Saturday, 31 May 2014

Descent on the Panoptican

Lyra fell against the console, and screamed as plumes of fire exploded from the book cases and the floor. "Doctor!" She cried. "Do something!"
The Doctor turned on the time curve indicator. The spirals flashed red, on and off, and they were cracked, crumbling. The hanging monitor started to hum louder and louder, and then with a flash of magnesium, the screen exploded. The Doctor smashed his hand onto the stabilisers, but it made no difference. The Tardis was dying. "K9!" He shouted. "Link yourself with the outwards sensors, stabilise us!"
K9's scanner extended out of his optical plate and connected with the Tardisn console, and the robot dog began to communicate with the outward sensors, stabilising the Type 40 time capsule. "Thank you!" Exclaimed the Doctor. "Good dog!"
"Affirmative, Master." K9 replied.
Adric looked up from the floor. He climbed up and walked to the console. "Can I help, Doctor?"
"No. Sit down on the sofa and hold on for dear life, same for you, Lyra. This is extremely dangerous!"
The Doctor watched his companions sit down and then pulled the materialisation lever. The familiar whirring sounded. "This is dangerous. Hold on, old girl."
The purple mists inside the time column swirled and the raggedy woman, who was the digital interface of the Tardis appeared. "Oh do calm down, Doctor!" She said.
"It's not me having to fly you, is it?"
A projector on the roof flickered into life and Idris, the name of the Tardis' digital interface, appeared outside of the time column. She rushed across to the console. "Now why have you materialised us inside the time vortex, but not activated the anchorage?"
"I'm trying to add a bit of thrust!" The Doctor cried.
"Of course you are!" She rushed to the other side of the console and threw back the dematerialising lever. The Doctor hit a button on the console, and turned a dial to full blast. The atomic accelerators turned on, and the speed of the Tardis increased. Adric imagined that had there been mist in the time column, it would have swirled quicker. The Doctor flicked another dial and the thermometer on the console lit up about half the way. "It's not good enough!" The Doctor cried. "We need more power."
"Jettison a few rooms, Doctor!" Adric cried.
"No!" Idris replied. "We're in the vortex. Jettison too much to the wrong side and we could create a hole the fabric of the space time continuum! It's not safe!"
"Nothing is! Adric, over here." The Doctor pressed a couple a buttons and a screen rose out of the console. It had a keypad on it. "Do you know the dimensions of the dormitories?"
"Yes, Doctor."
"Then input it into this machine. Now!"
Adric got to work.
"The suspension isn't doing very well." The Doctor shouted.
Idris turned a dial and the Quantum Foam Manipulators activated. The Tardis stabilised. The Doctor pressed a button and the organic diagnostic beeped.
"Beep!" Idris said. "We're doing well. But most things are going wrong."
"Rooms are ready for jettison!" Adric cried.
"Good on you, lad. Go sit down. Lyra, see the lever in the corner."
"There isn't a corner! We're in a circular room."
"Go pull it!"
Lyra did so, despite the contradiction, and the thermometer filled completely. The Doctor grabbed the lever next to the thermometer and pulled it. The Tardis flew forwards, flipping over and over, and they quickened the pace. The Doctor ran to the lock down mechanism and pulled it, regulating the engine. He then clamped down the steering system. He activated the gyroscopic stabilisers and the Tardis calmed. Then he turned to Idris. "Time path detector?"
"Sure." She replied. Her eyes rolled back into her head and she recounted some information in her head. "I can sense eighteen Tardises, all descending on the Panoptican, Doctor."
"Thank you." The Doctor said. "Relay the information to K9."
Her eyes rolled back again. "Here you are, you excellency." She said.
"Excellency?" The Doctor asked.
"Thank you, Mistress." K9 said. "What would you like to have done with this information?"
"Put it through the Spice Diagnostic Generator. Then, take the results and run them through the directional pointer. Beep!" She cried. "Thermometer at full!"
"Brilliant!" The Doctor cried, reaching for the toolbox on the floor. From it, he drew a sonic lance and soniced the console. Then, he activated the cooling systems. "Hold on, my friends. We're in for the long haul!" He grabbed the lever to the side of the thermometer and yanked it backwards. "Deniceps!" He cried.
The Tardis flipped over and over, back and forth, and they hit the ceiling, then the floor, then the ceiling and then the floor again. The Doctor, in a mad struggle, pulled back the materialisation handle and they hit the floor. The Doctor pulled the door handle, grabbed his coat, his sonic lance, K9 and the others and led them out through the doors. They were in the out lands, the untamed world where the time lords rarely ventured. "Something is wrong." The Doctor said, but his words were drowned out, because the puddle that the Tardis took the guise of suddenly exploded. Balls of fire and light exploded from the puddle and filled the air around them with hot air, which burnt and melted their skin. They all hit the floor, as bits of twenty first century earth technology and furnishings from the Reptuswan theatre hit the floor around them. The Doctor looked up, just as the steering mechanism half buried itself in the ground before him. The Doctor waited a few seconds and then stood up. The contents of the Tardis was half buried around them. Then he saw Idris. She was lying on the floor, flickering in and out of existence, looking like a light that was being played with. The Doctor and K9 raced over. "Idris!" He cried.
"Doctor?" She said, unsurely.
"I'm here, Idris." His eyes were beginning to glisten. "Oh, old girl. What have we been through together?"
"Everything and anything, my dear." Idris replied, suddenly blinking out.
"No!" The Doctor cried. "Idris. Come back, old girl."
She reappeared. "Not ready to go yet." She said.
"K9, run a diagnostic on Idris here."
"Why has the digital interface been given a name."
"Why have you been given a name, K9?" Before the robot could give him a logical reply, he added,  "Just do it!"
"Yes master."
"Doctor?" Idris asked.
"Yes, my dear?" The Doctor replied.
"I have a message for the excellency."
"Tell me and I'll pass it on."
"No." She said. "I shall tell it to him directly. Your excellency?"
The Doctor was about to question her, when K9 answered. "Yes, Mistress?"
"K9 is the excellency?" The Doctor asked, unheard.
"He is back, your excellency. He who was the first."
"Query?" K9 asked. "Why address me as excellency?"
"No time. No time at all." She said. "He has possessed him. He has possessed him, your excellency. He has taken the Tardises. But he won't get his hands on me. Oh no he won't. Farewell, your excellency."
"Idris what's going on?" The Doctor asked.
"Goodbye, your excellency." She said, to the robot dog. "Goodbye Doctor." She blinked out of life, and the Tardis was dead.
"NO!" Screamed the Doctor. He burst into tears, and hugged the robot dog dearly. "Oh, my friend. Of the things that are wrong with the world, why must this happen?"
"Console yourself, Master. For that is what she would have done." K9 whirred. "Please note the comedy in that last statement Master, as the mistress was confined to the console."
The Doctor gave the robot dog and smile and then stood up. "Right. We need to find Lyra and Adric, K9, and then we shall avenge Idris."
"Revenge, Doctor?" Asked a familiar voice. "Doesn't sound like you at all?"
The Doctor spun on his heal to see a woman. She and just stepped out of a suit case, and was dressed entirely in beige tweed, with a trilby on her head and an umbrella in her hand. "Romana!" The Doctor exclaimed. "Whatever are you doing out of E-Space?"
"One of the sensitives received a distress beacon, from a Tardis. The crew had died upon entry and the digital interface was all that survived. I managed to find the Tardis and, with K9, I flew it to Alzarius. I and the Sensitives had set up base there, you see. But I was halfway through the dematerialisation process when something strange happened. K9 discovered that we'd entered N-Space. I wasn't much sure what to do, but then we noticed that time was collapsing. I thought, I needed to find the Doctor, and I reckoned that I may be able to find you on Galifrey so I set off there. Here I am!"
The Doctor grinned. "Good to see you. But tell me, did you have any problems entering?"
"No. But I think that was because I've messed around with my Tardis."
"What do you mean?"
"Well it's a type twelve you see, and I fiddled with the inside display to make it appear more like good old Professor Chronotis' and I fiddled with the chameleon circuit to make it look like this suitcase."
"Oh of course!" The Doctor exclaimed.
"Your Tardis is so fiddled with and old that it's unlike anything they could have pre emptied. My Tardis is quite notorious. Someone has put a forcefield up around Galifrey to stop any recognisable old technology and any Tardis from type forty onwards."
"Query, master." K9 stated.
"Yes?" The Doctor asked.
"Your Tardis is neither old tech or new tech. It isn't of Galifreyan origin, thus making it not likely to be looked for."
The Doctor furrowed his brow. "Well then, that mean's one thing, and one thing only. Somebody has put a block up against me!"
"But who would, Doctor?" Romana asked. "They'd just settle at stopping any Tardis from coming through."
"But they know I don't have a Tardis."
"Because it was them, who took it from me. The Master has control over Galifrey."
"Now that isn't good." Romana went silent for a few seconds and then exclaimed, "Adric!"
"Romana!" He replied, with Lyra at his side. "Whatever are you doing here?"
"No time for that!" The Doctor exclaimed. "Lyra meet Romana, Romana meet Lyra. Adric you already know both. Romana let us go to your Tardis. We need to go to the Panoptican. The Master will be taking over soon."
She opened the suitcase lid and welcomed in the two companions, the robot dog and the Doctor. They climbed in and walked into an old room from Cambridge University. Another K9 was on display in the centre of the floor, with inputs sticking out from him. "There's tea on the boil in the kitchen." Romana said, rushing to one of the consoles sticking out from the countless bookcases. She pulled a lever back and her Tardis dematerialised, the time column in the centre beginning to rise up and down. She ran round the room, activating the different controls, and then suddenly the whining of the ancient engines stopped and they hit the floor. "You may be better at short hops than me, but I'm definitely better at landing." The Doctor muttered. With the K9's staying in the Tardis, they burst out of the doors, and up through the suit case and that was when they saw where they were. The Panoptican. During the Masters ceremony. "Have them restrained!" He ordered.
"Harry." Lyra muttered.
Guards in red helmets and white capes grabbed the travellers and pulled them back. The Doctor tried to explain what was wrong but no-one was listening. The Master stood up and bowed. The Chamberlain took the sash of Rassilon and hung it around the Masters neck, muttering the important words. He handed the Master the Rod of Rassilon, muttering the important words. And then he placed the crown of the Matrix upon the the head of the Master and announced the Master as the president of the supreme council of Galifrey and the All His Dominions, Holder of the Wisdom of Rassilon, Preserver of the Matrix and Guardian of the Legacy of Omega. The Master began to laugh, a terrible long laugh. "I do not hold the Wisdom of Rassilon!" He exclaimed. Slowly his dimensions start to shift and he exploded into bright light. Another man stood before them, dressed entirely in red with short black hair and a giant metal glove on his hand. "I am Rassilon!" He cried. "And I shall restart time!"

To be concluded...

Friday, 30 May 2014

The Monster Hunters

It's one small step for the yeti, and a giant leap for the big footed kind! The Monster Hunters, my first book, is available for download on kindle! Simply search Luke Bateman or the Monster Hunters.
The book is £1.83 in England, and $3.09 in America, with other prices for other regions. The book is the first in a series of eight books, which follow the adventures of Captain Benjamin Frost, Evergreen Tide, James Smathers, Scraps, Doctor Leighce Peneller and Isobel Peneller.
It tells the tale of the Media, the United Nations attempt at a policing force for magic, which has been prosecuting magicians and occult species since Queen Victoria's reign, and nothing had even been about them. Until one day, an ex special operations Captain, by the name of Benjamin Frost, is captured by them in 1999. 13 years later, he had devised a plan of how to escape and how to take revenge on them.
With the help of a lycanthrope, a necromancer, a vampire, an alchemist and his apprentice, the Captain wages war with the Media. But then they discover the shocking truth of the Media's Operation: Fire with Fire, and what began as a short mission to exert revenge on a terrible organisation turns into a globe trotting race against time, before a new breed of monsters are released. Sometimes the monster is one of the hunters...
You can find the book on amazon on the following link: The Monster Hunters:  From the mind that created!
You can enjoy other stories set in this world on this blog, the REDD stories, Storm Wings and the brand new one that will be starting next week. Please, send reviews and spread the word, and I hope you enjoy it. In a way, it's been a labour of love.
Book two, the Age of Arathorn, will be available this October. Enjoy!!!

Monday, 19 May 2014

The Quest for Verdisc (part 3)

Thaddeus Mist raced from his observatory and across the cobbled streets of Port Vincent. He leapt over the market stalls that were being packed up, his back arched to make him as aero dynamic as possible. He tripped for a second, but the momentum of his running kept him going forwards and a push with his sword kept him up straight. He passed through the large gates, ignoring the shouts of 'Friend or Foe' and continued across the courtyard where Marcus had been working earlier. The king was across the way, observing some knights trying to scale the crown room tower.
"Ah, Thaddeus!" He exclaimed. "Your Rapunzel Rope is brilliant. My men have been holding all onto one piece of it and it hasn't broken. I say, whatever is the matter?"
"As you know, sire," Thaddeus replied, "my building is the only but yours in the city that can see the beautiful oceans."
"Of course, I nearly had a heart attack when I was informed of your planning request."
"I was looking out of my telescope merely minutes ago and I saw something quite terrible on the horizon! An armada of spectre battle ships are surging towards our great kingdoms, ready to attack."
The king gave Thaddeus a sceptical look. "I already have a court jester, Thaddeus."
"I'm not joking, sire. I'm telling the truth."
The king gave Thaddeus yet another sceptical look, and then realised he wasn't kidding. "Arthur, come here now!"
The head of guards ran over to join them. "How can I help you, sire?"
"Thaddeus seems to believe that the spectres are going to attack us, I want you to accompany him to the battlements and send out a message. We're under attack. Everyone should barricade themselves in."
"Of course, sire." He formally saluted and turned to Thaddeus. "Follow me!"
They marched to the large oak doors that led into the castle and Arthur randomly gave orders to people, like, "Toll the city bell." or, "Amass the troops on the seaward wall," a statement that was pointless seeing that they lived on an island.
They followed the long corridors and finally came out in the barracks. They climbed up a rickety stair case and into the armoury. It was a large room, with row of weapon after weapon and lots and lots of different equipment. Arthur grabbed a collection of small bales of hay, and instructed Thaddeus to bring two buckets of flammable liquid. They rushed to the corner of the room and ascended the limestone blocks, arranged as a spiral stair case. They climbed seventeen stories and came out into the top of the tower. It was a dusty space, with the decaying strings of spider webs hanging from the rafters. There was one window. It was small and had an arched top, and Thaddeus stuck his head out immediately, so he could breath. He was looking out, away from the nearest wall, meaning he was looking south. He turned around to look north and saw a large door, which Arthur was pushing open. It swung open and they saw the wall, about half a metre away from the gap. Arthur took a large plank of wood and slid it out, across the gap, until it was lined up with the balcony connected to the wall. "What's that?" Thaddeus asked.
"The entrance, sir."
"To what?"
"The innards of the great wall."
Carrying their cargo from the barracks, their arms numb and tired from the seventeen flights of stairs, they crossed the plank and walked through the small gap into 'the innards of the great wall.'

Marcus and Emilia got to the gates. They had never seen anything as frightening as the spectre armada advancing across the sea, and it was as they were requesting permission to walk through the gates, using Thaddeus' name, that something dawned on them. Nobody had a flying machine any more, not after the war of the angels, so there was only one way you could leave.
By the sea that surrounded the island.
"And why would you be wanting to go through the gates?" Asked the gate keeper. He was a reformed  dwarf, probably from New Tunisia,  and was just over average height. 5 foot 2. He wore a rain mac, made of some plastic, and the lapels were turned down. A scraggily beard sat around his face, and the parts of his face you could actually see were as red as the average human beings, after a cross country event. He wore a helmet, but there was hardly no crime in Port Vincent, so Marcus had no idea why.
"Going for a walk." Emilia replied.
"Good enough reason for me." He pulled a lever and was buffeted by a blast of steam from a vent behind his head. His tufty hair was messed up, and he looked disgruntled, but the levers functioned wasn't impaired. The large metal gates swung open, flakes of silver paint trickling down from years of bouncing off the rocks behind them. Marcus and Emilia thanked the gatekeeper and started to walk down the narrow pathway, which had been carved by nature, and erosion. When they were firmly out of sight, having slid down a crumbling slope, they set the mechanical wizard on a rock and gave him the wind up required for optimum use. They heard a click and a clatter and then all of a sudden, the mechanical wizard sat upright. There was a sound like that of the typewriter Thaddeus had made and then a similar ding. A trail of paper slid out of the printer gap and Emilia grasped it, reading it out. "'Hello, Master Marcus and Mistress Emilia,'" She stopped and looked at Marcus, "whatever happened to ladies first?" She returned to the paper. "'I am Mechanical Wizard Mark 1 (prototype.) Your parent/guardian (delete where applicable) had decided that you need to be protected on a hazardous journey to... the Permaline Recesses. I will act as your guardian and navigator, as well as your official guide to the brilliant world around you. There is a display screen beneath my head. This will flash when I have something interesting to point out. Simply press the button to the side and I will play one of the many automated informational recordings contained inside me. Should you need to be defended, I will do what is required. Simply voice a command out loud. Please remember to wind me every six hours, otherwise I won't be able to help you. Have a nice day!' How refreshingly polite." Emilia said.
"I love it when Uncle Thaddeus' prototypes are polite." Marcus replied, standing up from the rock they'd been standing on.
"It's a very rare occurrence, isn't it."
"That it is. Come on. We need to get going."
Emilia nodded and stood the Mechanical Wizard up. "Let's go."
They started walking, following the MW Mark 1 (prototype) and the arrows that lit up on it's back.

The Innards of the Great Wall was a lot busier than Thaddeus had expected. It was like a submarine. The walls were packed with sweaty, hot, busy people, receiving inputs, talking to people down radio transceiver, turning valves and shovelling coal. Half of the population had gone missing when the walls were made, the rumours dictated. Thaddeus smiled. He had just found them. Arthur led him through a doorway and they walked up yet more stairs. They followed some steps and came out on the top of the Great Wall. It was a lot bigger than Thaddeus had expected, with an entire walkway on the top. But most of it was taken up by one of the many inventions they had kept from Earth, all those many years ago. Fire Slingers. Most of them were already being prepared by soldiers, but Arthur managed to find one about half way down that he and Thaddeus could work on. They shoved one of the hay bales into the large catapult dip and doused it in the flammable liquid and waited for the order. Thaddeus looked over the edge of the wall down at the sea. He started counting. He passed one thousand. Two thousand. Three thousand. Four thousand. He gave in at six thousand. Six thousand spectre war ships. And they didn't look happy.
The archers got into position and pulled back their draw strings. Another guards voice echoed in the tranquil calm before the storm. "In the name of Port Vincent, and the residents of this great city, we fight with honour and justice. For the heart of the king and those he protects, we fight with courage and a sense of rightfulness." A single arrow fired from the bow of someone who couldn't hold their drawstring. The guard sensed that it was rolling on too long. "For the honour of the Innards of the Great Wall, we fight with everything we can! Fire!"
All one hundred and ninety eight archers released their drawstrings and the sun was blotted out by arrows. Then the sound of swooshing filled the air and the sky rained arrows upon the warships. Then the Fire Slingers were activated. A match was dropped onto every bale and they exploded into flames. Then the levers were pulled and all the bales were propelled forwards, surging through the air, burning like hellfire. They hit the warships, and they set on fire too. But, as they reloaded the Flame Slingers, Thaddeus noticed it made no difference. They just kept coming. It looked as if it could only end as a hand to hand fight.
The Spectre warships stopped about six metres away from the island shores, and seemed to wait. More and more burning bales were blasted at them but it made no difference. Then there was the first cannon explosion, followed by continuous fire for about five minutes. One explosion after another, after another, with large chunks of concrete falling from the great wall by the end. Once they had run out of cannon fire, the spectres fired grappling hooks up to the wall and began scaling it. The guards took axes and began hacking at the grappling hooks. Entire ropes full of climbing spectres snapped, dropping into the sea, the spectres instantly dying, but not all the ropes were broken. Half the guards, including Arthur and Thaddeus, were sent down into the courtyard, incase the spectres managed to get past. After ten minutes, they did. Almost all of them. They swarmed out of the towers and the corridors and raged towards Thaddeus, Arthur and the other guards. Thaddeus drew his sword and as loud as he could, cried, "The Games afoot: follow your spirit, and upon this charge, cry 'God for Harry, England and Saint George!"
They raced towards the Spectres and began swinging their weapons, hoping to slay a few of the invaders by luck, not masterful fighting techniques, like the guards or had perished before them. Thaddeus beheaded one spectre within the first ten minutes, but searching around him he found he was perhaps succeeding much further than the others. About five spectres were dead so far, including his, and two of them had been casualties of the initial attacks, having been pushed from the top of the Great Wall, or battlements if you would. The amount of guards were dropping dramatically as well, beside him and Arthur, there were about twenty, maybe thirty guards left alive. He decided that the decision to send the children on, no matter how hard it was to make, was the correct one. And he was glad about that.
His sword sparked as a spectre engaged him in battle. The Spectre was tall, towering over Thaddeus who was a tall man himself, and he wore a long black cloak, raggedy and ripped. His face was hidden behind a theatrical mask. Thaddeus believed this specific one was the tragedy mask. Before Thaddeus could make any further observations, he had to block a lunge, then another and another and another. The Spectre controlled the sword like an extra limb, and Thaddeus was knocked back against the wall finally, ready to embrace his death. But it didn't come. The Spectre just turned his back on Thaddeus and watched the fighting. Thaddeus decided to do the same. It was horrific. The Spectres simply massacred the guards, until no-one was left, but Arthur and three others. There were twenty thousand Spectres left. And only a quarter had left the Warships. 
"Who is the highest ranking of you?" The Spectre asked.
Nobody answered.
"I will slay all of you unless you answer."
"I am." Declared Arthur. A spectre dragged him up by the scruff of his neck and forced him back onto his knees. The Spectre raised it's sword.
"Stop!" Thaddeus exclaimed. "I'm the highest ranking."
The Spectre looked at Thaddeus. "You do not count." He swung his sword the full way and Arthur's head and body dropped to the floor, but the head rolled away. One of the spectres raced after it and lifted it by the hair. "We shall use this as a way of showing rank, as we search for the wizards."
Thaddeus looked up. "Do I not count for I am a wizard?"
"That is correct." The Spectre said.
"What are you going to do to us? Will you kill us?"
"No. We will preserve you."
"For the grand purpose."

Marcus and Emilia had quite a nice day, strolling down the path towards the large mountain at the far west. The Mechanical Wizard moved very quickly, and often they would have to call for him to defend them, so the flash of light would tell them where on the horizon he was. They approached the mountain quite late that day, by which time they could see smoke arising from within the walls. It was a horrible sight. They stopped for a rest, and ate some of the bread and cheese Thaddeus had provided. The final part of the path was so eroded on either side that it was sudden drop all the way to the beach if you strolled off it. It led across to the winding path that led around the mountain, all the way to the top. According to the Mechanical Wizard, there was a doorway about halfway up, which led down a triple helix all the way to the port at the bottom. The only part of the entire Port Vincent which stood up to its name. Far away, they could see the horizon, painted with thousands of Spectre Warships. They longed to return to the city and see Uncle Thaddeus, and they realised something they had miles and miles to go. Halfway across the world, they reckoned, and they were homesick already.
Not the best way to start an adventure. 
The same noise was made and a piece of paper slid out. Emilia took it. "'I'm so sorry to interrupt you, but I really think we need to get going! Would it help if I played one of the three pieces of music that I have been given. Should you want me to play music flick the Yes switch on my torso, else flick the No switch. Thank you!' What do you?" Emilia asked. "Want some music to listen to?"
"No." Marcus said, flicking the no switch. "But I think we need to set off."
"Okey dokey." Emilia replied. She stood up and helped Marcus up. "Let's go."
They set up across the narrow path and followed the winding path up, with the sea to their right. "MW?" Marcus asked.
The Mechanical Wizard printed out a slip of paper reading, 'Yes?'
"What do we do when we get down to the port?"
"'There is a vessel down there we can escape on. However, it will have had left within the hour, so we need to hurry.'" Emilia read. 
They rushed up the winding path and stopped, having finally found a doorway to their right. They rushed in came out in their doorway. There was a staircase above them, and there was one beneath. Beyond the staircase, there was a large empty chasm, across which you could see other windows. They ran down the steps, taking it in turns to carry the Mechanical Wizard. The triple helix was an interesting concept, three separate spiral staircases, all assembled in the same shaft and all leading to the same place. It was brilliant, a feat of engineering, and if there were tourists, it would be a tourist attraction. 
They came out of the bottom of the triple helix and onto a large wooden circular platform, above the sea. They could smell the fish and salt of the water. It was intoxicating, but in a good way. Separate jetties led away from the circular platform and to boats. The Mechanical Wizard looked, if it could see, at the different boats and then led them away down a jetty. The boat in question wasn't that big, about the size of the average personal yacht, but shaped more aerodynamically. It had gigantic propellers inside cages on the back, that could create enough air to propel them forwards. There was a  raised deck at the back, in front of them, with a gigantic wheel that connected to the propellers and sails on either side that could be used to direct the boat. If you walked down the steps at the front of the raised deck, you would get to what could only be described as a shed, which opened to reveal steps going further down, into the heart of the ship, where presumably the crew would sleep. Around the front of the ship were cannons and other weaponry, as well as the top of the figurehead of the ship, a female pirate. The boat's name wasn't written in English and half the letters were missing, so the children couldn't read it. L ét ult vé. What ever that meant?
Marcus and Emilia, carrying the Mechanical Wizard, climbed aboard and sat down, waiting for the captain to turn up.
They waited an hour then there was the familiar tapping, like a typewriter, and then a ding. Emilia read the Mechanical Wizards statement. "'I believe we should probably set off. Thaddeus informed me that if the captain didn't show, we were to take off without him-'"
"Why didn't he tell me that?" Marcus asked.
"He didn't tell me!" Emilia exclaimed. "I'm reading what the Mechanical Wizard has said."
"Oh. Sorry."
"Anyway, where was I? Ah yes, 'we were to take off without him. I shall go and raise the anchor. There is a pedal. Stand on that to get the propellers going and turn the wheel to steer.' Come on then. To it!" Emilia announced.
They set off. They travelled for two hours and were far in the middle of the sea when they asked the Mechanical Wizard to navigate. He was at the front of the boat, so they went to find him. Emilia was reading something out, her and Marcus facing towards the sea, when Marcus felt something cold and sharp pressed against his neck. He turned. There was a man there. He was wielding a silver trident that he was pushing into the neck of Marcus. He wore mainly blues and greens, and he had a large sailors hat on his head. He chin was speckled with stubble and his eyes were like the sea he travelled. He spoke with a deep, commanding voice. Powerful. "I am First Mate Octavius Davelron of the Trident Holders. I am assuming command of this ship. Who the hell are you?"

To be continued...

Monday, 12 May 2014

The Quest for Verdisc (part 2)

"We must do something!" Emilia exclaimed.
"Of course we must!" Thaddeus replied, as if he was insulted that Emilia would think he wasn't going to.
"Well?" She asked.
"Of course." Thaddeus rushed over to the stand writing desk in the corner of the room. He took a fountain pen from the desk and quickly scrawled something on a thick sheet of parchment. He folded it over, and slipped it into an envelope, and took a burning candle. He poured the liquid wax onto the envelope and it formed a week circle. Then he pressed his ring deep into it, leaving an imprint of the symbol above his doorway. He left it to cool on the writing desk and then went across the room to the workbench. He opened one of the many drawers and pulled out an empty bottle. He ran back to the writing desk and rolled the letter up, squeezing it into the bottle. He stuck a cork on top and threw the bottle to Marcus. "I need you to take this to my brother, Demetrius. He lives far away in the Permaline Recesses. You must guard this letter with you life and when you get there, Demetrius will know what to do."
"I don't understand." Marcus said. "Why must we leave?"
"The spectres are coming, of course! Why else? They're the only reason your parents sent you to live with me."
"Demetrius will explain it, but the important thing is you must leave as soon as possible. Follow me." He led them downstairs to their bedrooms. "Pack only what you see as essential, and quick now." 
Marcus rushed to his wardrobe and started choosing clothes, but was soon stopped by Thaddeus. "Pack only what you need, Marcus. Take only socks and a cloak, for clothes, and what you are wearing of course. And don't take too much else." Marcus decided that he should take a good book, a small paper back, his knife and a long piece of rope. He put them into large blanket then wrapped them up and stuck it onto the end of a staff. He came out to find Emilia with a wrapped up blanket of stuff tied to a stick as well. She also had a small bag on her side, which he knew would be holding the contents of her large chest: flame dancing equipment. Thaddeus joined them, and Marcus a similar satchel, just a bit bigger. "This has some food and drink in." He said. "And a picture of your parents, me and Demetrius, so you can remember who you're looking for and why you're going." He knelt down, so he was the same height as them. "Don't worry, children. It'll all be fine. Demetrius will take care of you."
"Where are the Permaline Recesses?" Emilia asked.
"Far away." Thaddeus replied.
"Will you send someone with us?" Marcus asked.
"Ah, that's where it all falls apart. As you may know, there is a lack of wizards at the moment, and they need me here, which is why I'm going to have to do something I hate to do."
"What's that?"
"Give you a prototype." Thaddeus stood up and rushed to the cupboard and pulled out a small thing, about the size of the average gnome- 4 foot 8. It had rickety legs, with wheels on the bottom and rotating gears inside. It had a globe head, with hinges on the side and a slot in the main torso for something to be printed out of. On the back, it had light up arrows, pointing forwards, right and left. "It's a mechanical wizard." He handed a key to Emilia. "Make sure you wind him up every twelve hours. He will direct you to where you need to go, and he can protect you, with his limited magic. Now then, good luck, children. I know you can do it."
They both nodded, hiding their true fear, and walked to the door. 
"We'll see each other soon." Thaddeus said.
"Goodbye, Uncle Thaddeus." They both said.
"Goodbye children. Now go on, before the spectres come." With that, Thaddeus drew his sword and raced towards the palace. He would defend this town, even if the king didn't believe about the spectres.

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

The Quest for Verdisc

The sun hung low in the evening sky. It radiated the essence of mauve light as it sank behind the feathery clouds of fortune. From the crown room of an ancient stone tower, its rustic stone bricks coated in Russian ivy, watched the king of this land. His hair was a coppery brown and his eyes were as blue as the sky in the middle of the day. His back was decorated in a scarlet robe which hung to the floor in the opposite of a majestic fashion. On his head he wore a silver crown that looked like a strip of barbed wire. 
The light continued to fade and the flickering of the electric bulb illuminated the treasure that sat in the crown room. Suddenly a noise came from the door. 
The light echoing through the key hole was suddenly blocked out as someone stepped in front of it.
The antique hinges creaked open and in stepped a man wearing a large hood, which he flicked back to reveal a theatre mask.
“Give me the key.” Cried the masked figure, his voice tinted with anger.
“What?” Replied the King, his face having gone white.
“I want the key for the crown room.”
“Give me the key.”
In the hand of the masked figure materialised the hilt of a sword followed by its blade which was pointed at the king, “give me the key.”
“Give,” he shouted, “me the key!”
The king reached into his pocket and pulled out a steel ring with golden keys and one rusty key hanging on it. “Take them.”
“I want just one.”
“Give me the key of the crown room.”
“Alright.” He unfastened the rusty key and placed it in the opened palm of the masked figure. 
“Get out.” The king hurriedly backed out down the staircase and raced to the courtyard.
“There is a spectre in the crown room!” He cried.
Before a single guard could un-scabbard their sword, the window at the top of the tower exploded. From the window fell the masked spectre, dropping through the air in a rolling inferno of shadows. When he hit the cobbled courtyard, he transformed back into his humanoid form and rode away on a body of shadows!

Marcus was on duty tidying the broken shards of glass away. He was about five foot nine, and it hurt his back as he bent over to retrieve each individual shard. The usual papers were reporting that someone had broken into the tower and, after a long battle with the king, had bolted the door from the inside and then jumped out of the window. Marcus wasn't entirely sure of the accuracy of these reports, because he could see no sign of a dead body from the jump from the tower. It was the tallest tower in the entire city, one of the only two towers that could see over the perimeter wall, which was 9 metres high. The other tower was the observatory of Thaddeus Mist, who happened to be Marcus' uncle, but even the tower was flawed. It was so tall that it was completely surrounded by clouds, and only on a clear day could you see the endless horizons. And how he loved those days.  It was one of those days today.

In the centre of the constellation of equal timings are the Five Eden's. Patrolled by the giant glass acorn, the Ithmeus, the Five Eden's are five different planets, each the home of many eco-warriors who regressed back to their natural state after the centre of the Earth was fused with technology and an evil cyborg overlord took over. 1896 years later, each of the five Eden's were doing well. The first planet, called Kirkwood, was doing very well, and had managed to manufacture an industrial revolution with no pollution whatsoever. The second of the planets, called Isherwood, was doing quite well indeed, even if one of their islands had been whipped into the clouds, a respected scientist had gone insane and then three children and a robot had gone in search of adventure and time travel. The third planet, which was called Maycare, had no problems with it at all. The forth planet, which hadn't been named, was alright, even if everyone on it was a poet or a ballad writer. And then, of course, there was Verdisc. It was a funny planet, with a lot of islands, and few connected countries. There were also many new creatures, like giants and monstrous bats and spectres and necromancers and wizards, and even more danger. But the people were happy, and had developed a new type of fuel that meant they could have their own eco-friendly industrial revolution. I should probably add that this was the world where Marcus, his sister Emilia and his uncle Thaddeus lived.

They lived in Port Vincent, an island in the middle of a sea, which had a large mountain to the west, which led across hills and pebbly walkways to a large gate, at the east. The gate was attached to a 9 metre high wall, inside which was the town of Vincent. There were only two buildings that could see over the wall, the crown room of the tower and the Mist Observatory. Once Marcus had finished cleaning up the glass, he ran out of the castle courtyard and made his way towards the north wall. It was always lined with entertainers, and for once his sister, Emilia, had managed to get a central spot. She was packing up her equipment into an old wooden chest with wheels on the end, as Marcus came across to her. Halfway through the day, a bicycle riding deliverer of messages had come to Marcus and told him his uncle needed to see them immediately after work. They ran through the town of towering buildings, all of which smaller than the nine metre wall, and then finished in a small square. There was a fountain in the centre of the square and it was surrounded by flower sellers as Marcus and Emilia raced to the steps that led to the grand oak doors at the bottom of the observatory. They got to the doors, putting all their effort into opening them, and then jumped onto one of the crates rising up to the top floor. They jump off it and then ran up two flights of spiral stairs and onto the observation deck. There was a gigantic telescope beneath the dome roof and a tall man in a cardigan was waiting at the bottom of it making notes on a black board. Thaddeus Mist was his name, and he smiled as he saw the two children walking over. "Ah!" He cried. "Hello my friends. Come, come over. I've got something quite interesting to show you." He led them over to the window in front of the telescope and showed them the sight. "As you know, this is the only building besides the crown room which can see the sea. And that means we're the only ones who can see this. The question is, do we tell the king?"
For through the window, they could see an endless armada of spectres surging towards Port Vincent, ready to invade.

Monday, 5 May 2014

The Ruins of Sol 3

Lyra had grown accustomed to the Doctors general ineptitude for steering the Tardis, but she expected him to at least be able to land in the correct place. The familiar coughing sounded, as the Tardis hit the ground in, what the Doctor promised to be, London, the twenty first century at exactly 11:18 on the Tardis clock, which was tuned to the nearest time piece. They landed with a bump and the Doctor rushed to the door. It swung open and they stepped out, the Doctor, Lyra and Adric that is. K9 more seemed to roll. “London. The late Twenty First Century.” The Doctor announced. “I love London. So many nice people here. Also a lot of interesting aliens and things. Unit HQ, from back in 1970, is based here, somewhere.”
He stopped as he looked around. There was smoke rising from the ground. The buildings were broken and there was silence. Total and utter silence. Nothing at all but Lyra’s terrified whispers. “Doctor? What has happened?”
“Something bad, I presume.” He muttered back, preoccupied. “K9, scan for life signs. And radiation.”
The robot dog extended it’s scanner and scanned the air around them. “I detect no life signs, Master, but radiation levels are constantly changing.”
Adric hummed for a second. “K9, what’s the search radius for the life scan?”
“I have scanned the entire planet, Master Adric.” K9 replied, emotionlessly and calmly.
“Restrict it to the ten metres, no twenty metres around the Tardis. Scan for all life forms.”
K9 thought for a few seconds. “Order completed, Master Adric.”
“Zero life signs.”
“What did you say?” The Doctor demanded.
“Zero life signs, Master.” K9 replied, matter of fact-ly.
“I don’t understand?” Lyra said. “Why are you so worried? If there are no life signs on Earth, why would there be life signs in the twenty metres around the Tardis?”
Adric looked her straight in the eye. “Because we’re in the twenty metres around the Tardis.”

The Doctor reached back inside the Tardis, which had made itself into a puddle, and collected his satchel and threw off his hat. “Something is distinctly wrong.” The Doctor announced. “K9, I want you to come with me, but you two,” he pointed to Lyra and Adric, “can go back to the Tardis if you want.”
“No way!” Exclaimed Adric. “I’m coming with you if you like it or not.”
The Doctor nodded. “Ok. That alright with me. Lyra, do you want to come?”
Lyra thought for a second and then decided that going with them was the most logical idea. “Ok. I’ll come with you. But I don’t like this. Not one bit.”

They made their way away from the Tardis and across the  ground, the Doctor constantly scanning the air with a giga counter that K9 was reading the results from. “The radiation levels are lowering, master." 
The Doctor nodded. "Any alternative life sign readings?"
The metal dog whirred for a second and then gave his answer. "No sign of life on either search radius, the entire earth or the Tardis."
The Doctor thought hard for a second. "Update me if there's any change. And, scan around yourself. Are we registering now?"
"No, master. There are no life signs on the entirety of this planet."
The Doctor growled. "This just isn't right. Something is wrong. Really wrong."
"Doctor?" Lyra asked.
"Not now, Lyra." The Doctor replied. "Can't you see that I'm thinking intently?"
"Adric is gone!"
The Doctor spun around. The yellow tabard wearing mathematical genius was nowhere to be seen.

"Unhand me!" Adric demanded. He'd been in many confusing scenario's but this was by far the most confusing. Whilst the Doctor talked to K9, he suddenly felt a hand pressed over his mouth and something grab him from behind. As he struggled, looking for whatever it was that had caught him, he saw that the space around him was empty of all life, apart from the Doctor, Lyra and K9, who definitely weren't grabbing him. He had been hauled through the air for an hour now, and he was still none the wiser of what it was that had him. Suddenly he was dumped down on the floor and he noticed large metal struts suddenly disappearing, then reappearing. An hour passed, and he didn't attempt to move because he could hear the breathing of whatever it was that had taken him. Half an hour passed and then he felt himself being lifted through the air once again. The thing that was carrying him walked for another hour and then they passed through a large gate. On the other side of this gate, the thing obviously decided it didn't mind showing itself. A hand appeared over Adric's mouth. And it only had three fingers.

"Back to the Tardis!" The Doctor announced. They raced across the ground and back to the puddle, leaping into it and entering the console room. The Doctor raced towards the Diagnostics panel and instantly sent out a search for life signs. There was nothing, so the Doctor narrowed down the search radius to non life signs, and instantly came up with over six thousand results. "K9, plug yourself into the Tardis and upload the data on the radiation."
The plunger extended from K9's eye plate and registered with the Tardis. On the hanging monitor, a set of data came up, and the Doctor quickly started to type in some words. "Lyra!" The Doctor cried.
"Go to the basement and find the box with the letter S on. Bring me the collar with a large vent on the back."
"Where is it?" Lyra asked.
"Go into the corridor and walk in a straight line as far as you can, and then turn left. In that room there is a door, go through it, follow the corridor, take the seventh left then take the stairs for three floors up and then take a right. There should be a lift in the third room from there, take it to the basement. Ok?"
"Sure." Lyra replied, taking the ladder in the corner of the console room down to the basement.
She returned about ten minutes later with a collar. The Doctor thanked her and then cleared away some dust from the vent on the back. He pulled a cable out of the console and plugged it into the vent. Flicking a switch, the Tardis quickly refreshed the screen of data, but the new results were exactly the same. "There's only one life source on this world other than us."
"What is it?" Lyra demanded.

On the other side of the gate, Adric saw that nobody was invisible. He also felt a lot warmer. But the people who he could see weren't people. They were about three foot each, extremely thick and their bodies were hidden beneath futuristic armour, including a round helmet with two thinly cut eye holes and a gloved hands, that only had three fingers. They more waddled than walked, which Adric presumed was something to do with how short they were. But it wasn't them that scared him. It was the gigantic factories they were crowding around. Large buildings, about six times as big as the average house, width and length, that 'person' after 'person' were gathering around. Then a Tanoy went out. "Cloning to start in T minus 20 seconds."

"These life signs are altering dramatically!" The Doctor cried. Four minutes and twenty seconds had passed, and the life signs had raised by a million. "And Adric must be at the heart of it."
"What can we do?" Lyra demanded.
"The Sontaran's will be weak at first, so they'll need to charge. If we can inject something into the charging material." He trailed off. "That won't work. We need to stop them cloning somehow though." He pulled a lever and the Tardis started to dematerialise. "Don't worry. I'll think of something."
The Tardis materialised, and the Doctor ran towards the door, his 'sonic screwdriver' at the ready. He landed them directly in the cloning vat. When he opened the door, all the liquid would pour in and stop any more cloning from taking place. But there had to be another way. Suddenly he felt dizzy, Lyra did too, by the looks of things. Then the Tardis disappeared from around them and they were surrounded by Sontaran's. Adric was tied to a chair and they were completely surrounded by Sontaran warriors. "Well. This is interesting isn't it." The Doctor said.

K9 was still in the Tardis. The transmat beam that had taken the others hadn't affected him. In his high, electronic voice, he said, "Tardis digital interface. Please activate."
The swirling purple mists inside the time column swirled and then a lady appeared. "Hello, your excellency."
K9 reversed backwards to get a better look at the time column. "Query. Who are you and why do you address me excellency?"
The lady in the time column stared down at the dog. "I am the Tardis digital interface." She poked her cheek. "See. My finger goes into face." She fell about laughing.
"I am a machine, as are you." K9 replied. "We have no need for humour!"
"But doesn't it make the day go by much quicker?"
"The day cannot go by quicker, mistress. Time is a straight line. There is no space for change to the time mechanisms of entire universes."
"You are correct, your excellency. But you are wrong. A Tardis can change time, and make a day go by quicker. If I and my sisters were programmed correctly, a day could go by in two days time or two days could go by in a day's time. It alters the definition, yes, but it is possible, because the Matrix decrees so."
"I know of the Matrix." K9 replied. "What are you telling me?"
"Time is ending, your excellency. He is returning."
"Who is he?"
"He is newly embodied. Twelve regenerations is his creation. Thus he can add more, your excellency"
"Query, mistress."
"Yes, your excellency?"
"Why do you keep calling em your excellency?"

The Doctor straightened his collar and started to observe the room. There were three Sontaran guards on the door and six inside the room. And there was no other exit. "Tell me," the Doctor said, "if you destroyed the humans and most of this planet, then how come you still need to clone your soldiers?"
"We did not destroy this planet. It was like this when we found it. As for humans, we do know of no such real species?"
The Doctor looked at the Sontaran. "How can you not know what a human is?"
The Sontaran pressed a button on the control panel on it's belt and the seal around the base of his helmet started to break, then suddenly the helmet came free. The Sontaran took it from his head and placed it down on the floor. His head was round, like a potato, with two grotesque eyes and a mouth carved into it. Tufts of black hair came out of his chin and his black beady eyes followed the Doctor as he danced around the room, as giddy as ever.  "We know what a human is. They are a member of the legends. They are no more real than the lost plant they were fabled to live in. Sol 3."
"This is Sol 3." The Doctor replied.
The Sontaran screamed at the Doctor. "We do not care of your trickery! This is no more Sol 3 than I am a member of our disgraceful enemies, the Draconians."
The Doctor gave the Sontaran a strange look. "The Draconians are not your enemies. Your sole enemies are the Rutans!"
"We are allies of the Rutans!" The Sontaran spat back.
The Doctor seemed confused. "These legends of yours, what do they tell?"
"Of humanoid creatures who caused war wherever they went. Then the great lord locked them away, in return for military knowledge. And then he created the Draconians, the greatest military monsters to have ever been created! The Sontaran race didn't agree with the Draconians, and sided with the Rutan Host to wipe them from the face of the universe. We are the peace brokers, and we increase our number to help the universe."
The Doctor looked at him. Something was wrong. But the Sontaran wasn't lying. The Doctor danced across the room to one Sontaran and confirmed his suspicion that something was wrong when he slammed his hand into the phobic vent on the back of the Sontaran's neck. Nothing happened. He looked at the clock. It read 11:18. That was the time they had landed, five hours ago. The Doctor stumbled to the doorway. The building began to warp around the dimensions. The clock broke, spinning around to a completely different time. 15:06 and then back to 11:18. And then it exploded. A puddle grew and K9 came up out of it, blasting the Sontarans with laser blasts. The cloister bell was sounding and the walls were breaking down. The Doctor pushed Adric and Lyra into the puddle then grabbed K9 and led him in. The Doctor raced to the console and took off. The time column whirred and sparks exploded out of the console. "Come on old girl!" The Doctor demanded. "You will take me there, whether you want to or not!"
"What's going on?" Lyra asked, as she was thrown from one side of the console to the other.
"Time is collapsing. Everything is being rewritten. There is nothing left from the old universe but us, and the other time travellers. And all the other time travellers will be going to the same place." The Doctor replied, wrestling with the console.
"Where?" Lyra asked.
"The Panoptican. We're going to Galifrey."

To be continued.