Quences green eyes locked onto the Doctor like homing missiles as soon as he strolled into his office.
Quences stared at the Doctor in disdain until he decided to break the silence.
"If it was anyone else my dear nephew then the stunt you pulled today might have been amusing. But I am not amused."
The Doctor stopped in front of Quences desk and stared at his great uncle, belligerently.
"I don't see why I had to stay and mingle with people I have never met and are reputed to be the most boring old fossils to have ever graced the Panopticon. Quite a feat considering the Panopticon is filled with old men who pride themselves on being boring and dull" scorned the Doctor.
Before the Doctor was loomed, Quences had never considered himself a violent individual but the Doctor always had a way of trying his patience. For the third time in one day, Quences slammed his fist into the desk and screamed at his young nephew.
"They were the three of the most influential Time Lords on Gallifrey! A successful political campaign into the higher seats of the Panopticon would have been assured with their support. A prospect now made impossible. Powerful and influential men do not like to be snubbed by Junior Time Lords, especially those who only just managed to scrap through the Academy with only 51% on your second attempt!”
"I never wanted to be a part of your political machinations Uncle. I refuse to be a part of a regime of dusty old Time Lords. We have so much power, but all we ever do is watch. There is so much out there to explore. Worlds entirely made of diamond, caves made of ice and constellations that are more beautiful than life itself" announced the Doctor.
"So you would run away, from your duty to this House and your planet. What happened to you Doctor? You wanted this. You and those friends of yours had your own political machinations. You went from future leader of Gallifrey to idealist lay about. So enlighten me, what changed" questioned Quences?
All the fight immediately left the Doctor. A sorrowful look appeared on his face as he turned and left the room. Quences stood from his desk and shouted after the Doctor.
"DOCTOR, I am not done with you!"
The Doctor did not turn back.
Lost in his memories, the Doctor walked into his room. Artemis immediately noticed the Doctor's sorrow for what it was. Grief, simply and unadulterated grief for a friend or family member that the Doctor had lost. Artemis walked up to the Doctor and put a hand on his shoulder.
"Is everything alright my friend" asked Artemis?
"Hrmmm" muttered the Doctor.
He shook his head and woke up from his revere.
"Sorry I was lost in my thoughts. Where were we Hrmmm... That's right, transmat to the Capitol. Come on."
All trace of melancholy gone, the Doctor grabbed Artemis's hand and led her out of the room.
Immediately after leaving the Doctor's room, they were confronted by an irate Satthaltrope. The old woman pointed a withered finger at the Doctor.
"Where are you going and who is she" demanded Satthaltrope?
"Errr, she is a friend, who just so happens to be a girl. I can't stay to chat I'm afraid, must dash. My friend and I have a very important appointment at the Capitol"
The Doctor dismissed the old woman with a wave of his hand.
"You will not leave" ordered Satthaltrope.
"There is no reasoning with her when she's like this" said the Doctor.
Turning away from Satthaltrope, the Doctor led Artemis down the dark wooden panelled corridor.
"DOCTOR" screamed Satthaltrope!
The House trembled and shook as if there was an earthquake.
"Ah, I believe this is where we RUN" screamed the Doctor.
Artemis followed the Doctor through a maze of corridors, sitting rooms, living rooms and a bathroom. All the while the House of Lungbarrow trembled around them. As they ran down one corridor, there exit was block by an oak bookshelf. The Doctor and Artemis turned back to down the corridor to see there other exit blocked by a leather couch.
"What's with this House" exclaimed Artemis!
"It's Satthaltrope. As Housekeeper, she has a telepathic link with the House. It's rather similar to the one between a Time Lord and a TARDIS but stronger. If she gets angry then the House get angry. Unfortunately, that ultimately applies to the furniture" explained the Doctor.
The couch and the bookshelf advanced from both ends of the corridor, threatening to squash them. The Doctor suddenly was struck with an idea.
"Quick, we can escape through the kitchens" said the Doctor.
He ran to a door nearest to them and opened it. On seeing what was on the other side of the door, the Doctor's eyes widened. Before Artemis could see too, the Doctor slammed the door. This was a second before the door in question, was hit by a shower of heavy metal objects which thudded against the thick oak door in a quick succession.
"We do not want to go in there. Too many sharp cooking utensils" exclaimed the Doctor!
The Doctor was about to give up, when there was a large tearing noise. A pair of mighty paws smashed a hole through the other side of the bookshelf. The Doctor gave a gasp of relief when Badger appeared from the other side. Badger turned the bookshelf into splinters before making towards the Doctor.
"Sir, I advise you evacuate the House. It appears Housekeeper Satthaltrope is in a temper. She has sent the furniture to capture you and your guest" warned Badger.
The Doctor didn't waste any time. He and Artemis sprinted down the corridor, stopping only to give Badger a friendly wave.
"Thank you Badger, keep my room in one piece while I'm gone."
The Doctor and Artemis continued their sprint to the Transmat room. Half way through a sitting room, Artemis managed to pant out a question.
"Won't you get in trouble for running away?"
"Oh, I hope so. If I am lucky, Quences will disown me" the Doctor panted back.
"You sound pleased" accused Artemis.
"Of course I am. I've been trying to get out from under Quences influence for years. The House of Lungbarrow is full of very venomous vipers, all of which would love nothing better to see me fall into disgrace. Well not all of them, there is one exception. Innocent always looked out for me."
The Doctor led Artemis south, under an archway and into a room with a pedestal and a computer console at the centre. Artemis and the Doctor jumped up onto the transmat pedestal.
"We need to program the destination" demanded Artemis.
There were echoes in the corridor beyond. The house shook as the furniture tramped towards the transmat room, out for blood.
"No need. I have the Sonic Screwdriver" said the Doctor.
The Doctor pulled out the silver screwdriver and pointed at the control console, but nothing happened.
"Oh drat, out of power. I really must get around to installing longer lasting batteries" complained the Doctor.
To Artemis's horror, a pair of red stools and large cushion appeared in the doorway and they continued to crawl towards them.
"What now genius? We can't reach the console before those pieces of furniture clobber us to death" said Artemis.
"Hrmmm, plan B perhaps" murmured the Doctor.
Replacing the screwdriver in his pocket, the Doctor reached into his other pocket and pulled out a red ball.
"That better be a grenade" demanded Artemis?
The Doctor frowned with disapproval.
"Of course not, why would I carry such paraphernalia? It's a cricket ball."
With a quick over handed throw, the Doctor lobbed the cricket ball at the control console. It smashed right into the activation lever. The force was enough to push the lever down. There was a hum as the pedestal came to life. In a flash of blinding white light, the Doctor and Artemis evaporated into thin air.
The Doctor and Artemis reappeared in a silver court yard.
"Hrmm yes, this is most definitely the Capitol. Right in the heart of the Citadel" surmised the Doctor.
"That's a relief. For a moment I thought we would be mauled to death by your furniture" said Artemis.
Artemis stepped down from the transmat pedestal, and was welcomed by loud alarm. The alarm echoed throughout the Citadel of the Time Lords. It was followed by the stomping of military boots. Before the Doctor and Artemis knew it, they were surrounded by the red uniformed Chancellery Guards. Each one of them had a Staser pistol pointed at the Artemis and the Doctor. Both Artemis and the Doctor raised their hands in surrender.
"I believe the Earth saying 'out of the Frying pan into the Fire' seems appropriate at this junction" murmured Artemis.
"Yes, very fitting" confirmed the Doctor.
The Doctor spent the entire night in an interrogation cell, separate from Artemis. Not that it meant much to a Time Lord. The Doctor never really needed sleep and he was always in the habit of keeping reading material in his coat pockets. When someone finally arrived to see him, the Doctor was laid back in his seat next a table, reading a 1964 edition of the British TV comic, a smile on his face. The smile faded from the Doctor's face when he saw the person who entered his interrogation cell. A striking young man with serious black eyes wearing black and white robes
"My,my, look what the cat dragged in. So Vansell, still working for the Celestial Intervention Agency" questioned the Doctor?
Vansell sneered down at the Doctor.
"Actually it is First Officer Vansell now" boasted Vansell.
"Oh, so that is the payment for betrayal these days" snapped the Doctor.
The Doctor and Vansell had once been friends and had been a part of the same group of elite students at the Academy; the Deca. Twenty years ago Vansell betrayed the Doctor's activities and plans to the Time Lords. Borusa himself had berated the Doctor for his arrogance and forced him to repeat his final term at the Academy. Vansell had gotten a cosy job at the CIA while the Doctor had been forced to repeat his time at the Academy.
"I can see you still holding a grudge Doctor. I was simply doing my duty to Gallifrey, nothing more" commented Vansell.
"We were friends Vansell. Did that mean anything to you" questioned the Doctor?
"Spare me the friendship lecture Doctor. Your hypocrisy is only equal to your arrogance. Just because you have a gift of intelligence, doesn't give you the right to flout Time Lord Law. Friendship will not save you" snapped Vansell.
Another person entered the cell, this one wearing pure black robes and a matching skull cap.
"That remains to be seen Vansell" grinned the black robed man.
"Of course you'd come to the Doctor defence. Like a snivelling pup, in need of its master" scorned Vansell.
"That is very rich coming from the man who has been brown nosing the CIA since his Academy days" the black robed man shot back.
The Doctor leapt to his feet, rushed over and took the black robed man's hand in a friendly greeting.
"Koschei, old chap. It has been a while" greeted the Doctor, smiling warmly.
"Too long old friend" grinned Koschei.
"You've grown a beard! I don't like it. Have you been taking fashion tips from Magnus again" asked the Doctor, sarcastically.
Koschei chuckled, warmly and stroked his black goatee.
"People tend to take me more seriously. Compared to wearing the clothes of a retrograde" said Koschei.
Koschei deliberately stared down at the Doctor's frock coat and checked trousers.
"True, but these clothes feel comfortable. You know, when you received your Master's degree in Cosmic Science, I thought you'd become a Professor not Castilian" commented the Doctor.
"It was too predictable for my taste Doctor. I prefer a little bit more chaos in my world."
The Doctor grinned.
"Those were the days" said the Doctor.
"May I remind you Castellian, that this is an interrogation not an Academy reunion. We are not here for the sense of nostalgia" reprimanded Vansell.
The Doctor sat back down and stared indignantly at Vansell.
"Why am I being interrogated like a little boy who stole some sweets? Not even the CIA can hold a Time Lord without charge" demanded the Doctor.
That was when another Time Lord entered the room, wearing dark burgundy robes and a high collar of a senior Cardinal of the High Council. The Doctor recognized the infamous face of Cardinal Zero. Zero's political career was infamous in the eyes of Gallifrey. He had risen to power 100,000 years ago riding on the coat tails of the charismatic President Morbius. When Morbius had been branded a traitor and exiled from Gallifrey, Zero lost a powerfully ally.
His rise through politics had stopped dead in the water at the rank of Cardinal. Zero was the oldest Time Lord with the mantle of Cardinal, mainly because everybody was terrified of him. He was a tall and imposing figure of absolute authority. Bald with with papery white skin and a black cloth covering up his left empty eye socket. His single working eye was light green that reminded the Doctor of the eyes of a drowned man. Instead of ears, Cardinal Zero had small holes at each end of his skull; where his ears should be. Zero's appearance was from an inexplicable failed regeneration, 2,000 year ago. Zero walked over to the interrogation table and sat in the fourth chair.
"You are here Doctor, because you have been consorting with a wanted Criminal. The Renegade known as Artemis has been found guilty of multiple heinous crimes against Gallifrey" answered Zero.
Recovering from Cardinal Zero's abrupt entrance, the Doctor managed to look scandalized.
"What did she do? Smudge the chalice of Rassilion? Break the decorative vase of Rassilion?"
"No Doctor, your friend Artemis has been charged with treason against the Time Lords, breaking the laws of time and the theft of several Time Capsules" stated Vansell.
"Pedantic Poppycock! I have no doubt they are all jumped up charges initiated by High Council" the Doctor scoffed.
"How typical of you college. The Prydonians are a bunch of renegades, lunatics and ingrates. You think Gallifrey owes you everything and you Doctor are the most insolent of them all" snapped Cardinal Zero.
The Doctor gave Zero a mild look.
"Isn't our great lustrous President, a Prydonian" retorted the Doctor.
This only seemed to infuriate the Cardinal further.
"Doctor, whatever our opinions, the President isn't the one in trouble right now. You are" reminded Koschei, before Zero could let loose his temper.
The Doctor gave a knowing smile.
"You expect me to believe that one Renegade, no matter how notorious would not catch the attention of all three of you. It is Koschei's duty as Castilian is to catch and interrogate criminals, not the CIA or a senior Cardinal. So spill the beans, what is really going on" questioned the Doctor?
There was a moment guilty silence which was broken by Koschei.
"We should tell him your Grace. The Doctor is meddlesome at the best of times. His curiosity would soon lead him to work it all out for himself. By telling him now we could gain the benefit of the Doctor's knowledge" Koschei recommended to Zero, before turning back to the Doctor and giving him a wink.
"The Doctor is a prisoner, not a Council adviser" objected Vansell.
Cardinal Zero considered and then gave a reluctant nod to Koschei. Taking that as Zero's assent, Koschei pressed a set of buttons on his side of the grey table. The lights dimmed and a 3D hologramatic image appeared at the centre of the table. The image was of the Citadel of the Time Lords and the shining snow covered mountain side. In the sky above the domed Citadel was an object that should not have been there. It was a giant structure, larger than the Citadel and was made of a white substance. The Doctor gasped in surprise, the structure above the Time Lord Capital was shaped in the likeness of a humanoid skull, its empty eye sockets burning with an orange fire.
"That my dear Doctor is the Chaos Engine" said Koschei.
"Chaos Engine" asked the Doctor?
"The name of the vast structure that has recently appeared over the skies of Gallifrey" explained Koschei.
"Apart from being an enormous eyesore, is it a threat to us" asked the Doctor?
"A massive threat" continued Koschei, despite Vansell's scowl of disapproval.
"It appears to be warping local space, bending gravity around it and sending ripples out into the vortex. We cannot risk destroying it lest we unleash a white hole or some other cataclysm."
"Hrmmm, how did that fiendish monstrosity get past the transduction barriers? They're meant to be impenetrable" asked the Doctor?
"The Chaos Engine isn't a harbinger from an alien world. It's an edifice of Gallifreyan design, one of the hidden defences designed by the Rassilon during his reign as President. It's been hidden somewhere on Gallifrey for some time but has recently become active and headed straight for the Capitol. Probably due to a malfunctioning priming circuit or a forgotten protocol left by Rassilon himself" explained Zero, impatiently.
The Doctor raised an eyebrow.
"Really; so a barrier encompassing the entire planet, a fleet of Bowships and a Valdium super weapon was not enough for Rassilion. He had to build a giant doomsday device and had the poor taste to call it a Chaos Engine. I am surprised he didn't call it the giant doomsday skull of Rassilion" mocked the Doctor, cynically.
Vansell looked indignant at the Doctor's mockery of Gallifrey's greatest hero. The CIA officer like most Time Lords saw Rassilon as the greatest man to have ever lived and thus beyond criticism, especially from a lowly person like the Doctor.
"Rassilon had his reasons. A weapon like the Chaos Engine has an immeasurable value to the Time Lords" defended Vansell.
"What exactly is a Chaos Engine? It obviously does more than cause a bit of disturbance" asked the Doctor?
"A Chaos Engine creates mass temporal instabilities within the local vortex before it's able to build up momentum and activate its final function. This device has the ability to reverse the flow of time" explained Koschei
Shock appeared on the Doctor's face.
"That is madness; Gallifrey has a unique affliction with Time. Every leaf, every rock and native being is soaked in Artron energy. If time is reversed, then the end result could be like adding flame to an unstable fuel source. The whole of Kasterborous could be ripped apart" theorised the Doctor.
"We have the situation in hand Doctor. We are studying all references to the Chaos Engine that are in the Green Book of Gallifrey and the Matrix. We also have the device under observation for any changes" dismissed Vansell.
"Fomulistic flummery, if the Chaos Engine is malfunctioning than the device could activate at any time. The sword of Damocles is hanging over Gallifrey and you want to observe. What a typical Time Lord response. Instead of relying on your own skill or judgement to make a plan of action, you want to look it up in the index. Consult the little Red Book of Gallifrey, the scrolls of antiquity, the runes of Rassilon or any other toy or trinket you have left in the cupboard; rather than commit to do anything but observe" mocked the Doctor.
Cardinal Zero slammed both hands on the table and leapt to his feet, his single grey eye staring daggers into the Doctor.
"Do not presume to mock us Doctor. I will not pander to your presumptuous pride, Prydonian. I'd say you never deserved the promotion beyond Scrutationary Archivist. The holders of a Doctorate should be always hold respect for their superiors. You obviously believe yourself some kind of Gallifreyan hero. Well you are no Rassilon or Omega, just a little boy crying out in the dark" snarled Zero.
The Doctor too got to his feet, placing both his hands on his frock coat lapels and stared defiantly back at the old Cardinal.
"I am no hero. I am the Doctor. An I know your kind. You sir are a bully and you are used to terrorising the people around you. Well that won't work on me. Now, what has all this got to do with Artemis, Hrmmm?"
Both Vansell and Zero were too infuriated by the Doctor to speak but Koschei, always the Doctor's friend, answered his question.
"The only way to gain access the Engine and shut it down is to unlock the gene-lock. This can be done by inputting the living DNA of Rassilon or any of his descendants. Rassilon is dead in his tomb in the Death Zone, so that leaves only one viable option. It is not widely known that Rassilon had a daughter. A daughter who brought him nothing but dishonour."
It took the Doctor a moment before he put the pieces together but even then he couldn't bring himself to say it out loud. Looking into the Doctor's eyes, Koschei saw his old friend arrive at the expected conclusion and nodded his head to confirm it. Artemis was the daughter of the great and powerful Rassilon.