the center of the campus that you should see, we think it’s might be time capsule based on its materialization.” He was tall with dark skin and even darker hair.

“Let me get dressed.” She shut the door quickly with a slam. Then she stopped and opened it again. “Sorry didn’t mean to slam it on you.”
“It’s okay, I’ll wait for you.”

 

She moved quickly now, somehow she suddenly had the energy to disregard the pain in her legs. It had been a very long time since she had met another time traveler. That Face of Boe was quite a character, he was the last Time-Agent she remembered touching down in this time period but they didn’t use capsules. Come to think of it she couldn’t remember if humans had ever used capsules to travel in time, maybe cabinets?

 

Susan was dressed in record time and almost at the door before she realized that she’d still need her cane. She stepped over to her coat rack which also doubled as her cane holder. She had a variety of canes these days as that was what people always seemed to give her as a present. Susan grabbed a blue wooden one, it reminded her of her grandfather so it was her favourite.

 

“Okay I’m ready Kalis.”

 

*

 

The Campus was about the size of a fishing village, the center was a large grassed area with statues of notable human academics and explorers. Susan had felt close to home in this park, the reverence for learning and science was something that sat deep in her hearts.

 

“Slow down Doctor Campbell, you might hurt yourself.”

“You said it was in the middle of the campus. Where is it?”

“It’s near the Marco Polo statue.”

“Ah yes, I remember Marco Polo.”

 

Susan made her way through the hedges and trees past Columbus, Cook and Clark before she started to feel tired. She couldn’t bare the pain anymore and took a seat on one of the benches just around the corner from the Polo statue.

 

“Are you okay Susan?”

“I am okay Kalis, just got too excited is all.” She had her legs outstretched and was flexing her feet up and down to promote blood flow.

“You don’t think it could be one of your…”
“My kind, no, they all died in the War. But I’m still hopeful that I’ll find a working dematerialization circuit. Even a broken one would be nice.”

“Where would you go?”

“I haven’t the faintest idea. Probably just see where I end up.” Susan smiled so hard that her face hurt.

“Not back to see…”
“No, I couldn’t go back on my own time stream, too dangerous. Anyway I think I’m okay now.”

 

Susan stood up, almost fell back but caught herself on her cane. She took a few steps to make sure she was stable. Satisfied she continued round the corner to where the Capsule was supposed to be.

 

She fell backwards and landed in a sitting position facing towards the statue.

“Susan! Are you okay?”

 

Susan opened her mouth but only said one word.

“Grandfather.”

 

*starting theme song*

 

“Kalis, Doctor!” A woman, about the same age as Kalis came running over from the blue Phone-Box next to the statue. Another of Susan’s students, the only other person nearby. “Are you okay?”

“Erin! Susan’s fallen over can you find an assistance droid or a medical student?”

“Don’t worry about me.” Susan grumbled as she tried to pick herself up. “Okay, maybe help me up.”

 

Erin grabbed her cane off the ground and gave it back as Kalis had got her back on her feet. Erin was about the same height as Susan, and had the same ghostly white hair despite being in her mid twenties. It was the new fashion around the college.

“You said ‘grandfather’ while you were on the ground there Susan, is this the Doctor’s Tardis?”

“Yes Kalis, it’s particular shade of blue is different but that’s probably normal with its broken chameleon circuit.”
“No-one has come out of it Susan.” Erin mentioned.

 

“Well he might be being cautious, you never know what kind of rationals his current regeneration might have.”

“How do you know he’d be like you remember?” Kalis asked as they got closer.

“Timelords might act like different people when they change face but he would always be my grandfather.” Susan knocked on the Tardis door. ‘I don’t blame you.’ She thought to herself, in response to any of the things he may have apologised for.

 

The Tardis remained silent. “Are you sure that no-one came out?”

“Of course, there’s always been someone here watching it since it materialized.” Erin responded abruptly.

 

“Guess we’ll have try and get in then.” Susan reached into for the handle, she heard the tumblers click open at her touch, the Tardis was keyed to her. “Grandfather?” She called out. No response.

 

Susan pulled the doors outwards, stepping inside. “Grandfather?” She continued to shout. As she looked around the console room.

 

“Wow!” Her students had followed her, their faces covered in happy surprise. The console room was huge, like a mansion and cathedral rolled into a chinese festival of lights. Susan walked right past the main console and made her way over to a small alcove on the left covered by book cases, there was a short little table in the middle of it.

 

A cup of tea was sitting on the table. Susan touched the side, it was still warm, that could have meant anything when it came to the internal timezones of the Tardis.

“Hey, don’t touch anything!” Susan called out to her students, they jumped back from the console and held their hands up to indicate that they weren’t. “Grandfather doesn’t seem to be here.”

 

“Where could he be?” Kalis asked.

“Anywhere in space and time. It would appear that he sent me the Tardis, maybe he’s in trouble, or maybe he’s just decided to settle down for once.”

 

*

 

“Susan, the war in Orion is taking its toll, we can fight the Mondasian’s easily enough with the glitter cannons but the other kind, they’ve upgraded.”

“This isn’t my war.”
“You helped us against the Daleks?”

“That was my war.”

“You must know of a weapon that we could use against the Cybermen.”

“I know of a weapon, but even if I could build it, even if you could power it, you would never be able to use it appropriately and I am not your soldier.”

“Then why don’t you piss off back to your home world, if you’re not going to help us.”

 

‘I would if I could’ Susan remembered that conversation from a few years ago, when she had started building her own time machine. Her machine wasn’t going to be needed any more.

 

“Well, I’m going to find him.”

“Find your grandfather? You’re going to leave in the Tardis?”

“Yes. And I might not be coming back. So you best be off.” Susan pointed to the door.

 

Kalis and Erin looked at her, the happy surprise replaced with a terrible longing. “Okay fine, you can come, but don’t complain if you never get home.”

“Thank you Susan!” Kalis cheered.
“But how can we find your grandfather, The Doctor?” Erin stepped in.

 

“The fast return switch.” Susan pointed to a section of the console “This little feature will push the Tardis back along her own time stream.”
“But you said that going back on your own time stream is dangerous.”

“Yes I did, but of course if you paid any attention in my classes Kalis you would know that Time Lord Tardises are the absolute forefront of temporal engineering. The Tardis could even, in theory, be used to hold a paradox in place, she won’t cause any damage when used appropriately. The only problem would be, going beyond the time space continuum but we should have plenty of leeway in that regard.”

 

“How would it go beyond the continuum if it was only going back on it’s own time stream?” Erin was suddenly very curious.

“Tardises can also travel between universes, also if goes before it’s own creation or if the button gets stuck down.”

“Oh.”

“Not that I would like to do any of that.”  Susan pushed a button on the console and the tardis doors pulled themselves closed. “Let’s go!” She clicked the switch on. The centerpiece of the console started to rise and fall as the Tardis lurched to life.

 

“But Susan your home and your belongings.”

“It’s just stuff Kalis, I have everything that I need right here.” Susan pushed a few buttons on the console, the tardis dematerialized and groaned its familiar vortex entrance noise. Susan beamed happily at the console. ‘It’s good to be home.’

 

*

 

Susan made sure to push hard on the fast return switch to turn it off. Pulling on the materialization lever the Tardis slowly re-entered time space. Once the main lights turned back on and the console stopped flashing she spoke again.

“We’ve landed.”

“Where?” Erin wondered while Kalis made his way to the doors.

“Not sure. Last materialization point of the Tardis at least. No time travel though, same time exactly.”

“There’s no way to know?”

“It supports life, and it’s about Earth size. Some low level radiation, nothing dangerous.”

“Can you scan for your grandfather?” Kalis turned away from the doors ready to push them open.

 

“Good idea.” Susan twisted a few knobs and pushed a button or two. “He’s not here.” She was disappointed. “We should look around though. Find out what happened to him.”

 

“There’s a whole planet out there, he could have been anywhere.” Erin thought outloud. “We might need to split up.” Susan walked around the console flicked a few switches, twisted a dial and pushed a lever upwards.

“I’ll get you some keys then just in case we do split up.” Finally she tapped on the keyboard by the main monitor which suddenly produced two identical Yale lock keys. “Here you go.” Kalis put his hand out first and Susan put one of them in his hand. She then pushed the door control button and Kalis ran right out.

 

“Uh I don’t think this is actually a good idea.” Kalis’ voice shook with terror.

“What is it?” Susan made her way from the console out the door and looked up at what Kalis was staring at.

 

It was a huge metal sculpture about the size of a Tyrannosaurus Rex.

 

“Dalek.” Erin had come outside as well.

 

“We should leave.” Kalis said still very afraid.

“No.” Susan pushed the doors to the Tardis shut. “If my grandfather was here then he will definitely need our help.”

 

They had materialized deep inside a dense jungle, the towering dalek monument they saw was one of many they could see just over the treetops. Susan started to walk in the direction of the closest one.

“But we can’t fight them! We have no weapons!”

“We don’t need any weapons.” Susan continued walking, Erin chased after her, Kalis hesitated until they were almost out of view before he ran to catch up.

 

*

 

“You’ve fought the daleks twice, you know how dangerous they can be.” Kalis had not given up trying to make them leave.

“More than twice, you are right they are dangerous. I came to find my Grandfather, you didn’t have to come with me.” Susan was leaning on a tree regaining her strength.

“Kalis, you can go back to the Tardis if you want, we’re just going to look around, these monuments look like they’re ancient anyway, the Daleks are probably long gone.” Erin was very calm and collected.

 

Susan straightened out again and continued to move. Erin went with her, Kalis begrudgingly followed.

It was only few more steps away but the dense trees made it hard to find a direct path close to the metal. Finally they had come upon it, both Susan and Erin smiled ever so slightly, Kalis was still in his mood.

 

“Interesting. This design is different to other Daleks”

“Perhaps a vortex streamlining? They used temporal shifts to travel in time didn’t they?” Erin postulated.

“But the ones that attacked Earth had time travel and they didn’t have these angles.” Kalis entered the conversation. “Maybe they added larger power units?”

“That’s the spirit Kalis.” Susan beamed at the return of his curiosity.

 

“YOU WILL DESIST YOUR INVESTIGATION!” Susan, Erin and Kalis all froze. Then slowly turned to face the Daleks behind them.

“Hello there.” Susan smiled at them. “We were just admiring your statue. Very good likeness.” Kalis looked at her, his eyes wide in disbelief.

“YOU WILL BE EXTERMINATED!”

“Now hold on just a moment!” Susan started to hobble over towards the Dalek. “You can’t just go around exterminating anyone who sees your artwork, that’s no way to get good reviews.”

“Surely you want to know how we got here?” Erin asked.

 

The Dalek twisted it’s eyestalk between Erin and Susan.

 

“YOU ARE A TIMELORD! YOU WILL HAVE ARRIVED BY TARDIS!”

“Correct.” Susan continued to move towards them “And would you ever find that Tardis without me telling you where it is?”

“YOU WILL COME WITH US!”

“We sure will. Come along Erin, Kalis.”

 

“Aren’t you a Time Lady Susan?” Erin started to wonder as they trudged along the path through the jungle.

“Well no, Time Lord is a rank of High Gallifreyan rule, I never technically received that ranking.”

“Isn’t your race Gallifreyan then?” Erin continued.

“That could refer to any of the life on Gallifrey, we appreciate the distinction, so most beings say that it is our race.”

“Surely you have a better name for yourselves?”

“Of course, which in English means Time Lord.” Susan struggled to keep moving at the same pace as the daleks, Kalis held her up acting as a second cane. “It is a bit arrogant but the idea is that we lord over time so we are Time Lords. You can be a Lady that lords over something, not that it matters anyway because we can switch between genders.”

“Oh I see, Lady and Lord is only for gender nouns whereas Time Lord is actually a translation from a word that means to lord over time.”
“Exactly.”

 

“YOU WILL BE SILENT!” The browner of red Daleks in the group screamed in its usual tone.

“Just trying to fill the time till we get there.”

“WE HAVE ARRIVED!”

“Ah. That was quick.” Susan looked at the metal wall in front of them, there were two other Daleks on guard outside an open door. One of them had one large gun on it instead of gun and plunger. Kalis looked at Susan with a question on his face, Susan shook her head not wanting to annoy the Dalek’s further.

 

*

 

The Daleks lead them through a series of hallways, Susan walked through them confidently. Kalis and Erin were more hesitant making sure not to make any sudden movements. They passed many other Daleks on their way to where-ever they were being taken. Some were of the same design that Susan had fought long ago, some were gold plated, others with the larger base were painted bright colours.

 

Every doorway so far was open before it had even come into view except the one they had just come upon.

 

“OPEN!”

 

There was a dull thump and a twang of metal as though a seal was opened. The door started to slide upwards making a slight grind as it did. The trio saw the bottom of a Dalek casing under the door.

‘Dalek Supreme’ They all thought, roughly around the same time.

 

“Hello Doctor.” This was not a Dalek voice. “I assume you are the Doctor. You have similar genetic markers but not exactly the same.”

 

The door opened fully. It was not a Dalek but a man, he was sitting in the casing like it was a wheelchair. His face was burned, deformed and his eyes sealed shut, but he had another eye shining blue in the center of his forehead.

 

“I do not know you, but how do you know the Doctor?” Susan stepped forward.

“A different Time Lord? Interesting, how is it you came to have the Doctor’s Tardis?” His casing twisted as he moved his hand very slightly in a pointing motion. Two Daleks pushed the blue box into the room via another door.

“How did you find it?” Kalis shouted.

“Dear boy, my Daleks are always on the lookout for this Tardis.”

 

“This is my Grandfather’s Tardis. How do you know him?” Susan’s voice was stiff.

“The Doctor? Your Grandfather. He is my greatest enemy.”

 

Susan leapt forward, far more nimble than she should have been. She pulled up her cane and held it in two hands. She landed on the Dalek casing and pushed her cane up against his throat.

 

“What have you done with my Grandfather?” Susan screamed at the top of her lungs.

“EXTERMINATE!” All the Daleks in the room pointed their guns towards her.

“Wait!” The man shouted over them all. “I haven’t done anything to your Grandfather, not recently.”
“Where is he?”

“I don’t know!”

 

Susan pulled herself off the casing, taking her cane away from his neck.

“Who are you?”

“I am Davros, creator of the Daleks.” He explained as he rubbed where he was being choked. Kalis and Erin looked at each other quizzically.

“You’re running a bit of patchwork operation here Davros. Daleks of all different designs. My Grandfather must have put you through the ringer.”

“Not without losing his entire race to us.” Susan’s eyes went wide, and her knuckles went white gripping her cane.

 

“Daleks were the enemy of the time war!” Erin’s words fell out her mouth. Susan went quiet.

“Oh you didn’t know. Your Grandfather never told you about the time war? How he sacrificed the Time Lords to kill us and didn’t even succeed?” Davros started to laugh, his shrill voice echoing through the hallways. “Take them to a cell, we might have need of hostages later.”

 

Erin and Kalis looked at Susan, she just looked at the floor silently.

 

*

 

“The Daleks defeated the Time Lords in the time war.” Kalis paced around the cell.

“They couldn’t have, if they had won they would have wiped out all other races in the universe.” Erin responded, the cell was more of a garbage disposal, there must have been enough Dalek parts laying around to build two full casings.

“But you said it yourself they were the enemy and we know the Time Lords lost.”

“Maybe they both lost. These Daleks are hardly an army now, maybe the Time Lords did enough damage, like a nuclear mutually assured destruction.”

“How do we get out of here? Can you see any other opening?”

“No. We’ll have to wait to see if they bring us back to Davros. They’ll probably try to make us open the Tardis.” Susan finally spoke. Erin and Kalis looked at her, she was sitting against the wall looking at the floor, completely silent.

 

“Susan?” Kalis knelt next to her. “Susan are you okay?”

“I’ll be okay Kalis. I’m just remembering something.”

“What are you remembering?” Erin asked softly

“Long ago now, before either of your parents were born, back when… after my Alex passed away.”

“Susan, you don’t have…” Erin tried to stop her.

“A Time Lord came to earth to speak to me, he was dressed up in clothing from the nineteen eighties. Can you believe that? For masters of time they never get it right.” Susan let out a short laugh. “He asked me to come back to Gallifrey, re-enroll to the academy. I asked why they would suddenly let a renegade back in. He said that they had changed the rules, I pushed and found out about the time war. I knew the Daleks were the enemy but he didn’t tell me, I could feel it.”

 

Susan flipped over her cane and used it to pull a piece of Dalek over to her. It was one of the baubles that would normally stick out the side, it was actually a metal sphere.

 

“What are we going to do Susan?” Kalis sat next to her.

“We’re going to build something to use as a distraction.”

“What could we use a as a distraction?” Erin asked.

 

“Remember back in temporal linearity two zero five when I went over the concept of Functional and dysfunctional dematerialization?”

“No I didn’t take that class.” Erin stated.

“I did, functional dematerialization is when you disembark from space-time and enter the vortex in a way that you can safely re-enter. Dysfunctional is when your time stream is severed and unravels out of space-time. You said that Dysfunctional dematerialization is only theory though.” Kalis answered

“Well I lied, Dysfunctional dematerialization is just hard to get right. Most time faring races have figured a way to do it in a roundabout way.”

“Weaponized time technology!” Erin gasped.

“Yes Erin. Normally though their methods just leave a wound in time perfectly capable of being restored. Only one people ever mastered both dematerializations.”

“The Time Lords!” Kalis pointed his finger like a gun.

 

“Perfect Demat will remove a being completely from time with no trace. Every Time Lord that goes through the Academy is taught how to make the demat gun.”
“What? Why? That’s crazy?”

“I don’t know why, but they all have it sealed behind a barrier in their mind only accessible under extreme duress or expert hypnotism. I however was taught how to make it by my grandfather.”

“You could build this gun with these parts?”

“Not a chance.  Wouldn’t do much good anyway, it could only be powered by Rassilon’s Time Key. However I think I can make something that will do the trick.”

 

*

 

“I did not get your name Time Lord.” Davros was sitting close to the Tardis.

“It’s Susan. My Companions are Kalis and Erin.”
“Companions, yes, that is what the Doctor always had with him. His greatest weakness.”

“Ian and Barbara?”

“I am not familiar with those names. Sarah and Harry, Romana, Tegan and Turlough, my list goes on and on.”

 

“Are those my Grandfather’s companions names?” Susan hobbled towards Davros non-threateningly.

“Many of them, they weren’t all there at once of course, the Doctor does lose them at an astounding rate.”

“How did you come to know My Grandfather? You weren’t there on Skaro when we defeated the Daleks with the Thals.”

“My Daleks were not defeated by the Thals!” Davros shook with anger.

 

“Oh did he not tell you, how your Daleks were beaten by simply turning off the power switch.” Susan smiled ducking down to make sure that he could see on her face.

“Do not taunt me woman.”

“Don’t try to dodge the question. How do you know the Doctor?”

“He was there when I created the Daleks, he tried to stop me from making them.”

“To stop the Daleks from ever existing. Why are you still around then?” Susan put her hand inside her coat.

“He couldn’t do it, he had the switch in his hand but his precious laws of time wouldn’t let him. He failed. Like he will. Forever.”

 

“But I won’t.” Susan grabbed the grenade out from her coat and slammed it down into where Davros connected to the casing. It dropped below where he sat, there was no way he could reach it.

“What have you…!”

“EXTERMINATE!”

“Wait Daleks! I have put a bomb into the casing of your creator here.”

“How did you get a bomb? How did you get it into this chamber?”

“I made it out of Dalek parts you left laying around. Now Daleks, despite all your fancy appendages you’ve gotten yourselves none of you would ever be able to get it out without hands.” She waved her fingers at the closest one.

 

“Daleks stop. What do you want?” Davros’ voice started to break

“First, allow me and my companions to leave in the Tardis.”

“Daleks do not fire on Susan or her companions.” Kalis and Erin power-walked over to the Tardis, Kalis fumbling with the lock for a moment before ripping open the doors and jumping inside.

“Secondly, are you sure you don’t know where my grandfather is?” Susan started to back away.

“No! No, I have no idea! Get his bomb out of me!”

 

“Not this time Davros.” Susan flipped around and darted towards the Tardis.

“Daleks kill her!”

Susan managed to dodge the laser blasts as she ran. Kalis was standing in the doorway yelling.

“But Susan you can’t leave the bomb!”

“Get in there Kalis!”

 

A bolt hit her in the shoulder. She tumbled and fell on top of Kalis.

“Shut the doors Erin!” Kalis screamed out “Susan are you okay!”

“Get… us… away.” Susan managed to get out between breaths.

“Already done, starting dematerialization.” Erin called out from the console.

 

There was a loud popping sound and the tardis shook violently. “Our dematerialization was interrupted. I can’t start it back up, I don’t know what to do!” Erin shouted again.

“Doesn’t… matter… now… out of the fire…” Susan pulled herself up with Kalis’ help.

“You were hit by a Dalek blast, how are you not dead?” Kalis asked.

“Takes more than that to kill a Time Lord.” Susan took a deep breath “Not exactly how I wanted it to happen but if I’m glad I waited otherwise I’d be two bodies down now.”

“Huh?”

“You might want to stand back.” Susan’s face started to glow.

 

Kalis stepped back now having to cover his eyes. Susan got brighter and brighter filling the whole tardis with white light. Kalis and Erin had to look away.

 

“The light is gone now.” This wasn’t Susan’s voice. Kalis looked back able to see again and saw a different woman standing in Susan’s clothes. Her hair was brown and much longer than Susan’s had been, she was significantly younger. “I’m sure I told you about regeneration.”

 

*Introducing Hayley Atwell as Susan ‘The Doctor’ Campbell*

 

“You told us, but you never did it. You said that Time Ladies could choose to regenerate, we thought you had run out.” Erin started to walk over.

“Because I let myself grow old? I just wanted to make the most of it, I only get thirteen goes.”

“Can’t you also choose what you look like?” Kalis asked unsure of himself and his surroundings.

“Mostly, if I hadn’t been shot then I would have been able to do some test runs.”

“Test runs?” Erin asked.

 

The new Susan twisted around to the face Tardis doors without answering the question. She grabbed the door handles.

 

“You can’t open that they’ll kill us!” Kalis shouted.

“Kalis, you remember the words but never took it in did you.” Susan pushed open the doors. Outside there was only jungle.

“Huh?” Kalis ran up to the doors. “But that blast would have only reached a couple of the Daleks.”

 

“Davros made the Daleks.” Erin started to type into a keypad on the tardis console. “He never existed, the Daleks never existed.”

“Correct Erin. Passing grade.”

“But, how? If the Daleks never existed how do we remember them? How do we even exist? The Daleks reshaped the state of our world!”

“Erin?”

“I didn’t take temporal linearity but I think it’s because we were functionally dematerialized from our time stream.”

“Correct again, why did you not take that class?”

 

“It clashed with Xenobiology and I was already taking temporal construction.”

“You did see the note about how they were complementary courses?”
“I thought I could just retake it, but then your movement degraded and you didn’t do it the next year.”

“Fair enough Erin. But yes Kalis, that has all been changed now. The Daleks are gone.”

“Our homes? Our Families? They’re gone, never happened.”

“No Kalis, not gone, the timestream that has them still exists it’s just not part of linear time. Once I find my grandfather he can make the Tardis go back there. If you really want to be a part of a time that has them in it.”

 

“My family is there! How could you even say that?” Kalis started to back away from Susan.

“Your family has a history of genetic defects caused by Dalekanium poisoning!” Susan went into a flurry, throwing her arms around. “The Daleks were never supposed to invade when they did and it took me over two hundred years to get humanity back on track!” Her eyes closed and she fell face first onto the wooden floor of the Tardis with a thunk, she began mumbling to herself in a sleepy haze.

 

“S-Susan!” Kalis shouted jumping forward to help her.

“She’s okay Kalis, she’ll need to recuperate after the regeneration.” Erin pressed a button on the console closing the tardis doors. “Help me pick her up and we’ll put her over in the sofa chair over there.”

 

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The Source

Everyone knows about Mana, that luminescent blue fluid. Pretty much everyone in town has a few bottles of it lying around to sell to any adventurer who might pass through. But no one has ever been able to tell me where it comes from.

 

“Well I think I found these on a group of imps I beat up out in the forest.” The latest hero to the town answers my question. She half dropped half slammed a large battle axe onto the table beside me. I only jumped slightly. She was taller than me and extremely well built. Must have come from one of the nearby barbarian camps.  “Do you have anything with better stats than this?” Yet she didn’t speak like a barbarian, she still used vowels.

 

“Sorry I’m not an effective appraiser. I wouldn’t know.” I’ve only been working at the blacksmiths for about 2 weeks but I can already discern that this weapon is well infused with magic. Not that I would know what kind of effect it would have. “I can show you our other enchanted axes if you want to browse?” I turned slightly and waved my arm up and down to show her the rack of enchanted weapons, we had several axes that were made using special rituals.

 

Most would agree that Mana is a congealed form of magic. Any mage worth his robes can tell when his exhaustion is really a lack of magic power and a thirst for Mana. Despite that no mage, witch-doctor or even necromancer could tell me how the magic is condensed into that state.

 

Not even a fabrication, no legends of a river flowing with it on a faraway mountain. No whispers of a goblin mining operation in ancient mana crystal caves. Not even a bed time story of bottled tears from a lonely goddess.

 

“It looks like none of these will ever top Blazedelight here.” She picked up her axe and stamped its hilt to the ground revealing that it was just as tall as she was. “Oh hey, about your Mana question. Would you like me to try and find out for you, go on a bit of a quest for it and all that?”

 

I looked at her, I’m sure that the look upon my face was that of pure dumbfoundedness. Why had I never thought to just offer to pay a hero to find out? That’s what adventurers do, we pay them to go and do things out of town that we don’t want to.

 

“I uh…” Just as I started to speak I realized that this might not be a task for a run of the mill adventurer. We normally just get them to kill bandits or hunt some of the local beasts. Following the clues and actually figuring stuff out isn’t normally one of their strong attributes. “Would it be okay if I joined you instead?”

 

“Well sure, what is your combat focus?”

“I… well I can swing a sword. I know some magic spells I guess.”

“Novice magician… I see. Any healing spells?”

“Uh yeah I guess.”

“Alright then. Let me get you some gear.” She turned away from me and quickly turned back holding some mage robes and a staff. “Here you go, put these on.”

If I ever find out where Mana comes from the next thing will be to figure out where adventurers keep all their items.

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Passion of the Insurmountable Void

“The Kaksians only have two languages.” Douglas chirped in his usual excited tone. He beamed at me with that glee that sickened me but I couldn’t help but be infected with.

 

“How is that special at all? The Earth Empire has at least ten different languages and hundreds of dialects.” We sat on what appeared to be a park bench, surrounded by purple grass. I could see buildings and a mountain off in the distance. But other than the wind pushing around the alien leaves and branches there was no other movement around us.

 

“It’s they way they use it. See, thousands of years ago the Kaksian’s were split off from their homeland by a great quake. The ones that were left behind created a civilization of great poets and artists. Their language, Yuksi, reflects that by being extremely descriptive and beautiful on ears like theirs and ours.”

 

“And the other language?” I snapped around to face him pulling out a grass blade that I playing with. I was curious now.

 

“Kaksi is what they call it, it’s odd that so many races in the galaxy define themselves by language and location…”

“Don’t digress on me, I want to know about this language now.” I interrupted him, my attempts to break his habit of sidetracks have not been fruitful.

 

“Alright, alright. You can be so bossy some times Lily.” He teased, half-heartedly throwing a handful of purple grass at me. “The main Kaksi language is very contextual and rough, it’s a lot more flexible but the Kaksians that were split off did not have the luxury of poetry and art. They had to tame this harsh wasteland that you see around you.”

“It doesn’t seem that harsh.” I turned my head and body around. Nothing but a lush grassland, a smattering of trees and our VTOL excursion craft. “Plants are growing and everything.”

 

“None of these trees bear anything eatable. This grass isn’t nutritious especially because Kaksi are like bats where they mainly drink or lick fruit and flowers for sustenance. They couldn’t process this kind of foliage.”

“How did they survive?”

“They were smart enough to. They cut into trees and sucked out sap, they became nomads in a sense. Flocking to the few places that would sustain them. Moving between them, when they ran dry, giving them time to regenerate after they left.”

 

“Are they still like that?”

“No, of course not. A few hundred years ago they were reconnected with their homeland. They had sanctified it as sort of a heaven for them, I’m sure it was quite an interesting time for them when they came home. I’m sure many of them continued to believe it was heaven afterwards because it was filled with beautiful people who would have sounded like angels.”

“So they reconnected their civilizations. Why do they have two separate languages then?”

 

“There was almost immediate reintegration. No fighting of any sort, the Yuksi were happy to help their lost brothers and sisters and the Kaksi were beyond ready to come home. They learnt each other’s languages and taught them both in schools within a generation they had already decided the best way to utilize them. Kaksi is used in the every day for almost everything where Yuksi is used in art, stories, poetry and theatre.”

 

“That sounds too good to be true.”

 

“Well that is how their history books tell it. I’ve scanned the entire planet several times and never seen anything to refute them, no mass graves or war sites. The word for weapon in Kaksi can be contextually used to mean regret, I don’t think Yuksi even had a word for it until they reconnected.”

“This was all very interesting but why did you tell me about this?”

 

“The Kaksian’s are all gone now. It was pretty quick when I first came here they had just figured out internal combustion. Once I learned their languages I told their scientists about the atom and the nature of matter and energy.”
“They destroyed themselves with nukes!” I jumped off the bench, my blood boiling.

 

“No! Lily no they didn’t! They didn’t destroy themselves.”
“You said they were gone!”

 

“I did, they are, I don’t know where. When I told them about the nature of the universe they instantly got it. Like the information was already there in their heads but they just needed to hear it to be unlocked. I think they took the knowledge and ran it, they build those skyscrapers in a month and spacecraft in a year, I expected to come back in three years and see them already long into intergalactic travel but they weren’t here.”

 

“Then what happened to them?”

 

“The last night I spent here the Kaksian that became the ambassador took me the opening show of a new play, the name would translate to something like ‘Affection in the Great Black’. I had gone to several of the shows before as it was the only real way to get accustomed to Yuksi. Normally entire plays were in Yuksi, narrated in Yuksi, dialogue in Yuksi. This one was different, the actors all spoke in Kaksi, only the narrator spoke in Yuksi. It was a romantic tragedy in a science fiction setting influenced by my being there.” Douglas coughed and wiped at his eyes.

 

“I cried for almost half of it, in no small part because the acting was so real. It wasn’t until I had left that I realised that most of the science they put in the story was from what I had told their scientists. One of their scientists wrote the play. I think the Kaksian’s may have gone way past intergalactic travel, I think they figured out the secrets of the universe and left it behind.”

“Then why are we here?”

“Because I’m the only one left in the universe that knows Kakisi and Yuksi, so who better to find those secrets if they wrote them down.”

 

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Not with a bang but a chug

The revolution started in August. I guess that’s not really true, the gears were set in motion a long time ago.

 

Back in twenty, twenty six when oil ran dry was probably when it started up. Some people say that it was instant economic collapse. It’s odd that they can have such cognitive dissonance about something that they lived through but I guess it helps them sleep at night.

 

In reality it was slow, slow in the way a wound in the gut kills. It didn’t run out all at once see. At first prices just skyrocketed, people like me who relied on a vehicle to get to work had to take the bus for the first few months. Then they raised the prices on them at another grueling pace. By my birthday I walked to the train station for fifteen minutes then another half an hour to work.

 

I can still remember the great swaths of people walking the highway because they couldn’t afford the trains raised prices or weren’t going that way. They wouldn’t have been able to take a bus because they had all been shut down. At that time there were still people driving a car, big CEO’s and government officials.

 

It wasn’t for another year until most companies collapsed under their own weight. Many went because they were unable to keep schedules, others because they could no longer hire from out of town. But not the Oil companies, they kept chugging, they always kept chugging. Just like the steam engine symbol of Saudi Exell Petroleum.

 

The first night sleeping in a commune was what did it for me.

 

I had lost my job in the middle of twenty, twenty seven. I tried, like most, to use my savings, my four oh one kay, to keep my life afloat until it was over. Until I could find another job. Until something could restore that way of life. I thought at the time that what I had currently saved would last me four years after retirement.

 

It didn’t even last me four weeks. It’s not like I didn’t skimp by either. Bought the cheapest food I could and barely ate at all. Rent in my building went up and so did power, alongside the bus and train but I hadn’t noticed at the time. I managed to get an extra week in my apartment because the property owner could never get the police to show up and eventually hired some internal security.

 

I’ve gotten used to seeing those security badges they had flashed before they knocked me out and left me the alley. With my stuff littered throughout but mostly in the garbage that was when I swallowed what was left of my pride.

 

That first night was more than unsettling. I knew that many people had turned to this but I had never seen myself as well off so I had expected myself to be one of the first to come to this.

 

There were several abandoned buildings in the city but even they were watched by the security teams. The commune members that found me trying to sleep in the park took me to the warehouse where they were undisturbed.

 

I guess it was just more bad luck that had made it that night, the night that the warehouse was raided.

 

There was screaming, a lot of screaming. The security teams bashed and dragged out everyone they could before the rest of us made it out the back. They had waited there of course and did much the same for those running away. They didn’t knock me out, once I saw them outside I fell to my knees and sobbed.

 

There wasn’t a trial or a hearing, the commune and I were all immediately imprisoned. They tried to say that it was ‘resettling’ camp or some shit like that. But it felt like school again, they can say it’s not a prison but you still have to wear a uniform and you’re not allowed to leave.

 

I spend five months there, eating grey slop for breakfast lunch and dinner, working most of the day to pay for it. The food had some kind of suppression agent, during the nights I never dreamed and my thoughts were always muddled.

 

To this day I don’t know how I got out of the cycle, eat, work, sleep. My body just rejected the food some how, I refused to eat or drink for two days. By then the guards had noticed this and tried to get me away from the rest of the inmates but somehow I got away from them. I got away from the camp, it wasn’t really constructed to stop me.

 

I found my way to the outskirts of the city and had to fend for myself. No-one lived out here anymore so I wasn’t disturbed for at least a few weeks. Soon I found more people like myself who had walked out of the camps. A couple of people and me soon became crowd and me.

 

Eventually we grew brave, we went back to the city and kidnapped some zombies from the camps. Sure enough after two days without the grey slop they started asking questions like what they could do, who was in charge, one of the others who had walked out under their own power took command. This was probably around August.

 

In our recklessness we tried several more times to free more zombies. It had worked for while, saved probably about two hundred people. But the last time we did it was one time too many. We were ambushed by some guards. Half our group weren’t just captured, they were killed on the spot. Our leader was among those killed, I’ll never forget the look on her face because it was the same blank stare of one of the zombies.

 

It had been a while since we had last came in, they had since built a series of TV screens around the empty streets. They flicked on as we had managed to get away from the death of our raiding party. I couldn’t hear what was said because I was running but I remember what I saw before the announcement they were making. That relentless symbol, it had changed since I last saw a glimpse of it but the feeling was the same. The moving, chugging steam engine of S.E.P.

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Hop skip and a jump

Madeline’s mother had always said ‘You can’t tie the rainbow to the Galgadorf if you don’t have Pixie blood.’

Madeline could remember bouncing her head up and down in agreement as a child, as though she had just heard a proverb of ancient wisdom. She wanted to say that it was before her mother was in an institution, that she realized that she had been insane the whole time. But she knew that she had continued to believe it until her mother was stabbed and killed by another inmate.

Her mother had not been a Marbh, not even just a regular Pixie.

At least that’s how it seemed for about sixteen years.

The penny dropped and her world was shattered about six months ago. When her garden was overrun by refuge Pixies. Luckily they could change their size down to about that of a medium rat but the fact that they had brought their own homes along did not help with the issue of space.

It came as much as a surprise to the Pixies that Madeline could see them as they had not found anyone outside of Scotland that could. When asked why they were not in Scotland they had made the same face and proceeded to rant about how they had a right to their homeland and how the bloody fay had tricked their ancestors out of the deal between magic and man.

For the first few weeks she had believed she had lost it just like her mother. She went to several different doctors and got enough brain scans to give her the cancer she slightly hoped she had. But it turned up nothing. Her psychiatrist had got her to take extended leave after she described the Visual and auditory hallucinations she was having.

She was pretty sure she wasn’t getting her job back when she finally made it back. Not in the least due to the fact that her house being broken into and her blood being strewn around the place. But also because she had gone to the Tír nAill for about a seven days which in real time accounts for about fourteen months. She hadn’t checked the date in the real world yet but she assumed she still wouldn’t be as old as she felt.

The Pixies had taken her on a wild ride. It definitely wasn’t their fault that the fairies bribed the MSA into eliminating the last remaining Pixies at her house. And they could have left her somewhere but she couldn’t help herself from tagging along after they had literally teleported her to the United Kingdom.

Since then she’d had her own fair share of fights. They met up with a band of Clurichaun refugees on the way and Madeline had used her unusual knowledge of alcohol brewery to show them how to make their own wine. They granted her their only weapon, a sword they had once stolen from a king.

Madeline had used the sword to defeat the Far darrig and best Una’s best soldiers in combat much to her own surprise.

But now she felt her adventures where near the end. Most of her Pixie friends were captured by the Fairy Queen, as she made sure that the Rainbow would never be sealed. She would have complete access to the gold and would eventually be able to buy the human world out from under them.

Madeline made her way to the Galgadorf with five remaining Pixies, each of them dead. You can’t tie the rainbow to the Galgadorf if you don’t have Pixie blood.

Madeline grabbed the red and violet ends of the rainbow. Her mother was right about everything.

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Taidan for fear

I think my upstairs neighbor is dead.

There is a pungent smell seeping through the decayed seal between our compartments. It could have just been an animal stuck between my ceiling and her floor. Although the only things I could imagine getting in there would be a pigeon or seagull but I’ve never seen a bird get this high. A rat would have had to climb from the bottom and they probably wouldn’t get past the environmental filters on the first floor.

I’ve been out of town the last few weeks so I couldn’t draw any further conclusions.

The ceiling didn’t look any different, no stains or liquids. My bare walls and floor were just as normal. I entered my kitchen, nothing out of the ordinary. My refrigerator greeted me and told me that it was empty except for a few condiments that weren’t due to expire for a few more months.

I told it to order a restock and it complied.

We didn’t really talk, me and my upstairs neighbor. I’ve only met her once or twice in real life. Once, when she moved in because she wanted to apologise for the noise the moving bots made when they brought in her stuff. The second time and maybe third time was in the elevator when I had come back from somewhere.

I replayed those memories from my datastore.

She was a beautiful woman, in that traditional kind of beautiful where her smile was infectious even when she was hiding it behind half glances and her dark hair. I couldn’t find a memory where she told me her name. She had a tattoo on her shoulder, it was a character from the Taidan language.

I didn’t know that we managed to translate the dead scripts we had found on their homeworld.

My onboard translator gave me the meaning without me even asking. It meant fear, but in like a substantial noun kind of way instead of just a concept. I turned to leave the kitchen and my refrigerator advised that my groceries would be delivered shortly. I told it to pick them up from the mailslot as always.

I left my apartment and went up a flight of stairs.

There wasn’t any police tape in the corridor or over her door physically or in the Augmented Reality space. I was kind of hoping there would be, because if someone had been found dead and it wasn’t a murder then I would have seen it on the newscast no matter where I was.

I knocked on her door, there was no answer.

My AR flicked on as I requested and I sent a virtual knock there was no response. I asked the central computer if this room was occupied but I wasn’t allowed to query other compartments information. I did a quick check on Facebook to see if I could find her page, she didn’t appear to have one or it was private, I wouldn’t blame her.

I put my hand on the access panel, it beeped and blinked red denying my access. The gears in my arm spun up quickly and I crushed the panel.

Once the door was open the smell spilled out into the corridor. In my AR I could see that this floor was now on security alert. The police would be here shortly even if I hadn’t already alerted them by using my arm like that in the building. I took a step inside and the lights flicked on. She was there on the ground surrounded by blood soaked carpet. Her apartment filled with modern furniture that was sprayed with blood.

I made sure not to disturb the crime scene as I knelt next to her.

She was definitely dead, her skin a pale purple and her head and arms were contorted. Must have been dead for a while as her body had started to swell and parts of her were turning green. With the way she had landed, face down, I could see the back of her head under her hairline. There was no memory core interface, some people had it further down their back but her dress was ripped open and there was no sign of it.

I don’t think she’s ever had a memory implant, she wouldn’t have been uploading her conscious to the cloud.

Her tattoo was gone, it was cut from her body, I couldn’t see it around the room but I wasn’t making any more steps to limit my disturbance. The smell had long since been filtered out by my internal bio-hazard detection. I used my AR to bring up a list of compounds my nose detected, all the signs of death but also faint traces of Cocaine and Heroin. Not illegal but definitely curious, a fleeting high when compared to the kind of experiences augmentations can give.

She wouldn’t be able to be regenerated without a memory backup, she only had one life.

I wonder why someone would want to take it away.


Leesandra is probably going to sit down for a little while guys. I think I may have gone into it half-cocked again but I really don’t want to reboot her again. So we’ll leave her where she is until we can piece together a plan.

In the mean time we’ll be working on Whiskey and Maeve (I hope).
And just exercising my writing muscle when ever I can with what ever I can. This means that there are going to be a lot of short stories on here,  a lot of them won’t make complete sense and may or may not be part of something bigger. I hope you enjoy this.

In other news its my birthday so Happy Birthday to me.

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