Manifest and Manifesto
“And you say the latest batch of that fanatic’s self-indulgent missives claims what? Let me see that, Pasmodius. They must be reviewed, in light of The Admission. To think the Other’s Nurse was temporally frozen right above us, all this time, waiting in that transport pod…”
“Silander, your worry over your Cousin the Doctor is clouding your mind. The other Time Lords must not know of his failing condition through your lips or any other’s. It would behoove you, I believe, to just read the transcript, please.” the old man says, carefully perched in thought against the back of his rickety old wooden chair, his wrinkled hand to his chin, grasping his own skin loosely as if pinching a bird for the stewpot. The fingers of his free hand twist with impatience at the younger Time Lord as he calls out strangely, through…clenched teeth? “I rather think that I will close the door, as well. We don’t want any troubles wafting in.”
And then he smiles, does Pasmodius. For he knows what happens next.
Silanderedloomiscariotiquilylon holds the crisp and faded pages up to the lights, and begins to read…
‘Hitchemus, month the first, timestamp apple dash one seventy:
I am Hainishtymion of Gallifrey.
As I state in my header, this is the first month of my being here, on the island colony of Hitchemus. The Doctor has not yet appeared to give me instruction; I count the days until he comes to brief me, because I know his work is important, much more important than the task he has given me here, although he would deny it if he heard it from my lips or glimpsed these humble pages! I trust him with my life, Goddess, with everyone’s lives. He is a good man.’
Silander flips to the next page, a frown creasing his thin, youthful brow of tarnished silver.
‘Hitchemus, month the third, timestamp apple dash one seventy:
“I am again Hainishtymion. A renegade band of the mock-feliform natives called tigers and their human compatriots managed to make off with the TT capsule which I used to travel here. That remains a troubling development, and one that must be rectified. I am having no trouble finding food, however, because the people here seem to know and appreciate what I am, they evidently having met my Lord Doctor before through a benefit of local legends… they call him the Hitchemus Devil, and claim that he, among other things, called a storm to stop the ancient war between the human colonists and the natives. The violin he is said to have played so quickly and so perfectly the strings themselves burst into flame has purportedly gained sentience from the incident, as well as a name, Kaku Inko, and several cult followings. I think perhaps this is one of the artifacts he sent me to find. I will attempt to investigate and procure the instrument; failing that, well… I must not fail the Doctor. I will not shame his trust or my House in such a manner.’
“It wouldn’t hurt to skip ahead a bit,”Pasmodius quips, laughing as he taps the one scrawny hair on his head with a spindle-thin finger.
Silander shakes his short cropped silver hair and sighs, glancing down at the numbers on the pages. “If you insist, my Lord, but I feel that the record will be better suited by a…” By chance he glances down just suddenly, realizing that the old man’s fingers have been soft on the door locking pad. “… ah, but this is not a formal reading for the Record, I understand now; forgive me, my Lord Pasmodius.” He straightens then, knowing what will probably come soon enough, and continues. Pasmodius knows about the Doctor’s connection to him, a lowly Citadel Guard of House Redloom. In his mind, a prayer to the Other, to the Doctor really, plays in a loop while he opens his mouth again to speak the next line from the letter in his hand.
‘Hitchemus, year four, timestamp apple dash one seventy four:
I remain Hainishtymion.
Met a woman today; she gave me a strange kind of local delicacy. Powdered, white. The smell is…
She calls it the White Lady. Says it makes you forget. How could I forget anything? I am a Time Lord. Why would I want to forget my Lord Doctor, my most favorite instructor in the ways of solid argument?
It makes no sense.
The Doctor will come for me, why should I need anything to…
I hope he is well. Yes that is it. He must be unwell, and cannot come for me.
Yes. That must be what it is.
Silander skims a few pages ahead, watching the old man watch him. Death is at the end of these pages, he knows, and the only person who can save him is sleeping in a secret room fifty levels below the ground floor of the citadel. Again, he begins to read, considering.
‘Hitchemus, year two hundred, month the ninth, timestamp apple dash two
I am with the White Lady, now. Her breath is on my face. All over my skin. Seeping in. Fulfilling me.
I must thank the bluish-furred Tiger woman Mira for introducing me to Her all those years ago.
It truly is a liberating experience, to sniff the white powder and watch it grind your brains up into meat paste from far away, inside your own head. I wonder how long it will be before I finally forget what I’m doing here. For him. I think, no, I know I want to. I am content here. I have the Kaku Inko in my possession, having paid off several of the local officials in black time market gold, both for the violin and information as to the whereabouts of my TARDIS.
He’s abandoned me. Why did I ever think that he gave a damn?
Once I have my ship back, however, I believe I shall visit my previous home on the same unscheduled flight plan I used to come to Hitchemus, just so I can slip in and see if he’s still there, playing with his irons and his fires. If not, I might travel back in time like he wanted me to, to have some fun with the Old War Era timelines. Get some answers. Maybe visit the Doctor in the timeline I left, rip the child from his belly and restring the violin with her guts… oh yes, that does sound adequate. I’ve grown quite fond of music, since coming here. I’ve even learned to play.’
With steady fingers, Silander closes the book full of still more pages and groans; no wonder the Doctor couldn’t help Hainish. He was in the coma after hitting his head in his upsettedness, because he’d realized… that he would never be able to help that poor boy before he’d even sent him on his way.
Because he’d sent him on his way.
“Oh yes, I play quite well now, even do a little composing in his honour. Of course, the violin doesn’t like me much anymore…” Pasmodius says softly, as he runs his gnarled hand over Silander’s suddenly freezing shoulder, pressing into the extra nerve bundle and rendering him paralyzed. “I hope you like the third movement; it’s my favorite. You see, it’s the part where the Doctor gets to meet her. He’s close to giving birth, down there in Rassilon’s cramped little bunker- he needs someone to look after him, as he’s in no fit state to do so for himself, you see. Such a good thing that I’m here… to take –care- of him.”
Then the old man’s raspy laughter fills the room like the popping of a balloon as he clasps his fingers around Silander’s throat and slowly brings his fingers closer…