The Buccaneer Chronicles:

Dreaming on the Spires of Immortality

By Andy Simpkins (despite interference by Keith Dunn, Karen Dunn, Adam J Purcell and Tony Gallichan)

Chapter Sixteen

“I hold the line, the line of strength that pulls me through the fear...”


Back in their quarters. Blanche sat on a bench pondering what had happened. Quick and violent death she was immune to back in her home time of late 1880's London. Life was cheap and death was free but she was still perturbed by Nicola's death.

"It just don't make sense, she took a bullet for you, Bucky. She told us she knew you in the future so she could 'ave seen what was coming and yet she still laid 'er life on the line for you in order to of the Knioghts and the madness of Thirteen .When the Knight told me of Sebastian's plans, I had to warn her but I was too late......"

Snapping out of his reverie, Macfadyan could only say:

"Yes, I know, child. The concept of a noble death is alien to me but she must have had a reason for it...."

"When I was serving in various conflicts throughout the world, I knew men who would throw themselves down on a hand grenade that was about to explode." said Curtis."They knew they could get killed but they did it for the sake of their fellows. Back in the First World War, men would spread themselves over barbed wire in No-Man's Land so their comrades could use him as a human bridge across an obstacle. It is something that is so ingrained in human nature and yet so often neglected. The concept of sacrificing oneself so that others may live. Noble to those who have been brought up and trained to believe in such but to others....." he lapsed into a contemplative silence at his last remarks.

There was a chime from the door annunciator. Upon opening it, Macfadyan was greeted by the sight of Taarl, a broad smile on his face, accompanied by two of the city's proctor-captains.

"My friends, it is time for your departure and I cannot delay you..." said Taarl. Unsettling as it was, he seemed almost too eager to see them on their way.

Casting a sideways glance at Taarl, Macfadyan walked past him with Curtis, Blanche and Cre'at behind him. Walking through the dimly lit corridors, they found themselves back in the cobbled square they had left the TARDIS. It had reverted from its former disguise into a plain, glowing globe about ten feet in diameter. Opening to an unseen command from Macfadyan, the party filed inside.

Pausing at the opening, Macfadyan looked out at the world they were about to leave.

"Are you sure you are going to be alright? The installation that I placed in your city's power grid is very powerful and I just want to make sure you are going to operate it properly..."

A serene smile crossed Taarls face."We know how to operate it. Never fear, my Time Lord friend, the power you gave us will be put to good use..."

Mollified by his statement, Macfadyan took a final glance around.

"Goodbye, Taarl. May you find peace and answers to all your questions."

Raising a hand in leave taking, Taarl said:

"Farewell, Macfadyan. We will find the answers to what we seek, maybe sooner than you think..."

The door hummed shut and they all found themselves back in the familiar surroundings of the TARDIS.

Normally, as was her wont, Blanche would have joyfully bounded over to the nearest couch and thrown herself upon it in a tangle of adolescent limbs. This time, it was different. She sat on the edge of a sofa and hugged herself: by way of comforting herself.

"I dunno, this don't feel right. I get the feelin' that something nasty is gonna happen..."

Hunched over the hexagonal console in the middle of the room, Macfadyan muttered, almost to himself as he entered the data necessary for their return to normal space.

"We should be grateful. We have saved this city from going into the endless winter night. The power supply that I installed will give the city light and energy for thousands of years to come. The council are free to do what they want now...."

Coming to a decision, he turned around and looked at their expectant faces.

“Oh, very well..." He said with mild annoyance." I suppose I could just have one last quick look, just to see how they are doing with the block computation transference installation. That should keep the city powered for a long time to come....”

He turned on the viewer to see Taarl and his colleagues, in the council chamber, talking animatedly amongst themselves. Macfadyan had never seen them so alive in the time they had spent in their company. Slowly rising as one, the members of the council stepped away from the table and they began embracing each other, as though they were taking leave of each other for a very long time....

A frown began to furrow Macfadyan's brow as he continued to watch the scene unfold....

A smile and look of pure joy at something only he could see, Taarl made his unsteady way over to the block computation console that Macfadyan had installed and began to input certain commands......

The others in the TARDIS control room were shocked when they saw a look of pure horror cross Macfadyan's face and a


cry escape his mouth as he flung himself over to the TARDIS console and smacked the emergency dematerialisation switch in an agony of panic and survival.

The TARDIS barely escaped the blast of pure energy as the city went up in an explosion of almost unimaginable power but it was shaken around like a rat in the jaws of a Terrier as the shockwave hit them and even permeated into the comparative safety of the Vortex, such was its power. All the occupants were thrown around wildly for a few moments before the explosion began to subside.

Awareness came back to Macfadyan slowly as he was helped to his feet by a grim-faced Curtis. He could see a long ragged cut on the UNIT officers forehead had been crudely bandaged by Blanche, who was sitting in a chair nearby, pale-faced, grimacing with suppressed pain and favouring her right arm which she suspected was badly fractured.

The Sot'm, Cre'at hovered nearby. preparing a makeshift splint for her arm and, to all intents and purposes, looked unharmed.

“What on Earth happened to the city??” said Curtis in a hushed whisper

“They wanted to die.....they wanted to die.....” was all that Macfadyan could say, “...and I gave them the knowledge and the devices with which they could bring about their own self-destruction. I should have known what they had planned but my vision was clouded by what they had done for me. They have expunged the guilt I had buried deep within my psyche for what I did to Catharcerous and this is what they did......They induced a massive feedback loop in the block transfer circuitry which lead to a critical reaction.....I gave them the capacity for the final act of self-murder.....”

Curtis placed a consoling hand on his shoulder and said:” You could not have seen what they had planned. They had grown tired of living and their purpose was fulfilled and had come to an end. What they had around them was a carefully manufactured illusion. The whole city was as a mirage or facsimile of life and they could not tolerate existing in such, now that what they had to set out to achieve had been accomplished. They wanted to end it all as their existence was pointless. You were helping them but not in the way you had thought.”

+The young female is injured and needs attention and you have been through a great ordeal psychologically and emotionally. I will attend to Captain Curtis and Blanche and heal their wounds+

Macfadyan nodded to himself, barely aware that he had done so.

“You do that, Cre'at. Would you all mind excusing me....I need to be alone for the moment as I need to think over the events that have transpired here....

One by one, Curtis and Cre'at made their way out of the control room. Blanche was last to go. As she left, she looked over her shoulder at the Time Lord, shoulders hunched as he leaned on the TARDIS console and deep in thought, with a look of pity and sadness on her young face.


Macfadyan stood alone, pondering the events that had transpired. A huge ragged sigh escaped him and all the years of his life weighed heavily on his shoulders. He suddenly tensed and snapped out of his reverie as he sensed something approaching. It was then all of a sudden and just for a short moment, a chill wind blew up around him, whipping at his coat and his face, and scented with the aroma of dying flowers. It was at that instant that he heard the brief, but faint and unmistakeable sound of a womans mocking laughter…

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Interlude on Sotus, Chapter One - coming soon...