Tag Archives: Christoph Lopez

Legacy 1.1: Requiem

It’s here!

I am very pleased to announce that volume 1.1 of Legacy is now officially available in print. Requiem collects the first half of season one stories, from The Catalyst right through to The Flames of Chambrook. That’s 188 pages of Doctor Who action!

Followers of this blog will be familiar with a few of the stories, as I’ve run them on here recently. However, as an incentive for buying the print edition, it includes two stories not published on this blog. First up we Greg Miller’s The Ugly Bug Ball, a story which originally saw ePublication in 2006, and secondly we have The Flames of Chambrook from the imagination of A. R. Montacruz. This story is an exclusive to Requiem – although originally written in 2006, it never got finished in time and has thus never been seen nor read by anyone other than the editors.

Requiem is being published by Frankallen Books, and distributed by Lulu. It costs £5.25; but for the first week only it’s going for £4.99! As a labour of love, the contributors do not make a penny from the publication of this book, and all royalties go directly to Cancer Research. So, in effect, not only are you buying a series of interesting stories, but you’re also helping those suffering from cancer.

Edited by Andy Frankham-Allen, Greg Miller and Elizabeth Medeiros, Requiem features stories by Andy Frankham-Allen, Christoph Lopez, Niall Turner, Greg Miller and A. R. Montacruz, with an exclusive foreword by Montacruz and a cover by Andrew Orton.

You can buy it directly from the Requiem page…

A small note; I shall be running more season one Legacy stories in the new year, as a lead in to volume 1.2…

Advertisements

Legacy #7; ’70s Cutaway

Previously on LEGACY - Three Night Engagement.

Not for the first time that afternoon, Doctor Langton found himself wondering about drugs. He’d already seen two of his regular methadone patients and had handed out the usual scripts.  The man sitting in front of him now wasn’t obviously asking for methadone or anything like it, yet his behaviour certainly mirrored that of someone experiencing a chemical come down.

‘You don’t understand,’ said the man for the umpteenth time.

Yes, thought Doctor Langton, he’s finally going to come right out and say it.

He leaned forward expectantly, fascinated to see that his patient did literally appear to be wringing his hands. A drop of sweat fell heavily onto the blotter pad on top of the desk.

‘I can’t go to sleep you see,’ continued the man.

Okay, so maybe he wasn’t going to bare all, at least this was getting somewhere.

The man fixed him with an unnervingly intense stare, now speaking slowly and deliberately. ‘You don’t have to look at me like that, I know what I’m doing, you know? Doctors…’ He laughed, a short, harsh sound. ‘This decade is so lame, I’m glad I missed it first time round…’ He stopped dead, aware of what he’d just said.

Scratch the drugs, thought Doctor Langton, definite mental health case. Or maybe both. And I’m in here alone with him. Fantastic.

The man sighed heavily, looking distractedly at one of the watercolours on the office wall. Doctor Langton took the opportunity to ease his chair back a few inches from the desk.

‘Look, forget that,’ said the man, noticing the movement.

‘It’s okay,’ began Doctor Langton, in what he hoped was a calm and reassuring tone.  ‘Can you tell me how long you’ve been having trouble getting to sleep?’

‘What?’ snapped the man fractiously.

‘You said you’d been having trouble sleeping.’

‘No, no, I don’t want to go to sleep.  Sleeping is the problem.’ He fixed Doctor Langton with an impassioned look. ‘I can’t sleep.  Not now. If I do, I’m as good as dead. You’ve got to help me!’

Doctor Langton cleared his throat, trying to think of an appropriate response.  None came immediately to mind, beyond notifying social services.

The man stood up abruptly, coming round the desk to lean over the doctor. Without meaning to, Doctor Langton also stood up, backing his chair noisily into the wall.

‘Oh, come on!’ His patient was looking at him petulantly, and his eyebrows rose archly. ‘You think I’m crazy, don’t you?’

Before Doctor Langton could respond, the young man appeared to slip rapidly back into quite floridly psychotic speech.

‘They’ve probably got the Doctor already. I’ve got to do something and I can’t afford to go to sleep. Do that and they’ve got me.’ He looked up abruptly. ‘You must have some kind of one-shot system stimulant?’

Doctor Langton could only shake his head by way of reply.  He wondered what age the man was. Early to mid twenties? It was a sad case. ‘I can see you’re under considerable stress,’ Doctor Langton heard himself say eventually.

‘Oh go on, say it,’ muttered the man in a dejected tone.

‘Say what?’ wondered the doctor.

‘I’m mad,’ said the man, running a hand through his black hair. ‘I am, you know.’ And he smiled, a little unnervingly. ‘If I understand it right, I go to sleep now and the whole of reality buys the farm. Me too, come to think of it,’ he finished a little disconsolately. ‘Oh well.’ He held out his hand, which Doctor Langton took a little uncertainly. ‘It’s been fun. Have a nice life.’ With that, he turned on his heel and was gone.

‘Yes, well…’ Doctor Langton continued to lean against the wall for a moment, regaining his composure.  Eventually he sat down and pressed the intercom on his desk. ‘Jean, could you come in here a minute?’

A few seconds later his secretary, Jean Brooker, entered the room, smiling enquiringly.

‘Is everything all right, Ian? We could hear raised voices in reception.’ She lowered her voice confidentially. ‘He left in ever such a hurry you know.’

‘That’ll be reality running out,’ said Ian Langton, nodding sagely to himself.

‘Oh.’ Jean looked flummoxed.

‘I’m sorry, Jean.’ He rubbed his eyes tiredly, aware he still had another six patients to see. ‘Chap was definitely a few cards short of a full deck.  I need to put a call through to social services before I see anyone else. What was his name again?’

‘DeMars,’ said Jean with a frown. ‘American I think. He didn’t give a first name.’

‘Okay, thanks, Jean.’

‘No problem.’

As he began to dial, Ian Langton smiled wryly to himself. He’d only agreed to see the chap as a favour; he wasn’t even on the books.  Ah well, no peace for the wicked.  He stared out into the reception area.

*

Unseen by Doctor Langton, Jean Brooker or the bored patients in reception, a needle limbed creature hung upside down from the reception’s wall mounted clock by its feet.  Button eyes stared as it mouthed a soundless ‘Tick’ then ‘Tock’ in an absurd call and response.  Swinging serenely to and fro, a malignant pendulum, it grinned a rictus grin.

*

Mooching dejectedly down the road Brad reflected that his doctor’s appointment could, on the whole, have gone better.  Trouble was he’d never particularly liked or trusted doctors, with the one honorary exception. So why he’d actually come up with such a stupid plan in the first place was a moot point. Desperation perhaps? Yep, he thought that pretty much covered it.  Those last minutes in the TARDIS had been pretty surreal. Well, more surreal than usual.

He’d been headed for the control room, intent on talking to the Doctor about Jacen. In fact, he’d got to the control room, he was sure of it. The Doctor had grinned a greeting, no, scratch that, they’d even started talking.

Then it had happened.

There was an ear-splitting shriek and buzzing globules of what looked like TV static had started spilling from the scanner. Operating controls frantically the Doctor had engaged ‘Emergency Materialisation’, stuffed a bag of unfamiliar notes and coins into Brad’s hands and literally bundled him out of the doors.

‘Construct bounty hunters,’ he’d said in a stage whisper, then raised a theatrical finger to his lips.

‘Construct what? Doc, what the hell’s happening here?’

‘Construct bounty hunters, they’re trying a time jump.’ He’d paused, looking up and down the unfamiliar street.  ‘I’ll try and put them off the scent.’ Then he had given Brad the ‘deadly serious look‘. It was so absurdly pretentious it couldn’t be anything but deadly serious.  ‘Whatever you do, don’t go to sleep.  Reality’s liable to break down without you and I’ve not got the leads for a jump-start.’

‘What?’

The Doctor just grinned his enormous half-moon grin.  ‘You’ll be magnificent, Bradley, I know you will!’ With that he was gone, the TARDIS vanishing with its familiar asthmatic trumpeting.  A final sentence seemed to hang on the air.  ‘I’ll be back!’

And that had been it.  Now, having spent nearly forty-eight hours in London, 1975, Brad had had enough.

Who were these bounty hunters? Would they be coming for him too?

Finding himself standing outside a newsagent, he rummaged in his pockets, stuffed with various denominations of legal currency. Plus, he noted forlornly, a TARDIS homing device. Much good it would do him.

Locating a crumpled one pound note he pushed open the shop door.

*

Inside it was dark, cool and blissfully quiet compared to the street outside.  Garish racks of confectionery jostled for space alongside newspapers, magazines and sundry household items.  Wondering vaguely how a packet of dusters might help him save reality, Brad’s gaze settled on the rows of chocolate bars with their various unlikely names.

‘You got ten pence mister?’ Looking down Brad saw an Afro-Caribbean kid in denim, all of six years old, staring hopefully up at him.

‘Hey you!’ growled a white haired old shopkeeper from the back of the store.  ‘I’ve warned you before. Hop it!’

‘Hey, it’s cool.’ Brad raised his hands in a placating gesture, found a coin and gave it to the boy.

‘You shouldn’t encourage ’em,’ the shopkeeper rumbled.

‘Hey, seeing as he’s going to spend it in your shop, I don’t see why you’re complaining,’ Brad said tartly.

‘Smartarse.’

‘Yeah, right, whatever,’ Brad muttered as the shopkeeper proceeded to serve the boy.

He grabbed himself a random handful of chocolate. Definitely needed the sugar. Coffee would be good, too. ‘Hey, do you sell…’ He tailed off.

The shopkeeper had the boy’s coin and was inserting it into some sort of indentation on top of the cash register. Weird looking cash register come to think of it.  A look passed between the boy and the man.

‘Definite match?’ the boy asked.

‘Definite.’ The shopkeeper nodded. ‘DNA strand’s unmistakeable.’

They both turned to face him, eyes glowing a luminescent green.

Brad dropped the chocolate.

How come it was he who got to walk into the only trapped alien newsagents in the whole damn world?

‘Hope you’re not thinking of going anywhere,’ said the shopkeeper, turning a weirdly glowing ball of energy in his hand.

‘Big price on your head, man,’ added the boy nonchalantly.

‘You’re Construct bounty hunters, right?’ Brad saw a grin pass between them.

‘Well,’ said the old guy, tossing the ball from hand to hand.  ‘We are. But the contract’s changed.’

Brad didn’t need to hear the rest. As the ball of light hurtled towards him he wrenched at the central rack of shelving. Stumbling backwards out of the door he saw the middle of the store was now a mess of items encased in a web of viscous light strands.  He ran.

*

Soon he was aware of shouting from behind him.  The old man and the boy were in pursuit. In the middle of the air, balanced like surfers on futuristic skateboards, zipping in and out of the traffic.  They were gaining fast.  Brad went to catch at the arm of a traffic warden, but his hand went straight through the warden.

‘Don’t know you’re there, man,’ mocked the boy.  ‘Playing by different rules now.’

Brad stared wildly from side to side. The boy swooped overhead, turning for an attack, another ball of energy to hand.  Brad ducked sharp left, into the stairwell of a multi-storey car park. The familiar smell of urine and rubbish hit him. Lifts or stairs, lifts or stairs? One of the lifts was opening.  Brad stared.

It was the Doctor.

‘Well, come on!’ his friend boomed.

Brad needed no further encouragement.

*

Inside the lift he turned to the Doctor and stared again.  He was in the console room. The Doctor grinned triumphantly.

‘Yes, the chameleon circuit’s operational!’ He nodded to himself. ‘I would have done it sooner but necessity often proves the mother of invention.’ He grabbed Brad by both hands. ‘It’s good to see you, Bradley!’

‘You too, Doc, you too.  Now can you please tell me what’s going on?’

The Doctor beamed, plucking the homing device from his jacket pocket. ‘A small matter of splitting our resources. I had to throw the Construct off the scent, so I dropped you off and –’

‘You did what?’

‘I dropped you off and –’

‘You were using me as a decoy!’

The Doctor nodded, eyes gleaming. ‘If you like, yes. And a very good one too! Well done, Bradley!’

Brad sighed. ‘Great.’ He noticed the central column was moving. They were in flight again. ‘So what are the Construct again?’

The Doctor waved a hand. ‘Oh, creatures of pure causality.  With the causal nexus unravelling, and me being at the centre of it, those that watch such things have doubtless declared open season on us. The two you just met are Bartholomew and Anotyne.  Very dubious company.’

‘It just gets better,’ said Brad.

‘Yes, yes.’ The Doctor grinned in delight.  ‘It’s wonderful to feel wanted, isn’t it?’

‘No,’ said Brad pointedly.

The Doctor gaped. ‘I’m sure you can’t mean that. Oh, that’s interesting.’

‘What is?’

‘We’ve arrived somewhere else already.’ The Doctor operated the scanner. They were on top of a multi storey car park. In 1975 judging by the two figures hovering a good ten feet above the roof.

‘Tranquillisers,’ said Brad.  ‘I should have asked that guy for tranquillisers.’

‘Bradley, be a star and distract them would you?’ the Doctor asked. He was staring thoughtfully at the central column. ‘If they’re operating a linear inductor the only option’s to bypass it with a randomiser.’ He met Brad’s gaze. ‘It’ll take a minute. It won’t take them too long to get in here and I hate interruptions when I’m working.’

‘Right,’ said Brad.  ‘I’ll go and do the distracting thing.’

*

He found himself getting out of the passenger seat of a chrome blue Land Rover. This chameleon thing seemed to be working.  Turning he saw the bounty hunters hovering over the far wall of the car park. Brad backed around the Land Rover and looked over the rim of the wall. At least a hundred and fifty feet down. The boy was approaching at alarming speed, a shimmering ball of energy crackling in his hand.

‘Hey, so who are you?’ called Brad weakly.  ‘Bartholomew or Anotyne?’

A grin was all he got by way of reply. The skateboard sped closer. Heart pounding Brad took a step forward. The boy brought his arm up, bowling underarm.  Brad grabbed for him.

Confusion.

Brad fell heavily, very heavily, at first he thought the kid was on top of him but it was the skateboard thing.  It was incredibly heavy for something so small, an absolute deadweight.  Struggling up Brad saw the boy prone against the wall.  The light ball had exploded around him. A tracery of luminescent lines seemed to be eating in to him.

With an electrical fizz, boy and light disappeared.

‘You got Anotyne! You’ll pay for that!’ The old guy was incredulous.

So was Brad to be honest, but his shoulder and side were aching too much to think clearly.  Now white hair was coming for him.  The driver’s side door was opening.  The Doctor leaned out.

‘Bradley, strap yourself in!’

Brad stumbled to the passenger door.  Buckling himself in, his stomach lurched as the Doctor performed what felt like a three hundred and sixty degree turn. Bartholomew was very close now; Brad could see him in the wing mirror.

‘Time for the unstoppable force to meet the immovable object!’ announced the Doctor. And drove straight for Bartholomew.  Head on.  At the last minute Bartholomew seemed to realise the Doctor was serious and tried to swerve.  It was too late.  There was a clang of impact from the roof and the bounty hunter went sailing over the edge of the car park, complete with skateboard. There was an unnatural silence.  Brad shook his head.  He wasn’t sure if he felt like crying or laughing. The Doctor placed a hand on his shoulder.

‘What the hell is happening?’ said Brad.  ‘Did we kill them?’

The Doctor shook his head. ‘Not a chance. They’ll have reverted to causal particles. They were over confident, that’s all.  We were lucky.’

‘Right.’ Brad became aware he was sitting in the front of a Land Rover. ‘Hey, the TARDIS?’

‘Emergency reconfiguration,’ said the Doctor simply. ‘Inserting a randomiser is a devil of a job, Bradley. We need to lie low for a while, let the temporal trail go cold.’ Gunning the engine he headed for the exit ramp and the next level. ‘So,’ he said, his eyes sad and his smile serious.  ‘Tell me about Jacen.’

Brad looked down, noticing a newspaper in the well by his feet. He picked it up and looked it over; apparently something called UNIT was due to make a world shattering announcement tomorrow.

‘Bradley?’

Brad squirmed in his seat.  Before the Doctor had chucked him out to be decoy, Brad was all for telling the Doctor about Jacen; he even had a plan of how to save his friend. But now… He sighed.  The Doctor wouldn’t let this one go, he had that look on his bearded face.

‘Okay,’ Brad said, and began talking.

*

Brad talked and the Doctor listened.  As he talked, he felt a weight lift from his mind. Nothing changed but he felt easier just for having talked it through out loud.

A good two hours later they were parked high above the suburbs to the south west of the city.  The Thames sprawled lazily far below them.

‘You know, it’s weird,’ said Brad, ‘I can’t even remember the sound of his voice, y’know, what he was like. That’s got to be wrong.’

The Doctor seemed to smile at a private memory.

Brad sighed.  ‘You can’t take me back can you?’

The Doctor shook his head.  ‘I might be able to take you back in the normal course of things but I still couldn’t change what happened.’

It was Brad’s turn to shake his head. ‘But look what’s happening to you.  I mean, if that isn’t someone messing around with time…’

The Doctor laughed a short, uncharacteristically mirthless sound. Brad looked closely at his face in profile. There were anger and passion and questions there to match his own.

The Doctor continued to stare ahead, into the dying evening.

Neither of them spoke again for a long time…

To find out what happens next, look out for the soon-to-released collected stories of LEGACY season one, volume one, Requiem. It will be published by Japaf Publishing and distributed by Lulu Distributions. As ever, LEGACY is a non-profit series and the cost of the book covers printing and postage only – the contributors do not make a single penny from it. As an incentive for buying it, though, there will be two exclusive stories to volume one; The Ugly Bug Ball by Greg Miller (previously only available in the limited 2006 e-anthology, The Other Side of Reality), and The Flames of Chambrook by A. R. Montacruz – a never before released season one story!

Edited by Andy Frankham-Allen, Greg Miller & Elizabeth Medeiros.
Cover & Artwork © 2010 by Ewen Campion-Clarke.
'70s Cutaway © 2001, 2010 by Niall Turner,
Legacy © & ™ 2001, 2010 by Andy Frankham-Allen. 
Doctor Who © & ™ 1963, 2010 by BBC Worldwide. All Rights Reserved.

 

The online LEGACY adventures will resume New Year’s Day 2011 with The Millennium People, which follows on from the events of Requiem. But until then I shall be running a new weekly serialised novel, exclusive to this blog, called Vampire Knights. The novel will be an experiment, modelled on the early days of LEGACY. It will be written week-by-week with no absolute direction to follow. The story will grow organically, and along the way will feature guest authors – some of whom will be known, others will be fresh new talent.

 

Legacy #6: Three Night Engagement

Previously on LEGACY - Once Upon a Memory

‘Look at me

I opened a door I cannot close

I feel strange winds

Walk into here, open your door.

This is an introduction…’

 

Another night offered Brad a chance. ‘Philosopher’s Stone (or Lapis Philosophorum)’ was about to set up for their first night’s performance at Dante’s.  Formerly a Mongolian grill, Dante’s was a very small bar and musical venue. A plain bar counter, a stage raised about two meters, and about a dozen tables comprised the establishment.

The group was just about getting their drink on. Jacen was a whiskey sour man, Tobias a White Russian swiller. Brad didn’t sit well with hard liquor since he was in fact a dark beer and cannabis aficionado. Jessene, the sessioning violinist, didn’t show.

‘Guess what, man?’ Jacen chirped suddenly over the subdued din of the early bar crowd.

‘What?’ groaned Brad who was pretending to be dim for the moment.

‘I’m a whale!’ Jacen sprayed a mouthful of whiskey all over the table through his pursed lips.

Tobias slugged him forthwith in the bicep.

‘You want me to smack you in the ass, man?’ Jacen leered.

‘Oh, you wish!’

‘Yeah, well screw you, people. Jessene ain’t here and we’re going to have to do an improv show. Bitch’s probably tweaking anyway.’

Bradley was on fire and he didn’t care one whit.  This was it.  He swallowed the last of his beer and cruised over to the bar to check the time.

*

The flimsy curtain parted. With much gravitas stood Jacen with bass strapped on.

‘It’s so nice to see so many faces.  Good evening,’ he drawled, resplendent in his pressed business suit and neatly coiffured platinum blonde hair. His handsome features creased into a scowl behind the microphone as he began.

‘One thing I have to ask. Is it loud enough for you?’ The question was asked as a shrieking exclamation delivered in his baritone voice.

Thus commenced ‘Philosopher’s Stone’s’ first night at Dante’s. The set began with the stage being bathed in a lunar blue light which seemed to cool the feverish and smoke filled club.  Jacen began with a droning yet staccato series of electronically processed chords.  Then he began a simple Latin chant.

Ignit natura renovatur integra.’

Brad initialised a short series of pre-programmed samples as he also began an improvised synth fugue.  Tobias did his part in the proceedings by commencing a shamanic drum beat interspersed by a mighty gong strike.  Later, he would try out his set of Tibetan singing bowls.

Tobias was rude and often painfully surly in his interpersonal dealings.  On stage, his peculiar brand of magic was expressed in his percussion. Brad and Jacen, however, manifested total sublimity – something that pleased Brad no end.

Look at me.

I opened a door I cannot close.

I feel strange winds. The path I chose

This, but an introduction, no more.

Walk into here, open your door.

This is an introduction…

 

Brad sang one of his own songs that first night as well.

What dream has come

Where time has gone?

Stunned, unsummoned and still

Again, I tried to lift up my eyes

And not shield them from the sun,

Again…

*

A fetching and somewhat muscular young woman in an overly decorated bomber jacket turned to speak to her companion.

‘Professor!’ She had to shout over Dante’s PA system as the band played through a delirious second night. ‘Can I get a drink?’

‘Ace, I didn’t procure your ID so you could “catch a buzz”, or whatever you’d call it! Keep a clear head, please.’

Ace glowered at the Doctor.  A thought came unbidden to her of chucking a bar ashtray at him.  It would serve him right just to knock his silly hat off his head.  The Doctor had been so maudlin recently, ever since giving that little bit of life force away to his past self.

‘What are we looking out for, anyway?’ she asked. ‘I thought we were tracking the Master.’  She looked around at the dancing crowd.  ‘I don’t think this is his scene, Professor,’ she pointed out with a smirk.

The Doctor passed Ace a napkin with something scribbled on it.  Two names stood out in the message, whatever it had been.

Brad DeMars and Jacen J. Lewis.

‘What’s this, then?’

‘I’ve no idea. I found it a few hours ago before we got on that Tri-Met bus. It’s coated in temporal residue.’

‘But who are they?’ Ace had to shout again over the chorus of electronic damnation. The Doctor simply pointed at the stage in reply to Ace’s question.  The one with the dark hair caught Ace’s eye. A corner of her mouth twitched into a half-smile. That familiar feeling went through her body again. He was cute. It had been such a long time since she…

‘Can we meet them later, Professor? After the show maybe?’

‘That’s what the intention is.  Not that I really enjoy this sort of music, Ace.’ The Doctor’s tone was that of one discussing a particularly messy surgery. ‘It reminds of me a Ninhana symphony orchestra.  It’s like an incompetent dentist attacking a cavity with a rusty nail,’ he added while gritting his teeth.

*

The ambulance arrived at half past two in the morning. The stressed out bar staff had been looking forward to going home for drinks and bed.  But Jacen had ‘collapsed’ while descending the stage steps.

‘I just tripped, man!’ Jacen screamed at a paramedic.  ‘No! I don’t have any damned insurance! Let me be!’

*

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?’

‘I have no idea, Ace! Will you stop asking all these questions!’

Ace stepped back in shock. She hadn’t heard him sound so angry since the army barracks in 1941. ‘Sorry!’ she snapped back, and noticed the homeless man stumble from behind the dumpster at the other end of the alley. She pushed past the Doctor. ‘I’m going to help that poor sod over there,’ she said and made her way to the blind tramp.

The Doctor watched her, and raised the handle of his umbrella to his lips. ‘Bradley DeMars, he’s at the epicentre. We musn’t get too close to him again.’ He turned from the alley and called back. ‘Come on, Ace, we need to find the Master another way.’

*

‘I can’t believe this… sea-change,’ groaned Jacen, sprawled on his studio day-bed.

His head had been shaved by the neurosurgeon’s nurse. He wore an eye patch since he’d lost muscular control over his left eye. During the past four months, he had suffered from several more seizures. An MRI scan revealed that a tumour the size of a golf ball was resting on his brain. Subsequently, Jacen endured radiation therapy and ultimately surgery to excise most of the growth.

Brad’s mouth was painfully dry.  He had to say what was on his mind.

‘I just want you to know that I love you. You’ve been my greatest friend and collaborator.’ A bead of sweat trickled behind his ear as he spoke.

‘I know, Bradley Boy. I know. Sorry I can’t return it. Shit, I had enough of a time dealing with Jessene before she went to rehab.  God! You need to give it up.  I hate to see you so frustrated and pissed all the time, man.’

They locked eyes and Brad took Jacen’s weak hand in his own.

Brad knew exactly what Jacen was referring to. The love he held for Jacen was so much more than platonic, sometimes it hurt, and sometimes it lifted him above the clouds.  But most of the time it just hurt ‘cause Brad knew that he could never have Jacen, but at the same time he didn’t want anybody else, either… it was a tough path Brad walked down.

‘It’ll be all right. You’ll be back to your old self soon. Look…’ Brad stopped speaking and took a deep breath in a concerted effort to slow his heart down a little. ‘I have to go before I break down again.’

His chest began to heave as the tears came.  Jacen tousled his hair and rested his good hand on Brad’s shoulder and said; ‘Remember, Requiem; Ignit natura renovatur integra.  The whole of nature is regenerated by fire.’

*

Almost two months later, in the TARDIS, Brad opened his eyes.  Regenerated? Yes! He had it…

*

The Doctor looked up from the console just as the inner door flew open and Brad entered the console room. He couldn’t help but notice that Brad had been crying.

‘Doc, I need your help. I have an idea about how to save Jacen.’

The Doctor was, not for the first time today, quite puzzled.  ‘Jacen? And just who is Jacen, Bradley?’

Next Time

‘You think I’m crazy, don’t you?’

Before Doctor Langton could respond, the young man appeared to slip rapidly back into quite floridly psychotic speech.

‘They’ve probably got the Doctor already. I’ve got to do something and I can’t afford to go to sleep. Do that and they’ve got me.’ He looked up abruptly. ‘You must have some kind of one-shot system stimulant?’

Doctor Langton could only shake his head by way of reply.  He wondered what age the man was. Early to mid twenties? It was a sad case. ‘I can see you’re under considerable stress,’ Doctor Langton heard himself say eventually.

‘Oh go on, say it,’ muttered the man in a dejected tone.

‘Say what?’ wondered the doctor.

‘I’m mad,’ said the man, running a hand through his black hair. ‘I am, you know.’ And he smiled, a little unnervingly. ‘If I understand it right, I go to sleep now and the whole of reality buys the farm. Me too, come to think of it,’ he finished a little disconsolately. ‘Oh well.’ He held out his hand, which Doctor Langton took a little uncertainly. ‘It’s been fun. Have a nice life.’ With that, he turned on his heel and was gone.

‘Yes, well…’ Doctor Langton continued to lean against the wall for a moment, regaining his composure.  Eventually he sat down and pressed the intercom on his desk. ‘Jean, could you come in here a minute?’

A few seconds later his secretary, Jean Brooker, entered the room, smiling enquiringly.

‘Is everything all right, Ian? We could hear raised voices in reception.’ She lowered her voice confidentially. ‘He left in ever such a hurry you know.’

‘That’ll be reality running out,’ said Ian Langton, nodding sagely to himself.

‘Oh.’ Jean looked flummoxed.

‘I’m sorry, Jean.’ He rubbed his eyes tiredly, aware he still had another six patients to see. ‘Chap was definitely a few cards short of a full deck.  I need to put a call through to social services before I see anyone else. What was his name again?’

‘DeMars,’ said Jean with a frown. ‘American I think. He didn’t give a first name.’

‘Okay, thanks, Jean.’

‘No problem.’

As he began to dial, Ian Langton smiled wryly to himself. He’d only agreed to see the chap as a favour; he wasn’t even on the books.  Ah well, no peace for the wicked.  He stared out into the reception area.

*

Unseen by Doctor Langton, Jean Brooker or the bored patients in reception, a needle limbed creature hung upside down from the reception’s wall mounted clock by its feet.  Button eyes stared as it mouthed a soundless ‘Tick’ then ‘Tock’ in an absurd call and response.  Swinging serenely to and fro, a malignant pendulum, it grinned a rictus grin.

To Be Continued… Sat 6th November

Edited by Andy Frankham-Allen, Greg Miller & Elizabeth Medeiros.
Cover © 2010 by Ewen Campion-Clarke.
Three Night Engagement © 2001, 2010 by Christoph Lopez,
Legacy © & ™ 2001, 2010 by Andy Frankham-Allen. 
Doctor Who © & ™ 1963, 2010 by BBC Worldwide. All Rights Reserved.

 

The Legacy #2: Urban Decay

Introduction to The Legacy

Some called him the Lonely God, but he was no god. I knew him, travelled with him from the beginning. It was I who called to him, encouraged him to leave his home world. I, myself, had been waiting a long time for a soul like his, a crusader. He was a force of nature waiting to happen. A catalyst for great change.

To some he was simply the bohemian wanderer in the fourth dimension. Some worlds, those that belonged to the monsters, feared him; they knew that if ever he visited their worlds the threat represented by them would be destroyed. Even the Daleks, those most evil of creations, called him the Ka Faraq Gatri, the Bringer of Darkness.

Oh, you have never heard of the Daleks? Of course, I keep forgetting, they never existed in this universe. At least not yet, anyway.

That was his fault. His timeline got altered and reality itself was reshaped, just to fit around him. Entire worlds were destroyed; species once destined for greats things now amounted to nothing. Everything in flux because just one man’s future had been altered.

And although the universe was altered to fit him, he found it hard to fit into this new reality. His home was gone, his path unclear, and yet still he went out there, doing what he did. Finding the wrongs and putting them right.

But he is gone now. Some say he is dead, others think he is just lost. Most say his work is done, that the universe no longer needs him. I say they are wrong. He has changed so many, left behind so much.

His legacy lives on in me. I’m here, waiting, for I know he shall return. He always does.

His name is legend.

He is the Doctor.

And this is his story…

————————————————————————————————

Previously; The Catalyst

The Doctor walked at a sedate pace through a tree lined avenue in an unfamiliar city.  Essentially, he’d settled on an arbitrary point in time to land.  Without premeditation, the TARDIS arrived on Earth once again, in the first year of the 21st Century.

Spring was in its budding process and the weather was struggling with itself.  The Doctor was humming a ditty to himself about what he may or may not have seen in the middle of May.  As he strolled through a downtown park block, he was beset successively by chilling wind, the onset of dusk, and hail.

His brow, cheeks, and nose felt quite abraded.  The Doctor turned up the collar of his brown twill coat and grumbled.  Spots of his white linen shirt and polka dot tie were becoming rather damp.

Yellow sodium arc lamps dotted the distance and he continued onwards in his journey towards nowhere in particular.  The gloaming sky, while partially obscured by firs, pines, oaks, and buildings, was turning a bruised shade of gold, russet and purple.  A dozen metres ahead trudged the figure of a man obviously in an advanced state of inebriation.

Belching and stumbling, this man stopped and placed both arms against a nearby wall and expelled the oily contents of his stomach.

Quite put off from the thought of a dinner diversion, the Doctor quickly strode off down Everett Street.  Another spate of hail stones descended.  The Doctor grew decidedly more uncomfortable when he realised he had no idea where he was going… again.

*

Elsewhere in the Rose City of Portland, Brad DeMars was feeling the depths of despondency.  Naturally so, since he’d just attended the funeral of his bass guitar player.

Jacen Lewis had succumbed to a brain tumour after months of intermittent seizures, radiation therapy, and patronising medical practitioners.  Brad was very close to his friend and it did not help that the death of Jacen precipitated the dispersal of the band.  To add injury to insult, ‘Philosopher’s Stone’ had only been gigging for less than a year.

Brad opted to linger behind at Riverview Cemetery and Crematorium for a little while after the service.  He had been hoping to be able to play the last composition of the band at the graveside service.  He was thwarted in this, of course, since he had neglected to bring an amplifier or, indeed, a power source for his synthesiser.  For some reason, the other members did not show up.

Brad DeMars was very angry at them.

Why were things so off-kilter lately?

Progressive alienation and disappointment was wearing away at his hopes to fend off a state of jadedness for another year.

He eventually drove towards his studio apartment long after the rest of the funeral party left him.  Dusk was not dusk any longer.  Night was settling in after the day’s struggle with the weather.

Brad cruised in his green Volkswagen Sirocco down Burnside Street.  He was absorbed and feeling harsh.  The blaring of the car stereo assuaged little of what he was feeling.

Understandably, he was quite suddenly alert when his brakes locked up.  The car spun and skidded, finally stopping dead mere centimetres from a fire hydrant.  The twenty-six year old synthesiser player with a black mop of hair tipped in nuclear red, lost consciousness as his forehead struck the steering wheel.

Kinetic force had to go somewhere.

*

‘Oh, Doctor, you’re bound to get lost if you keep weaving in and out of these blasted side streets!’ The Doctor bemoaned his lack of planning again.

It could not have been so late in the evening that every person had gone home, could it? After all, he was still relatively close to the downtown area wasn’t he? This excursion was revealing itself as quite dreary indeed, despite the greenery and quaint mix of architectures.

With a sigh, the Doctor settled his girth onto a nearby bench to gather his thoughts.  He withdrew his pocket watch in an attempt to regain his bearings.  Apart from being a compact and sophisticated time piece, it was also a wide range scanner capable of detecting temporal variations and geophysical positions.  To the Doctor’s chagrin he saw that the readings were unsteady – indeed they were fluctuating wildly.

‘Why should this be?’ he murmured aloud.

Another piece of evidence revealed that something was not as it should be.  Many certain some things were decidedly amiss.  Ever since the Doctor left UNIT HQ he had periodically been assailed by a sense of disassociation; that a matter of urgent importance was manifestly out of order was clear.

Rubbing his beard momentarily, he replaced his pocket watch to its home.  He brought out of another pocket a deck of playing cards he had found when he commandeered the coat.  He tapped the deck against his forehead and thought.

With eyes closed, he withdrew a card.  Ace of Hearts.

Gloomily wishing for a good game of Blackjack, the Doctor stood.  Perhaps he could find some answers if he returned to the TARDIS.  The watch might simply need recalibration.  Also a good nap in the Zero Room would do worlds of good.  The sense of displacement could possibly be a side effect of his recent regeneration.

Once again steeling his resolve to get to the bottom of matters, the Doctor attempted to retrace his path.

*

Brad awoke with his temples throbbing. ‘Oh, ow. What the…’

Not a car or pedestrian was near.  No ambulance, no fire truck and certainly no paramedics had come to investigate.  Where were the sirens of the law?

The synth player gingerly touched his face and fortunately found no blood.  He checked himself out in the rear view mirror.  An angry looking bruise was forming in a line on his forehead.

There should have been plenty of traffic for the time of day. In a quiet and orderly array, an average number of vehicles were parked as usual.  Yet there was no motion signalling the end of day.  It was as if every single person in the city, as far as one’s eye could see, had tucked themselves in for the night and turned the lights out.

The yellow nimbus of sodium arc lamps still stood their vigils.  From what Brad could see, the city became cloaked in a brooding and mutely subdued mystery.  He shook the tangles of his black and nuclear red hair out of his field of vision.  Getting out of the dead car, he set out on foot towards home.

*

A humanoid shape like a semi-collapsed marionette lowered itself from a tree.

‘Tick tock,’ said the plaintive voice of the Dommervoy.

Across the lane, another featureless mannequin lowered itself down to a height matching that of its counterpart.

‘Tick tock.’ A tittering sound followed, neither here nor there.

*

The stout and bearded Doctor stopped in his tracks, uncharacteristically startled.

He could only just make out the indistinct forms.

He looked closer, and indeed a few blocks away he could see that there were several humanoid shapes milling about like extras in a film.

*

On the West Hills, two kilometres away, the lights of the broadcasting towers flared brightly in a syncopated pulse.  The surrounding hills were intermittently bathed in light crimson ambience.  The surrounding hills were for a while briefly bathed in the glow.  Then they winked out for good.

*

The Doctor stole quietly west on Glisan Street, then bolted down Sixteenth Avenue.  He gasped for breath on the corner of Flanders Street and finally slumped onto a concrete bench before an old blue apartment building with red trim.  Nearby was a sign marked ‘18th Ave.’.

He really had to remember that his new body was not half as agile as his previous lanky form.

Just as he was preparing to open the fob of the newly constructed homing locator linked to his homely timeship, a small gale blew past.  For this reason, the Doctor looked upwards.

A vast ring of angry black clouds formed an icy nimbus around the moon.  Lambent violet arcs of energy strobed through the adjacent sky.  Then the moon blatantly vanished.

Some type of dimensional ‘storm’ was wrenching open the vaults of local space/time.  This the Doctor knew intrinsically and viscerally.

Considering his unusually graceless size, he made rather good time south and found himself on a broad road: Burnside Street.  On the intersection was a small green car parked askew to the curb.  Its tapered nose was scant centimetres from a fire hydrant.  The driver’s side door was wide open.  Yet the Doctor could clearly see a man walking about a block and a half away, hefting a large something on his shoulder.

*

On a gossamer thread of scintillating colour, dangling ten meters above the street, hung a blank faced caricature of a person wrapped in what looked like black packaging material.  Its black button eyes glared towards the receding figure in a brown wool overcoat.  It tittered and without moving its poorly drawn on line of a mouth, said; ‘tock.’

The Dommervoy quivered slightly and jerked upwards, promptly vanishing.

*

Brad DeMars was rightly upset and was experiencing the onset of a cold sweat and a peculiar knotting in the bowels, when he felt the wind and saw the sky swallow itself.  He found himself standing stock still and gawking at the impossible.

Many of the buildings of downtown Portland were usually visible from this stretch of road and for the most part, still were.  They were also somehow… changing.  ‘Big Pink’, the massive banking tower which was done up years ago in Bauhaus style copper collared glass and steel, was wavering and undulating.  Now it appeared that its foundation was set anywhere between thirty five to forty five degrees to the elevation of the surrounding ground.  The process continued to approximately nine storeys below the structure’s apex.

It was happening as far as the musician’s eyes could scan.  Trembling, he may well have stood there forever until he felt a hand on his shoulder.

‘Hello, I’m the Doctor, are you all right there?’

A sturdy looking and burly man he was.  Brad was nearly too shocked to respond but clasped the stranger’s proffered hand instinctively.  Dumbly, Brad managed a nod and closed his gaping mouth.

He swallowed and replied.  ‘This isn’t supposed to be happening, is it?’

He found himself regaining control in spite of the reeling and spinning sensation.  Somewhere in his subconscious mind, the idea was gestating.

‘I don’t know what it is, but I’ve got to put a stop to it,’ said the wide girthed man.

The bearded stranger appeared like some kind of archaic sea captain.  Although he was smiling, this Doctor could not conceal his grave concern.  At any rate, his manner suggested some degree of confidence and weird professionalism.  Brad was vaguely aware of being embarrassed.

‘Believe me, young man, you are not going mad.  I’m surprised you’re even here at all.  Surely some kind of anomaly within an anomaly has spared you? We’re standing in a city’s ghost, after all!’

He seemed almost pleased, like a child with a brand new book that came with a funky stain on it.  ‘Never mind that for now.  If you’re willing to trust me, we can find shelter from the quantum storm.’

What a mouthful! Still, he seemed far less crazy than whatever was happening to the city.

*

Gradually, while both of them watched on, the entire vista gained the aspect of becoming somehow digitised.  It was as if the place was an environment created for a first-person perspective computer simulation.  Pixels and stilted looking patterns appeared in formerly natural patterns.  The improbable pair of men ambled off at a pace towards the Holocaust Memorial a short distance away.

‘I’m, uh, Brad DeMars.  I was in a car accident.  Um…  My friend died last week.  I’m a musician.  Do you…  How…? What the hell did you say was going on?’

The Doctor’s booming laugh was like a war cry against the poisoned architecture.  Even over the keening of the wind and the thrumming of the shifting non-linear planes of reality, he could be heard clearly.

‘There’ll be time enough for that when we get inside.  Let’s go!’

*

Brad and the Doctor made good time in reaching the Memorial grounds which were a mere fifteen blocks from where the two initially met.  The young keyboardist was noting his unusual companion’s endurance.  Whoever he was, this man had not even began to sound winded in the slightest.

‘There we are!’ exclaimed the Doctor.  A meaty finger gestured to an object behind a copse of alders and cedar trees just off the inlet road to the Memorial; an object Brad had never seen before in his north-western American state.  He could just make out the markings on it which read, ‘POLICE Public Call BOX’.

‘Hey, man, where are we going?’ he asked, now totally out of breath.

‘Why, right in there, of course! Unless you’d rather stay out here and contend with that!’

‘This is too much.  I think I’ll bail out towards my place.  Nice meeting you, man.’ Brad turned away and tried to trot off, readjusting his gig bag containing his portable synthesiser.  He made it back to the main road and saw… next to nothing.

Brad DeMars spun on his heels and sprinted apace back towards the Doctor’s blue Police Box thing and banged on its narrow double door with both fists.

‘All right! I believe you! Talk to me, Doctor!’

The right hand door opened silently inwards, an arm clasped Brad’s forearm and pulled him inside and shut again.

*

The world turned abjectly grey while a gang of sawdust filled figures converged on the spot where the TARDIS once sat…

*

In a white control room, intensely scanning over a console, the Doctor gravely looked at Brad.

‘Well, Brad, I don’t have your answers.  What I do know is that the place we have just left was not Portland.  Your survival is a… miracle.  That place was a sort of analogue to your home.  A great force has wrested an entire temporal and spatial nexus out of its proper place.  For what cause or reason, I just don’t know.  I don’t know.  But I intend to find out.’

Fields distended and Brad DeMars lost consciousness. For being such a hard bohemian kind of guy (at least in his own estimation), this turn of events was too much.  The consciousness as a whole had to find a way to compensate for the sudden and somewhat violent wrenching of expectations…

To be continued… Sunday 31st October


Edited by Andy Frankham-Allen, Greg Miller & Elizabeth Medeiros.
Cover © 2010 by Ewen Campion-Clarke.
Urban Decay © 2001, 2010 by Christoph Lopez,
Introduction © 2010 by Andy Frankham-Allen,
The Legacy © & ™ 2001, 2010 by Andy Frankham-Allen. 
Doctor Who © & ™ 1963, 2010 by BBC Worldwide. All Rights Reserved.