Requiem for a Mantra
A soft whirring hung in the chamber. The reverberation reached every curve, every corner of the complex, like a monstrous wave curling across the beach to swallow the shadows of existence. Crashing against the walls of its cylindrical cage, the whirring began its mindless circling rise to freedom again, building and building on itself with each round of the tube as the curving walls of the complex served a threefold purpose as conduit, amplifier and containment. But soon, it would not be contained. Soon a satellite of the complex would be brought into the light, and then the TSPEC, the Temporal Studies Programming Core, would re-activate. After that there would be no reparation. The Program would run, and the TimeStation would begin to awaken from its sleep at the center of Mutter’s Stellian Spiral Galaxy, the Milky Way, now. The TSPEC would reinstate the Temporal Sequencers, making the Milky Way one huge satellite dish for a massive wave of Anti-Time. Rassilon had planned everything. Everything except the Other’s interference. Strange that he hadn’t seen that coming. But then the fat old bastard had always been too big-headed for his own good. Then again, so had he. He had waited so very long to take his revenge on the Other... soon, so very soon now, he would have his chance. Preparation came first, however, always first, after his defeat at the hands of the Other’s shadow all those years ago. And he was anything if not prepared. In fact, his preparations were doubtless being discovered at this very moment, by the expeditious little Earthians’ latest clunker. Not long, now. Oh, yes. It wouldn’t be long at all until his little present reached the Earth, and by the reports he was getting, the very person he wanted to notice his pet project was well on the verge of being unable to get in his way. An auspicious day in the Milky Way, indeed. So much for the neighborhood.
He chuckled to himself as he made his way from the outer viewing area and into the corridors which led to the seven automated dummy consoles he’d had the forethought to set up. Really! Did the woman honestly think he’d be stupid enough to give her access to the CAT Calculating Animal with a Tail cryonic storage? How else was he supposed to control the variables involved? She’d been standing just over th... where was she?
Suddenly a syringe blossomed in his neck, held by a woman’s fingers, the nails painted in a crimson that could have been blood. The last thing he saw was the bluish ring that rested safely on her third finger.
“So sorry, Omega, but I want to survive. Can’t be having any of that Anti-Time nonsense out of you again. You’re just a shadow of yourself, anyway. Nothing worth wasting my time on.” The woman stroked the small animal in her arms, a sleek, black felinoid with bright red eyes. “This one is of better stock, anyway. The best. He’s descended from the Other. I should know, because I have something of his. Something I imagine he’ll want back very badly once he realizes it’s gone.” Gliding to the nearest console, she punched in some numbers, opening a com channel to her prisoner.
“Hello, girlie! How is the weather down there? Or have you decided to join me yet? Life with Daddy will be boring, but with me... well, let’s just say we won’t be bothered by such petty things as morals. I am a scientist! You could be my assistant! Together we could-
“Not in this lifetime, or any other. You really ought to let me out of here. Dad is not going to like this. You gonna tell him, or shall I? ‘Cause I know I’m gonna enjoy the look on his face. Not so sure about you, though!” The girl’s bouncy young laugh was enough to make the Rani gag. But she carried on. For Science. They were that similar, after all.
“Stop your nattering and I may just contact him now, so he can watch as I turn you into a toad. Or maybe I should cross you with a Chronovore instead? Oh yes, I think Daddy would like that a great deal! That is, if he wasn’t soon to be otherwise engaged with the little baby shower present Omega sent off for. In any case, your father is pregnant, and in no condition to come to the rescue. Plus, he thinks you died on Messaline. What do you think of that, eh? Personally I can’t wait to get my hands on the three children he’s carrying... what fun I would have! There’s no better laboratory than flesh.”
Jenny pressed her fingers to her stomach in awe, then sank down cross-legged on the floor. There had to be a way out, at the very least a way to contact her father without her knowing. But how? She glared up at the viewing module, where the Rani was toying with her hair as if the module were a mirror. Rather a vain woman for a Time Lord...