AND THE INVASION OF TIME.
By TERRANCE d.i.c.kS.
1 Treaty for Treason
The s.p.a.ce ship was enormous, terrifying, a long, sleek killer-whale of s.p.a.ce. Its hull-lines were sharp and predatory and it bristled with the weapon-ports of a variety of death dealing devices. Everything about it suggested devastating, murderous power.It was the flag-ship of the Vardan war fleet, heading towards a planet called Gallifrey.Inside the s.p.a.ce ship was another of even more advanced design, though it would have been difficult to tell as much from the outside. It took the form of a square blue police box, of the kind once used on the planet Earth. Inside was an impossibly large control room. The craft was called the TARDIS, and it was dimensionally transcendental, bigger on the inside than on the outside.The control room held a many-sided central console and two people, or to be strictly accurate, one female humanoid and one automaton.The human was a girl called Leela. She was tall and strong, with brown eyes and long reddish-brown hair, and she wore a brief costume of animal skins with a fighting knife at the belt. She paced up and down the control room like a great cat. Leela was a primitive, a savage, raised as a fighting warrior in a tribe called the Sevateem.The automaton was shaped like a robot dog, and was appropriately called K9. Both were companions of that mysterious traveller in s.p.a.ce and time known as the Doctor, and both were wondering what had become of him.The Doctor's behaviour tended to be odd and arbitrary at the best of times, but recently he had excelled himself.To begin with he had fallen into a strange, abstracted mood, silent for long periods, answering questions with brief, snappish replies. He seemed to be listening much of the time, staring abstractedly into s.p.a.ce like someone straining to catch a faint message on the edge of hearing.The strange mood had ended in a flurry of equally mysterious activity. The Doctor had hunched himself over the control board and punched a long and complex series of coordinates into the navigation circuits, correcting and re-correcting as if determined to arrive at some utterly precise destination in s.p.a.ce and time. And now here they were inside an enormous alien s.p.a.ce ship. The Doctor had checked their arrival coordinates, given a grunt of satisfaction, ordered them not to touch the scanner, and marched straight out of the control room without a word of explanation.Leela and K9 were left to wait - and wonder.In the war room of the Vardan flag-ship, an enormous screen took up the whole of one wall. On the screen, against a backdrop of stars, was a visual display of the Vardan battle fleet, squadron upon squadron in the typical Vardan V-formation, heading remorselessly towards Gallifrey.Studying the display stood a tall, strangely-dressed figure. He wore loose and comfortable-looking clothes with a vaguely Bohemian air. An immensely long multicoloured scarf was wound about his neck, a battered broad-brimmed soft hat was jammed onto a tangle of curly hair.There was a long curved conference table below the screen, and behind the table high-backed chairs held the members of the Vardan war council. An ornate, elaborately-sealed doc.u.ment lay in the centre of the table.The Vardan Leader spoke in a thin, impatient voice. 'Speed is vital, Doctor. Sign!'Leela completed yet another circuit of the control room, stopped and stared impatiently down at K9. 'How much longer is he going to be?''Prognostication in matters concerning the Doctor impossible.''Prog-what?''I cannot tell.''Can you tell me where we are then?''Affirmative.''Well?''Materialisation has taken place inside an alien s.p.a.ce craft.''Why wouldn't the Doctor let me go with him?''I do not know. Prognostication in matters concerning the Doctor is - ''Impossible!' completed Leela. 'I know... but he may need help.' Leela was quite convinced that the Doctor was far too impractical to take care of himself. 'I'm going to take a look at the scanner.''Do not touch scanner control, Mistress.''I know the Doctor said we shouldn't... but wouldn't you like to see what he's doing, K9, who he's talking to?''Negative. Curiosity is an emotion. I am not programmed for emotion.''Oh shut up,' said Leela crossly. 'You're no help at all.' She turned on the scanner. Nothing happened. 'What's wrong? Why won't it work?' She flicked the switch impatiently. 'Why?' K9 didn't answer. Leela looked down. 'K9 sulking's emotional behaviour too, you know. If you cannot be curious, then you cannot sulk.'More silence.'K9, I'm sorry,' said Leela cajolingly. 'I didn't mean to shout at you.''Apologies are not necessary,' said K9, but his tail antenna was wagging gently.Leela smiled. 'No, of course not. Now, can you please tell me why the scanner will not work?''The Doctor immobilised the mechanism before he left.''He doesn't trust me!' said Leela indignantly. 'What's he doing doing out there?' out there?''It is time to conclude these formalities, Doctor,' said the Vardan leader impatiently. 'Sign the treaty!'The Doctor swung round. 'I never sign anything before I read it.''Then read!'The Doctor picked up the doc.u.ment and scanned it rapidly. 'You promised me complete control over the Time Lords.''You will have complete control.''But in paragraph four subsection three, it states that - ''Mere lawyers' quibbles, Doctor.''I've heard that one before,' said the Doctor suspiciously. 'Lawyers' quibbles can get you killed.''Sign it.'The Doctor sighed. 'Oh well, I've signed so many things in my lives... one more won't make any difference.''But it will,' said the Vardan softly. 'It will!'The Doctor produced an old-fashioned fountain pen from his pocket. ' Complete Complete control?' control?''My word on it.'The Doctor scrawled an elaborate set of hieroglyphics across the bottom of the doc.u.ment, straightened up, and bowed elaborately. 'I am honoured to serve the glorious Vardan cause.'A few minutes later the Doctor was being greeted with a barrage of questions from Leela.'Doctor, where have you been? What have you been doing? What's going on?''Sssh!' said the Doctor. He went straight over to the control console and began punching up coordinates.'Doctor, where have you been? been? ' ''Order K9 to tell you to shut up!''K9 tell me to shut up? How dare you!'Taking Leela's repet.i.tion as an order, K9 glided over to her. 'Please adopt silent mode, Mistress.''Now look here, K9...'The blaster extruded from beneath K9's nose. 'Imperative, Mistress.'Leela knew the blaster would only be set on stun, but being stunned by K9 was quite an unpleasant experience.Leela shut up.The Castellan's new suite of offices was an elaborate affair of transparent plastic and gleaming metal, with complex control consoles and brightly flickering vision screens everywhere. It was over-technological even by Time Lord standards, but Kelner, the new Castellan felt it helped to maintain his image. (The newly-formed Castellan's Bodyguard Squad served the same purpose) Kelner was a thin-faced, nervous, rather insecure Time Lord who owed his position to a combination of good birth and political intrigue.Spandrel the previous Castellan, now retired, had been content with shabby chambers in an old, run down quarter of the Capitol. But then, Spandrel had been a tough, no nonsense character, who felt no need to keep up appearances. Kelner was very different.The new Castellan sat behind an enormous desk in his inner sanctum. The outer offices held his various a.s.sistants. Chief among them was a handsome young Time Lord called Andred, Commander of the Chancellery Guard. Andred was seldom to be found at his desk. He didn't much care for Kelner, and took good care that his various duties kept him out and about in the enormous sprawling Capitol, the city-sized complex of buildings that was the seat of all Time Lord government.At this particular moment Andred was at his desk for once, which was fortunate since an urgent and alarming message had just arrived.Andred was impatiently demanding further details from the speaker on the other end of the communications circuit. 'Speak up, man. Where? When - no relative relative time, fool! Thank you!' Andred sat frowning for a moment. Much as he loved the grandeur of his position, Castellan Kelner didn't really like to be troubled with actual work. He would reprove you for bothering him with trivia - and complain even more savagely if he wasn't told everything he needed to know. Andred rose, and went into the inner office. time, fool! Thank you!' Andred sat frowning for a moment. Much as he loved the grandeur of his position, Castellan Kelner didn't really like to be troubled with actual work. He would reprove you for bothering him with trivia - and complain even more savagely if he wasn't told everything he needed to know. Andred rose, and went into the inner office.Gorgeous in Castellan's robes, Kelner sat gazing into s.p.a.ce, presumably contemplating his own importance.Andred coughed and Kelner seemed to become aware of his presence. 'Yes, what is it, Commander?''A report has just come in, sir.''Continue.''Temporal scan has just picked up an unidentified capsule approaching Gallifrey.''Unidentified?' Kelner was displeased. Everything on Gallifrey had to be identified, docketed, regulated. An unidentified capsule was against all the rules.'At this distance, within our own Continum, the capsule, is still unidentified.''But it is is one of our own?' one of our own?''Long-range scan of molecular patina seems to indicate Gallifreyan origin,' said Andred cautiously. 'But it's still too early for a positive identification.''Present defence level?''Still on Green, sir.''No sense in taking chances, Commander. Go to Amber.''Yes sir. I'll need the code-key, sir.'There was a structure of multicoloured globes on Kelner's desk, rather like a laboratory model of an atom. Kelner took one of the little globes from its setting and handed it to Andred.Andred took the globe and left the office. Returning to his own control complex, he held the globe before a scanner. 'Main security? Commander Andred speaking. Please establish Amber Alert immediately.'There was a brief musical bleep from the console as the command code was recorded and accepted.The Doctor and K9 were alone in the control room. Leela had gone off in a huff.The Doctor was studying his control console. 'They've put an Amber Alert on me! An Amber Alert! Cheek!'K9 was baffled. He wasn't programmed for slang. 'Cheek, Master?''Yes, cheek!''Cheek... physical characteristics... humanoid facial component.''Wrong,' said the Doctor absently.K9 whirred and clicked. 'Data check insists definition correct.'The Doctor ignored him. 'An Amber Alert, eh?'It wasn't clear if he thought the degree of alarm was too severe, or not severe enough.'We have confirmation now, sir," reported Andred. 'The capsule is definitely Gallifreyan.''Then what is all the fuss about?''It's still unidentified, sir.'Kelner punched a control panel and a set of symbols appeared on the readout screen of his desk computer. 'Only two Time Lords are currently absent on authorised research. If you check their molecular codings...''I've already done that, sir. Neither of them match.'Kelner rubbed long, bony hands together in alarm. 'Then who is in that capsule? Unauthorised use of a Time Capsule carries the death penalty, Commander. See to it!'Andred went back to his console. 'Commander Andred to all Guard Leaders. An unidentified capsule is approaching the Capitol.' He paused, formulating his orders. 'If there is no sign of life, the capsule will be destroyed on materialisation. If a sentient life-form emerges, arrest and hold for interrogation.' Andred paused. 'If the alien resists arrest - kill him!'
2 The President-Elect
'Like a dog-biscuit, K9,' said the Doctor suddenly. 'Or a ball-bearing?'K9 was hurt. 'Please do not mock me, Master.''Where's Leela?''Immersed, Master.''What?''Totally immersed in H2O, Master.''This is a fine time to take a bath!' said the Doctor indignantly. 'That girl's got no sense of occasion.'Leela swam to and fro in a luxurious swimming pool that was only one of the TARDIS's many surprises. Since it was dimensionally transcendental, the interior of the TARDIS was virtually limitless in size. Leela had discovered the swimming pool on one of her trips of exploration, to the astonishment of the Doctor who had completely forgotten it was there. She used it often now, especially when she was worried. It seemed the nearest thing the TARDIS could provide to the open air.Leela was worried now, as she swam length after length with smooth, powerful strokes. The Doctor's strange behaviour seemed to be getting steadily worse. She couldn't shake off the feeling that he was heading blindly into terrible danger. Climbing out of the pool, she shook herself dry and went to find him.Andred paused at the entrance to the Castellan's office. 'They've estimated the landing place of the capsule, sir. Right in the heart of the Capitol. I think I'll go and supervise its destruction personally.'Kelner waved him away. 'Of course. And remember, Andred, an alien who can steal and control a capsule is dangerous by definition. He is to be captured, interrogated, and then executed.''I will see that all the regulations are observed, sir,' Andred stiffly replied, and marched away.In the war room of their flag-ship, members of the Vardan council were studying a complex flickering of symbols on a video screen. 'Interesting,' said the Leader softly. 'He appears to have landed.'One of the council said dubiously, 'Perhaps they will kill him at once.''No matter. There will be others...'The TARDIS appeared at the bottom of a flight of steps in one of the antechambers of the main Capitol building. The choice of arrival point was a worrying one, decided Andred. The Chancellor's office was very close.The moment it materialised the TARDIS was surrounded by a squad of Chancellery Guards. They waited, tense and alert, stasers trained on the blue box.The TARDIS door opened and the Doctor strode out.He stared arrogantly about him, suddenly appeared to notice the guards and favoured them with a lordly wave. 'Well, h.e.l.lo, gentlemen. It is nice to be back!'Andred gave a signal, and the guards brought their stasers to their shoulders.The Doctor beamed. 'Good, very good. I like to see a smart bit of drill!' He strode up to the nearest guard like some visiting general. 'And where are you from, my man?'There was just the right note of jovial authority in his voice and the guard answered automatically. 'Gallifrey, sir.''Gallifrey, eh?' said the Doctor thoughtfully. 'Never heard of it!'He strolled down the line and stopped in front of another guard. Before anyone could stop him he s.n.a.t.c.hed the man's staser, peered down the muzzle, then threw the weapon back to him. 'Disgusting, absolutely filthy!' He raked the line of guards with a withering stare. 'Call yourselves an Honour Guard? Disgraceful, a rabble that's all you are, a rabble, not fit to guard a jelly baby!' With a sudden change of mood, the Doctor fished a crumpled paper bag from his pocket and offered it to the nearest guard. 'Would you care for a jelly baby, by the way?'Andred came forward. Somehow the situation was getting out of his control. 'I don't think you understand, we're here to arrest you...'His voice tailed away, as he caught sight of Leela, who had suddenly appeared in the TARDIS doorway. He stood staring at her open-mouthed.'Good, good,' said the Doctor cheerfully, and he strode towards the door. 'Let's get on with it, shall we?'He set off at a brisk pace, and Leela started to follow him.The Doctor whirled round. 'Where do you think you're going? You stay here till I send for you!'Baffled and resentful, Leela stayed where she was, and the Doctor disappeared.Andred hurried after him. 'Number one section with me, number two, guard the girl.' Leela was left standing beside the TARDIS. The guards closed in on her.The Doctor strode through the wide marble corridors of the chancellery, Andred hurrying to catch up with him. 'Halt!' shouted Andred.The Doctor stopped so suddenly that Andred nearly b.u.mped into him.'Right you are. Lead the way!''Follow me!' ordered Andred, determined to show who was in charge.'Right,' said the Doctor amiably, and they went on their way.The Doctor glanced from side to side as they walked along. Much of the Chancellery had been destroyed in the events of his last visit, but it had all been rebuilt by now, and in an even more elaborate style. 'Thing's have changed a bit since I was last here,' he said chattily, and came to a sudden halt outside a heavy, ornately carved door. 'Ah, here we are.'Andred stared at him. 'That's the Chancellor's office.''I know!'The Doctor moved towards the door, but Andred barred his way. 'No one can go in there unannounced.''Then announce me!'Such was the authority in the Doctor's voice that Andred heard himself saying, 'Very well.'He opened the door and went into the office. It was a long, high-ceilinged room, richly but simply furnished. Behind a huge desk at the far end sat a tall hawk-faced old man in the robes of a Cardinal, reading an ancient scroll. His face was seamed and wrinkled and his hair snowy white, but his back was straight and his eyes bright with intelligence.This was Cardinal Borusa, now the most powerful Time Lord on Gallifrey. Since the a.s.sa.s.sination of the last President by the last Chancellor, Borusa had been both Chancellor and Acting-President, until such time as a suitable Candidate for the Presidency could be found. That had been some time ago, but as yet no suitable candidate had appeared.Borusa looked up, displeased at the interruption. 'Well?''Forgive the intrusion, sir, an unexpected emergency.'The Doctor strode into the room, brushing Andred aside.Borusa rose and to Andred's astonishment he actually smiled, holding out his arms in welcome. 'Doctor! What brings you back to Gallifrey?'There was no answering smile on the Doctor's face. 'I am here to claim my legal right.''What right?''I claim the Inheritance of Ra.s.silon. I claim the t.i.tles and honours, the duty and obedience of all colleges. I claim the Presidency of the High Council of the Time Lords.'Far away in deep s.p.a.ce, the War Leader of the Vardans looked up from the symbol-covered video-screen, dancing with its intricately patterned shapes... 'I believe we have chosen well.'K9 glided to and fro before the TARDIS console. 'Where is the Doctor?' he demanded.There was no reply. The TARDIS console, usually throbbing with life was silent, dead.'You are a very stupid stupid machine,' said K9 reprovingly, and resumed his patrol. machine,' said K9 reprovingly, and resumed his patrol.Andred and the guards had been dismissed, and the Doctor and Borusa were alone.'You do not dispute my claim?'The old man looked sadly at his former pupil. The Doctor had always been a secret favourite of his, despite a tendency to rashness and indiscipline. Now he seemed to have slipped over the border between eccentricity and madness. 'I do not dispute the claim, only the lunatic arrogance with which it has been presented.''Still the pedant, eh, Borusa. How you used to bore me when I was at the Academy. All those endless lectures on responsibility and duty...''Which obviously failed to make the slightest impression.''You taught me nothing. Nothing that instinct could not provide better.''Then you must trust your instincts.'The Doctor looked strangely at him. 'Yes... And you yours, Borusa.'There was an odd little silence.Borusa said wearily. 'Very well, I will do my best to persuade the other Cardinals to accept you as President.''I am am the President,' said the Doctor with simple arrogance. 'No persuasion is needed.' the President,' said the Doctor with simple arrogance. 'No persuasion is needed.''Politeness dictates...' began Borusa.The Doctor interrupted him. ' Is Is there another candidate - legally?' there another candidate - legally?''No. It was an unfortunate oversight.''Thank you!''I intended no disrespect.''Oh yes you did! Borusa, before you go, I need another lesson.''On what particular subject?''On the Const.i.tution.''You had that at your fingertips, the last time we met.''And if I hadn't, you would have killed me.'Borusa winced at the Doctor's accusation. There was an uncomfortable amount of truth in it. 'Not I, but the one who was then Chancellor..." he said defensively.The Doctor's previous visit to Gallifrey, the first since he had fled into exile many long years before, had been brought about by the machinations of the Master, his greatest enemy. The Master had a.s.sa.s.sinated the President of Gallifrey and fixed the guilt of the murder upon the Doctor.To escape execution, the Doctor had announced his candidacy for the Presidency, putting himself beyond the reach of the law. At the time this had simply been a legalistic device, to give the Doctor time to discover and unmask the real criminal. Nevertheless the Doctor had had been accepted as a candidate for the Presidency, the only opposition candidate was now dead, and no other candidate had ever been brought forward According to the ancient Const.i.tution of Gallifrey, the Presidency had therefore pa.s.sed to the Doctor by default. been accepted as a candidate for the Presidency, the only opposition candidate was now dead, and no other candidate had ever been brought forward According to the ancient Const.i.tution of Gallifrey, the Presidency had therefore pa.s.sed to the Doctor by default.'I stand corrected,' said the Doctor. 'The Chancellor would have killed me. Did you simply a.s.sume his post after his death?'Borusa flushed angrily. 'The Council ratified my appointment.''Without a President, the Council can ratify nothing.''There was was no President,' snapped Borusa. 'You were President-elect, it is true-but you chose to leave Gallifrey.' no President,' snapped Borusa. 'You were President-elect, it is true-but you chose to leave Gallifrey.''And now I have returned as President!' Borusa turned to leave and the Doctor snapped, 'A point which seems to have escaped you, Borusa. You haven't been given leave to depart.''Until you have been confirmed and inducted as President, I do not need your leave to do anything!''Then the ceremony had better take place at once.''It will be arranged as soon as possible - '' At once, At once, ' repeated the Doctor implacably. ' repeated the Doctor implacably.Borusa was too furious to speak. He inclined his head in the merest suggestion of a bow, turned and walked away.A picture of lunatic grandeur, the Doctor leaned back in his chair and smiled.With total absorption, the Vardan council studied the tracery of elaborate symbols on their vision screen.'An interesting encounter,' hissed the Leader. 'Perhaps we should reconsider our plans for the Doctor. This needs thought.''The plan has been made,' objected one of the council. 'Our course has already been decided.''I may reconsider,' said the War Leader arrogantly. 'The Doctor seems to understand discipline. He could be useful to us. Perhaps we should not kill him after all...'
3 Attack from the Matrix
'No discipline,' stormed Borusa. 'That has always been the Doctor's trouble.'The Doctor's orders meant that an induction ceremony had to be arranged with almost indecent haste, and Borusa had come to consult with Kelner.The Castellan had listened to the old man's angry recital with noncommittal calm. Kelner was first and foremost a politician. The new President, for all his eccentricities, seemed to be a man of purpose and decision, and, perhaps Borusa's day was already over. Kelner had no intention of allying himself with the losing side. 'Does the President-Elect fully understand the dangers? Does he accept the risk of induction into the Matrix without the necessary period of preparation?''He understands nothing, he accepts nothing.''No discipline!'Andred came in and bowed to his two superiors. 'Forgive me, sirs, but the President-Elect desires your immediate attendance.''Then let him rot in the heart of a black star!' snarled Borusa.'It is his urgent request, sir,' said Andred steadily. As if by accident, his hand touched the b.u.t.t of his staser pistol. Commander Andred was a soldier, with a soldiers's loyalties. His duty was to serve the ruler of his planet, and as far as he understood it, that ruler was now the Doctor.'A request is a request,' said Kelner smoothly. 'After all, Chancellor, it is only a matter of time before the President-Elect is confirmed in his authority.'The Doctor received them in the Chancellor's office, still in his mood of manic jollity. He listened with approval to Borusa's report; the arrangements for the ceremony had been put in hand. 'Only a matter of time, then, gentlemen. Still it's always a matter of time, Castellan, especially for Time Lords.'Borusa snorted. Kelner smiled humbly at the President-Elect's little joke.'Now then,' said the Doctor cheerfully. 'About my office...''Simply a matter of a few formalities, sir,' said Kelner hurriedly.'Oh, I know that. I don't mean the office of President, I mean my office, my quarters. You know, a room to sit and think in, somewhere to go when I want to be alone.' He looked disdainfully around him. 'I do so hate all this-squatting.''There are of course the previous Presidents quarters,' said Borusa acidly. 'He was a man of simple tastes, however. You might not find them adequate.The Doctor waved a hand. 'Then we must have them re-furnished.''In what style, sir?' asked Kelner.Before the Doctor could reply, Borusa said angrily. 'May I remind you that we are not your lackeys? We are Time Lords. I am Chancellor - ''Illegally!''I am a Cardinal, then. That, at least!''Oh yes,' agreed the Doctor contemptuously. 'That, at least. Now, take me to my office.'The office of the President adjoined the Chancellor's, and a few moments later, Kelner was ushering the Doctor inside. The rooms, as Borusa had said, were simply, almost spa.r.s.ely furnished, carved tables, a couch or two, a few ancient tapestries.'Oh no, this won't do at all,' said the Doctor. 'Still, the room has possibilities, I suppose. It will have to be completely redecorated of course.''Of course, sir,' agreed Kelner. 'Which style would you prefer?'The Doctor gazed round the s.p.a.cious room. 'Oh, I don't know. Early Quasar Five? A touch ofRiga?''The merest hint of the Sinan Empire?' suggested Kelner.'Second Dynasty, of course.''Of course, sir,' agreed Kelner.Borusa said disgustedly. 'Why not Earth, Twentieth Century? I understand you've spent a good deal of time there?''Well, yes, I did get used to the place. Even liked it at times.'Kelner converted the date Borusa had mentioned into Time Lord reckoning. 'Now let me see - that would be Sol Three... Relative date zero point three four one seven three nine eight nine.''On second thoughts, I think I'd prefer the style of the old Thesaurian Empire-zero seven three, I think, the time when there was all that wonderful lead panelling. It was their rarest metal, you know, the equivalent of gold on Earth.'Kelner bowed. 'But of course, sir.''Thank you,' said the Doctor graciously.'It will take a little time, I'm afraid."'Oh, we've plenty of that.' The Doctor glanced at Borusa. 'Eh, Cardinal - I mean Chancellor - Elect.'Kelner bowed. 'Will that be all, sir?''No. See to my friend Leela. Have her released, give her comfortable quarters, and suitable dress for my initiation ceremony. I shall expect her to attend.''Yes of course, sir.'Kelner bowed his way out.'May I also leave, President-Elect?' asked Borusa coldly.'No. We have things to discuss.''What things?''The redecoration, for instance.''I'm sure the Castellan is quite capable of dealing with that.''Oh, yes, quite. But I would be grateful if you could supervise certain important details. The good Castellan has flaws in his understanding, does he not?'Borusa gave the Doctor a sudden thoughtful look, but said nothing.'For instance,' continued the Doctor, 'his knowledge hardly extends to the characteristic Thesaurian style of the zero seven three era.''Zero seven three?''Yes, you remember, all those marvellous lead panels. Very primitive, of course, but so effective.''Lead is a very difficult substance to control...''Very few have mastered the art.''Then more must do so. Put your best craftsmen on it - immediately.''Where would you like the lead panels to be placed?''Everywhere, Borusa,' said the Doctor expansively.'Everywhere?''Yes!' The Doctor swept his hand round the room in an extravagant gesture. 'Door, walls, ceiling, floor - everywhere! everywhere! ' 'Leela held up an elaborate gold lame robe and studied it disgustedly.'That looks very good,' said Andred encouragingly.Leela crumpled the elegant robe and tossed it to the floor.Commander Andred sighed. 'Madam, please...''My name is Leela.''Leela, we have tried every style of female attire in the entire cosmos. May I ask what you would like?''I would like a quiver of arrows, a bow, a pouch of Janis thorns, and my knife back.'She reached for her knife, which was thrust into Andred's belt, but Andred caught her wrist and forced her hand away - not without effort, since she was almost as strong as he was. For a moment they stood locked in opposition, then Andred put forth his full strength and thrust her hand down and away. 'Madam - Leela,' he said deliberately, 'I have told you many times that I cannot give you back your knife. My guards were quite right to take it from you. All weapons are forbidden here, except for those carried by the guards themselves, for internal security.''You said the Doctor ordered you to look after me.''Yes, those were the President-Elect's instructions, Madam.'In fact they had been Kelner's, pa.s.sed on from the Doctor. Andred had accepted the a.s.signment with mixed feelings. It meant that he would be seeing more of Leela, who was so much more vital and alive than the cool, remote Time Ladies one saw in the Capitol. Her savage beauty had made a considerable impression on Andred. But he hadn't been prepared for her fiercely independent temperament, and he felt as if he had been suddenly put in charge of a female wildcat. Leela had been unimpressed by the luxuriously furnished rooms he had provided for her. Now she was rejecting all his attempts to provide her with a more suitable wardrobe.'I am sorry, Madam,' he began again.'Don't call me Madam!''I am sorry, Leela, but I cannot give you your weapon.'Leela grabbed a box of priceless jewels and threw them across the room. 'Then keep your fine clothes and useless baubles - and keep your President-Elect!'In the Chancellor's office, Borusa was finishing an account of the long and complex ceremony that lay before the Doctor. 'And then Gold Usher will formally introduce you to the Matrix.''Just the Matrix,' asked the Doctor idly - but his eyes were bright with concentration.'There is no just just about it. The Matrix is - everything! The sum total of all the information that has ever been stored, that ever can be stored... the imprints of the personalities of generations of Time Lords and their Presidents - their elected Presidents - will become available to you. It will become part of you, as you will become part of it.' about it. The Matrix is - everything! The sum total of all the information that has ever been stored, that ever can be stored... the imprints of the personalities of generations of Time Lords and their Presidents - their elected Presidents - will become available to you. It will become part of you, as you will become part of it.''Yes,' said the Doctor slowly. 'That's what I thought...'(The Vardan Leader watched the swirling coalescence of symbols on his screen and said, 'Prepare!')'But you know all this already,' said Borusa. 'Once before you have entered into the Amplified Panatropic Computer.''Yes... I didn't like it much.' The Doctor had only been able to defeat the Master's murderous schemes by linking his mind with the APC net. In doing so, he had entered a nightmare world, created by the rebel Time Lord who had been the Master's p.a.w.n. It was an experience that had almost cost the Doctor his sanity and his life.'The APC net is only a small part of the Matrix,' said Borusa warningly. The psychic shock of union with the Matrix was considerable, and most Presidents-Elect prepared themselves for the ordeal with a long period of mental training. It was typical of the Doctor, thought Borusa, that he was prepared to take the risk with no preparation at all.The Doctor said musingly. 'And when I have been introduced to the Matrix, I will have complete power?''More power than anyone in the known universe.''I'll put it to good use-the best use!''That is no more than your duty.'The Doctor smiled. 'Oh yes, quite so, Borusa. Quite so!'The Vardan War Leader rose. 'Summon the Commanders !''Full Alert?''Not yet. But the first phase is already nearing completion. We must be ready.'Andred appeared in the doorway of Leela's chambers. 'Please come now, Leela it is time. You'll be late for the ceremony.'Leela stood in the centre of the room, arms folded. 'I will not come unless you return my weapon.'Andred sighed. He took the knife from his belt and pa.s.sed it to Leela. She slipped it back into the sheath. 'This ceremony-it does the Doctor much honour?''The highest honour that our race can give.''Then I shall not let him down.' Leela remembered the complex ceremonies with which her own tribe marked the creation of a new chief. 'Are there duties for me? Rites I must observe, things I must do or not do?''There is nothing for you to do but attend and observe,' Andred paused. 'Oh, perhaps there is one thing, Leela?''Yes?''It would a.s.sist the smooth progress of the affair if you could refrain from killing anyone while the ceremony is in progress.''I will try,' promised Leela solemnly. She followed Andred from the room.The grand hall of the Panopticon is an immense circular chamber used by the Time Lords for all their major ceremonies. It is one of the largest and most impressive chambers in the known universe. The immense marble floor is big enough to hold an army, the domed gla.s.s roof seems as high above as the sky itself. Row upon row of viewing galleries run around the walls, and on the far side of the hall an impressive staircase leads down to a raised circular dais. By now the hall was filled with rank upon rank of Time Lords, all wearing the different-coloured robes and insignia of the different Chapters, the complex social family and political organisations that dominated Time Lord Society.As the hall slowly filled two very old, very eminent Time Lords stood close to the dais.'Undue haste is bad enough,' said Lord Gomer pettishly. 'Vulgar bad manners is if anything possibly worse. Why, normally it takes years to discuss a Presidential Ordination let alone actually a.s.semble one.' Gomer was the Surgeon-General, a man of rigidly old-fashioned views.Lord Savar nodded wisely. 'Unsettled times, eh, Gomer? Still, they say the time will throw up the man.''They say time brings wisdom too,' snapped Gomer. He stared pointedly at his ancient colleague. 'Incidentally, aren't you overdue for another regeneration?'Savar ignored the remark. 'I believe I have wisdom to fit my years,' he said complacently.'Just so, my lord,' said Gomer dryly. 'Ever hear of cyclic burst?''I beg your pardon?''The answer to many scientific problems may lie in the cyclic burst ratio,' said Gomer solemnly.'The Black Star protect us! What is a cyclic burst ratio?''Oh, it's just a little study of mine, a hobby. You do understand what a hobby is?''I may have come across the term,' said Savar loftily. 'But I fail to understand any significant meaning.''That does not surpriseme.' said Gomer dryly. Savar was not known for any unnecessary mental activity. Gomer persisted with his explanation, without much hope of being understood. 'I'm making a study of what I call wavelength broadcast power transduction.'Savar covered a yawn. 'Really?''I've noticed lately, say over the last decade or so, an enormous fluctuation in relative wavelength transduction over a particularly narrow band..."To Savar's enormous relief, a fanfare of trumpets announced the arrival of the President-Elect.Impressive in his long white robes the Doctor came down the great staircase and took his place on the central dais. Behind him came the appropriately robed Gold Usher, and behind him Castellan Kelner, High Cardinal Borusa, and the other Cardinals and officials.The Doctor took his place on the centre of the raised circular dais and the others grouped themselves formally around him.Andred had found a place for Leela in the very front rank of the spectators. She was impressed in spite of herself, with the immense size of the hall, and the ornately robed crowd. These Time Lords must be a powerful tribe. The Doctor seemed a stranger in his long white ceremonial robes, his usually cheerful features cold and hard. His eyes flicked briefly, but without recognition, over Leela in her place in the front rank.Gold Usher came to the front of the dais and held up his hand. There was total silence in the enormous hall.He began to speak, declaiming his words in a sonorous rolling chant. 'Honoured members of the High Council, Cardinals, Time Lords... Madam..." He inclined his head briefly towards Leela, and for a moment there seemed a twinkle in his eye. Then the deep voice took up its impressive chant. 'We are here today to honour the will and the wisdom of Ra.s.silon...'('We are near victory,' hissed the Vardan War Chief, his eyes fixed on the screen.)Leela's eyes glazed and her head nodded as the ceremony went on and on. Other Time Lords came forward and played their part, there were solemn incantations and responses, and what seemed like a recital of the entire history of the Time Lords. Finally Gold Usher came forward once more. Leela sensed that the ceremony was nearing its end. Gold Usher's ceremonial staff crashed down, the sound echoing thunderously. 'Is there anyone here to contest the right of the candidate to the Great Key of Ra.s.silon?'Again that total silence fell on the vast crowded hall.'By custom, I shall strike three times. Should no voice be heard by the third stroke, I shall in duty bound, invest the candidate as President of the High Council of the Time Lords of Gallifrey.' The staff crashed down. Once... twice... The pauses between the echoing reverberations seemed endless.('Now we have them,' hissed the Vardan War Leader exultantly.)The staff crashed down for the third time, and the echoes rolled away around the edges of the great hall. Gold Usher turned to the Doctor. 'It is my duty and privilege, by consent of the Time Lords of Gallifrey, to invest you as President of the High Council. Accept therefore the sash of Ra.s.silon...' Gold Usher took the heavy, ornate sash from a waiting guard and fastened it about the Doctor's shoulders.'Accept therefore the Rod of Ra.s.silonHe placed a slender metal wand in the Doctor's hands.'Seek, therefore to find the Great Key of Ra.s.silon...'He gestured towards an empty cushion, held by another guard. (The Key of Ra.s.silon had been stolen by the Master, and he had escaped with it after the failure of his attempt to destroy Gallifrey.)The Doctor reached out his hand and touched the cushion in a ceremonial gesture.'Do you swear to uphold the laws of Gallifrey? Do you swear to follow in the wisdom of Ra.s.silon?''I swear.'Another pause. Gold Usher's staff rapped once more and a plinth bearing a golden Circlet rose from the dais. 'Then I invest you Lord President of the High Council. I wish you good fortune and strength.'Gold Usher lifted the Circlet and holding it high moved over to the Doctor. 'I give you... the Matrix,' he said solemnly, and placed the Circlet on the Doctor's head.The Doctor stood there for a moment, the focus of the entire enormous a.s.sembly.Then his face twisted and his body convulsed. His mouth opened in a kind of silent scream, as he tried frantically to claw the Circlet from his temples...
4 The Fugitive
For a moment no one moved, as the Doctor writhed in agony before them.Then Leela sprang onto the dais, and hurled herself at the Doctor, knocking him from his feet. The Doctor fell headlong, and the force of his fall dislodged the Circlet from his brow. His body arched in a final spasm, and he slumped back unconscious.'Doctor!' screamed Leela. A guard pulled her away.'The Matrix rejects the candidate,' shouted Borusa triumphantly. 'Guards, seize him!'Andred hesitated for a moment, then led his men forward. Gold Usher barred their way. 'Stop! None may lay hands on the president!''The Matrix has rejected him!' repeated Borusa.'He is is the Matrix now. It cannot reject him.' And with slight panic in his voice he cried, 'Surgeon General!' the Matrix now. It cannot reject him.' And with slight panic in his voice he cried, 'Surgeon General!'Gomer hurried forward and knelt to examine the Doctor.'Will he be all right?' asked Leela.The old man went on with his examination, and did not reply. Leela waited anxiously.Borusa and Gold Usher were still locked in argument.'Surely you can see that this changes everything,' insisted Borusa. 'For a candidate to be attacked by the Matrix... it's unheard of.''There is no candidate candidate , Chancellor-Elect Borusa. There is only the President. The Circlet is the Matrix Terminal. It can only be worn by the President, therefore this , Chancellor-Elect Borusa. There is only the President. The Circlet is the Matrix Terminal. It can only be worn by the President, therefore this is is the President.' the President.'Stiffly Gomer rose. 'Moreover, Borusa, if you continue to stand there arguing legal technicalities, we shall find ourselves going through this whole boring business again, in the very near future.' Gomer was no respecter of ceremonies, or of Chancellors either.Leela realised the significance of Gomer's words. 'You mean the Doctor is going to die?''Very possibly. For the moment he has retreated.''The Doctor does not retreat,' said Leela fiercely. 'He is no coward.''The retreat is purely a mental one, a simple defence reaction brought about by a sudden and unexpected attack on his conscious mind.''You see?' said Borusa triumphantly. 'There was an attack.''Oh have the kindness to be quiet, Borusa,' snapped Gomer. 'The President needs both rest and skilled medical attention. I shall supervise his case myself. We need a place of absolute security - and quiet.''May I be permitted to suggest the Chancellery?''The Chancellery will be perfect,' agreed Gomer. 'Take him away.'Guards lifted the Doctor and carried him reverently from the Panopticon. Gomer turned to the Cardinal. 'As for you, Borusa, I suggest you cut off all communication with the President, prohibit all visitors and keep your tedious bureaucratic problems to yourself.'He hobbled off after the Doctor.'Impertinence!' fumed Borusa. He was more used to delivering rebukes than to receiving them.Kelner said soothingly. 'The Surgeon-General may be a little impetuous, but I'm sure his hearts are in the right places!'(In their war room the Vardans were conferring agitatedly. 'We are close,' whispered one of the council. 'So very close!'The War Leader said, 'It is still too soon. He has little strength.'One of the council said, 'Should he die, it will take a long time to replace him.''Too long. We must gamble upon his survival. Signal all Commanders to increase speed. We shall implement plan three.')The murmuring was louder now, and the crowd around the dais thickened as Time Lords pressed forward to see what was going on. Borusa raised his voice. 'Time Lords! The President is unwell. We have taken him to the Chancellery. Remain calm. A bulletin will be issued shortly. Please leave the Panopticon quietly.'As agitated Time Lords began filing out, he turned to Andred. 'Bring the girl, Commander. We must investigate her attack on the Doctor.''I didn't attack him,' protested Leela. 'I saved him.''The enquiry will determine that. Bring her!'The Doctor lay stretched out on a couch in the Chancellor's office. Gomer was leaning over him, holding a tiny crystal phial to his neck. The colourless liquid flowed directly into the Doctor's blood stream. Gomer handed the empty phial to an a.s.sistant and straightened up.'Well, Lord Gomer?' demanded Borusa impatiently.'He has suffered a ma.s.sive sub-mensan shock. I've given him a deranger dose but it will be hours perhaps days before he...''Doctor!' said Leela delightedly. Everyone looked. The Doctor's eyes were open.'Incredible,' murmured Gomer.Leela hurried to the Doctor's side. 'Are you all right?''Quietly now,' warned Borusa.The Doctor lifted his head. 'Ah Chancellor! What happened?"'You suffered some kind of an attack,' said Borusa cautiously. 'In addition to which, your alien friend here knocked you down.''No, no, it was the Circlet,' insisted Leela. 'The Circlet was killing him!'The Doctor sat up. He stared indignantly at Leela. 'What are you doing on Gallifrey?''You brought me.''Nonsense. It's forbidden to bring alien savages into the Capitol. Get rid of her.''Doctor, what's happened to you? It's me, Leela...''Put her out, Commander,' ordered Borusa.Andred took hold of Leela's arm. 'Out where, sir?''Outside the Capitol, of course.''In the outer world?' said Andred, shocked. The Capitol was so large that it covered most of Gallifrey. Indeed to a Time Lord, the Capitol was Gallifrey. The country outside was still surprisingly wild and primitive.'That's right,' said the Doctor implacably. 'Expel her!''No,' said Leela desperately. 'Something's happened to your mind, Doctor, I won't leave you.''Take her!' ordered Borusa. The guards closed in on Leela - but not soon enough.She broke free of Andred's grip, dodged round him and made for the door. Two more guards moved to cut her off. She grabbed the nearest, threw him against his fellow, and flashed out of the door before the tangled guards could disentangle themselves.'After her!' shouted Borusa.The guards lumbered in pursuit. Leela was already disappearing down the corridor.The leading guard drew his staser. 'Halt, or I fire!'Leela went on running, weaving to and fro. The guard fired - and missed. Leela turned a corner and disappeared.Andred came running up. 'Which way did she go?''She turned off down there, sir.''Well, don't just stand there - get after her!'The guards ran off. Andred raised his wrist-communicator. 'This is Commander Andred. Sound the alarm, and turn out all available guards. An escaped alien prisoner is at large in the Capitol.'A clangorous alarm bell began ringing through the corridors.Leela sped through the long marble corridors, guards close behind her. She shot past two ancient Time Lords who were toddling along the corridor discussing the recent scandalous events in the Panopticon. The guards hurtled around the corner in pursuit. They raised their stasers. 'Stop, alien!' But the two old Time Lords blocked their view of Leela, and they couldn't get a clear shot.By the time they had herded the astonished old men out of the way and taken up the pursuit, Leela had disappeared.Andred came back into the Chancellor's office to find the Doctor sitting up. 'That's funny, there's a ringing in my head.''I ordered the alarms to be sounded, sir. The girl got away.'Kelner bustled in. 'What is happening? Who ordered those alarm - ' he broke off at the sight of the Doctor. 'Your Excellency is feeling better?''Can't complain, Castellan,' said the Doctor cheerfully.'Excellent-and now, Chancellor, if I may enquire...''The President ordered his female companion to be expelled from the Capitol. She got away."'I'll take charge of the operation myself, Your Excellency,' said Kelner.'That's very brave of you. I warn you, Leela can be dangerous!''Have no fear Your Excellency, I shall see that she is driven out. Come, Commander.'As Kelner departed the Doctor said plaintively. 'I wish someone would switch off that awful ringing in my head.'Andred snapped an order and the sound died away.'Ah, that's better,' said the Doctor.Andred bowed, and followed Kelner leaving the Doctor and Borusa alone.The old man looked down at his former pupil. 'What exactly are you playing at, Doctor?'The Doctor grinned impudently up at him. 'A little more respect, if you don't mind. After all, I am President!''I thought respect was a quality you didn't admire, Doctor.''Ah, but that was before. I'd have thought you, of all people, would know me better, Chancellor.''You could never succeed in deceiving me when you were a student at the Academy. You haven't changed in that respect - and neither have I. But this is rather more than a student prank - isn't it?''Believe me, Lord Borusa, I've never been more serious in my life - in any of my lives. While Leela remains free in the Capitol, we're all in danger.''Isn't that a little melodramatic - even for you?'The Doctor yawned ostentatiously. 'Forgive me, my ordeal at the induction seems to have made me rather tired.'Borusa bowed ironically. 'Then you must rest, My Lord President.''Thank you, my dear Chancellor-Elect.'Borusa went to the door. 'We can continue our discussion when you have had time to rest - and when your alien friend has been captured and expelled. Meanwhile, I shall make sure that you are not disturbed.'Borusa went out, and the Doctor heard his voice giving orders in the corridor outside. He waited for a moment, got up, and then tip-toed cautiously to the door, opening it a crack. He peered out into the corridor. Two guards were posted outside the room.To keep others out, or to keep him in, wondered the Doctor. He could order them to go away - but would they obey him? Better not risk direct confrontation. His new and exalted position was far from secure.The Doctor began pacing about the room. There was a tapestry on the wall behind Borusa's desk. The Doctor lifted it gently. It concealed a door.'Can't fool me, Borusa, I knew you'd have a bolt-hole. Well done, Doctor!' He tried to open the door. It was locked. The Doctor felt in his pockets for his sonic screwdriver, and realised that he hadn't got any pockets - he was still in his induction robe.He looked round the room, and saw his own clothes in the corner, arranged on a stand. He hurried over to them... The guards outside the Chancellor's office crashed to attention, as Andred came along the corridor. He tried to enter the room, but the guards Presented their stasers, barring his way. Andred glared at them. 'Out of my way. I want to see the president.''Sorry, sir. No one to enter. Chancellor Borusa's orders. No exceptions.'Andred decided to save face as best he could. 'You know how to obey orders, I see. Good men!' He went on his way.The Doctor completed dressing, winding his scarf around his neck and jamming his hat on the back of his head. He produced his sonic screwdriver and attacked the lock. Nothing happened. He tried again. Still nothing. He searched Borusa's desk, finding not a key but a map, which he promptly pocketed. 'Even the sonic screwdriver won't get me out of this one,' thought the Doctor and looked thoughtfully at the Chancellor's empty chair, addressing it as though Borusa still sat there. 'Now listen, I've got a problem. There's absolutely no point in having another door to your room if you haven't got a key. Well, is there? QED Quod Erat Demonstrandum. Quod Erat Demonstrandum. That's Latin. Latin and logic. But an actual key can be lost or stolen, therefore you're the key, Borusa. Palm print? No, that's too simple. Retina pattern?' He glared hard at the empty chair. 'No... But you've got to admit, that you're very fond of the sound of your own voice.' He turned to the door. 'Open Sesame! I command you to open!' Nothing happened. That's Latin. Latin and logic. But an actual key can be lost or stolen, therefore you're the key, Borusa. Palm print? No, that's too simple. Retina pattern?' He glared hard at the empty chair. 'No... But you've got to admit, that you're very fond of the sound of your own voice.' He turned to the door. 'Open Sesame! I command you to open!' Nothing happened.'Retina print, palm print, voice print...' He looked; accusingly at the chair. 'But you don't like voice prints, do you? You always used to say there's nothing more useless than a lock with a voice print!'There was a whirr and a clunk from the door.The Doctor spoke again, managing to produce a very creditable imitation of Borusa's acid tones. 'There's nothing more useless than a lock with a voice print!' The door swung open. Behind it was a short, dark pa.s.sage.The Doctor went down it, opened the door at the other end and emerged into the anteroom to the President's office.Pausing a moment to get his bearings, he hurried off in the direction of the TARDIS.Leela was trying to reach the TARDIS herself, but she'd been forced to hide in an alcove by the sudden appearance of a squad of guards.Once they'd pa.s.sed by, she emerged - and heard somebody coming down the corridor. She ducked back into cover. Somebody pa.s.sed by.Leela thought there was something very familiar about those footsteps. She popped her head out, and was just in time to see the Doctor disappearing round a corner.Stealthily Leela moved after him.Andred was in the Castellan's office, punching up shot after shot on the Capitol's video system. There were so many corridors, pa.s.sages, antechambers and walkaways in the enormous old building that the chances of hitting the right one at the right time were very small, but Andred carried on trying, checking corridor after corridor in a random search pattern. Much to his own surprise, he came upon two furtive figures hurrying down a corridor. He looked up and called, 'Sir, I think I've found the alien.'Kelner hurried over. 'Where is she?''There, sir. She's with the President.'Kelner was outraged. ' With With the President?' the President?''Well, following him, anyway, sir. Line two, zero, two, sir.'Kelner punched the controls on his desk monitor, and saw the Doctor striding swiftly down a corridor, Leela some little distance behind him.Kelner switched on a communication circuit. 'Chancellor, this is Castellan Kelner. Is the President with you, by any chance? Still resting and not to be disturbed? I see... Would you kindly inform me when he awakens? Thank you so much.'Kelner looked up at Andred. 'Well, don't just stand there, Commander. Get after her!'The Doctor had almost reached his destination when a squad of guards came marching round the corner, heading straight towards him. The Doctor made no attempt to run. As the guards came level with him he flipped open his coat. 'Bow to the Sash of Ra.s.silon!' The guards bowed their heads in reverence at the sight of the gleaming metal sash, and the Doctor walked straight past them. The guards raised their heads to find their new President disappearing down the corridor, and a skin-clad alien figure hurrying towards them.Leela pointed towards the Doctor. 'I'm with him,' she said, and before the astonished guards could react, she had slipped past them and was following the Doctor.The Doctor hurried down the staircase that led to the antechamber, delighted to find the TARDIS still standing at the bottom. He sensed movement behind him, glanced over his shoulder, and caught a quick glimpse of Leela ducking back into cover. Quickly, he opened the TARDIS door and went inside.Meanwhile Andred had arrived and was interrogating his guards. 'Well, where is she?''She came this way, sir, but she was with the President - ''Probably heading for the capsule,' muttered Andred. 'Come on!'Leela ran up to the TARDIS door. It was closed against her. She began hammering on the door with her fists.Inside the TARDIS, the Doctor stood silently, waiting. He made no attempt to open the door.K9 was at the Doctor's feet. They could see Leela's face on the scanner, hear her anguished voice as she pounded on the door. 'Doctor, please, open the door! Please, let me in!'The Doctor didn't move.Beside him K9's head drooped sadly.Andred and the guards hurried towards the TARDIS.
5 The Betrayal
Leela heard a clatter of booted feet, abandoned her attempt to get inside the TARDIS, ducked round the back of it, and sped silently away.Andred and his guards ran in from the other side and rushed up to the TARDIS. A guard tried unsuccessfully to open the door. 'It's locked, sir.''She must be in there. If the President's in there too she may try to harm him again.' Andred studied the TARDIS door. 'These old type forties have got some kind of trionic locking device. We'll need a set of cypher ident keys. Get moving, man!'The guard hurried away.The Doctor said, 'Well, K9, what d'you think? How are we doing so far?'.'Too many variables for accurate forecast.''What variables?''Illogicality of humanoid procedures.'The Doctor grinned ruefully. 'Like me, you mean?''Affirmative, Master!''All right, then. How am I?'The Doctor stood still, while K9 scanned him with his scissors.'Cerebral circuits in functional order. Physical condition - dubious.''Thank you very much!'K9 wasn't programmed for irony. 'Risks taken appear to have been justified by results.''What are our chances if we proceed?''Actions so far indicate a success probability of thirty-nine point seven five.''That bad, eh?' said the Doctor thoughtfully. 'Are you sure?''Affirmative.'The Doctor produced the map from Borusa's desk. 'Listen, I've discovered the location of the security control room - directly under the Panopticon, level three zero.'K9 whirred and clicked. 'Success probability increased to forty-eight point three five.''That's better, eh? Not bad odds at all.''Any plan incorporating success factor below six five point zero is not advisable,' said K9 primly.The Doctor began pacing to and fro. 'Suppose I can throw a mirror cast? A shadow shift to create a false image for s.p.a.ce traffic control?''The plan is feasible. I suggest you proceed as follows - 'The Doctor held up his hand. 'Can I finish, please? I shall reflect the transmission beam off the security shield, feed it back through a linked crystal bank and boost it through the transducer.''I could not have given a better formulation of the plan myself, Master.''No, I don't think you could!''Possibility of your formulation being better than mine less than one per cent, however,' said K9 smugly.'You really are the most insufferably arrogant, overbearing...'The Doctor broke off, smiling in spite of himself. 'You know, someone once said something very like that about me!''Correction Master. Many Many people have said something like that about you.' people have said something like that about you.''At least no one's ever called me smug!''Correction, Master. Many people have - ''That will do, K9! Now listen... if you destroy Security Control after I feed in the doppler effect and eliminate the Red Shift then surely the Invasion must succeed?''Probability of invasion success under conditions described rise to ninety-eight point two.'The Doctor beamed. 'Well, what's a couple of points between friends?' He went to the TARDIS console and set to work.Leela ran on and on through endless corridors, across bridges and walkways, through cloisters and anterooms until at last she found herself in a corridor that ended in a big arched doorway.Cautiously, she moved through it and found herself in a small domed chamber. It held a control console, a set of monitor screens and an attractive, but bored young woman in Time Lord dress.Without looking up the young woman said calmly. 'Come in!'Leela crept forward drawing her knife. 'Where are your guards?' she whispered fiercely.'I don't need any.'Leela stepped swiftly forward and rebounded from an invisible barrier.The young woman smiled. 'There's a forcefield between you and me. Between me and everybody, come to that. This is one of the highest security rated rooms in the entire Capitol.' She looked up at Leela. 'You must be that alien everyone's looking for. Leela isn't it? My name's Rodan. Put that ridiculous knife away before you hurt yourself.'Leela sheathed the knife. 'The Doctor is always telling me to do that! Why do you not tell them I am here?''Why bother. That's their affair.''Whose affair?''The guards, the Time Lords, all the other boring people.'She waved at the console and the monitors. 'Do you realise I've pa.s.sed the Seventh Grade? Yet here I am, nothing more than a glorified traffic guard?''You are a guard?' Instinctively Leela drew her knife again.'Oh do stop cavorting about like that, it's so undignified.'Baffled and angry, Leela sheathed the knife again.There was a buzzing from the instrument console. 'Oh, not again,' said Rodan wearily. 'Excuse me.' She touched controls and one of the monitors lit up. It showed a series of brightly coloured dots moving across a dark background. Rodan spoke into a communications unit in the same bored voice. 'Traffic control here. Yes, I have them on tracking. Clearance authorised.' She switched off the communicator. 'Primitive s.p.a.ce fleet, neo-crystalline structure, atomic power and weaponry. On its way to blast some planet into dust, I suppose.''Then you must stop them.'Rodan was horrified. 'What? That would be against every law of Gallifrey. We never interfere, you know, only observe.''What if they were to attack you?''Then they would be very stupid. Nothing - nothing - can get past the transduction barrier.' She yawned. 'Personally I find astrophysics a huge bore, don't you?'Leela nodded dumbly.Rodan said, 'Oh good, I knew I'd like you! Why don't you come in?' She touched a control, the invisible barrier vanished, and Leela fell into the room.The Doctor looked up from the TARDIS console. 'K9, it's time for you to go and destroy the transduction barrier. Give me a few minutes to get away, and then set off.''Affirmative.''Good luck, K9,' said the Doctor softly. He opened the TARDIS door.Andred and his guards were still grouped round the TARDIS awaiting the arrival of the keys. 'It seems to be fixed in this ridiculous shape,' said Andred amusedly. 'I wonder what it was imitating when it got stuck.'The door opened and the Doctor appeared. Andred and the guards came to attention. 'My Lord President!'The Doctor gave a start. 'Jelly babies,' he said mysteriously.'I beg your pardon, sir?''I'd left my jelly babies in the TARDIS.' The Doctor produced a crumpled paper bag. 'Try one!'Andred took one of the sweets and popped it cautiously in his mouth.The Doctor said encouragingly. 'They're a delicacy I discovered on the planet Earth...'Andred said indistinctly. 'That's Sol Three in Mutter's Spiral, isn't it, sir?''Well done, quite right. Do you like the jelly baby?''Delicious, sir.'The Doctor pressed a sweet into his hand. 'Have another! Anybody who likes jelly babies can't be all bad.' He lowered his voice confidentially. 'You won't mention our meeting to the Chancellor, will you? I don't think he appreciates jelly babies, he's got a frivolous mind.'Andred was baffled but loyal. 'If that is what you wish, sir, I shall say nothing.''Good! Now - have you caught the girl yet?''No sir. We thought she might be in your capsule.''No, no,' said the Doctor airily, 'there's no one else in there.' He took Andred's arm, leading him away from the TARDIS. 'It's absolutely vital that she's caught and expelled from the Capitol. Absolutely vital!''Vital, sir,' repeated Andred. 'I'll see to it sir. Guards, follow me!'For a moment the TARDIS stood there alone. Then Andred's guard bustled up carrying a flat box of cypher indent keys. He was surprised to find that everyone had gone, and even more surprised to find that the TARDIS door was now ajar.Cautiously, he pushed it open and went inside.Since he was a Time Lord guard, he was not surprised at the s.p.a.cious control room within. What did surprise him was the dog-like metal automaton that peered curiously up at him.Dropping the box of keys, he reached for his staser pistol.K9 set his blaster on stun and shot the guard down. He glided past the man's unconscious body and out of the TARDIS.Kelner tapped lightly on the door of the President's office and pushed it open. Borusa sat behind the President's desk. Trying it out for size no doubt, thought Kelner, who had ambitions in that direction himself. His face a mask of polite concern Kelner said, 'My apologies, Chancellor. I take it the President is still resting in your chambers?"The hawk-faced old man looked up at him. 'He is.''He has been there all the time?''He has. And I have been here.''I think you should rouse him now,' said Kelner delicately. 'I should very much like to speak to him...'Borusa looked thoughtfully at him for a moment, then rose and headed for the door. Politely Kelner moved aside to let him pa.s.s.As the Doctor came back through the secret pa.s.sage, there was a rapping on the outer door.He heard Borusa's voice. 'Your Excellency, Castellan Kelner wishes to speak to you.'The Doctor dashed to the couch and flung himself down. In a sleepy voice he called, 'What? Oh, very well, bring him in.'Borusa and Kelner came into the room.Kelner said obsequiously. 'I trust Your Excellency is rested?'The Doctor nodded, and Kelner went on, 'I'm afraid I must tell you that the girl Leela has evaded our guards and is still in hiding somewhere in the Capitol.'The Doctor rose angrily. 'How did this happen?''A regrettable oversight on the part of the guards
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