The Reign of Terror
At the very centre of the vast Citadel was the Time Control Chamber. If the Panopticon was considered the heart of Gallifrey then the Time Control Chamber would be the brain. It was the centre of both control and discovery. From this cavernous chamber the Time Lords could look out over infinity for the sole objective of observing and cataloguing the wonders of the universe.
There was also technology in the chamber that allowed the Time Lords to control TARDIS's and manipulates the fabric of time anywhere in the Universe. President Pundat was pushed into this spacious chamber on a metal hover stretcher followed by his entourage.
A line of fleeing Time Lords from the Chapters of Arcalian, Patrex and Cerulean streamed in behind. Standing by the massive arched entrance was a squad of heavily armed Chancellery Guardsmen.
Following on behind the crowd of fleeing Time Lords was the Doctor, Artemis and the harassed Borusa. The Doctor was trying to explain the events leading up to this revolution to his old Mentor.
"This series of events does not make any sense. It doesn't explain why the Tempest Knights want the Chaos Engine and what is this 'focus' that the Knights are after" complained Borusa?
"Isn't it obvious Time Lord? It's me. I'm the focus" stated Artemis smugly.
The Doctor gave a gasp as his eyes widened in comprehension.
"Yes, yes, yes, I see it now. The Chaos Engine has the ability to reverse time in the local continuum. Even in a place like Gallifrey where the local continuum is time locked, making it impossible for someone to time travel. That's why the Engine needs a focus. The Engine needs something to latch onto while reversing the continuum. Only problem being that it needs a living focus. They need someone that exists in the present day as well as the past."
Borusa frowned in concentration, trying to put the points together while ignoring the sounds of revolution in the background.
"Then what does Artemis have to do with this? There are clearly other better cadets for the focus and all of them easier to find" questioned Borusa?
"Yes but none of those other cadets existed when Rassilon first captured the Eye of Harmony, bought it back to Gallifrey and declared himself a Lord of Time" smirked Artemis.
His eyes bright with discovery, the Doctor clicked his fingers.
"Hrmmm, yes of course! Rassilon was the architect of the Time Lords. He practically wrote Time Lord Policy. If the Tempest Knights were able to go back in time to that point in our history, then they would be able to manipulate Time Lord society from the very beginning. Turn a bunch of dry old scholars into the greatest army the Universe has ever seen. Yes, it all makes sense now."
Borusa however was a bit more sceptical but wasn't ready to dismiss Artemis and the Doctor's claims out of hand.
"It is a very unlikely story but I will say that I can't find any fault in it. It doesn't matter anyhow. Once we gain access to the TARDIS Bays then we will be able to put a stop to these Tempest Knights" remarked Borusa.
Vansell had been standing behind Borusa, Artemis and the Doctor and listening to their conversation; started in alarm.
"Evacuate the Capitol, are you mad? The Time Lords have been masters of Gallifrey for millions of years. To evacuate would make us as weak as the people we have sworn to protect" protested Vansell, angrily.
Borusa gave his ex-pupil a stern look.
"Last time I check Vansell, I am the highest ranking Time Lord in this room apart from our honoured President. That means, while the President is in a healing coma, I give the orders until someone of higher rank enters the Time Control Chamber. Besides Vansell, I have no plans for an evacuation. We need to gain access to a couple of the new War-TARDISs. A couple of Time Torpedos will put an end to this 'revolution" declared Borusa.
Without waiting for a reply from Vansell, he strolled up to one of the engineers working at one of the many screens scattered around the chamber.
"Under-Cardinal Boric, I want you to open up a passage to the TARDIS Bays immediately" ordered Borusa!
The Under-Cardinal nodded.
"Very good sir" replied Boric.
Unfortunately the Under-Cardinal never got a chance to carry out his orders. There was a loud explosion and every machine in the Chamber shut down. The buzzing of the machines stopped and the battle outside could be heard from the chamber.
"What’s happening" demanded Borusa?
"A computer virus, it got through our defences and ripped through our system. This is unlike anything I've ever seen before sir. Nothing in the Universe should be able to penetrate our systems" said Boric in shock.
"How long will it take for you to restart the systems" demanded Borusa.
"A hour, maybe more depending on what kind of damage the virus has done to the Excitonic circuitry" surmised the Under-Cardinal.
The Doctor was about to volunteer to help get the systems back online when Koschei burst into the room. His old friend looked rather the worse for wear. His cloak was in tatters and he held a Staser in his right hand.
"Cardinal Borusa! My men can't hold the Tempest Knights back. There coming at us from all sides and there heading in this direction. We need to evacuate sir" demanded Koschei!
Borusa hesitated for second and in that second, time seemed to freeze for the Doctor. A hundred different thoughts poured into the Doctor's head. It took all his mental training to clear his mind and search for a solution with the use logical. He ignored the loud explosions and the cries of battle that kept getting closer.
His eyes searched the chamber and found the solution. His eyes were drawn to a metal barrel in the centre of the room with a computer screen on top of it. The device was known as the Magnetron. It had the power to move planets from point of time and space to another.
The Doctor had an idea that he could salvage the Magnetron and turn it to another purpose. Pulling out his Sonic Screwdriver from the pocket of his frock coat, the Doctor made for the Magnetron. With a burst from the screwdriver he opened a panel on the side of the Magnetron.
He stuck his head into the machine and started taking it apart. Everyone else looked in surprise at the Doctor. Vansell stepped forward and grunted in disgust.
"Doctor, what are you doing? You careless, irresponsible, untrustworthy lackwit! You're wrecking a highly useful and expensive piece of equipment."
"I have an idea. A idea that might just save all our lives, so do us all a favour Vansell and go boil your head" said the Doctor, his head still in the Magnetron.
"Enough with the damn alien quixotism, you retrograde" snarled Vansell.
Vansell turned to Borusa for help.
"Lord Borusa, you not going to take an unnecessary risk on man who founds all his assumptions on a baseless intuition. The Doctor is notorious for his flagrant disregard for proper safety standards" complained Vansell.
"Oh Vansell, there is no point in living if you can't live dangerously. If this works, it should stop the Tempest Knights in their tracks" said the Doctor.
While Vansell and the Doctor were arguing, Koschei walked towards them until he stood right next to Borusa. In one swift movement he put a strong arm around Borusa and placed the barrel of his Staser next to his former teacher's temple.
"Stay where you are, unless you want me to use this Staser" threatened Koschei.
Noticing that all the attention was no longer on him, the Doctor stuck his head out the Magnetron and did a double take. In one swift movement he leapt to his feet, his sonic screwdriver held in his hand and anger in his eyes.
"What is the meaning of this Koschei" demanded the Doctor?
"I'd quite like to know that myself" commented Borusa, dryly while in the grips of Koschei.
Koschei just laughed at the expression on the Doctor's face.
"Hahaha, oh my dear Doctor, you have been naïve. You should see the look on your face. It makes it all worthwhile."
The Doctor resisted the urge to go up and throttle Koschei. Instead he decided to use his head because the Doctor knew that it would be the only way to beat his old rival. During their time at the Academy they had competed against each other in many different arenas; mainly in the annual science fairs and in tests of skill.
The Doctor had pushed Koschei and Koschei had pushed the Doctor to be better. Usually Koschei won their little competitions but in the few times the Doctor had won. When the Doctor won it was because he had used his mind to find holes in Koschei plans. The Doctor took a deep breath, diluting the feelings of anger and betrayal that were threatening to overwhelm his control.
"So tell me old friend, are you working for these Tempest Knights hmmm" questioned the Doctor?
"Of course, who else Doctor. Speaking of my new friends, I really should invite all up and introduce them" smirked Koschei.
Koschei reached down to a small gold circular device attached to his belt and pressed the centre button. With a loud metallic boom and a flash of light, a small band of Tempest Knights teleported into the Time Control Chamber. They were well armed so took down all resistance in no time at all.
There spears were deadly, felling Chancellery Guardsmen with a single blast and without any chance of regeneration. Unable to interfere because of Koschei, the Doctor, Artemis and the other Time Lords could only watch as the Knights massacred all opposition. When it was over, only the Doctor dare speak.
"Why Koschei, why betray your oath, your position and Gallifrey? Why betray me" questioned the Doctor, wearily.
Koschei pushed Borusa away from him but still brandished his Staser.
"Why not? We Time Lords have access to absolute power but we never use it. No, we just stand around watch the Universe fall into chaos. What if we chose to become the masters of the Universe" demanded Koschei?
"You don't have the right" cried the Doctor!
"We have every right! What is the point of having the power if we don't use it? We could be more than just dusty senators. Just think about it Doctor, we could be masters of it all" plead Koschei.
Before the Doctor could make an angry retort, two of the Knights approached Koschei. Both of them removed their helmets to reveal Ushas and Magnus. The Doctor stood aghast at this.
He had considered that one of his old friends had been playing a part in this conspiracy but not all of them. The betrayal had been too big to even consider.
"I can't see why you bother with him Koschei. The Doctor will never see beyond his own spurious morality. He turned his back on us a long time ago" complained Magnus.
"We were once a team Doctor. Then you turned your back on us and became errant recluse. So we turned to the Tempest Knight" accused Ushas.
"Of course, why didn't I see it? You were all pulling the wool over my eyes from the very beginning. That ambush in Low Town was for my benefit, you were trying to get me off the scent. I'm betting it was Magnus who designed those fancy spears and that virus that took out the Time Control Chamber. Koschei was the one who organised the break out of Shada and it's why he wouldn't give me access to Artemis. The mutant mouse was Ushas work. The President is never going to forgive her letting it eat his cat" commented the Doctor, dryly.
"You won't get away with this. The CIA will hunt you to the ends of the Universe for this treachery" threatened Vansell.
Artemis snorted at the Time Lord arrogance.
"I doubt the CIA will be given a chance to hunt them down" commented Artemis.
"Yes quite. You lot are forgetting one thing. I've seen a projection of Gallifrey's future. It's not the paradise that Koschei describes. Absolute power corrupts absolutely" noted the Doctor.
Laughter echoed from behind them, cold and mirthless. Cardinal Zero strolled into the room all in black. For the first time in over a thousand years, Zero was smiling. Every Tempest Knight in the room except Koschei, Magnus and Ushas saluted.
"Hail the Tempest General" saluted the Knights!
Zero waved like a king acknowledging his subject before continuing on to where the Doctor and lieutenants were standing.
"I wouldn't put any trust in projections young man. The Matrix just spat out a possible scenario based on statistical analysis of event. They have no way of predicting what will happen when we activate the Chaos Engine. The Tempest Knights don't need predictions, they make their own fate" proclaimed Zero.
Borusa stared in amazement.
"You're in charge of this rabble Zero! I thought better of you" berated Borusa.
Zero’s single eyes seemed to come alive with a burning fire that threatened to burn the world.
"Hah, you thought I was just another Cardinal, another political sycophant. The truth is Borusa, I despise all you damn Time Lords and I would like nothing better than to destroy you all. I was the one who found the Black Scrolls of Rassilon and used them to activated the Chaos Engine. It was I, who placed the Chaos Engine above the Capital. It was I, who organised all of Gallifrey's rebels, criminals and greatest minds into an order of Knights. Now my plan will succeed with the help of the daughter of Rassilon."
Artemis gave a look of disgust.
"I am no daughter of Rassilon; my father saw to that a millennia ago. He disowned me and removed my genetic data from the Family house. You hunted me all through time and space just so you could activate one of my father's doomsday weapons. I will not be used so easily Time Lord" snarled Artemis.
Zero turned on Artemis and gave her, his most charming smile which looked more like a grimace.
"What makes you think that you have a choice in this? I have an army of invincible Knights and control of the most awesome power in the Universe, who would be crazy enough to try and stop me" questioned Zero?
The Doctor stepped in between Zero and Artemis. The simple move drawing everyone’s attention to him and his defiant determination
"I will. I am a mad man after all."
Zero's face turned into a genuine grimace and focused his single eye on the defiant Doctor.
"Hah the child wishes to stop me. You have been a thorn in my side for quite some time. I had to accelerate my plans because of you. So tell me Doctor, why should I not end your life right here" demanded Zero, dangerously?
Before the Doctor could make a very rude comment, Koschei stepped forward and pulled his old friend out of Zero's path.
"Lord Zero, I request that the Doctor be able to join our ranks. He may be meddlesome but he's intellect will be usefully to us" asked Koschei?
"The Doctor is a fool and you're a fool for wanting to help him. Remember our dream; the Gallifrey taking up its rightfully place in the Universe. A dream that can never be reality with the Doctor alive" explained Zero.
Koschei bowed his head in acknowledgement and turned to the Doctor with regret in his eyes.
"I am sorry Doctor. Your death will be my greatest regret. You are the only friend I have who I counted as almost my equal" said Koschei sorrowfully.
Sadness touched the Doctor's eyes as well as the sharp stab of betrayal.
"I am sorry too Koschei. I almost thought you were my friend. Obviously I was very wrong. You've betrayed me and given into the madness" snarled the Doctor.
Zero pushed Koschei out of the way and rounded on the Doctor. Uncontrollable anger had taken over Zero and the Doctor was in his path. Grabbing the Doctor by the lapels, Zero lifted him off his feet. The Doctor struggled but was no match against Zero's mammoth strength. Everybody stood watching in silence, too afraid to help the Doctor in case Zero turned on them.
"Unhand me sir" demanded the Doctor!
"Beg me. Plead for your life" snarled Zero!
The Doctor was defiant until the end. A mean feat considering the Doctor was dangling a foot in the air.
'You will Doctor. You will" stated Zero.
Zero threw the Doctor across the chamber like a child throwing a toy across the nursery. The Doctor flew like a ragdoll, dropping his screwdriver and crashing into one of the dead consoles. He looked up half dazed at the grinning Zero.
"My last regeneration may have cost me my eye but it strengthened my muscles beyond that of an ordinary Time Lord. I have the ability to break you Doctor, limb from limb" threatened Zero.
To illustrate his point, Zero picked up the Doctor's fallen Sonic Screwdriver and snapped it in two. The Doctor felt a little part of him die as Zero dropped the pieces and stamped them into dust. The Sonic Screwdriver had been built more on guesswork rather than any hard data. It would be years before he could build another of its like. With all the breath was knocked out his body, the Doctor unable to speak.
"Koschei told me of your promise, the reason you call yourself the Doctor. It is a fool's errant. A dream of a naïve bookworm who longed for a role above his station" smirked Zero, vindictively.
Zero walked towards the Doctor with murder in his eye but Artemis stepped in his way. She may have known the Doctor for less than a day but already Artemis could feel a connection between them.
She felt the need to stand between the Doctor and death, not just for her sake but for the future. Artemis had seen the Doctor's future and had seen that it was a future worth protecting. Her face remained impassive but determined. Not showing the fear that was coursing through her hearts.
"Stop right there Time Lord! I will go with you of my own free will. I will even allow myself to be used in your engine. In return you will leave the Doctor alone" offered Artemis.
Zero's fury evaporated, to be replaced by a sinister crocodile grin. .
"Such a generous offer, how could I refuse? It doesn't matter if the Doctor dies here. Once the Engine is engaged then the Doctor and everything around him will fade from existence. This version of history will be replaced by new history that the Tempest Knights will forge for themselves" stated Zero.
Artemis bent down on her knees and checked on the Doctor. He had managed to suck some air into his bruised body.
"Don't go" murmured the Doctor, with the breath he could muster.
Artemis smiled reassuringly and grabbed his hand.
"Brave heart Doctor, this isn't over by a long shot" whispered Artemis.
Artemis palmed a small metal object into the Doctor's hand and turned back to Zero; consigning herself to her fate.
"Are you quite finished with the soppy goodbyes" asked Zero?
"Yes" said Artemis.
Zero grabbed her forcefully by the hand and turned to Koschei.
"Activate the Transmat beam Knight Commander. Teleport all Tempest Knights to the Chaos Engine" ordered Zero.
Koschei gave the Doctor, his once best friend a one regretfully glance before activating the teleport unit on his belt. With a flash of light, Artemis and all the Tempest Knights disappeared from the Citadel leaving devastation in their wake. Borusa didn't stand idle, he ran up to the Under-Cardinal.
"Under-Cardinal I need you to activate the TARDIS bays immediately. It's absolutely imperative that we send a squadron of War-TARDIS up to Chaos Engine and shoot it down, no matter the consequences" ordered Borusa!
The Under-Cardinal shook his head in dismay.
"That virus has knocked out every bit of technology in the Citadel. Even if we put every technician in the Capitol on to the job, it would still be hours before we managed to get the TARDISs back online" said the Under-Cardinal, nervously.
Vansell rushed over to join the Borusa.
"This is disastrous Lord Borusa! There is no telling what kind of damage they will do" exclaimed Vansell!
"Best case scenario is the Chaos Engine goes critical, wiping Gallifrey and the rest of Kasterborous out of existence. Worst case scenario is that Zero manages to activate the Engine and goes back through Gallifrey's timeline to change history. That would be disastrous to say the least" theorised Borusa.
While Vansell and Borusa talked, the Doctor sat on the floor staring at the object that Artemis had placed in his palm. It was a silver Earth style Yale key. The metal was warm to the touch and seemed sparkle in the light. It took the Doctor a moment to work out what the key belonged to. The Doctor leapt to his feet, all the bruises and depression forgotten.
"Oh yes! Oh you clever girl, that's so so so so clever. The game is still on" exclaimed the Doctor!
Everyone in the Chamber just stared at the mad man dancing about during the greatest crisis to ever hit Gallifrey.
"What's the meaning of this Doctor" asked Vansell?
The Doctor ignored him and walked over to the Magnetron. He bent over and yanked a round silver sphere the size of a fist from the machine. Smiling like a Cheshire cat, he placed the sphere in the pocket of his frock coat.
"Don't you see Vansell? She gave me everything I needed to save the day. That clever woman gave me the key to a TARDIS. She wants me to come rescue her" pronounced the Doctor, brandishing the key at Vansell.
"But all TARDIS's in Citadel are deactivated you fool" berated Vansell.
The Doctor's grin began even wider and fiercer.
"But there's one TARDIS that's outside the Citadel. Byye" yelled the Doctor!
The Doctor turned and sprinted out of the Time Control Chamber. Vansell and Borusa watched him leave, both Time Lords had a frown on their face.
"That Doctor is truly a mad man" stated Vansell sourly.
"That mad man may just save us all" replied Borusa.