The Big Scream Blues

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Welcome to The Big Scream Blues – Stories From the Day After Tomorrow . Some will be serious some will be funny (I hope) Some may even stray into Modern Noir . . .

Episode One – The Big Scream

The  city glittered as the light dimmed in the oncoming  twilight. It was just moments before the glow of dusk disappeared and white arcs flashed into the sky creating a false daylight. Ellis scowled at the glare and moved back into the darkened box he called home.  The only source of light in the room – a small CRT screen. It displayed a list of food banks and their  hours . Beside this sat a stack of ancient and crumbling paper back books.

“Technology will free the masses but it won’t employ them ” he muttered . “ We’ve made the tools so well they don’t need us. “

He tossed his paper down, as it fell to the floor the headline could be seen. “WORLD UNEMPLOYMENT AT AN ALL TIME HIGH”. It was true,  a small handful of people ran everything – coded everything. Those who knew nothing of art  “created “ paintings from pre-programmed graphic selections, their vision being a conglomerate of all that has preceded them. Movies or Holos were more or less re-arranged chunks of past successes. Actors were stored now – they didn’t age from their prime unless it was required and then it was a digital enhancement. Of course their work didn’t improve either, but they were certainly more dependable and a lot cheaper. 

New works were discouraged. It might offend or set a bad example – it would certainly require the services of a “finisher” and the UN/PCA approval. One couldn’t help but believe that there was more humour and freedom during the Spanish Inquisition. 

Revolutionaries did lurk,  the UPC’s as they were called, but their methods and technologies were so painfully slow or had been so cleverly disguised that when the masses heard they understood nothing. They were considered little more than Gadflys. 

Ellis was one of these, he actually owned a manual typewriter. It protected his work as there was no way to access and edit it from the outside. Diaries and journals posted online were always suspect,  since they could be re-written. He also had,  if you can believe it, bound books. Of course he lived on the edge of the city’s refuse area, it was his job – one of the few that had not been mechanized – watching the discarded items – junk. It also meant a roof over his head and food credits and really that was all that he really needed. Food and a roof,  pretty basic stuff at least until the night of the Big Scream. 

We’d done pretty well,  survived plagues, HIV,  Corona, famine and pestilence. The air actually crackled with electricity on damp nights. That night ,  the night of the Big Scream. It had started in India,  a high pitched electrical hum. The noise grew,  traveling through the atmosphere until the entire planet was awakened by the scream of a banshee. Then all power completely disappeared.  

Ellis was startled,  the CRT screen had gone dark, the glow of the city was gone and in the starlight he heard cries. . . human cries. 

“Can’t be everywhere, “ he muttered to himself. “That’d be crazy. . . .they’ll fix it in a few seconds.” 

Seconds past,  then minutes and then hours. Something began to cast a clean bright light. He looked up and smiled,  the Moon. No one ever looked for the Moon anymore,  even he had forgotten.  Scrambling on the floor he found a candle, and a box of matches. The flame seemed incredibly bright in the overwhelming darkness.  Carefully,  Ellis made his way toward the city.

II

The quiet was frightening. It was broken by the occasional whimpers coming from the darkened  buildings. A few people huddled together at corners as Ellis and his candle passed, they seemed to be drawn to follow the light. He reached the public square and slowly climbed the stairs to one of the unnamed government buildings. He turned to face his followers.

“This is temporary folks,  it’ll be sun-up in a few hours and we can regroup. So relax and they’ll get it all sorted out in the morning.” 

“Who will?” asked someone from the dark. 

“The engineers, the techies. . . the ones that run it. “ 

“How ? “ came an angry reply. “I heard it ,  I heard the scream. It was  the world, the planet giving up.” 

Ellis pleaded , “Please,  you can’t believe that. Even if it is world wide we can fix it.” He sighed heavily thinking of how few actually knew how.  The techies now didn’t plan the grids or design the systems so where would they even start ? 

Blowing out his candle Ellis sat down on the steps , his followers just watching him,  waiting for some word. 

“Just wait for the sun. . . “ he snapped. “I’ll find out in the morning.”

One by one the followers drifted away, and as the sun began to glow in the east all that could be heard was soft sobbing.

      III

A single ray of light poked Ellis in the eye. He squinted into the reflected glare. The sun had risen and now the city gleamed brightly. The sobbing had stopped and now the streets were clogged with people looking for some sign of a return to normalcy. 

Shaking himself, Ellis looked around the square then stalked toward a building with Power Maintenance posted above the door. He pushed the heavy doors and entered the building .

The interior was dim with only ambient light sources providing illumination of the great empty hallways. Looking at the directory Ellis found a listing  – Supervisor General – 40th Floor.

He groaned and searched out a stairway and  began to climb. Each landing provided another group of people – all with the same question. All unwilling to continue climbing and waiting for someone else to supply the answers. 

“What happened ?” he asked a group of people who appeared to be technicians. The replies were a grab bag. 

“We over-extended.” 

“China pulled too much power.” 

“A fuse blew. . .we just haven’t found it yet.” 

“We aren’t sure.” 

So he continued to climb,  finally reaching the 40th floor. The dim hallway ended with a massive door. Ornately carved figures of men and machines covered the surfaces,  more interesting was that light was coming from beneath the door. Ellis pushed it open. 

A soft artificial glow lit the room,  a room  occupied by a very large old desk and seated behind it was a very old man. He smiled a little as Ellis approached.

“The great and powerful Oz,  I presume” Ellis hissed at the old man. 

“Now how would you know about him ? “ the old man replied slowly, coming around the desk. “He’s been outlawed for years, not on the disks or the drives. Not safe, you know.”

“It doesn’t matter. I know. What does matter is that you have power,  and no one else has, and I mean no one else does“ 

The old man pointed to a large stack of black objects and laughed. “I won’t have it very long, son. Those are old auto batteries. The kind that didn’t work with the newer cars. That’s my power source,  but it does appear to be the only one. Haven’t been able to raise anyone else. “ 

Ellis paused for a moment,  battery power !? Could it restore an entire city ? Where were you going to get batteries? Would it actually reduce the creeping panic that would start again as the sun went down ? A very small world and grown very large and distant again and very scary. 

IV

Various groups of the UPC’s had barriers set up around the junk yards when Ellis and his followers showed up. Bright lights blazed behind them powered by banks of auto batteries.

“You have to share it, “ Ellis preached. “You’re proving that people have been right all along, that you are just as self -centered and insensitive as those you want to change.”

The leader of the group, a scrappy young woman walked forward. “They never shared power or ideas unless they were oh-so-bland and inoffensive. Inoffensive to the point of being Insensitive. I’m not afraid of the dark,  but these overly protective,  hypersensitives are. Maybe they are afraid of when the lights go out. That they are afraid and fear is not bland and not something you can package. Fear can be real. What are you afraid of ? “ 

Ellis looked at her and shook his head, “You have a point. People fear they won’t be able to eat and sleep in peace. The world they know is gone and nobody seems to know how to fix it. I’m a UPC but I have no desire to live in a stress torn city,  let alone a world. Riots are going to break out unless we get some power,  so are you going to let us have some of the batteries or not?” 

Slowly the other UPC stepped aside and Ellis and his band worked their way through the junkyard. In a few hours they had collected about 200 batteries and were moving back to the city. 

“If we find out the whole planet is out we’ll let you know . . .” Ellis paused. “When this happened. . . did you hear anything? “ 

The woman turned to Ellis with a jolt, as if being shaken awake and suddenly realizing that she was still part of the human race. 

“Oh yes, “ she sighed, “ It was like a moan,  a wail,  a big scream. So very sad.” 

Ellis turned back and shook her head, “I guess that’s what we call it then,  the big scream blues. It makes sense.” 

V

It had taken most of the afternoon to get the batteries working but by nightfall a soft glow was in the central square and a few of the most powerful computers were online and trying to activate communication with other places all over the world. 

VI

Life changed. It was mostly confined to small pockets these days . The lands between the city domes had a sprinkling of people but on the whole were deserted. They had tried to contact the London Assembly but there was no answer. The Shanghai and Tokyo Assemblies gave a weak response,  but all were suffering.

Ellis walked over to the old man, whose name,  oddly enough, was Ozzie. He smiled at him, “So it is world wide. . . .” 

“They never considered system failure, “ Ozzie said softly. “They reached the information superhighway – 5000 channels of information and communication. It was lovely. Everything was so fast, so accessible,  so clean and impersonal. If you could type you didn’t need to write and voice activated was even better. There were no more handwritten letters – really it was all electronic.”

Ellis grumbled, “ People stopped treating each other as humans should, with kindness,  with respect. We’re numbers – always accessible. . . reachable anywhere  – or we were. You couldn’t get away to think or create. If it couldn’t be   programmed, or hadn’t already been. . . it just wasn’t necessary.”

Ellis looked around , he had come to love the speed and ease of the systems,  yet he yearned for the forgotten crafts. The beautiful works of some monks’ illumination were turned into a program now, taking mere minutes compared to years to produce. Hand carved statues were mass produced. Everyone could be an “artist” if they desired. Even famous authors couldn’t keep up with the programmed novels and short stories. 

Maybe the Big Scream was just a form of spiritual Future Shock for mankind – the screech of humanities worn out brake making man slow down, take a deep breath and listen to the world around him.

Ozzie walked to the window where Ellis watched the twinkling lights of the city. It was a gentle twinkle akin to stars and not glaring artificial suns.  

“We just took some time out, son. Some of us have been trying to get that idea, to slow down, through for a long time  — seems mother nature just gave us a hand.” 

“It’ll come back though, just like before,” Ellis sighed 

“But we’ll know what we’re getting into now. . .”

“I wonder if we will. . . “ 

“Remember, each Renaissance came out of a dark age. . . only this time we didn’t  lose it all. Maybe, we’ll have listened and learned.

The next day there was writing on the wall, and the Mashusita-Guttenberg 4000 was under construction. 


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RUNNING WILD

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Autons ? or Angels  I wasn’t blinking either way and they weren’t moving but behind me, the gnome had started moving and that was trouble.  I had the anti-plastic,  and I could spray with only a quick glance away,  but did I want to risk the quick glance.  What I could do was a spray toward the oncomers, in hopes that it would slow them down.

Well that gave me time to take a quick breath. I pushed the mower toward the gnome with all my force and heard a crunch – auton then . . .but the other, the anti-plastic only slowed them, and like the angels they  moved fast. Exactly what were they ? I had asked himself but only got a note saying dinner reservations were made and he’d see in the 3021. There are times he’s just no help at all. I digress, I was running from angels that had decided to go plastic. I kept my eyes fastened on them,  and headed back to the house ,  keeping my back to the door when I felt a hand on my back.

Bam,  I was in 1939 again and on skidrow in LA. I didn’t even vaguely look like I belonged, but I survived the jump without too much damage, and with my VM intact. I hoofed it to my office and checked in with Marty – and thankfully he was there and a bit surprised to see me. I explained the angel/plastic problem and dug through my files for more information.  There I found a letter –

Well,  not a lot of help there,  more about the dinner reservation. Oh I knew why he was harping on that but that’s a much longer story. I needed to know when the angels adopted the autons – Autons were something that could be handled so with a full supply of anti-plastic and some mylar mirrors I told Marty to order a pizza and I would be back.

Back in 1963 and not exactly where I left off,  but close enough. A short trip back up the road, the Angelkins ? Autonels ? the hybrids were moving toward the stairs ,  I must not have been gone very long. I wanted to talk to them,  find out more but I had a bad feeling about the situation,  but maybe there was something I could use. The right of parlay.

” Hey there,” I called out loudly, best to present a strong face. ” Under article 15 of the Shadow Proclamation I demand the name and planet of origin of this entity.”

The creatures looked at one another, and then at me. Speech seemed to elude them and then one of the “female” mannequins grunted out a sound.

“We are from the a planet you call  Osiris. It is what you call an exo-planet. We are losing oxygen and so we came here, at least for a time but you aren’t friendly. “

Well they had a point. I tried to do everything in my power because I thought they had other intentions. Still something wasn’t right . There were lots of other places they could have gone.

“So then,  what’s your real form ? I mean,  mannequins are clever but certainly not really friendly – “

“We are . . . ” there was a long pause . . .    and then the  mannequin became a cloud of blue sparkling smoke.

“Ah, I can see where that might be a bit of a problem. I do have a friend that might help you.”

“We do not need help”

“Are you leaving ? ” I really had no choice other than to be blunt., and I really felt strange talking to smoke.

It wavered . Everything around us became still. I waited, knowing full well that the anti-plastic was useless. These were creatures that would inhabit inanimate objects and they had no intention of leaving.

“You must leave, this planet it’s not good for those who live here. You won’t be able to make a home here.”

I could almost feel them laughing . I sounded desperate, and I was. Desperation was not a new feeling but a rare one. My mind was racing, I needed to know what they wanted. I didn’t buy the refugee story, they were after something else.

“I don’t believe you. There must be something else.”

They looked at me and began moving. “We gained something from the Angels. We absorb energy. We just need a minimum amount to power these . . . Nestine I think that’s the word you had in your head. . . people fear the ones we found here. They will leave us alone or we will move closer.”

Now I had to laugh , humans fear many things but not mannequins, especially with such low energy and little movement. I’ve seen Autons that would make a time lord run but these – creepy as they were didn’t create much of a shiver.

“No, I don’t think so. There’s a lovely place about 4 light years from here. Move or it’s the anti-plastic for you.” I aimed the weapons and slid on my mirrored sunglasses – and waited.

There was a subtle shift and then the mannequins collapsed and a blue grey smoke rose up and into the atmosphere. Did i trust them ? Oh no, but a few pops in and out with the VM proved they had left.

Now to set the VM and get home to London for Christmas. Happy Holidays everyone .

Everybody says Don’t

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“Don’t” that’s all it said . Who thinks they can tell me what not to do ? Sending a message on psychic paper at that ! Really I only know a few people who would do that and one that would do it and then go and do whatever the hell he wanted to anyway. I suppose Marty but what would he know about what was happening here in the 60’s from 1939. Unless. . .it started further back. Did “don’t” mean don’t go forward – don’t investigate – I thought as hard as I could at the psychic paper – “WHO ARE YOU?” “DON’T DO WHAT ” but the answer wasn’t coming.

Patience isn’t one of my strong points. I put the paper back in my pocket and looked around my new home. So maybe it wasn’t time to visit the neighbors but I did want a closer look at that strange little garden gnome. I was laughing to myself , an auton gnome ? Or was it an angel – far more dangerous. Whichever it was it was amazingly quick. I did however, have an idea.

A lawn mower – the grass was far too high and a little gardening could be fun and make it a little harder for my little friend with the pointed hat, whatever he was. I would take a few moments and make some anti-plastic to be on the safe side . My suspicion was auton, but I certainly didn’t want to make a mistake. Size wise it would only be a space displacement but being thrown across town to who knows where wasn’t in my itinerary either.

I headed into town and bought a small power mower and a bottle for spraying weeds. The bottle was tricky – metal and grass with rubber. No plastic, that would be a useless for anti-plastic, don’t you think ?

Sunrise, and I surveyed the area, a tiny pop of red on the far side of the lawn. I fill the anti-plastic container and put it in a holster. I revved up the mower, and headed toward the red target. Angel’s weren’t going to move fast in the light anyway but it was better to keep looking at it. A flash of red was now moving in the distance – grass was flying – the lawn was looking much better. The gnome was fast though, the movement steady and that seemed to eliminate the Angel’s from the equation so I drew the spray bottle and ran toward the red cap.

I was close. I had the gnome in my sights – and then I heard a door slam, and pivoted to see the people – and I use that term loosely – the aliens, coming down the stairs. This was no time to blink.

Here’s to the Ladies who. . .

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You know, I’ve seen some strange things, but this left me slack jawed. Torn between walking in with guns blazing or running because if The Angels and The Autons had somehow created a hybrid, it wasn’t something I was ready to deal with. I don’t know that sweetie would have been ready for that either. So I stood still, not blinking, gazing into glassy eyes set into smooth emotionless faces.

The silence was deafening, and out of nowhere came the “ping” of a toaster. Just what were these things – Alien hybrids that ate . . .toast ? I laughed and slowly backed away, down the flight of stairs, never stopping, continually looking at the creatures. It was time to regroup, call Marty and try to figure out what was going on. I almost made it too.

A voice behind me, “You that Williams, lady? ” It was the voice that had answered the phone.

“You’re early, ” he droned.

“I called, and there was no answer. I was concerned .”

He turned and headed down the stairs , “The place I have is down here. . .come on.”

I bit my tongue, I wanted to ask him about the plastic people who, apparently,  ate toast. Maybe I should just wait and see, however that’s not a strong point for me. 

“What’s going on upstairs?” I really tried to sound innocent. 

He stopped, key in the lock to the lower door, “what do you mean?” 

“I smelled something burning, sort of like toast.”
He glared at me,  “There’s no one up there,  maybe you’re getting a migraine. .  .”

I touched my forehead and feigned a headache, “Guess you’re right, so let’s take a look at this place.“ 

He only grunted in response and opened the door. It was pretty much what I expected – dull, small,  in desperate need of paint and perfectly placed for me to investigate.

“How much ? “ I sighed. 

He looked me up and down in a way I didn’t like, but could only be to my benefit. “ I guess I can take $450 a month, and another $900 for security and last month. Take it or leave it.“ 

I agreed after telling him how big a hit that was for my teachers budget and after deciding he wasn’t going to change his mind about the price. I told him I needed to move in immediately.

 “Tomorrow is okay.” he grunted. I handed him the cold hard cash and held out my hand. 

“Key’s?” I asked. Again a grunt, and he dropped a set of keys in my hand.

“Silver is the deadbolt, gold is the door handle. $25.00 if you need to replace them.” 

A real champ, I thought, as I headed to my car to unload my teacher stuff, by myself. I really didn’t want his help. I wanted him gone so I could take another look at the creatures upstairs.

The problem with being from the future and from the past is the mail. That’s why I was surprised when the psychic paper I had picked up pulsed with only one word  – DON’T .

To be continued

All Our Tomorrows

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Lake Tahoe, not exactly the place you think of with Time Travel, Aliens and Murder are in store. Cool deep blue lake, quiet communities – actually the perfect place not to be noticed. My VM said it was 1963, the trenchcoat would do , but I would need a place to change into something more period.

Marty had said the last ad he’d seen was a house in South Tahoe, but it was being sold in the 21st century. Getting clothes would be easy enough, jeans and a good white shirt. There was never much to do with the hair. In the 60’s no one would care and by the time I hit the 21st Century, well it would be common place.

Marty had sent me a letter to General Delivery with the address of the house I needed to visit . It was on Primrose Road, he sent a picture so I could find it. Looked like a nice little place, so I rented a car and drove out there.

The place was the color of day old lettuce. Grass was wildly growing, and if it weren’t for the fact that there were no sounds of children, insects or birds you would assume it was simply a semi-abandoned building . Then you noticed the antenna, about 40 feet tall, and the only one in the area . I had seen nothing else like it . It was still early in this area’s timeline for this kind of tech.

I slowed down and noticed that deep in the bushes was a battered “For Rent” sign and a phone number. Closer examination showed the place was a duplex, even better to get in and snoop around. A girls gotta have some fun. So I drove down the road a little and with a few hacks in place , I was calling the number on the sign.

The phone rang several times before a sleepy voice muttered “Hello ?”

Always putting on a bright smile, I replied, “Hello ! I see you have a duplex for rent. Names Melody Williams, and I’m a school teacher. Can I arrange to see it ?”

There was silence, maybe I had been too enthusiastic, and I wondered if he would check my cover.

“Yeah” , the voice was terse now. Bothered. “Come tomorrow at noon. Give me a bit of time to clean up a bit. ” CLICK.

I looked at the phone in my hand and shrugged, heading back to a small motel I had reserved a room in. Tomorrow would be interesting – little did I know what was really lurking in that country home and I doubt if even my husband would have seen what was coming.

To be continued . . .

Does Anybody Know What Time It Is

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It was late when I got to the office – the streets were quiet and I really paid no mind. Dark streets were something I was comfortable with. I opened the downstairs door from the street, the stairwell was dark, I pulled a torch from my coat pocket, climbing the stairs, and reaching my office door. “ANGEL CITY DETECTIVE AGENCY ” painted on the door but scratched. Inserting the key I slowly opened it, the light switch didn’t work, had Marty not paid the bill ? I called out but no answer, it was then I saw the newspaper. The headline was a bit of a shock- FEMALE PI MISSING, FEARED DEAD – okay but the date was 1963 and I didn’t like the picture . It looked like I would have to investigate my own disappearance and what had gone wrong with my VM.

Go forward or backward ? Maybe the best place to start was the news story. For a splash headline, the coverage itself was pretty dull.

Melody Malone , female PI dealing with unusual cases has been

missing for the past 8 weeks. It is assumed that she

was abducted by a client. Her assistant reported the disappearance.

Not really flattering and speaking of my assistant – where was he ? There was a noise on the stairs , cradling the gun in my pocket I turned and flashed my torch down the stairs, clinging to the wall was Marty.

“Oh hey boss, I see you’re back” he was panting as he came up the stairs.

“Yeah, about that – something is wrong with the VM, because I was supposed to be here in 1939 about 10 minutes after I left. I’m back but what’s off. Got some better news for me ?”

“We got a postcard, well several . . . ”

“And ? Don’t leave me hanging. . . ”

” Well directions to a room , somewhere across town. . . but there’s something maybe more important, it might explain the headlines . . . You need to go to Lake Tahoe in the early 2020’s….”

Lake Tahoe – now there was someplace I had never thought about. As I write this – it might have been the right thing not to.

Beautiful spot for a Crime

To Be Continued

A Fixed Point ?

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You can’t go back and kill Hitler. If anyone knows that I do. Some things can’t be changed as much as we would like that to happen. People die, Rome fell, and the Romans were not all bad . It was the leaders , those obsessed with power.

Take Nero , please. Fixed point. Doesn’t actually fiddle, more of a lyre guy. He wasn’t there when that– fire started but he was a sociopath, a narcissist, really a bit over interested in his stepsister, who he did make his wife . . . fixed point can’t help her. Nero ? Well, he committed suicide after being tried in absentia and condemned as a public enemy. He pretty much accelerated Rome’s fall. Oh but he wasn’t alone.

Events in 2021 aren’t singular. One other Roman I’d like to point out. This one started out as a good guy, gave everyone citizenship, which, of course came with a price – taxes. Caracalla wanted to be like Alexander The Great , but he turned mean. Dios told me, (advantages of a time traveller )”He never loved anyone, but he hated all who excelled in anything, most of all those whom he pretended to love most; and he destroyed many of them in one way or another.”

It really never stops. These humans who abuse power, and mislead others . Certainly not limited to humans but really, we’re talking fixed points. Hitler ? We are told he took his life but not before leading his countrymen to perform atrocities, and mislead people with hate speech. After that war , people suffered silently for what they had done to other countrymen.

Recent events are fixed points now. Can’t go back on the timeline, but we can go forward and start to realize that there aren’t any aliens (well maybe a few) on this planet. It’s home to the human race and while they are determined to worry about credit for discoveries and/or deny science and destroy the planet – they all have the same genome – they are all human. They need to care about each other. All the ism’s – Racism, sexism, ageism will only hold them back as a planet and as a species.

How’s 2021 looking from the 51st Century ? You know the answer I have to give – Spoilers.

Crimes of Future Past- Chapter 7

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WRAPPING THINGS UP

Things are never all that simple. Yes, of course the off-worlder’s were successfully sidelined but we still had to get back to New York . Naturally, the ship we were in would cease to exist. I was sure it couldn’t be recalled to the last destination – Hawaii 1941, well, after I ripped out the wiring for return, more than pretty sure. I figured I could ditch it in the ocean, and then get Callum and I back to the meeting point before anyone else arrived (or never arrived) .

Callum looked at me as I explained my plan. He looked around the ship too, a bit of a hungry look.

“No, you can’t”. I knew what was running through his head. Time Travel, knowing the future and going to the past. “It never ends well, Callum. Let me get you back to your own time.”

“But one trip, 10 year’s back get some stock. . . “

“No. Time is funny about what you can and can’t do.” I knew how he would work the angle things, I also knew that I had looked at all the possible timelines for him. So he had to go home. “I can’t tell you the future, even though I know . . . spoilers you see.”

I was prepared for a battle but again he surprised me, nodding his head. Now the Mad man always did a thing with lottery tickets – but that always seemed dicey to me. Him and his “things”. I thought I would do something to prevent Callum from regret – later or earlier as it may be.

1990 was coming up , I hit the cloaking device and grabbed Callum.

“I’m sure this is going to be memorable for you, maybe a little too memorable, so I am very sorry”

“Sorry ? For what I’ve got a story I can dine on for years. “

“Well, no. . . ” and I kissed him goodbye. I had to, so much knowledge of the past and future – it just wasn’t safe.

He looked at me and smiled. I have no idea, well maybe some, what he was hallucinating. It kept him occupied. The ship was headed for the ocean and was starting to burn. Grabbing Callum by the hand I programmed my VM and BANG we were at the warehouse.

Travel by Vortex Manipulator is not pleasant for two or more. Callum was retching in the nearest garbage bin, so it was time for me to head back to the office.

1939 – 5 minutes before I left.

Marty was sitting behind my desk, wearing one of my nicer dresses.

“I can do that myself now, ” laughing I tossed the Fedora at him and he instantly shifted back to his original form. ” I have a little errand for you.”

Marty cocked his head, “Am I going as you ?”

This made me laugh, “No, do you remember the man from 1990 ? ”
“Vaguely. . . why”

I wrote rapidly, “Here’s some cash , go and invest in oh, AT&T. . . that will be around for a while – put in in his name- these are all the details. Nice guy, didn’t try to take advantage of time. Besides, doing that is my business. “

Marty smiled , “Ice in your heart melting, Miss Malone ? “

“Oh Marty, you know me better than that. I just don’t want him looking for me.”

I swung my legs up on the desk, and tilted my chair back. Time to find a new case.

THE END. . . .

Don’t go away, digging through my files for more. . . Happy 2021 Readers . . .

Crimes of Future Past – Chapter 6

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ADRIFT IN TIME

Time Travel, oh the stories I could tell, but right now I have to tell this one. The ship that they showed Callum was a hack job at the best, a wormhole jumper. Could easily go wrong and who’s to say I wouldn’t make sure it did. Just not now. Now I sat quietly in a corner – I mean this thing- it looked like a cargo ship with a time retrofit so there were plenty of places to hide.

Drak was really selling hard. Best way to create peace with an ultimate weapon, best place to find it hidden in the past. I have to give it to him he was a salesman. Callum balked a little about the Ultimate Weapon being hidden in the past, then again he was human and it takes time to wrap your head around time travel – even if you are from the 20th Century. I’d been hidden away long enough to realize that I would need to Choysp to get control of the ship. He was an auton so the standard peck on the cheek wouldn’t work, unless I juiced it up a bit. That was just a small problem and a drop or two of anti plastic in my lipstick should help with that.

I had to catch Callum’s eye and make sure he kept Drak focused. This was hardly what he would excel at and yet, he surprised me.

“So Drak, I don’t see the profit for me in this deal ? 1990 isn’t heading toward any major wars, some land skirmishes, I suppose, but really you’re trying to sell me world destroyers from what you are telling me.” Callum seemed to have something after all.

He continued to debate Drak while I crept behind Choysp. Thing about Autons, they tend to take on the characteristics of the species they copy. This one had been “human” for a while so I slid my hand over his shoulder and planted my .38 in his back.

“Hello, handsome,” I purred, as I planted a kiss on him. “why not let me drive awhile ? I’m so much better than you are.”

He didn’t put up much of an argument and with a few seconds to spare, I slid behind the controls and sent us to 1941, and Hawaii to boot.

Drak had however realized he had been played and wasn’t happy. He bolted toward me and Callum (bless his heart ) landed a strong left hook taking him off his feet.

“What are you doing ?!” Callum shouted at me, he looked confused and terrified.

“Hang on and be quiet, tie Drak up, there’s some rope there. ” I shouted, jerking my head toward the back of the ship. “Then hold onto something , we’re really going to take a dip in this dance of ours.”

I pointed the nose of the craft down and then leveled it off. Luckily, although probably more planning on the side of Drak and Choysp, there was a cloaking system. Going to go bouncing around time periods on Earth always best to have one. Some people may argue that, then again some people don’t remember how to turn it off and on. Moments later we set down just outside a naval base.

My plan was simple. Leave Drak and Chosyp here. Plenty of action. Not much chance of escape for them, but it would end the trade for a little while. There were rumours of Jack trying to warn people, but fixed points and all that. We had about 15 minutes to leave these two and get back to 1990.

Thanks to the Lipstick Choysp would follow me anywhere I told him, Callum hefted Drak over his shoulder and we headed for an entry gate. After explaining to the guards that we had found these two trying to cut through the fence while out on a picnic, we turned them over and legged it back to the ship. Only one more thing to do, get Callum back before the time he had disappeared. Easy. . .

TO BE CONCLUDED. . .

Crimes of Future Past – Chapter 5

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TYING THINGS UP

Now, I’ve had weapons pointed at me before. so I don’t get flustered easily. This was no time to start. I could kill him before he shot me – but that wouldn’t answer my question. Why not stop Drak Emag and Choysp Grey on this side of time ? So I needed to finesse this a bit.

“So why do you want to shoot me? At least tell me why you don’t want to stop the others ?” I tried to look innocent (which has almost never worked, but I do try) .

“You’re too smart for your own good. Think you can solve things. . .”

He pulled the hammer back, but not fast enough, I shot first , nice clean hole in my new trench coat. Please did you think I was keeping my hands warm ? My little snub nose .38 was accurate, and his hand jerked as the bullet hit and he dropped his gun.

“Sit down, Charlie. I’d hate to have to kill you. Just answer my question. . . what’s wrong with eliminating the suppliers. Send them back where they came from ? “

“It’s not that simple. Time travel and advanced species. You know yourself, various species have use this planet for scavenging. The Shadow Proclamation doesn’t approve but they can only be so many places at once, ” He paused and looked at his bloody hand and then back at me. “You’re a violent woman, I would not have expected that from an ally of . . . you know. . . him.”

“Yes, well I do things my way, and I try to keep from dying. ” I tossed a handkerchief to Charlie. “It’s only grazed, wrap it up. “

He continued, “If we eliminate them, now in the present they’ll come back. It is an intergalactic trading conglomerate. They have been on earth for years and are very happy with the arms business. Earth is great if you wanted to help the inhabitants destroy each other.”

I knew I couldn’t stop them myself but I could whisper in several people’s ears and cut it short before more people died. The object right now was saving Callum before he was just a blip in time.

Now was the time to make Callum save his own skin. I told him I would meet up with him and the two dealmakers – Drak and Choysp at 4:45 PM at the location they had given him. It was going to be tricky but with luck he’ll come back alive. Maybe not as far ahead in the weapons game, and maybe he’d have a change of heart, but he’d be alive and actually have a heart.

The sun was going down, and the skyline was glowing. Taking a cab across town I put my heels in a bag and slid on some black knee high boots, my skirt converted to a pair of trousers and I was set for action. They were meeting at an empty warehouse, Callum had just arrived with the Drak and Choysp – I hugged the the wall and stayed in the shadows , waiting to hear the pitch.

“So tell me, ” Drak hissed, “Have you ever wanted to travel in time and space , maybe take a trip to one of them cities they made movies about ? ” Callum stared at him and shook his head . “Well then, Mister, do we have a deal for you. . . “

to be continued . . .

Crimes of Future Past – Chapter 4

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A STEP TO THE FUTURE

Time was running out. I was reviewing every deal that Callum had pending and those that would impact time. There were a few dicey things but nothing that was outstanding except one investment. Something called Space-Time technologies. In 1990 ? Well I supposed it called for a little investigation.

What I found was . . . shall we say ahead of its time ? Maybe a century or two. Well there were two men, maybe not human, that I needed to dig up. I programmed a description into my VM and wasn’t too surprised at what came back. The Silver guy was an arms dealer from 45th Century, his goal was to speed up weaponry before its time, name Drak Emega, he was a human/Ice Warrior hybrid. Dangerous mix of killing machines. His pal was a heavy, more or less. The muscle and not the brains – name Choysp Grey- Auton for hire. I’d run across them before but 1990 was tad early.

The plan ? Well have Space-Time Tech introduce weapons they weren’t supposed to have, yet. Why, though, would they need to kill off Callum ? So that meant a closer look at his board of directors . . .and maybe a call to my “Uncle”. There were three men of interest , a Frank Jones, Charlie Christian and James Young. There was little to be found on their backgrounds – no rise through the ranks or inheritance to account for the power they now held.

A call to Torchwood ruled out all but one, Charlie Christian. Seems his date of birth was 1902. His picture however , was that of a 40 year old man. Now I know Time Traveller’s, and changing one’s face is one thing but the extended life span, that’s something else again. Even Jack gets a gray hair now and then. Charlie had been around 92 years and looked 40. I wondered if there was something else he could do.

The clock was ticking and I needed to find Charlie and talk to him, sweetly, of course. because you can catch more flies that way. So I’ve been told. Charlie’s office was on another floor of the building Callum was in. Two or three floors up. Nice view and a very retro office for the 90’s. It could have been a men’s club from the 1940’s with overstuffed chairs and I was guessing underpaid women.

“Miss Malone”, purred a voice as I stepped off the elevator. “I was wondering when you would come to see me.”

“Oh I always save the best for last, like to build up to a climax. So why are you killing people before they are born?”

“You’re very direct aren’t you ? If Callum lives, doesn’t disappear he’ll advance the arms race far too fast and far. If I just move him back in time, that’s worse. He has too much foreknowledge and he’s a clever man, he would use it. So he has to die.”

“Not so fast, stop the suppliers and we can save him.”

“Why, Miss Malone, would I want to do that ? ” and he slowly drew a gun from his pocket.

Crimes of Future Past – Chapter 3

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THE HUMAN FACTOR

Times Square, NYC 1990, such a different vibe than I was accustomed to. It was fall and there was a bite to the air but the city was alive. People were everywhere. And after checking some dates – one of them should still be Callum. He didn’t leave this time line until late November. So if I could find out why then I could stop it before dinner in ’39.

But first things first, find the living breathing Callum. His address was listed as being in the financial district of New York just off Wall street. A brownstone in Bed–Stuy, and there he was. Not suspecting a thing was going to happen , talking to a couple of people.

I drew closer to listen to the conversation.

The first man was tall, with silvery hair, a dark dress coat over a suit and tie. Overall believable but then there were the shoes. They were wrong. Cleated with a business suit ? I don’t think so. My husband has some odd choices in wardrobe but this wouldn’t even work for him. The second man was well dressed too, with dark hair , but wearing gloves. It was warm, cool enough for a coat but leather gloves ? I didn’t think so. I angled closer to hear better.

Silver guy was talking , really selling ” You need to see this place. This is a deal you can’t miss. It’s going to disappear unless you act now. ”

Callum snorted, “Mate there isn’t anything that hot right now? Where is this place that I just have to go ?”

“Just the other side of the bridge, near Jersey, ” the gloves chimed in. “We should go tonight.”

Callum, to his credit said no. He had a dinner engagement. He arranged to meet them the next afternoon. If I had my way, that wouldn’t happen either.

Mid Afternoon and I walked into Callum’s office, pencil skirt, side slit and v-neck jumper. The Trenchcoat was over my arm.

“Mr. Paterson, please. Tell him it’s Miss Malone and I have some urgent information for him. ” The secretary looked at me, and started to speak, but I cut her off. “It’s a matter of life and death, his. Get him now, sweetie. . .”

That was all it took. She stood up from the desk and walked to his office. There was a stall, and fed up, I walked in the direction she went and set eyes on Callum Paterson.

He looked better in his own timeline, for one thing he wasn’t looking like a scared rabbit out of time, for another he was as charming a wolf as I’ve met in a long time.

“Miss Malone,” he purred as he directed me to a seat. “My secretary seems to think you have a threat against my life. ” He paused, “or know of one ?”

I crossed my legs, and leaned slightly forward, “Mr. Paterson. . . Callum, I know that people want to transport you back in time and kill you.”

He laughed of course . It wasn’t unexpected until I pulled up my sleeve to reveal my Vortex Manipulator. “Anyone trying to sell you one of these ?”

His laugh stopped short. I was sure that somehow someone had been trying to peddle this as a way to make people disappear. Offer the mark a sample a trip to the past while the poor sucker disappears from the future without a trace They don’t come back because they are killed in the past. The killing part just never was mentioned to the “client”.

This wasn’t an alien plan so I would have to track down the humans, or possibly the future humans to find out what they had in mind.

“Meet me tonight, and we’ll both go to meet them, in the meantime, I need to see exactly how your living in the future is affected by you dying in the past, ” I blew him a kiss, winked to his secretary and grabbed the elevator.

I had five hours to figure out what was going on. . . If I couldn’t save Callum maybe I could save the next target.

to be continued . . .

Crimes of Future Past -Chapter 2

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Not What It Appears

So Callum was dead or would be very shortly. I knew the when and where and now I needed to actually look at the crime scene. while the crime was in progress. Being careful is part of my job, so gloves were pulled on, a camera was at hand and my .38 was in my pocket.

Chinatown is a bit of a maze. Trap streets, unnamed streets and dark alleys. And just ahead of me I could see Callum getting out of his cab. He had taken a room down here, but he wouldn’t make it. It was dark and rainy, I saw him head for the alley and then disappear. Not wasting a moment I was following him, into the alley. Pressing against the wall I moved down the wall watching who and or what was attacking Callum. There were no gunshots just a groan and and thud. In moments a black car shot past where I was standing in the alley. I ran to the body, there was very little blood, but there was a smell of acid and as I rolled him over one very clean shot and that handsome face burned. The bullet hole looked far too small, and I realized this was a laser. There was someone or something else involved. I needed to do a little time-travel.

I returned to the office , tired and wet . A Vortex Manipulator may be faster than a bike through traffic but it was pretty much a rough ride. I’d have to find something that would work well in 1990 as well. I did have that one carpetbag – bigger on the inside – I could take with me. I could keep the pencil skirts and grab a turtleneck – the stilettoes and trench were classic, and they stayed.

Marty looked at me, “You’re leaving ?” he cocked his head to the side.

“Well yes , and no. You keep my presence here and I’ll be back almost before you’ll know I’ve left.” I winked at him and programmed the VM and in seconds was in Times Square in 1990.

to be continued . . .

Crimes of Future Past

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PROLOGUE

A Letter to Mother

I hadn’t spoken to the parents for quite a while. Here I was living in LA in the 40’s and they were in New York, at least I thought they were. Time Travel can be so . . . irritating. So I mailed the envelope to the address I had in NYC, for delivery in 1970.

Enclosed was my letter

Dear Rory and Amy
I have set up shop in 1940. My assistant is a lovely humanoid named Marty. He’s a shifter. That may come in handy. We have an office in Hollywood. I’ve tried to become acquainted with the society here. You know books only tell you what they want you to know. Please see that my book, gets to Sweetie. Can you do anything about that cover ? I suppose not. I’ll see you, well eventually. I suppose by this time you know who I am. Everything is always in the wrong order.
Which is why I am letting you know I think someone is murdering people in the future to alter the past. Do be careful. All my love, Your daughter

If someone was killing people to change time, it was better not to leave a calling card – anywhere in time . If they were careful they could sidestep the “grandfather” paradox. I needed to be that careful as well.

There was a hint of fall in the air as I grabbed my hat and coat and headed to the Terminal Annex, near Union Station. Autumn in Los Angeles is unlike autumn anywhere else. Warm sunny days and cool nights, often with fog coming in from the ocean. Streets of neon illuminating the locations of the nightspots, the downtown area, alive with soldiers on leave, and an undertone of danger that was hidden or waiting to come.

The papers were full of war rumours , movie gossip and in the back pages stories of missing people. They weren’t important people. So no one cared. Well not exactly true – I cared . The more I read the more I cared. So I asked a few friends, people with the Time Agency to send me some newspapers . Newspapers from the future, about 20 years or so.

I was looking at the police blotter, around 1990 and noticed the disappearance of a Callum Paterson, bon vivant and well moneyed – one day on page one and the next listed as missing . I asked the Time Agency to check the records, there was a long go round about what was going on and whether it was angels. You know, for the City of Angels I haven’t seen many, although. . . well Spoilers.

Well moving ahead in time Callum is MIA, so on a hunch, I start to look at the recent, for me that was, news. There I find a John Doe that was found in an alley near Hollywood and Argyle. Funny thing- that John Doe was Callum, and he hadn’t even been born yet.

Bedtime Story (part 3)

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The boy and the Dragon recoiled in unison. The Doctor waved his hands and smiled as he lead a rather ancient looking knight out of the TARDIS. He had some battered armour, and several books with him.

“Might I have a cuppa tea?” The old knight walked toward the Dragon.

He then extended his hand and offered the Dragon a book. He blushed as the Dragon took it from him and handed him his cup of tea.

“It’s my poetry. They never mentioned you were a poet until this Doctor chap showed up. ”

“Well, ” The Doctor spoke softly. ” I saw no reason two poets shouldn’t meet. And I am pretty sure we can work out this problem .”

The boy was not so sure , “They are expecting a fight ! and a big one. ” They all turned and looked at him.

“What if, the Dragon was chased inside the TARDIS ? We could shoot out fire and all sort of smoke and debris. ”

They all looked at The Doctor as if he had lost his mind. Yes they knew it was bigger on the inside but would it hold a Dragon ? The boy whispered something to The Doctor , Sir George and the Dragon and they all nodded, and then they finished the tea and cakes.

Soon the Dragon spread his wings and the boy, Sir George, and The Doctor climbed into the TARDIS and headed to the location for the fight, Epsom Downs town square.

Flags were flying everywhere, there were people selling food and drink, and everyone seemed to be having a wonderful time. No one even noticed the TARDIS when it landed at the far side of the field. Honestly, if they had noticed they would have been sure there was something wrong with them because rational people do not see flying blue boxes.

The Dragon landed grandly, belching fire and blowing smoke, roaring for the crowd. He really was a bit of a ham, and loved all the attention. Sir George, astride a large white horse appeared from the other side of the square , just near the Doctor’s TARDIS. He waved to all the people and saluted the Dragon.

A hush fell over the square as Sir George and the Dragon charged each other, the air was full of dust and smoke and flames. Occasionally the crowd would see the Dragon and occasionally Sir George’s horse would race around what one supposed was the Dragon. Flames would shoot up as if to confirm that it was indeed the Dragon.

Sir George galloped his horse to the far end of the square and the Dragon rose to his full height facing him. In a cloud of dust, and smoke , and flame they chased each other and without warning ran into the blue box ! It made all sorts of awful noises and bounced around – the crowd watched as it lifted up and then down again – and seemed to fade in and out !

Of course, inside the TARDIS another pot of tea and fine sandwiches were being served to all by The Doctor, while the TARDIS was making a very life like Dragon head.

Without warning the doors of the TARDIS flew open and out galloped Sir George with the (fake) Dragon’s head. The crowd cheered and threw flowers , and then just drifted away.

Sir George walked his horse back to the TARDIS , where the boy, the Dragon and The Doctor waited.

“This is no place for you, ” sighed The Doctor. “We can’t fool them forever. I do know a place where you would be very welcome, if you’d like to go.

“May I go too ? ” the boy really didn’t want to lose his friend.

The Doctor frowned, “You’ll be missed or they will think you were eaten, but I’ll take you for a visit and when you get home , no one will know you left ! Sir George , you’ll never tell on us will you ?”

Sir George smiled, “Never crossed my mind. . . I’m a hero today, and if I understand properly, our friend, the boy will return tomorrow! I think I could use a hot bath, dreadfully dirty business, dragon fighting . “

So the boy and the somewhat reluctant Dragon traveled to a place called Siluria – where he became a famous poet , and after a year the boy was home in time for dinner.

Sweet dreams. . .

Bedtime Story (part 2)

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The TARDIS , it made a strange noise and the boy grabbed for a railing as if he expected a rough ride, and again he was surprised. He knew they were moving , and The Doctor seemed to be steering it somehow and he opened the doors .

“Go take a look , She won’t let you fall. Children are precious cargo”

The boy edged to the door, and a gasp escaped his throat “It’s so beautiful! “

It was beautiful. Rich green forests, castles hidden for ages and covered with moss, great stone circles all rushed beneath his eyes. Off to the side was the Dragons mountain. Or rather a place where the Dragon had decided to land. A deep blue lake surrounded by lush green hills and and forests and in the very middle of the lake, singing was the Dragon.

“Oh little box up in the sky , so blue and bouncy you fly, ” sang the Dragon, as he gazed skyward, and a tiny bit off key.

“Is he singing about my TARDIS ? ” laughed The Doctor. “Best I sit her down then and go and meet your friend. Come here, you can help me land her.”

He showed the boy a screen “Now watch there and tell me where to set her down. ”

The Doctor maneuvered the TARDIS to a flat little space, beneath a huge tree, while the boy muttered “move left” or “move right”. Once settled , The Doctor, taking the boy by the hand , led him to a kitchen . It was full of cakes and cookies, a pot of tea and a picnic basket. They grabbed everything and headed out the TARDIS doors, well, they almost made it out the doors.

In the corner of the TARDIS sat what the boy took to be a lute, it did have a long handle and strings. The Doctor, piled all the plates and teapot into the boys arms and grabbed the strange looking lute and a very long cord of some type.

“Hello ! Hello Dragon ! ” The Doctor was very excited . “We’ve brought tea and cakes ! I heard you singing and I thought maybe we could jam .”

At this point he began fussing about with the “lute”. It made several screeching noises and then he began playing something neither the boy or the dragon recognized . The Dragon did seem to be enjoying the beat, and started to dance a little making the ground shake.

The boy shouted over the noise , “He wanted to come and see you, Dragon. he says his name is The Doctor.”

The Dragon stretched his long tail around the TARDIS as he danced. The Doctor didn’t seen perturbed, and chuckled a little when the tail was swiftly drawn back.

“My old girl, she doesn’t care much for hugs, ” laughed The Doctor as he set down his instrument. “Now why don’t we have some cakes and you can tell me about this Sir George that has it in for you. You seem a pleasant fellow so there must be some resolution. “

Dragon smiled, which with as many teeth as a dragon has can be a bit scary.

The boy spoke up, ” The people of my village fear the dragon and so they have asked Sir George to come and kill him.”

The Doctor frowned, he liked the Dragon and thought about just taking him in the TARDIS to Siluria where he could have a brilliant career , but legends say that Sir George – later to become St. George needed to battle a dragon. Maybe he should talk to this Sir George.

“Friends, I have something to solve our problems in my TARDIS.” He stepped inside and closed the door , and in a moment he was opening the door, and had someone with him.

“This, ” said The Doctor very grandly, “is Sir George. He’s a fellow poet and I think you should talk .”

TO BE CONCLUDED

Bedtime Story

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Once upon a very long time ago – The Doctor was wandering about Stonehenge when he found some rather large lizard footprints ….which of course he followed . They seemed to be leading away from a cave and toward a village….and then they stopped .

The Doctor looked everywhere but couldn’t see anything anywhere. He saw a small boy and approached him. 

“Excuse me, do you know what made those footprints “ The Doctor asked. “They seem to stop before getting anywhere. “ 

“Well, “ said the boy,  examining the strange white haired man standing in front of him.” It’s a flying dragon – he just flew off”. The Doctor was very excited. A flying dragon, that was something new for him, well not really new but something he hadn’t seen in a very, very long time. “Well then,” said The Doctor, ” I simply must meet him do you know where he flew off to?”

The boy looked at this strange man with his hair all askew and a hoodie and a black sweater and tilted his head. He was friends with this dragon and he really didn’t know what this man wanted but he did seem odd and friendly and very excited, so why shouldn’t he tell him. He knew where his friend the dragon had gone he had gone behind the mountain where he would be composing all sorts of silly, silly poems. He was a little afraid for his friend the Dragon because there was a rumor that a great knight was seeking him to do battle. The boy scowled and softly asked The Doctor “Are you Sir George ?”

“Sir Who ? I’m afraid I’m not ‘Sir’ anyone.” Which of course wasn’t exactly true. Queen Victoria made him Sir Doctor of TARDIS and he had been married to Elizabeth the First…but he really wanted to see the dragon so…he lied.

The boy shook his head and smiled . He knew the dragon would like this fellow. He was just as strange as he was. The boy cleared his throat.

   “He’s up behind that mountain”, he pointed to a very large mountain, very green and quite far away.

    “I’ll have to take the TARDIS I suppose, would you like to come along? You can do the introductions “

The boy had no idea what a TARDIS was but he assumed it was some sort of wagon. He knew the mountain was a very long way , so he eagerly said yes !
Now the boy had never seen anything like the TARDIS. He didn’t even know what a Police box was, since they weren’t invented when dragons and knights were about. He followed The Doctor over some hills and to a lovely grove of oak trees, and there it stood, an old box with a sign over the door POLICE PUBLIC CALL BOX – it was the bluest blue, and seemed new and old all at the same time. One door had a sign with a lot of writing , “Doctor, what does that say ?” The Doctor looked and smiled – “It’s what she is, my ship, a Police Public, and that means everyone, call box. Free for use of Public. Advice and assistance obtainable immediately. That means help when you ask . Respond to all calls. What do you think ?”

The boy frowned, he had been following along. “What about the last line, in big letters ? ”

The Doctor scowled, “Pull to open, but it’s only that door no matter what she tells you.”

The boy only looked more confused as The Doctor snapped his fingers and the doors opened. The Doctor waited for the boy to respond to the amazing interior and the vast amount of space, but there was only silence and a quiet click as the door closed. Turning to face the boy he began to smile, the boy was completely drained of colour and his eyes were huge and round.

“Would you like a sweetie ? ” The Doctor said offering a tray with Jelly Babies, Jammy Dodgers, and cup cakes with silver sprinkles in the frosting. This helped immensely, as the boy seemed to relax.

“Do you live here ?” he asked softly.

The Doctor smiled, “Wherever I land is home”

TO BE CONTINUED . . .

ANGEL’S GATE

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It’s always the humans. Somehow, they always get involved. If there is money to be made, some human will find a way to tarnish it. I’m human, kind of , there was some alterations made before I was born, a little bit of Time Lord DNA. So I don’t think of myself as human.

The man I was meeting was definitely human. I looked at the card and wanted to laugh, or maybe cry, Simon Dolan. I would assume the brother of the Dolan who was my “client”.

“So this is a set up ? ” I was sure this was a rhetorical question. The brother was a patsy, the plate in his head was just an added touch. ” What do you really want ? ”

“We want more , more of the creatures and we can’t find the immortal ones”.

I laughed, “you think you can bioengineer immortality?” I turned on my heel and walked to the toward the light house.

“The Time Lords did. . . ” he whispered. “Why should they be the only ones? ”

I turned to face him. I was angry. The gall, I mean, the Time Lords were not exactly the best people. The one I knew seemed to be alright, but they were far from the most honorable of races. I’d read somewhere that their own history was dicey , but that depended on which historian you read.

“They’re all dead, ” I laughed. “So probably not a good role model. You promised , or your representative did, that I could take the Tardigrades and you would release them to me. What is that going to take ? Money ? Transport off planet ? “

“The Xweroe need to leave the planet. They need a few of the Tardigrades to help them change to find a new home. The rest can go free. ”

I tipped my hat back, ” The rest ? Aren’t you generous. Have you actually talked to them? They might have been willing to help if you weren’t holding them prisoner. ”

He looked at me as if I had suggested he scale the lighthouse. And that’s when his brother comes out of Angels Gate. He didn’t look well, he stumbled, clutching at his head. Throwing himself down at my feet, he screamed as he writhed “Get them out! ”

I dropped to my knees, fishing in my pocket until I found a strange looking little piece of equipment. Looked a bit like an eyedropper, but emitted a high piercing noise. I had cobbled it together with Marty’s help, we didn’t know if it would work, but I guessed now I’d find out.

The Dolan brother, never did catch a first name, started to twitch less as I touched the instrument to his head. Time dragged on but then, he relaxed, and the little instrument glowed. I heard , well something, and I imagine it was the Tardigrades. It was followed by the click of a gun.

“I see you’d like the Tardigrades for your client ?” I got to my feet and checked my seams, adjusted my coat and turned to face him. “I’m so sorry, I don’t think that going to happen. ”

I fired two shots from the .38 in my pocket. As I looked up, Marty in that gorgeous car was driving toward me. I’d call the authorities later, right now I was sending the Tardigrades to a nice mossy home.

The Shanghai Jester

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In an area, called Chinatown was a trap street. It didn’t appear on any map. Unless you knew how to look, well it couldn’t be found. They called it the Shanghai Corridor .

I knew who I was looking for, but only by name. I got a text from Marty with a description of the Xweroe. “They aren’t big, the head looks like a sea urchin, with the eyes deep in the spines, they move leaving a bit of a slime trail, multiple feet and insectoid arms. You won’t miss them. “

I wouldn’t suppose I would unless the street had a glamour, a way of hiding the actual identity of its occupants . I wasn’t hoping for an easy investigation, but I wasn’t afraid of what I would face.

The Shanghai Corridor was easy enough to find with the VM, but people on the street would see me seemingly walk into a wall, if they noticed anything at all. Once inside it was neon and glass, there was the flavor of the Orient, people filled the streets . Maybe they were people it was hard to tell. I was heading for the Black Lotus, I had a tip that this was where the deals were being made.

The music that wafted out the door was a boozy blue jazz rif. The place was crowded, some cloaked and others like the one I was looking for, stood out like a beacon.

“I’m looking for something special, and you look like someone that could help me, ” flirting with creatures like the Xweroe has got to be a talent even Jack, didn’t have. The spikey face seemed to part some of the spikes and there were eyes. I guess you would call them eyes. It spoke but there was no mouth – so maybe it was telepathic – but we communicated.

“What are you looking for, we have a lot to offer.”

“I want information, can you offer that ?” I wanted to get the Tardigrades free. I didn’t want to just purchase a few – I wanted all of them free.

“What is this information you are seeking, and why would I give it to you ? ”

“Your doing business in a trap street, and I can find this place, but the police can’t, let’s say it’s to your benefit to provide me with information”.

There was a moment, I thought I had overplayed my hand. This could end badly, kept running through my mind. I had been foolish and not brought back up. Squaring my shoulders I leaned back against the bar.

“So tell me, where are you getting them from and how are you transporting them.” Figured might as well not pussy-foot around things. Besides asking all right away, might open my chances at getting at least some of what I needed.

The spines of the head floated around the eyes – they seemed to narrow. This was either win or lose, as it extended one of the ant like arms , and in it was a card.

“This will tell you everything, but you may need to have many credits if you want to free your little friends” The card was an address in the port of Los Angeles, for all the alien overtones it seemed that humans were involved , after all.

ANGELS GATE, PORT OF LOS ANGELES, SAN PEDRO


Tiny Superheroes

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Tardigrades, they are really surprising little aliens. Sure the scientists on Earth thought of them as something that had originated there, but you know they are so bad at spotting real aliens. Still these little guys were tough, so whatever was trying to hold them prisoner must be tough too.

How tough were the Tardigrades ? Survive just about anything, radiation, heat, cold, pressure. . .they were amazing. Something thought they were so amazing they were capturing them. Marty sat buried in my old textbooks , from Luna U. I was seeking out someone trying to collect species.

Marty stuck his head up, ” There must be hundreds of civilizations that would love to clone these little guys and borrow what they have naturally”

I arched one eyebrow ,”Do you suppose its a consortium? Selling to the highest bidder ? ”

“I think it’s the Xweroe” he blurted. “they just collect things and they sell the DNA and chemists create improved species . They came by my home when I was young, but we were humanoid, we didn’t hold any interest. “

“How ? I mean the Tardigrades aren’t just that attractive, or that well known.”

Marty shugged, “You’re the detective.”

He had me there. My first mission would be to track down the Xweroe, and I knew of a strange little underground club with some very unique clientele. I was pretty sure that was where they were going to be . I straightened my seams, grabbed my coat, snapped the collar up. Marty tossed me my fedora, and I was out the door. I was headed for a place in downtown called The Shanghai Corridor.

Let Us Go. . .

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Who were the “us” . . .that bothered me right off. I kept thinking what my parents had said. Worse than New York. I wondered if I should drop a dime to “Sweetie”. Still a teddy bear in my eyes. He wouldn’t like that allusion, well depending on who he was at the time. Timelines were getting messier every day. Probably best I work on my own, at least for the time being.

The other thing on my mind was who had the “us”. Why did they need to be let go and would it be for better or for worse. I hoofed back to the car, and drove back to where Marty and Dolan were drinking coffee in an all night diner. Dolan looked more natural now. He looked up when I came in the door, frowned a little.

“What’s bothering you Dolan ? Maybe you should have gone to a doctor, but you came to a P.I. trying to figure out why ? I am? ” I was, because that meant someone knew I was in LA and they knew I didn’t chase cheating husbands and wives. There was only one person that came to mind, someone trying to fix time himself, So I looked at Marty and smiled I really wanted to see Dolan’s reaction when I told him where we were going.

“Let’s drive out to the Van Ness airfield. I have it on good authority that it’s being scouted for the Air Force, I might even know the man doing the scouting. You live out that way don’t you Mr. Dolan ? “

He nodded , and grunted. Marty helped him up and we walked back to the car.

“So Mr. Dolan, who suggested you contact me? Someone in Van Nuys . Someone associated with the airbase ? “

He grunted again, adding “Some fly-boy, had one of those things like you have on your wrist. ”

I knew exactly who I was looking for, kind of a childhood crush and father figure – sorry Rory – the man who let me steal his squareness gun and taught me to drink Hyper-Vodka, that original dashing bad boy himself, Captain Jack Harkness.

“Well, Melody. . . is it still Melody ? Why am I not surprised to see you?” He smiled, charming as ever, oh the time’s we would meet. Forget, and meet again.

“Well, uncle, why are you sending me clients? You had to know the City of Angels isn’t so full of Angels as it is , well, new and interesting aliens. So a man with a singing head. . . you tracked me down.”

He smiled, that smile. “I don’t have time, so to speak, trying to save some people from a bombing run. Next year, in time for Christmas. Picked up your energy – and his problem brain. ”

“So, you’re not staying ?” I felt a tiny bit heartbroken. It had been a long time.

“You’ll be fine, I’m sure I’ll trip over you, or vice versa. You have all that time to play with.” He leaned in and kissed me on the cheek, gave me a salute and walked into the fog.

How cinematic, I thought. I casually wondered, when we’d run into each other again, how he’d remember it. Time lines moving apart and then he wasn’t much of an uncle.

He turned, and said one more thing “Oh, the “US” are a microorganism called the Tardigrade, they’re the good guys”

Just like that, the fog closed around him again and he was gone. At least I had some answers , and even more questions to go with them.

Time in the City of Angels

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Los Angeles, sunshine and palm trees that hide a dark soul. It was a letter from my mother that made me move out to the West Coast of that sprawling giant called America. Of course, she had said New York times 10 but that sounded like Dad talking.

I had a figure that would get me a job in most of the fashion houses downtown, but I had a little scratch too, enough to set up an office. So I found one, corner of Cahuenga and Hollywood Boulevard, 6th floor walk-up. I hung my shingle ,if you will , and painted the window, M. Malone , Angel City Detective Agency. It was Los Angeles , after all.

Calendar said 1940, and that suited me fine. Uncle Jack had gifted me a Vortex Manipulator, on the occasion of one of his deaths, he was good handing them out that way. It had brought me to September, and the weather was glorious..

I would need a secretary, some smart boy. If he was pretty it wouldn’t hurt either So I placed an add in Hush Hush, just sleazy enough that any off world types could find it. I knew that there were a few here in LA. Working as stuntmen, or maybe monsters for the movies – no makeup required. My ad was simple – “M. Malone looking for boy Friday – prefer a non-local. Good pay – call 555-MELS” Now I just had to wait and see who, or what would answer the ad.

I didn’t have to wait too long. Within days I had my first case and a new assistant. He was a looker and had some rather special talents, he said he was a stuntman. He was also from Cygnus. So not a local.

The case , not what I was expecting. Something to do with a man receiving messages due to a plate in his head. . . It sounded like it could be fun.

What we leave behind – part 3

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The Creature, it called itself the Feather, wasn’t all that dangerous but I only saw the one. It was then I noticed the jars . They were oddly shaped but all of the same color and size. Eggs ! they were eggs. It was protecting a brood.

Copyright NASA

So slow, stupid Pond, I thought. All the wrong questions ! This was my chance to actually make contact with what could be the last mother of this race. So I took a deep breath and asked , “Are these the future of your kind ? Are you the protector ? “

Again the Feather glided to its search screen. All it entered was one word – PROTECTOR. The stinging stopped, but I could still hear it.

“Yes, protector. . . I am that thing. When the young are ready we will take what is ours.”

“What if we found you a better place ?” I searched my mind for a viable alternative. “The Trappist system they have some places and no humans living there, It would be all yours. . . ”

“We would need to go now, the time is coming. When we breed we’ll take all.”

Well, I’ve always liked playing beat the clock. I promised to be back within the hour. I hurried back to the ship and told the Captain there would be a change in plans . His response was none to civil. That was until Jennifer came in the room.

Yes, Jennifer. Swim through the tube and get trapped, Jennifer. She looked the Captain in the eye. “My father pays your salary. Melody saved me, no thanks to you and your locked library. You need to do what’s asked”

“Oh you’re calling the shots now? So you go and get those creatures. I got a little space in the hold. Where do you think you are going Miss Pond ? “

“Trappist 1, and I can drive if you aren’t able”

I saw Jennifer take a sharp breath, but time was running out. “So Captain, are we good? ” He snorted in a positive way, but I didn’t trust him.

I pulled out my lipstick, the lower grade one, killing wasn’t in the cards today. I planted one long kiss on the Captain and he was more than cooperative.

I ran to the ship, thinking as loud as I could to the Feather. In a snap, it was standing , no floating beside me.

“We come now . . .? ”

“Yes, follow me, ” I watched as it gathered up the strangely shaped eggs into giant tube worms and followed me toward the ship.

“The new home will be hooman free” It asked.

“Yes, of course”.

There would be many years before that became a lie.

What We Leave Behind (part two)

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I know it shouldn’t have bothered me. Pretty sure it didn’t bother other people, but something just seemed wrong. Jennifer was safe and sound, on her way back to the ship, and I just had to set my mind at rest.

I scooted around the tube worm and the other things , jellyfish and stingers all seemed drawn to the same area. That strange little building sitting all alone. So I did what any curious person would do, I marched to the front door and knocked. The door, however, swung in all by itself.

It was an empty place, the occasional fish swam by, large oddly shaped jars lined the hallways, and a map of the home world. I first caught sight of it in a mirror, and turned to examine it. It was a search screen.

It made no sense. On every wall in every room was a search screen. I called out – hoping someone or something would show up. And something did.

It was tall and thin, the head looked like a balloon and the arms were all fingers . . . they made up most of the creature. I hoped it would understand me the suit had a “universal translator” and like universal remotes were sometimes iffy .

“Hello, I’m Melody Pond and I am a student. I wondered if you could tell me why you have all the creatures protecting this building. ”

Silence. But it’s fingers reached – or hands -reached toward the screen and entered “WHY ARE YOU SURROUNDED” . I admit it was a distillation of my question but something was happening . . . the screen was searching for an answer.

It dawned on me – I’d seen it happen on Earth prior to the . . . oh dear Spoilers ! These people had digital amnesia, a simple question they had forgotten the answer to. So I thought I would try another question.

“What are you? ” I thought this was simple enough. . . but this time it reached for the screen but one of its fingers wrapped around my wrist. I could hear it inside my head.

“We wait for food. The Phytosomes and the other creatures help us . We are the last of our species ”

“Oh no, I know that defense. I did my homework and there are others still living on the dark side of Dimidium, why are you lying? ”

” I do not know what you mean, our machine tells us we are the last”

“Refreshed the browser lately ?” This only got me a sting, but it opened my eyes too. They were so dependent on the information in the machine they had forgotten everything. They only had one purpose now. Survival.

“You will leave us in peace” Obviously it didn’t know me very well. I had decided it should go back to Dimidium I just hadn’t told it yet .

What We Leave Behind

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A life was in the balance, Jennifer’s life and it was imperative for me to find out what was being so heavily protected. Something was living in that building but I needed to know more about the people who built it. Who were the residents of Dimidium, and who, specifically, were the ones who lived here.

The Atlas Obscura wasn’t a lot of help. It said the planet had become too hot and when the temperature of the planet was estimated at 1000 degrees Centigrade and tidally locked it seems those who lived on the “light” side decided to flee. The orbit had changed over many centuries and the heat had risen. Those on the Dark side had dug down and lived underground – those on the Light side could not dig deep enough and fled the planet. They settled on Kepler 22-b , green and a rich gaseous atmosphere. The air so thick fish could swim in it. This is where they settled and built this edifice.

They weren’t alone. They feared the others on the planet and tried to protect themselves. I still didn’t know why. I suppose that the only way was to go inside the structure itself and confront whatever lived there. Time was running out , and Jennifer was about to become the Blue Plate special .

It didn’t take long to get back to the area, and ,thankfully, Jennifer was still in one piece. That would be points in my favor. I scanned the pyrosome looking for a weak point. I knew it was basically a colony of clones, and not really a worm, so after examining the area where Jennifer was trapped , I noticed a small tear, maybe Jennifer had fought enough to cause a rip and the it hadn’t regenerated yet.

I reached my hand inside, the jelly like substance stinging at my gloves, fumbling to reach for Jennifer. Her hand was swollen and I heard a low murmur of pain as I pulled her closer to the rip.

“Jennifer, can you hear me ?” She moved and moaned at the sound of my voice.

“Just get me out of here, my legs are going numb”.

I pulled harder and the gap tore wider. One more pull and she was free and on top of me. I rolled her off as she wasn’t moving well. Kind of an exaggeration, she was barely crawling. I threw her over my shoulder and made my way back toward the ship.

This wasn’t over, I wanted to know what needed protection on this planet.

Fog Fish, New Fish, Red Fish Blue Fish. . .

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So Jennifer was gone. . . I’d find her. This seemed a friendly planet. Maybe, I told myself , she’d gone back to the ship. Maybe she found another way into the building, I liked to think that she must be brilliant even if it was her first time off planet and she would be safe.

Getting past the worm, well that wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be. Looking more closely it wasn’t a single worm at all. It was a colony, and a jet propelled one at that. It was then that I found Jennifer. It appeared that she had tried to go through the worm, and she had gotten trapped. I radioed the ship. Maybe she still had a chance if I was careful.

These creatures, they all looked so pretty and were so deadly, but deadly wasn’t what scared me. What scared me was what would need such an array of them to protect itself. The guide books for the planet only said it was a temple of some kind, left by the first inhabitants of the planet. The question on my mind was did I have enough time to go, find out about them, and get back to rescue Jennifer before the worm decided the dinner bell had rung.

Getting back to the ship was easy enough, but I needed access to the library, and the Captain was keeping it locked. That might take a little flirting, after all Jack Harkness was my teacher in the fine art of saying “hello”. The Captain was in his quarters , and I knocked softly.

“Hello sir, ” I fixed him with my bluest eye, and licked my lips. ” I need a book, that’s locked up and I was hoping you could reopen the library for me.”

“What book ?”

“It’s the Atlas Obscura for Dimidium. They were the first settlers here. I need to find out what they built, there’s a building over beyond the shopping district . . .”

“And . . .?”

“And Jennifer will die if I don’t . . . “

Fish that can swim in fog. I love new planets.

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Fog. . .really just thick water vapor. On some planets though, the atmosphere is thick enough that fish actually swim in it. Best part of this field assignment was that I was on an expedition ship and the year was 4952. So here we were with my friend Jennifer. She hadn’t time travelled or travelled much at all. We were going to see some really strange places and creatures.

The first thing was to see the capital of the planet. It was like walking on a foggy evening in London, but with translucent and transparent fish swimming around your shoulders and ankles. There were glowing lights marking the streets and couples sitting on benches. People is restaurants, and all surrounded but the swimming fish.

Turning a corner, we entered a dark street and Jennifer stopped.

“Where are the lights ” she seemed a bit freaked out.

” Lights ? well this isn’t the main thoroughfare, there is adventure out there.”

She made a face , and I thought for a minute.

“Just come with me. This is a safe planet.”

Well, I’ve made mistakes before, and this would turn out to be one of the most interesting. I grabbed Jennifer by the wrist and picked up the pace. I wasn’t paying attention, there were less and less fish swimming through the fog. In the distance though, was what appeared to be a city, and around the city a giant glowing pyrosome – a glowing tubular worm. Harmless, I thought, and that would have been another mistake. Giant glowing worms were only the beginning.

Large transparent sea anemones, flanked the pyrosome, and red jellyfish floated by as we walked closer, and it was then as we approached what appeared to be a structure I realized that Jennifer was gone.

Saving a planet while getting an A

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Digging things up, that would be one of my many talents. Like language. Sometimes English isn’t that easy for aliens, there are nuances, so I was digging up what “burn” might mean, aside from the obvious.

Fires were not what the Cheem meant. It was burn as in “inflame”. The land had its small mines , but if the likes of Quatermaine were allowed to dig in here, they would bring disease to the locals, and ill health for generations to come with mining development. These were things we could deal with as the time came so I searched the maps for smaller caves, just below the glaciers . We could retrieve the raw stones , without revealing the locations for centuries to come. When it came to time. . . I had ways to deal with that too and a friend or two that were time-agents. Not something every student had access to.

So I dug out the maps. Told Quatermaine to start having the porters – not my idea but here we were in the late 19th century. I figure I can come back or who knows who might show up. I needed to talk with Jabe and the Cheem.

Running through the muggy and muddy tropical paths, the Cheem were still at grove where we had met them. I struggled up the short hill, until wet and muddy, I stood before Jabe.

“Honorable Forest of Cheem, I have searched all of time and know that you speak of the peoples here being burned, but I believe you mean inflamed ? ”

She raised one eyebrow, “The human tongue does not sit well with me, continue. . . “

I took a very deep breath, “These lands will be targeted for mining, but the humans will in 50 years realize that there is something more here. A person, a new climber named Shipton, will explore and save the peaks for a while. I have spoken with the others in my party, they will search in other places for riches. There are humans that will not be deterred. “

Jabe scowled “You have knowledge of the future ? How is this so. ”

“Well, I’m going to be an archaeologist, you might say I dug it up. . . but I request a boon. . . “

“What is the boon ?” there was hesitance in her voice.

“A single, uncut diamond from near the top of the glacier, and I will close the cave once I have it. “

It was only a nod. My boon was granted. The Forest of Cheem vanished as if they were never there.

I headed to the top of what became known as Mount Baker, found the diamond and headed back to meet Quatermaine.

“Sir Allan, I won’t say it was a pleasure, but you have helped to shape me. A word of warning, be careful who you admit to your League. . . “

He snorted “Go on girl, you’re stronger than my son, or wives, but I feel you are out of your own time. . . ”

He was right. My time to go back to Uni . . .

Past meets Future

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The mist had begun to fall and you could smell the pine trees and the smoke from the fire that we had built. The Cheem came from beyond an arch just above the camp. As always they were elegant and still warrior like.

“We are the Cheem, this forest is ancestral for our people , we do not mean you harm but you must not go further” .

Needless to say, this did not sit well with Quatermaine. He was only here for the new entrance my maps showed to the diamond mines. I , of course wanted to pick up a rock or two for myself, but I had learned to choose my battles with care. The Cheem seemed to have the upper hand. Maybe I could make a deal.
“Are you Jabe ? I’ve read a little bit about your people. ”

“Shut up, girl this is a man’s job” Quatermaine was livid. “what makes you think you can speak with these natives? It’s unlikely they can even fully understand our tongue” He turned on me, prepared to slap me “into my place” only a find a rather sharp archaeologist’s trowel lined up to his throat.

“They’re fluent in more languages than you are, and I’m afraid this is not a man’s job, at least not today. I’m not planning on killing you. That would only upset the timeline. But, you need to suck it up Allan sweetie, because you aren’t the one who is really calling the shots here. I wanted to travel with Henry Jones, Senior or Junior, but you were going the way I needed to go. So now sit quietly and let me negotiate with the nice alien lady. ”

He looked at me, mouth open and decided to follow directions. Good for us both – I didn’t have the time to argue and my assignment – finding the actual King Solomon’s mines – was due in the morning. They just never give you enough time in this class .

“I am Jabe, I have lived many years – I will live many more, you and the man search for minerals. You will burn the land. We cannot allow that. ”

I shook my head, I had no intention of going back empty handed and I was searching my brain for any reference of the burning of the land. There were fires , yes, nothing earth shattering and nothing here. But the Cheem were from the future, my eye wandered up to the tops of the mountains, all covered in snow.

” Jabe, are you saying that the glaciers are going to go away? Is that what you mean ? ” I hoped we were talking about global warming that would dissolve the glaciers in the early 21st century. She made a face and I knew I was wrong.

There was something here I needed to dig up. . .

It’s Complicated

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As if traveling in time wasn’t complicated enough, I mean classes are in the 50th century and field work is in the 19th. Now add in things that just aren’t supposed to be there and a cranky old man leading the expedition, well, complicated.

Certainly making things complicated

It’s not like I didn’t think other races had been to Earth, but I do believe that humans have forgotten most of it

So Allan and I were looking for a place to set up camp. He kept grumbling about my maps and how hard they were to read. I suppose I should have stayed with the older maps and just appeared to be very clever. It wasn’t easy with Quatermain, he, deeply ingrained with male superiority, and well, students were told not to ruffle feathers of people in the timeline, especially if it wasn’t our timeline. Which is why when they showed up I was surprised he didn’t freak out.

The Cheem, well they originated here on Earth. The Rainforests, but further in the future. We were setting up camp when they arrived.

“I’ve not seen your tribe before,” Quatermain stated, as if he expected them. ” A unique costume, I must say”.

“I don’t think that’s a costume, Alan”

“Don’t be silly, girl, of course it is”. My blood boiled at that but I bit my tongue. And that’s when the Cheem spoke. . . .

Who’s River Song ?

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So yes, I was shot by Hitler. . . and I regenerated. The Doctor caught on quickly , probably saving my parents life. and then the age readjusted. Dad got a headache, and put Hitler in the cupboard.

You know all of that. Why Amy was upset? I was a psychopath when we grew up together, it puzzles me. Still I tried to kill The Doctor, and thank you John Hart, for potent Judas Thorne variation of the lipstick. It was a part of a goodbye gift. He and Jack were going their separate ways.

I liked the new regeneration. More like myself. And so very excited that I ran and checked my weight. You know, those Nazi’s were snappy dressers ! I think Hugo Boss was the designer. And all those jodhpurs, are ever so good for adventure. And the age is good, I’ll whittle that down a little. . . freak out some people.

Hmmm, where were we … oh right, I went shopping loved the look , can’t wear it often, times do change…and then my parents needed help. Amy had single handedly made the Teselecta give up their ship and now she was stuck. This man that I knew, but didn’t know , kept calling me River. He told me to rescue my parents . He was trying to get to his ship but when I set out to kill someone, I usually succeed.

He pleaded for me to help them. Well he was dying so I went into that box. That box, so much bigger on the inside, and it spoke to me, whispering to me what to do, what to press , how to land . That box , it called me its child and suddenly I knew everything about her. I rescued Amy and Rory.

You know the rest. He asked me to tell River something, I was sure she knew. I am more sure of that every day. Amy showed me who River Song was – I tried to take it all in and when I knew the Doctor was worth my life , I gave it to him, with a kiss . He told me a secret.

Not much you don’t know. It took a lot out of me, and he gave me this blue book, my diary. But it was time to be off, and so I decided to go to Luna University – It would be years before I saw him again. . . but other adventures were waiting. . .

Hello, Sweetie. . .

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In a field , making crop circles, my mother would be screaming directions at my father, who tried to follow them. That’s what I envisioned was happening

The Ferrari was just sitting there. I caught the blue box appear in the general vicinity of the field, so I grabbed my gun, and hot wired the car. I was off. . .no cutting through rose gardens, not going too fast. It as all fine until I waved at a police officer. One that I knew a little too well, maybe three or four citations too well.

Amy was not exactly pleased

There were three very confused people when I arrived with the sound of sirens in the distance . Amy tried to explain I was their best mate, but The Doctor, he wanted to know why I wasn’t at the wedding . I explained I wasn’t a wedding person, and I didn’t want to tell him I was there , well from a different timeline ,to prime the pump of Amy’s Memory. The was a lot at stake that day. I suspect he knew something was up, but forgotten. Asked if I was married ! Well that was not getting answered, at least not the way he expected. Lots to remember , even for a timelord.

Be that as it may, I digress, sirens were filling the air, and I needed to escape. I pulled my gun on The Doctor, I was out of time and he had a time machine. He just had to ask where, always with the questions , so I kept it simple. “You’ve got a time machine and I have a gun. What the Hell. Let’s Kill Hitler”

Of course we were off and travelling through time – headed to 1938 . HE said my gun wouldn’t work in the TARDIS. So I had to check it out. Lies.

We crashed right into the Reichstag- and strangely enough, didn’t kill Hitler. Turned out he was a really lousy shot, and then things got really interesting . . .

Growing Up is Hard to Do

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Uncle Jack was gone more often as I grew older. He had a job to do and really wasn’t cut out to be a caretaker. He was a great help with homework, especially history, he’d been on Earth for quite a while. Now though, timelines were getting a bit twisty.

Amy and Rory were engaged. And then before I knew it they were married. I was at the wedding and yet I wasn’t – see twisty ? What happened ? Pretty simple – the Raggedy Man had shown up and taken them on adventures. I was being a badass in Leadworth and helping The Doctor save my mother from Weeping Angels , it all depended upon which point you were observing time from. Complicated.

Beginning , Middle, End

So here we are full-ish circle or maybe mobius strip. Amy and Rory appear and disappear in Leadworth. They do check in with me, but they marry and honeymoon in some very strange locations. Rory gets erased from the universe and returns as a Roman. Rory. . .still totally devoted to Amy. He waits 2000 years for her. I think I was in a drinking contest with John Hart – or locked up in the TARDIS or possibly both.

Not really of course, really they were different points in time. The 18 year old me couldn’t wait to see Amy and Rory when they came back from the honeymoon. It only seemed like a few weeks to me, several years to them. Amy had what I guess you could call a problem pregnancy ? A doppelganger of her had replaced her about 9 Earth months or shortly before going to find the Doctor at his invitation. She acted the same but something about her was bothering him. Her scans…well they switched.

Not really a spoiler, I was born on Demons Run, and kidnapped and taken to Earth in 1962. Ran away in 1969, was in a form of stasis for 7 years – and got to grow up with my parents ( okay- complicated)

So we can go slowly, when Amy and Rory came back and created the Leadworth crop circles, my timeline had me there too. Amy had said she was trying to contact the Raggedy Doctor who I hadn’t met yet. She said she had lost her baby and I knew it was time to get involved. I followed the signs and “borrowed” a red Ferrari and headed to where she was meeting The Doctor. You know I never knew at 18 that I was about to become an intergalactic criminal. . . best to sort that out. . .

My Friends as Parents

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It’s not the way things normally work. I mean you aren’t supposed to be older than your mother , but when your mom and dad are time travelling humans – things get complicated. That’s putting it simply.

The Ponds, as they would eventually be called or Amy Pond and Rory Williams, as I knew them growing up, really were clueless to who I was. I was just the new classmate with the strict but somehow absent guardian. He became more absent as I got older, but that was to be expected, he was a time traveller too. A fixed point in time.

When they finally caught up with The Doctor – for Amy 4 psychiatrists later. . .

Amy did nothing but talk about the Raggedy Doctor, and make Rory dress like him. Rory went along with it because he was smitten with her. He had been since , well, forever .

No one had believed Amy about the crack in the wall and the blue box, well except me. I knew way too many “spoilers”. That was going to become one of my favorite words but not for some time yet. Rory stood by her too, although the quiet and shy boy didn’t say much, I could see he would only ever have eyes for Amy.

I wish I could say the same for Amy. She was a bit of a flirt, and a lot of the boys followed her around. Still at the end of the day, she was the best mom, even though she didn’t know it.

Which leads us to the day I was late to get to a party. Eighteen was a great age. I had learned how to shoot since Uncle Jack said I would need it someday, and John had showed me how to hot wire . . . well everything. So I was almost never late and never caught, until. . . that one time,

I had promised Amy I would come to a surprise party for Rory. I was running late, because Uncle Jack was insisting I compile a “spotter’s guide” on The Doctor. In hindsight I imagine he was right, but I had a party to get to. So I dashed out the front door and down toward town.

The bus was just sitting there. I suppose the driver was on their dinner break . . . but there it sat, a city bus. It took only a few seconds and I had the engine engaged and well the shortest route was through a rose garden so, pedal to the metal, off I went.
I underestimated the amount of time it would take for the actual driver to call the police, and soon sirens and red lights were following my path of destruction.

So I called Amy, I was fairly certain Uncle Jack wouldn’t yell at her and, like a good mother, she posted bail and gave me a lecture about not causing that kind of trouble. I was lucky or someone important stepped in and I was let off with a warning . . .from the police. The one I got from Uncle Jack was a good deal more severe. Preparation for things to come ?

Early School Days

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Uncle Jack had laid down the law early on. Listening to his rules were. . .optional. At least for me, they were optional. I never missed school. Fourth grade was not a problem for me. Although after long conversations with “Mad” Amelia Pond. . . things got more complicated.

Amelia, was starting to prefer Amy as her name. Amelia, she said, was a bit fairy tale. Amy told me about the Raggedy Doctor. She said that he could fix anything and fight monsters. He sounded like someone I wanted to meet. Amy never stood up for him though that was left for me.

I had told Uncle Jack it wasn’t my fault, when the school called. The teacher was stupid. She had asked why the Titanic sunk, and really the only reason was what Amy had told me. They didn’t call The Doctor. He always came when he was needed and really, the teachers needed to do some homework.

So the principal called Uncle Jack, and when I got home he was not happy. That may be an understatement. He met me at the door, and told Amy to go home.

“The school needs to do their homework, regarding the Doctor ? He would have saved the Titanic ? You know now I have to explain to the school that you have a vivid imagination, and are prone to creating things out of whole cloth, right ? I can only hope they’ll buy it. “

“But. . . you know The Doctor. . . that Skinny-man . . . he came when you called for help.” I teared up, hoping it would soften him. It usually worked, not so much this time. He was pretty angry.

“Mels, you wanted to find your parents. Your best friends are your parents but you mustn’t tell them. The Doctor has a lot of faces, your friend Amy has seen a different face. Now you have to be quiet. ” He turned and started to walk way , “And do try, to stay out of trouble”.

I decided that trying to stay out of trouble would be an option too, probably for the rest of my life.

Pond No More

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Now my name was Zucker and somehow 7 years had passed and I wasn’t any older. Uncle Jack tried to explain but I was too excited to pay much attention.

We had a large new house, well it was a brewery at one time but Uncle Jack said he needed lots of room. So early in the autumn of 1996, Jack and his ward, Melody Zucker moved into Leadworth.

Well the house was amazing, we had plenty of rooms and, of course, Uncle Jack had them laid out as an shooting range, a place to practice martial arts, an art studio, and some rooms that I wasn’t allowed to go in. He said that was for work.

I was enrolled in school and soon became best friends with a little red-haired girl, Amelia Pond. I really liked her. She was feisty and always in trouble. Of course, she did go on about this Raggedy Man in a blue box and her aunt was making her see a psychiatrist after school because of him. She said he was funny and wore a bow tie. Certainly not the same person as the Skinny-man with the sticky-up hair, but this one was called The Doctor too. I asked Uncle Jack and he said what grown-ups always say – “we’ll discuss this later”

That was fine. I had a new friend, and we had this other friend Rory Williams, but he was only interested in Amelia. We had a lot to learn about each other, some of us more than others.

Little Pitchers have Big Ears

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Pretty sure I heard that from Kovarian , because I was always standing outside of her office door. I wanted to know what she was up to.

Of course , I was supposed to be asleep. Uncle Jack had tucked me into his underground bunk, and I pretended to sleep. I pretended to sleep until a noise caught my attention. I had heard the noise before, at the Orphanage, the night I ran away. It was a wheezing sound, and now I heard it again.

There was a skinny man pacing around the office. Wearing a suit, with sort of sticky-up hair and he was pacing . Uncle Jack was doing all the talking. How he found me, how he thought it was the Skinny Man in his machine – he called the machine a TARDIS and how he, Uncle Jack, knew who my parents were and how far out of time I was. I ran away on Earth, and my parents hadn’t been born, almost a 20 year difference.

The Skinny Man started talking. “I can fix this Jack, but you have to get involved. You don’t run this place yet, I shouldn’t even be here, and yet I am because there’s a child. A child whose parents are waiting to be born. Wellll, one of my regenerations is going to have a lot to answer for. So Jack, you are going to take this child – in stasis – to 1996. Get a house and change your name. You are now a family. . .”

Jack stopped and looked at him, “Raise a family ? You want me to raise a little girl, one that regenerated at that. Doctor, I don’t think I’m cut out for that.”

I gasped, he called this Skinny person Doctor ! I fell against the door, and both men turned to look at me. I looked at the Skinny man with the sticky-up hair , The Doctor . He looked a bit irritated with me, and Uncle Jack.

“You move to Leadworth tomorrow. . . and you, Melody, will be Pond no more. You are now the Zuckermans. ”

Then he was gone. That sound came again. I would come to love that sound. . . .

Welcome to the 1990’s

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The man, with the infectious smile was one Captain Jack Harkness. He insisted I call him Uncle Jack until he figured out “exactly who I was” .  When I asked when we were – he smiled – the year after your mother was born. Welcome to the ‘90’s .

Well when was one thing but where was another. It looked like no place I’d seen. It was large and dark and somewhere underground – there was a lift that seemed to go all the way up to the ceiling. 

I wandered about while Uncle Jack was messing about with some sort of machine he called a personal computer, and it was then I saw myself in the mirror. I didn’t look the same.  All the better I thought – so much harder for Madame Kovarian to find me . 

Jack motioned to me to come sit beside him. He had a lovely coat and wrapped it around  me. 

“Look here,” pointing at the screen. “This is your mother, Amelia Jessica Pond and your father, Rory Williams. They are about 1 and 3 right now. So you, Melody, are a bit of a problem.” 

A bit of a problem. . . so with my widest and most tearfilled eyes I asked “What do we do, Uncle Jack?” 

He smiled, “I have to talk to a Doctor. . . you have to sleep”. 

And without so much as a cup of cocoa, I was trundled off to bed. I really missed Sweetie.

Farewell 1969

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I was sick. I heard the man coming and thought maybe he could help. He looked friendly, but scared for some reason. Maybe it was just the area, had a large pram full of lots of things but no baby.

I pleaded for help. Honestly I knew I was dying, but something else was going on as well. I felt. . . different.

Maybe this was a mistake, but it was too late. I dropped Sweetie and shivered. The Man grabbed him and put him into the pram.

Maybe you remember what happened then, the man fled as I tried to explain it was alright and I wouldn’t die. What happened next . . . well I wasn’t quite the same girl.

However  I was still cold and wet and in an alley. It was then another man showed up. He was tall and dark, with a large grin and a coat that looked like it was from another time. He looked me up and down, bit his lip and then spoke.

“Little thing like you – lots of Arton energy. Just what, or who are you, I wonder. ”

“My name is Melody Pond, and I ran away to find my parents. ”

He laughed, he didn’t seem like other adults. He reached out and took my hand.

“Come with me Melody Pond, I’m going to find out just who you are, just call me . . . Uncle Jack, for now”

He pressed something on his wrist and the alley was no more. One thing I was sure of , this wasn’t 1969

1969. . .(part one)

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The year everything started to change. People came to the big house . A woman started snooping around, she had marks on her hands and face. They gave me a space suit, or rather a space suit took me over. I tried to call for help but the man answering the phone sounded as frightened as I was.

I suppose you know about that, but 1969 was the year of my first escape. It was the year I ran away from Madame K. , taking Sweetie with me.

There were people at the house. They had lost someone. No one was paying much attention to me. I tried to get the lady to help me, but some of my caretakers came into the room and grabbed her. I needed to get out of the suit. Asking for help had garnered me nothing. Well not exactly nothing, and this is where it gets tricky.

One of the people was a skinny man with a bow tie and he had a lady with him who seemed to know a lot about my situation and my space suit. I couldn’t stay to find out more, this was my chance to bolt out the door. I ran, very fast and very hard hoping no one would miss me until it was too late.

Florida was a long way from where I would end up. The weather that night was hot and clammy and I ran through the underbrush, surfacing finally at a gas station.

Trucks, lots of trucks and I knew better than to ask for a ride. Adults tell adults things to other adults, so as far as I was concerned they were not to be trusted. I listened , overhearing one man saying he didn’t fancy the trip he had ahead of him, all the way from Canaveral to New York City. That was the ride I needed , so I crawled into the back of the truck with Sweetie and hid away as the truck pulled out…

Diaries not written

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The Doctor gave me The Diary. He thought it would help us keep our lives in order, his and mine. Not the only life I’ve had though, so I’m going to share some of those other diaries, stories with you. You should see the one he gave me, pages of rules . . . but that’s another topic – his rules. We’re going to look way back, to somethings that didn’t make the Diary

Me and Sweetie. I remember where he came from, this battered bear, missing an eye and not exactly clean, I remember Madame Kovarian threw him in the trash once and so I bit her. Sweetie and I had adventures. The home was big and empty and downstairs there was a library with dust covered books. A few looked like they had been pulled out and read they were less dusty. Quite a few were in a bin. On the edge of the bin, as if hanging on for dear life, was a bear.

A bear, one arm hanging onto the edge of the bin. There was something reddish colored on his front. Pulling him out and getting covered in dust in the process, revealed the front of my teddy. There were two raggedly sewn hearts on the chest.

The Future is Plastics, Son

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It’s true, plastics are where it’s at. Earth will be over run, of course, but there are other places and some the entire populations are, well , plastic. The Nestene Consciousness, for example , it doesn’t call itself plastic but it is. It’s living plastic, and it doesn’t stay at it’s home. It likes Earth, easy to blend in because humans do love disposable things.

I settled into the motel room and went over my notes and the photos. The tall antenna, the lack of people, but still such a rural area for the Nestene. I had to be missing something , I looked at the photos again and there it was, a red cap poking out of the grass, a garden gnome. Oh I knew the rule – not every statue, but any statue could be one of most humane killers in the universe the Weeping Angels. Maybe I was jumping to conclusions, so I jumped over to One Pagoda Place in lovely San Francisco, swapped lies over dinner with some pals . There were some time agents, and a few people familiar with odd things so people who didn’t need convincing . After that I zapped back to Tahoe and a comfy bed .

Alarm went off at 7:00 and after a jump in the shower I was dressed for work. Well scrubbed, hair in a ponytail, boots, sweater, jean jacket the very image of a geography teacher. Ditching the car at the bottom of the road I walked back toward the duplex. Waist deep in grass I saw the red cap, and circled wide. No sense being careless, until I could check. The hum of insects was missing, and no birds – but there was a smell of something rotten, locating the source was harder than I thought, and then I heard something, well felt something go “swish”, something soft like a rotten apple and an odor of overripe fruit . Looking down I drew my boot back from something that looked like a dolls head, with painted eyes that were gazing into my own. I didn’t like where this was going.

I turned and headed back to the car, it was nearly time for my appointment anyway, and this was not a place I wanted to be in without adequate protection. The grass rustled as I moved through it and then again when I wasn’t . I could spot the red cap…it was closer now . I kept my eyes fastened on it as I backed toward the car. Rule of thumb, I told myself, the smaller the angel , lower the power, most red cap could do was move me a few miles, so I bolted to the car. Grabbing my phone I called the number of the owner. There was no answer , just a constant ring.

I checked the time – 12:02 and no answer. I drove up the drive prepared for anything. At least I thought I was.

The stairway going to the living areas was dotted with small plastic globes and the stench of rotten fruit was overpowering. Climbing the slippery stairs I reached the landing, the door was unlocked and sitting at the table 4 mannequins appearing to have lunch.

to be continued