Legacy#5; Once Upon A Memory

Previously on Legacy; Reality Bomb

The haunting melody echoed throughout the corridors of the time ship.

*

In the console room the Doctor sat to one side of the console, the steady hum of the TARDIS engines keeping a continuous rhythm with the steady rise and fall of the time rotor. He was sitting in his shirt sleeves, legs crossed, a deck of cards laid out in a tableau before him. He was playing Accordion Solitaire and making good time with it, pondering the oddness of his recent trip to Ossobos.  He still couldn’t work out why he had taken Brad there, but he was sure it was something a little more important than to sample the local amenities. The music wafting through the room, however, continued to distract him from both his cogitations and his game.

Music was not a common occurrence in the TARDIS, and certainly not something she tended to play through the communication circuits, but then his ship had been acting oddly in many ways recently. Not unlike the universe itself, come to think of it.

Still, he had to admit, it was a lovely tune.  Made him feel all thoughtful and relaxed inside. Mellow. Reminding him of times past, and friends lost.

He got up and walked over to the console. ‘Well, old girl, where did you get this tune from?’

In answer the scanner screen activated. It was an internal image that showed Brad in his room, sitting on the bed, wearing the kilt he’d become so found of, playing his keyboard.

The Doctor smiled.  ‘Ah, Bradley.’

He left the scanner on, and turned up the volume, then returned to his card game, mindful of his own thoughts.

*

Brad closed his eyes, and let the music surge through him.  It was like a journey through time, the melody carrying him right back to the day he and Jacen had first composed the tune.

… Brad finishes playing the overture, and looks up at Jacen, who is sitting opposite. ‘What do you think?’

Jacen opens his eyes and nods. ‘Sweet, man, yeah.’ He takes a puff of the joint.  ‘What you calling it?’

‘Not sure yet, but I was kind of thinking Requiem. There’s something haunting about it.’

‘The repose of the souls of the dead.’

‘Dude, that’s pretty sound.  Where did you get that?’

‘Catholic upbringing, man. A requiem is a mass for the repose of the souls of the dead.’

Brad nods knowingly, not that he has ever been a church goer.  ‘That’s perfect,’ he says, accepting the joint off Jacen and taking a deep drag of it.

Jacen reaches down and picks up the bass guitar. ‘Play it again, man.’

Brad does so.  And while he does, he never once takes his eyes off Jacen.

Jacen closes his eyes and starts swaying his head to the tune.  He strums the bass then lets the music take over.  Within moments they are both playing in unison.  As the key changes they both adapt, taking the tune to the next level. They do not need words, nor do they need eye contact.  Making music together is a deeply spiritual thing for both of them.

For Jacen it is a sign of total unity of friendship, but for Brad it is a time of intense love. He knows that he can never have Jacen, so the union through making music is the nearest thing he ever gets to truly being one with Jacen, and Brad knows it will have to be enough.

With his eyes closed Brad continued to play, remembering the good times.

*

The card game was forgotten by the Doctor who now sat there with his eyes closed.  He was remembering something important, only he didn’t know where it’d had come from.

… ‘This ends now.’

The small man steps out of the trees, and approaches the scene.  One soldier lays in the grass, unconscious, a second stands nearby, pistol pointing at a man who is kneeling by the unconscious body of a fourth man.

The Doctor recognises this lanky man; it his him, in his third body, a scar on his head from where the soldier’s bullet had grazed his skull.  There is much blood over his chest, spreading across the useless hospital gown. He doesn’t think the soldier did that; rather it was the man kneeling next to him, holding the rifle. There is something distinctly familiar about that man.  Not his form, for the Doctor is certain he has never seen the man before. Time Lords have a way of recognising each other no matter the incarnation, and this one is known to him.

His old friend Koschei.  Only he seems so dark now; eyes as yellow as a cat’s, sharp canines dripping with blood. What had happened to him since the Doctor last saw him?

Koschei looks up; hatred for the Doctor dripping from his pores.  ‘No,’ he growls, ‘it ends when I say so. I told you, Doctor, I now have the power to kill you.’

‘You think you control that power?’ the Doctor’s diminutive future self asks.  ‘No, that power has you. You’re becoming an animal.’

Koschei licks the blood off his teeth, and smiles.  ‘Yes, an animal that has killed you,’ he says.

The Doctor’s eyes snapped open.

Things were becoming clear now. That version of Koschei was from his future, the same future that had brought the other Doctor to him. But why? What had happened to twist Koschei in such a way that he’d travel back along his own time stream to kill the Doctor?

Koschei had always been a slightly off-kilter character, never quite playing with a full deck, the Doctor thought to himself ruefully, glancing at the cards on the floor.  Even his nickname, Koschei, was a hint to his less than noble principles.  Koschei was a man from Slavic mythology, often called Koschei the Deathless, an evil person who menaced young women.  It was the name his classmates had chosen for him during the early days of the Academy, and he’d happily taken it on as his real name after graduating, a final insult to his noble family who represented everything Koschei hated about Gallifreyan society.  Although the Doctor had agreed with much of what Koschei said, he at least held to some of the strictures of Gallifreyan law. Throughout their time at the Academy they became fast friends, drawn to each other by their inherently rebellious natures.

Until the war planet.

It was his reunion with Koschei there that precipitated the events leading to the Doctor’s forced second regeneration and exile by the Time Lords. Koschei had allied himself with an alien race intent on creating the strongest army ever, by kidnapping people from various Earth wars, watching them fight until only the strongest survived. Koschei had been the alien’s war chief, giving them time travel technology so they could kidnap and brainwash the humans. It was a despicable plan, one the Doctor had to stop, even if it meant betraying Koschei in the process. The last the Doctor had heard, Koschei had been gunned down by the aliens, presumably dead. But no, it seemed he had regenerated and escaped. Surely that was not enough to bring this thirst for the Doctor’s death? He felt sure that somehow this other Doctor was several regenerations ahead; so much time had passed. But how much time? Did it matter?

The Doctor needed to know.

The Doctor let himself relax and sink into the music.  His future had touched his present, and somewhere in his memories was the information he needed.

*

He was no longer aware of his hands moving across the keys.  It was pure instinct.  The music continued, and Brad found himself standing beside Jacen’s grave.

… The wind blows his hair into his eyes as he stands there all alone.  The sexton has just left, having covered the hole with dirt and mud.  Brad shakes his head, at his own inability to face the facts.  Hole, indeed.  Why he could he not just admit it? It was not a hole it was a –

He looks up, hearing the music. Requiem, the final piece played by the band, and the one tune Brad had so wanted to play while they lowered Jacen Lewis into the ground.

It is a sad touch of irony, that they had composed such a moving tune only a week before their last gig, just before Jacen’s ‘accident’.

Again Brad scolds himself.  Such pointless words; hole and accident.  In his mind he can hear Jacen singing the last words of Requiem, like it is some kind of coda of his own life.

We all choose our time to go.

And none went as well as I,

Eternity open up for me.

He kneels down and places a hand on the dirt. A tear lands, muddying the dirt between his fingers, and he squeezes his eyes shut.  ‘Goodbye, Boo,’ he says, using his private name for Jacen, a name that even Jacen never knew.

He swallows hard, stands and turns away from Jacen one final time.  He takes his first step on the long journey to his destiny…

A month later and once again a single tear fell from Brad’s eye, this time hitting the ersatz-ivory key between his fingers.

*

The Doctor opened his eyes as soon as the music ceased. He frowned.

The little insight gave him some clues.  The future Doctor had saved him, stopped the future Koschei from killing him. It had brought on regeneration, but he had lived nonetheless.  His future had wanted something of him, but the what still escaped him.  The Doctor shook his head; it didn’t matter now.  All he knew for sure was that he had to find that dark twisted future version of his old friend.

He got up and walked over to the console.  Since the TARDIS seemed to like that tune so much the chances were that she had made a copy of it. The Doctor accessed the TARDIS’s memory and sure enough there it was.

He put the tune back on and closed his eyes.  He would find his old friend somehow.

Next Time…


In the narrow alley behind Dante’s, a pool of turgid shadows formed in defiance of the nearby streetlight’s attempt to stand sentry against such things.

‘Tock tock tick,’ said one Dommervoy to its featureless mates.  In unison they softly clapped their stiff semblances of hands together and disappeared back into that portable umbra of theirs.  A solitary thread of violet tinged blackness congealed into the receding anomaly.

A homeless man, who happened to be crouching behind the dumpster, simultaneously went blind.

*

‘What the hell was that?’

The Doctor narrowed his grey eyes, and stepped gingerly into the alley, holding a hand out before him. ‘Temporal disturbance of some kind.’

‘And those puppet things?’ Ace asked.

‘I’m not sure,’ the Doctor growled, pulling his hand back sharply, as if stung. He sucked his fingers, and said around them; ‘thhs pase ss ahive wff tempul ennery.’

‘Come again, Professor?’

The Doctor removed his fingers. ‘This place is alive with temporal energy. Those things must feed off it.’

‘Are they following the Master, too, then?’

To Be Continued… Saturday 30th October

 

Edited by Andy Frankham-Allen, Greg Miller & Elizabeth Medeiros.
Cover © 2010 by Ewen Campion-Clarke.
Once Upon A Memory © 2001, 2010 by Andy Frankham-Allen,
Legacy © & ™ 2001, 2010 by Andy Frankham-Allen. 
Doctor Who © & ™ 1963, 2010 by BBC Worldwide. All Rights Reserved.

 

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3 thoughts on “Legacy#5; Once Upon A Memory”

  1. Good grief. The Master is the War Chief… suddenly all my blog posts and fan fics have meaning!

    I wish I knew how to put shadows behind words like in that picture…

  2. Shadows, words, huh? And yeah, it shows my shifting views. When Legacy started all those years ago all the books and BF audios were the only Nu Who we had, thus I treated them as canon, but now we have Nu Who on TV and I’ve reverted to only using stuff on TV as canon, thus I’m largely ignoring the books and Big Finish stuff (except for the occasional exception – like the name Koschei, which I like so I’m using still). Besides, Timewyrm: Exodus notwithstanding, I’ve always thought the War Chief was a previous incarnation of the Master, and there is nothing on TV to suggest it could not be so.

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