Sunday, 15 October 2017

Time's Champion


No. No Mel. 

TIME'S CHAMPION:
You must go. 

MEL: 

Before I go I'd like to say... 

TIME'S CHAMPION:

There's no point, Mel. 

No point hanging around wasting Time. 

I haven't even met you yet. 
 

Nyah! That was a nice nap. Now, down to business. 

I'm a bit worried about the temporal flicker in Sector-13. 
There's a bicentennial refit of the TARDIS to book in. 
I must just pop over to Centauri-7; 
and then perhaps a quick holiday. 
Right, that all seems quite clear. 
Just 3 small points :-
Where am I?
Who am I? 
And Who are You...?


Bernice ran into Mel in the corridor and saw that she had been crying. She stepped in front of her and spoke before Mel could.

‘Look, I’m sorry I was funny with you. It’s just that you get so used to the Doctor’s ways — it’s hard to remember how strange they once seemed.’

Mel shrugged. ‘So he’s talked you round to his way of thinking. You’re still guilty by association.’

‘It’s not that simple.’

‘Oh, it never is!’

‘No,’ said Benny firmly, ‘it’s not. He’s doing the right thing on Detrios, I can see that.”

“What about your Seven Planets?’

Benny nodded morosely. ‘I try not to think about it. And I gave him hell at the time, believe me. He’s made things easier since — and he does do good, he’s risked his life on countless occasions. I can’t doubt that he does what he thinks is right.”

“And you?’

‘I have to trust in him.’

Mel nodded. Bernice could see from her body language that she wasn’t completely consoled. But she did appreciate that Benny was human. She smiled in what she hoped was a reassuring way. 

‘Tell me one thing.’ 

Mel looked willing enough. 

‘As I said, the Doctor keeps risking his life. 

Since I’ve known him, he’s been shot through the heart, had his mind ripped open by mechanical insects . . . 

I thought his head had been lopped off once.’

‘Nasty,’ agreed Mel.

‘I’ve come to think of him as invulnerable. Yet you saw him die — one of him, at least. How did it happen?’

Mel pursed her lips. ‘I didn’t actually see it. I was unconscious at the time. But I think . . .’

‘Yes?’

‘Well, he fell over and banged his head on the TARDIS console.’

Benny laughed until her sides ached.









MAJOR HUSAK: 
Ah, Mister Warmsly. 
If you'd join Mister Rawlinson in the vehicle, we'll evacuate you from the area. 

PAT: 
Excuse me, there are a few questions I want answered. 

WARMSLY: 
And I have absolutely no intention of being evacuated. 
This area is where I live


TIME'S CHAMPION:
You're very angry. 

PAT: 
Of course we're angry. 


TIME'S CHAMPION:
And you want to leave. 

WARMSLY: 
No, we do not want to leave. 

(The Doctor gives Pat a Look.

TIME'S CHAMPION:
Of course you want to leave. 

PAT: 
Of course we do. 

TIME'S CHAMPION:
I wouldn't stand for any nonsense, if I were you. 

WARMSLY: 
Look, Doctor, the situation is perfectly simple.  
We are very angry and we -

(Warmsly gets the Look.

WARMSLY: 
Want to leave, isn't that right, Pat...? 

PAT: 
Don't get in our way. 


TIME'S CHAMPION:
I wouldn't dream of it. 

PAT: 
There's just no reasoning with these people...
 
(Pat and Warmsly go to the truck.
 
 
TIME'S CHAMPION:

You must go. 

MEL: 

Before I go I'd like to say... 

TIME'S CHAMPION:

There's no point, Mel. 
No point hanging around wasting Time. 

MEL: 

No, I'm not going until I've said my piece. 
I just want to say that...

TIME'S CHAMPION:

There's no time, Mel. 

MEL: 

Oh, all right, you win. 

TIME'S CHAMPION:

I do? I usually do. 

MEL: 

I'm going now. 


TIME'S CHAMPION:

That's right, yes, you're going. 
Been gone for ages. 
Already gone, still here, just arrived, haven't even met you yet. 
It all depends on who you are and how you look at it.
Strange business, Time. 

MEL: 

Goodbye, Doctor. 

TIME'S CHAMPION:

 I'm sorry, Mel. 
Think about me when you're living your life one day after another, all in a neat pattern. 
Think about the homeless traveller and his old Police Box -  his days like crazy paving.





“ A man stepped out of the darkness before him and barred his path. The Doctor’s hearts sank.

‘I’ve been wanting to talk to you.’ The tone was threatening.

‘I deny you!’ the Doctor spat. ‘You can’t keep me here.’

The newcomer laughed, and the laugh was rich and malevolent. ‘You’re too late. I already have.’ 

The blackness was metamorphosing, taking on form around him. 

Brick walls formed into a perfect square. 

A Room with No Doors. 

‘A barrier, like the one you’ve kept me behind all these years.’

‘You should have stayed there,’ the Doctor growled.

‘Why? Are you so afraid of me? Of what I might say?’

The facade crumbled. The Doctor’s shoulders slumped. There was no point in denying it. ‘I am.'

The other man’s face darkened and a scowl wrinkled his brow. 

‘You killed me!’ the Sixth Doctor spat. 

‘You were so desperate to exist yourself that you ended my life. I accuse you,“Doctor”, of murder. 

Of suicide in the first degree!”

The Doctor’s predecessor was just as he remembered him. That catlike arrogance and the childish naivete in his handsome features; that costume, the jacket of clashing patchwork, the supreme evidence of an unbalanced nature. 

He hated him. 

But no, what he really hated was his own past. 

And, perhaps, his future. He had spent so many years avoiding both.


He wanted to keep on avoiding them.

‘I refuse to listen to you.’ 

He turned away, but the Sixth Doctor reached for his shoulder, spun him round and pressed him up against the wall. His eyes were insane, his smile one of hatred.

'You don’t have a choice. You can’t hide from my opinions 
by closing your mind to them. The energies in this crystal have brought me out of your subconscious, given me form. I won’t surrender my existence again.’

‘What do you intend to do?’

‘I want my life back.’

‘You can’t have it.’

‘You owe it to me!’

‘I had to take it!’

His past self pulled away. The Doctor stumbled from the wall, recovered his composure and confronted him, eyes glittering with determination. 

‘You were unstable. You were travelling the road that leads to the Valeyard.’

‘I was trying to avoid it!’

‘But you still met Melanie, you still destroyed the Vervoids.

You might have delayed our future but you couldn’t avert it.

You almost killed Mel on Earth in 1999, when you were so close to becoming the Valeyard yourself. That was when I had to act. I had to come out and stop you.’

‘And kill me!’

‘And terminate your regeneration.’

‘So that you could live!”

“So that you couldn’t make any more mistakes!’

His sixth self released a scream of frustration and sprang for him with shocking speed. The Doctor brought his umbrella up and drove himself forward with the implement straining against his attacker’s throat. 

The sixth Doctor’s head hit the brickwork and they remained locked, jaws set, eyes staring mutual loathing into each other’s.

His previous self had never been so unhinged. His enforced captivity, the perceived injustice of his demise, had done this to him. 

The duties of Time’s Champion were responsible.

The Doctor’s doubts lent strength to his earlier form. He threw his successor and the Doctor skittered back, bringing up his brolly and preparing for a second deadly thrust.

The sixth Doctor fell silent, choosing not to press his advantage for now. They stared at each other and the sixth Doctor clenched his fists, his breathing deep and tightly
controlled. They circled warily.

‘I had to exist,’ the seventh Doctor claimed, almost in desperation. 

‘You know that. No manifestation before me could consider the consequences of what we must do. 

We were too young when we left Gallifrey. We created paradoxes, set time on one course but undermined that too. 

Somebody had to tie the loose ends up. 

Somebody had to unwind the threads. 

Somebody had to become the Ka Faraq Gatri. 

I had to take responsibility.’

‘To become the great manipulator,’ the sixth Doctor sneered.

‘To use your companions and condemn whole races. To satisfy some ungraspable concept of what you deem to be the Universal Good.’

‘That’s not how it is.’

‘How many people did you endanger on Earth, playing games with the Daleks? Manoeuvring them into destroying Skaro so that you wouldn’t have to do it yourself? Keeping blood of your hands! Like when you persuaded Benny and Chris to destroy Detrios from afar.

What makes you think your version of right is better than mine? What makes you think that you won’t become the Valeyard?’

‘I have to be right!’

‘I knew what good was. I travelled. I found injustice, I sided with right and I beat back darkness. 

But I respected my travelling partners too. I practised decency and morality. 

You lie to them and trick them. 
You killed Ace on the moon. 
You left Kadiatu to her fate. 
You use them time and time again and never even tell them why. 

Doesn’t that make you feel guilty?’

‘Of course it does!’ the seventh Doctor howled. ‘Of course I do! That’s why you got free. Don’t you understand that? Of course I feel guilty. Each one I use, each one I sacrifice, is a piece out of my own soul. 

But I have my responsibilities too. To life, to justice.’

‘And the “Universal Good”?’


‘I can’t — I won’t — treat things as simplistically as you did.
The cosmos can’t afford for us to act like that any more.’

‘And the ones you’ve killed — the people that you’ve decided shouldn’t live on in the universe that you’re creating what about them? What about Gabriel and Tanith?’

The seventh Doctor averted his gaze. ‘I do what I have to. I do what I think is right.’

The sixth Doctor took advantage of his distraction to attack.



The seventh Doctor was down and the sixth Doctor’s hands were about his throat, thumbs pressing down hard, mouth drooling saliva as his eyes flashed with the insanity that comes from long-denied retribution.

‘You’ll . . . kill us both,’ Time’s Champion choked. ‘This crystal is melting. You’ll kill me and you’ll kill my companions.’

‘Then give in to me!’ the sixth snarled. ‘Return what’s mine.

Surrender your life so that I may live again.’

‘Can’t . . . do that.’

‘Oh no, because you’re so important, aren’t you? Clinging on to existence even when the odds are against it; when you should have given in to Number Eight. Or me.”

“Or . . . Valeyard?’

The Sixth Doctor reacted as if stung. His eyes flashed and he drew back his fist to punch the usurper across his face. 

‘I am not him!’ He pulled back again, levered himself to his feet and staggered momentarily, a hand to his forehead. 

He seemed dizzy, unsteady; weakened by his foe’s resolve.

The seventh Doctor took his chance. He left himself exposed and concentrated, willing the walls to fall and release him. He was unsuccessful. 

The sixth Doctor laughed. ‘You’re keeping yourself blocked in, because you know my cause is just.’

‘I won’t let you do this.'

'You don’t have a choice. If you give in, I can save our
friends. To leave, you will have to find a way through me.’

The seventh Doctor glowered at him and tried to remember that this was but a fictional creation: a representation of what was inside his own mind. He needed to keep that thought clear if he was to do what needed doing.

The construct was awaiting his move. The Doctor shifted his grip on the umbrella and squared up to him; took a deep breath and tried to forget that he was battling a part of his own self.

‘So be it,’ he said in a hushed tone. ‘Let’s end it'




“What the hell kept you?’

Ace practically fell into the TARDIS and gulped in deep breaths of its sweet, rich air. The Doctor was silent. He remained at the console and reset the coordinates.

“Don’t tell me you had problems?’ Ace mocked. She grinned, looking over to him for some form of rejoinder. The expression froze as she saw him properly for the first time. 

‘Bloody hell.
What happened to you?’

‘It doesn’t matter. It’s over now.’

‘All except for the cleaning bill. Who did you murder?’ He looked at her sharply, but chose not to answer. He returned to his work, but Ace’s eyes were captivated by the stains on his jacket and his skin. There was even a splash of blood on his face. 

‘You must have some pretty wild dreams,’ she said.

She was obviously not going to get an explanation. She found herself wondering what sort of dreams he did have. She wondered to what lengths he had gone to triumph over his own mind.

As the fictional blood began to evaporate from the Doctor’s hands, Ace wondered if the metaphorical stains could ever fade.

And They All Lived

Excerpt From Head Games, by Steve Lyons

Carl



...Scholars of myth may note that in the title sequence, Time's Champion winks the eye that Merlyn is said to have sacrificed for wisdom...


Dr. Sidney Schaefer: 
You know, one thing I learned from my patients... they all hate the phone company. It's interesting; even the stock holders of the phone company hate the phone company!

V.I. Kydor Kropotkin: 
I know. Bedouins hate the phone company. Matter of fact, I've never been in a country where everybody didn't hate the phone company.


V.I. Kydor Kropotkin: 
Are you trying to tell me every phone in the country is tapped?

Don Masters, CEA Agent: 
That's what's in my head.

V.I. Kydor Kropotkin
Don, this is America, not Russia!


Old English:
+ wyrm com snican, toslat he nan,
ða genam woden VIIII wuldortanas,
sloh ða þa næddran þæt heo on VIIII tofleah
Þær gaændade æppel and attor
þæt heo næfre ne wolde on hus bugan.

Griffiths translation:
A serpent came crawling (but) it destroyed no one
when Woden took nine twigs of glory,
(and) then struck the adder so that it flew into nine (pieces).
There archived apple and poison
that it never would re-enter the house.


Old Norse:
Ǫnd þau né átto, óð þau né hǫfðo,
lá né læti né lito góða.
Ǫnd gaf Óðinn, óð gaf Hœnir,
lá gaf Lóðurr ok lito góða.

Benjamin Thorpe translation:
Spirit they possessed not, sense they had not,
blood nor motive powers, nor goodly colour.
Spirit gave Odin, sense gave Hœnir,
blood gave Lodur, and goodly colour.

Henry Adams Bellows translation:
Soul they had not, sense they had not,
Heat nor motion, nor goodly hue;
Soul gave Othin, sense gave Hönir,
Heat gave Lothur and goodly hue.

Fenric - Djinn

Soul he had not, sense he had not,

Heat nor motion, nor goodly hue;