Prologue: The Genuine Article
Earth seemed so distant to Candace, centuries into fighting this “Time War.”
Her life changed completely the day she discovered her true Gallifreyan heritage. Raised for six years in Atlanta, Georgia on Earth, during the early 1970s, she lived a simple farm life with her mother and father.
Then came a peculiar stranger with a ridiculously long, colorful scarf.
He only called himself “The Doctor.”
He showed up on their doorstep with his overtly welcoming attitude, flashing his bulging blue eyes and toothy smile exclusively to Candace. She would never forget it, as it scared the crap out of her.
This “Doctor” laid claim to Candace being from another part of the universe – another planet by the name “Gallifrey” – and her actual name was “Neas.”
She initially refused to believe any of it, until her mother and father vouched for the Doctor’s allegation. She was born on Gallifrey but left on Earth to be raised out of the influence of the Time Lords, the oldest and mightiest civilization of the planet, particularly one by the name of Rassilon.
It was all difficult for her to comprehend, and she did not have much time to, with the Doctor whisking her away from simple Georgia life and into the cosmos before she even realized it.
They left Earth in his spaceship, the T.A.R.D.I.S. (short for “Time And Relative Dimension In Space,” an acronym first coined by Susan, his granddaughter). The T.A.R.D.I.S. itself was a wonder. A simple, old blue British police box on the outside, yet an endless otherworldly spacecraft on the inside.
She had never seen anything like it, neither any of what the Doctor showed her on the “detour” they took to Gallifrey.
Within what felt like a year to her, she served as what the Doctor liked to call a “companion” in their adventures to distant worlds. He introduced her to the likes of alien races such as the rhino humanoids known as the Judoon, a species native to Earth called the Silurians, the belligerent and militaristic Sontarans of Sontar, and the metamorphic Zygons. There was only one race of beings the Doctor hoped she would never encounter in her life, and they were the Daleks.
Genetically engineered mutants encased in armor, the Daleks were the greatest enemy of the Doctor. Not long before Candace began her travels with him, the Doctor possessed an opportunity in ridding himself and the rest of the universe of the Daleks. He was left with a choice that he would long soon regret, having spared them in the hope for peace.
But a Dalek knew nothing of peace…not from the Doctor’s perspective.
And Candace would discover this herself, several years later.
Many who fought in the Time War believed it to have started in the Doctor’s failure to destroy the Daleks once and for all. Others knew of alternate circumstances that led to the event.
Candace only knew her role in it was destined from birth.
Sometime after she was left to live in seclusion, inside a barn located in the outer regions of Gallifrey – the Drylands, she was found by the Time Lords. Abducted one evening by a group of soldiers, she was brought to the Citadel Capitol, the very home of the Time Lords.
There, she bore witness to the true ruthlessness of the people she was meant to be kept from. For reasons never explained to her at the time, she was put through rigorous training and experimentation, supervised by Rassilon himself, growing her into adulthood with a superior build and intellect. She was christened as a “Time Lady” and gifted with “regenerative energy.”
All of this made her feel like the superheroes she would read about in her favorite comic books.
Unfortunately, superhero life was not all it was cut out to be.
The extreme training and experimentation that they put her through all made sense in the centuries of the Time War. She was literally bred for this battle, combating with the Dalek forces in a gladiatorial body. Perceptually, she did become recognized as “The Gladiator” in her multiple victories, turning the tide of the war in numerous instances.
Of course, she greeted it with an absence of zeal that her cohorts wholly embraced.
She wanted to leave Gallifrey…leave behind this nightmare she was unwillingly lured into. She would hope for the Doctor to return and take her away – show her more of those incredible planets with wonderful places and creatures she could only dream about.
And he did come back…with a new face nowhere as friendly or welcoming as the one with the ridiculously long scarf.
This new man, who refused to refer himself as “Doctor,” was just as much a warrior than what the Time Lords turned Candace into. He came into this conflict with one purpose: destroying the Daleks.
Their days of traveling through time and space together were over.
In light of the war, she was only his companion on the battlefield.
Opportunely, a shred of the man she once knew as the Doctor remained in this warrior. In their reunion, he offered her a position in his T.A.R.D.I.S. as co-pilot, as well as some new clothes to trade out of the ludicrously discomforting crimson battle armor she was regulated to wear.
A long red knitted coat over a gray, cleavage-heavy tank top with black leggings that accentuated her toned legs and brown leather boots made up the new assemblage of style. Granted, it did not follow the military dress code, but she felt more comfortable in battle. Also, the Doctor himself found the crimson armor to be in poor taste.
She was just a teenager, or a facsimile of one (the Time Lords’ gift of regeneration made her real age undecipherable), when the war began. The Doctor, in his new warrior form, was a young man of some odd years ahead of her. Through passing centuries, they both aged in their battle-hardened bodies. She grew into a woman appearing forty-nine years old. Once, she and the “War Doctor” (as she grew to call him) were of similar statures. Now it seemed she towered him exceptionally.
Substantial muscle definition gained in the Time Lords’ training and experimentation expanded from maturity. The density of her biceps visibly tested the fabric of that red knitted coat. Whenever she would remove it, she left her broad, tight, and sometimes sweaty shoulders exposed.
Marveled by the remarkable physique of this woman he once knew as a little girl, the Doctor one time observed, “A woman of great strength to compliment her mountainous stature shouldn’t need a T.A.R.D.I.S. to barrel down an armada of Dalek warships. You could lay waste to them all on your own.”
She chuckled at his comment.
Truthfully, she had transformed into quite the Gallifreyan amazon. Whether it came from the Time Lords or was au naturel, she could not tell. She only knew it was what got her through this war, without as much as a scratch – though she would not dare to test her physical capabilities against a Dalek death ray.
There were moments when she could feel the Time War reaching its climax. Both sides developed new weapons of mass destruction to change the tide of the war. Rumors spread of a super-advanced Dalek soldier capable of bending the fabric of reality and transferring across dimensions, codenamed “The Vector Dalek” (or “Dalek Vec” for short). In response, the Time Lords created a new experimental “Type-Z” T.A.R.D.I.S. in the base of the Citadel.
Considering how the war was “time-locked” (no one could use time travel as a method of altering its course), such devices were highly invaluable against the opposing forces.
It was not only these new weapons that convinced Candace of the war’s end.
One fateful day, she and the Doctor landed in the Dalek-ravaged city of Arcadia. The second they both stepped out, the Doctor bid her farewell, a gesture that caught her by surprise.
“Thank you for being an incomparable wing mate in this fruitless war.”
She feared his words to mean the worse – that he intended to die in battle.
“Where are you going?”
He sighed in such a way that she could only label as frustration. “Too long have I stayed my hand,” he disclosed. “No more. Today, this war will end.”
There was still guilt in him. Guilt from what happened to Cinder, the young woman they met on Molodox and a worthy companion…until she would later be one of the final casualties in the Time War – the one that convinced the Doctor to end it.
“Don’t blame yourself for Cinder.” She prompted herself to say.
He was quiet for a long moment, struck by her words.
“Leave Gallifrey, Candace,” he advised. “Whatever way you can, leave this world…and never come back.”
“Take me with you.”
“I can’t. Where I’m going, you don’t want to be.”
She wanted to ask him where that was; but she shirked from questioning the man who was not always known for his honesty.
“So,” she began, “how do I leave here without a T.A.R.D.I.S.?”
The Doctor smirked. “Do what I did: steal one.”
She lit with wonder.
He could not have meant the “Type Z,” could he? It was the one T.A.R.D.I.S. on Gallifrey that had not yet been tested.
A rush of footsteps stomping over the gravel shifted their attention from each other to a young soldier who huddled against a crumbled wall just a short distance away. He alerted a message to the High Council of Gallifrey that Arcadia had fallen.
“Go…now,” the Doctor instructed Candace, his gaze fixed on the lone soldier.
She did as she was told, leaving his side and rushing across the ruins.
However, she stopped halfway to look back, as soon as she heard laser fire. There the Doctor was, blasting away into a wall and carving a message: “NO MORE.” They were the very words he said to her not so long ago. Clearly, it was meant for both warring civilizations to see.
It drew the attention of nearby Daleks, luring them directly into an elaborate trap. He crashed the T.A.R.D.I.S. through the opposing wall, ramming down all of them in its path before ascending to the stars above. One Dalek, left bisected from the demolition, looked to the Doctor’s carved message.
“WHAT…ARE…THESE…WORDS? EXPLAIN! EXPLAIN!”
The half-dead Dalek was swiftly put out of its misery, with one blast to the head from the lone Time Lord soldier. Its dome shattered, erupting in flames.
Candace returned to the scene, in the wake of the chaos, her sights set on the soldier. She knew the Doctor would not have approved her going back, yet he was no longer on the planet to see her disobey him.
“Hey, you!” She caught the soldier’s attention, nearly getting her head blown away when he sharply turned and aimed. “Whoa! Easy! We’re on the same side!”
“W-Who are you? Were you with the Doctor?”
She smiled in relief, heartened to realize the soldier’s familiarity with the “war hero” of the Time War.
“Yeah, I was,” she confirmed. “And he left me on an important mission that I need your help in.”
The soldier glowered. “What do you need?”
“To accompany me to the base of the Capitol. Can you do that for me?”
He considered for a brief moment and then nodded.
Side-to-side, they sprinted past the ruins of Arcadia. He kept his gun up in the event of a Dalek attack; though they barely found any on their way.
“It’s a shame,” he said, “what happened to this once-proud city.”
She lamented with him. “Yes, it is.”
The fresh metallic scent that welcomed them into the repair shop beneath the Capitol was no different from any Candace been to on Earth. In fact, it felt exactly the same from the cluttered state of the area. An array of various machines surrounded them, and she had not a bit of knowledge how any worked. She only focused on finding the Type-Z.
She and the soldier were careful in their lurking through the corridors.
The Omega Arsenal was not far from there. The War Council’s attention brought to the room in wake of the Daleks’ breach of Arcadia.
Candace fleetingly heard the General, a man who was once her commanding officer before she began taking orders from the War Doctor, mention something called “The Moment.” It was a weapon of the highest caliber in devastation meant only to be used as a last resort.
Inconveniently, the Moment was taken by someone who already had plans for it.
If she were not troubled with her own treasure hunt at the moment, she would take the time to play detective and help the War Council find out the whereabouts of the Time Lord device.
She wanted to give a victorious shriek the second that she uncovered the Type-Z in one section of the shop reserved just for it. The 11-foot-long black, extremely flat, non-reflective rectangular solid stood at the center of a dark, damp corner, a single pillar of fluorescent light shining overhead.
She smiled at the magnificent alien construct. Never before had she seen a T.A.R.D.I.S. in its truest form, only familiar with the blue police box of the Doctor’s.
“C’mon,” she instructed the soldier. “Let’s go.”
He did not budge; a look of unsettling disbelief on his demeanor. “What do you mean ‘Let’s go’? Do you…Surely, you’re not thinking of deserting this war!”
“What other choice do we have? This war is a lost cause, regardless of whether it’s us that wins or the Daleks.”
“NO!” The soldier barked; his grip tightening on the blaster rifle. “I cannot let you do that, ma’am!”
She believed for a second that he called her “Mum.” His English accent was as thick and heavy as the armor he wore.
Before she knew it, his rifle was trained on her, this time on purpose.
“Step away from that T.A.R.D.I.S. or I will shoot you!”
Candace held her hands up, scowling at the young man. “Sounds like a Dalek threat to me, soldier.”
Angered by the comparison, he rushed at her, pressing the barrel right between her breasts. Her two hearts within her chest cavity thumped against the applied pressure of the gun.
“I’m no Dalek,” he defensively roared. “But you, ma’am, are certainly a coward!”
She was convinced he would squeeze the trigger right there and then, ending her unnaturally long life before she could experience the gift of regeneration. At point blank range, there was no possibility of survival. He could blow a hole through her.
All that stopped such a murderous act from happening was loud crackling resounding through the repair shop. Accompanied by a strong gust of wind and an explosion of ultraviolet light, a shape resembling a Dalek manifested near them.
And it was in fact a Dalek – one plated in black and gold.
The Time Lord soldier spun and fixed its aim on the Dalek, unleashing one intense blast of laser fire to its dome, much like the one before it.
But lasers had zero effect on this Dalek.
The soldier’s blast merely ricocheted off its dome, discharging off the ceiling.
“YOUR WEAPON IS USELESS AGAINST MY SUPERIOR HULL,” screamed the Dalek in that unmistakable frantic-sounding, electronic voice.
To his immediate horror, the soldier found himself in the target of the superior Dalek, lacking any alternate plan of defense. All he could do was let the creature’s death ray fire right into his torso. The pain was as slow and merciless as it was powerful. His body lit momentarily, exposing his endoskeleton like a living x-ray scan, before he disintegrated into blood-red ash that piled to the floor.
Candace was horrified. Never before did she witness such a gruesome display of power from a Dalek death ray. At most, all that was ever left was a corpse. This, however, was garishly different.
The gunstick and eyestalk were now pointed in her direction; once again, her life was at risk, now from a real Dalek.
“Please don’t shoot me.” She had no idea why she bothered begging.
“I AM DALEK VEC! I WAS NOT MADE TO KNOW MERCY!”
And there was why it was pointless. The super soldier of the Daleks ready, willing, and able to exterminate her.
Then there was the matter of the plan she cooked up in her brain, while making Dalek Vec believe she was helpless.
Just as the next death ray was unleashed on her behalf, she ducked for cover behind the Type-Z. Its solid structure was the perfect shield, extinguishing the Vector Dalek’s ray as it struck the body, leaving not a single dent.
The Time Lords’ master weapon against that of the Daleks’ proved to be an effective match.
Regrettably, she could not remain behind it for very long. Dalek Vec would easily get its way around the solid and exterminate her on sight.
There was just one way out of this situation and that was the Type-Z.
Getting into it, on the other hand, was a challenge.
It was devoid of any entranceway, being just as dense from the back as it was from the front. In her frustration, she slapped the palm of her left hand against the reflective slab of black marble.
The gesture had a clear influence on the structure.
A set of doors were etched all on their own before her eyes, opening thereafter. Iridescent light from inside the dimensionally altered space engulfed her, pulling her in. The self-constructed doors slammed close, melding back with the solid structure.
Dalek Vec prepared to fire again, until he heard a heavy humming, grinding noise.
It alerted him to the very dematerializing function of the Type-Z.
The craft’s dimensions and detail faded in and out, until it finally vanished.
“THE TIME LADY WILL NOT ESCAPE! SHE WILL BE EXTERMINATED!”
And, on this declaration, the Vector Dalek itself dematerialized from the space.