Author Topic: DEAD MAN'S TAVERN II  (Read 61837 times)

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Offline Captain Jack Wolfe

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« Reply #240 on: October 26, 2012, 06:44:06 PM »
The monk walked down the night-shrouded streets of Sangral. Amber, his faithful dog, was ever wary at his side.
“Can you believe it, girl?” he chuckled. “All this time, Wench knew exactly where El Corazón del Diablo lay? What are the chances? Never mind, we’re talking about Wench. It stands to reason. Ah, well. Only a couple more streets, and we can retire and try to get our heads around this revelation.”

As they walked, a sudden, strange wind began to swirl about them. It was gentle at the start, but quickly grew into an unsettling whirlwind. Brother Timothy reflexively clutched the crucifix that hung around his neck as he thought to which saint he should pray for protection. Amber plastered herself against his leg, her hackles raised. She growled at the unseen source of this odd wind. But her growl faded as another sound, a strange wheezing and groaning, began to fill the air. It grew louder and louder, an almost mechanical straining, like something trying to force its way into being. And there before their astonished eyes, it began. Faintly at first, it faded into view, then out again, then in once more. Again and again, more substantial each time, the structure began to materialise. Finally it became stable and solid, blocking their way with a metallic thud.

It was a box. Or a shelter. Brother Timothy couldn’t decide which. It was oddly familiar, this tall blue box with its lighted windows. A solitary light atop it flashed on and off slowly. Then he remembered.
“Wait a moment! When we made port in Glenlevit, I saw this! Amber, I saw this very thing! It was on the docks. Two people left it for a moment and went back in. But then it was gone. There were other times, too. Just out of the corner of my eye. But I didn't dare believe...”

He studied the enigmatic blue box. There seemed to be a door. Above it was a black sign that in illuminated lettering read “POLICE PUBLIC CALL BOX.” On one door was another sign that read:






Haltingly, he stepped toward the odd structure.
“Pull to open, it says. Shall we see what’s inside, Amber?” he asked.
Amber whined a little, but stayed by his side as he reached to touch the door.
Suddenly, the door swung inward with a loud squeak. A tall man wearing a pin-striped suit, an ankle-length trench coat, and with a head of unruly, spiky hair emerged. He grinned knowingly as he stepped onto the cobblestone street.
“Ah, there you are!” he said happily. “I’ve tried about eight different times to find you! Well, eight that you know of. You do get around.”

Brother Timothy stumbled backward. “Me? Why in God’s name would you search me out?”
“You were the only one to notice me,” the tall man said. "That, and for some reason the TARDIS keeps bringing me back to you."
“What? When? Your words are a riddle to me.”
“Oh. Yeah. Time differential. Sorry, I keep forgetting. The ship you were on, what was it? The “Lobo del Mar”? Something like that? It was at Glenlevit. An awful lot of cats, too, if I recall.”
“Yes, I remember. Your... box appeared. You and a young woman with blonde hair emerged, but you fled within and vanished again.”
The tall man seemed to grow sad. “Yeah, that was... That was Rose. My companion. Long story, that. Anyway, I saw your ship and decided to move on. I owe the captain money. And a chicken. Another long story.”
“Which one? Wench or Wolfe?”
“Wolfe, that’s the one. Jack Wolfe. Never play cards with him, he cheats. Badly. Wait a moment, you have a captain named Wench? Isn’t that a dual occupation?”
“You don’t know Wench, then.”
“I guess not. Anyway, it’s a bit chill out, yeah? Care to come in, take a look about? I’ve got tea.”
Brother Timothy stayed silent, but backed away.
“Oh, come on,” the tall man said as he stepped out of the box, his hands stuffed into his trouser pockets. “You’re an adventurer. Don’t deny it. Otherwise you wouldn’t be associated with Jack Wolfe. Wait, you’ve got a dog! I love dogs!”
“Her name is Amber.”
“I’ve got a dog, too. His name is K-9. He’s ever so clever.”
“Affirmative!” came a metallic voice from within the box. A boxy metal dog came floating out and took its station at the tall man’s side.

Brother Timothy shook his head. “How can I be this deep in my cups and not have had a drop to drink?”
The tall man stepped toward him. “Because it’s not a dream. I’m real. Just as real as you. I’m another traveller, like yourself. It’s just that my conveyance is a little out of the ordinary. And so is my dog.”
“You restate the obvious, Master,” said K-9.
“See what I mean?” The tall man held out his hand. “I’m the Doctor. And you are?”
Brother Timothy tentatively took the Doctor’s hand. “I’m Timothy. I am a monk.”
“Yes, well, I thought as much. The hassock, the sandals and so on. Franciscan Order, I’m guessing.”
“Franciscan, yes. However, I’m Irish.”
“I was getting to that. The accent was a dead giveaway.” The Doctor gave him an analysing look. “With a bit of a militant streak, if you’re keeping company with pirates. You’d make a great Hibernian.”
“Hibernian? You have me at a loss. I don’t know that order.”
“Not a monastic order, really. And they don’t exist yet. Not by that name, anyway, not until 1836. What a wild year that was. Charles Darwin, the Alamo, Edgar Allen Poe gets married to his cousin- there's another long story. Martin Van Buren gets elected president of the United States, Mexico wins independence from Spain...”
“I’m afraid you’ve lost me, yet again.”
“Sorry! Getting ahead of you. Never mind. I tend to do that. Like I was saying, though, you seem to be more willing to get your hands dirty than most monks.”
“Life takes us in unusual directions. Someone must bring the word of God to those who need to hear it most. And as extraordinary as you seem to be, I have seen many more things equally fantastic, if not more so.”
“See then? We’ve got lots in common. We can trade stories! I bet I can call your fantastic and raise it twice as weird.”
“Perhaps if we were to retire into the TARDIS, Master?” offered K-9.
“Splendid idea! Brother Timothy, if you will? I promise, the tea is exceptional.”
“I’m not one for tea,” said the monk.
“Beer then. You look like a beer man. I know the best in the universe. Your native Ireland, 1759. Are you game?”
“But... I don’t understand. This is 1673.”
“Did I mention? She’s a time machine, too. It’s really good beer, I promise.”

Brother Timothy buried his face in his hands. “This cannot be real. This must be a trick of Daemon Vardus, tormenting me from beyond!”
The Doctor placed his hands on Timothy’s shoulders. “I promise, I’m every bit as real as you. Now I don’t know who this Daemon Vardus fellow is, but I can assure you I’m not one to keep company with one who’d call himself a daemon. Not intentionally. There was that time orbiting a black hole-- Wait a moment! Did he ever happen to refer to himself as ‘The Master’?”
“No, not that I can remember. But Wench knew him better.”
The Doctor grinned. “I’m beginning to get a clear idea of your Captain Wench’s hobbies. Well then! The Master’s a stickler about making sure everyone knows his name sooner or later, so I’ll take your word it wasn’t him.”
“This Master, is he a friend of yours?”
“Once,” said the Doctor with more than a touch of melancholy. “Long, long ago. A childhood friend. You might say we grew apart in the worst way." He suddenly brightened again. "Anyway! Entree vous, si’l vous plait?”
The Doctor and K-9 led the way, and Brother Timothy could no longer fight the compulsion to see what was within the strange blue box. Amber dutifully followed.

The monk froze as he stepped through the threshold, and Amber sat at his side and whimpered. He watched as the Doctor casually threw his trench coat over the railing that led to an elevated platform that sat in the middle of an immense space. It was easily fifty feet in diameter. Timothy looked up and had to fight a sudden fit of vertigo. The space seemed to extend upward beyond what the eye could see.
But his trance was broken when the Doctor snapped his fingers, and the TARDIS door slammed shut. The metal dog floated over to an uncomfortable looking yellow chair and settled down beside it.
Amber eyed K-9 and gave a suspicious growl. A small panel opened on the front of K-9, and something small flew out of it. The object skittered to a stop in front of her. She sniffed it, and found it was an agreeable smelling treat. She looked up at K-9, who waggled the two antennae that served as his ears. She regarded her metal counterpart for a moment, then accepted the gift.

“Incredible. Just incredible!” said Timothy as he slowly made his way up the ramp, gaping in wonder. “This machine of yours is marvelous. It’s.... bigger on the inside!”
The Doctor mouthed the words “bigger on the inside” as he casually adjusted the controls on the central console. “Really? I hadn’t noticed,” he replied with a smirk. “It’s called the TARDIS. Time and Relative Dimension In Space. Now then, 1759. Ireland. Dublin. St. James Court. Know the place?”
“I do, and well,” said the monk. “But not in the year you say. I’m sorry, but I simply can’t accept your boast that this... this amazing machine of yours can travel in time, much less travel at all! It has no wheels nor sails. We’re thousands of miles from Dublin, yet you claim you can show me a different one? A new one?”
“Well, you're in for a treat. But Dublin is Dublin. The only things that change are newspaper headlines and the make of cars.”
“Cars? Have you gone beyond boasts to making up words?”
“Oh... sorry. Getting ahead of you again. But there it is! You humans, the more extraordinary something is, the less you want to accept it!” Exasperated, the Doctor leaned on the console and sighed. “OK, then. What would it take to convince you all of this, the TARDIS being bigger on the inside and a space ship and a time machine... what would it take to make you accept it and, lawks-a-lordy, have a bit of fun with it all?”

Timothy crossed his arms. “If it is a gauntlet you want thrown down, here it is. Show me Ireland at peace.”
The Doctor grinned at him. “Oh, you’re brilliant. You are so brilliant! Good old brilliant you! You want to see Ireland at peace? Give me a moment, and hang on, because you’re about to see the year 2024. With the same brewery, such a bonus! Told you Dublin doesn't change. King William V stitched the whole thing back together and gave them independence. Well, I say he gave them their independence, I mean he got out of their way and they did it themselves. If he’d only do that for Wales! Anyway, you’re gonna love it. Just give me a moment to set the controls, and floor the Helmic regulator...”

The Doctor fairly danced about the central console, flipping controls and twirling dials, laughing to himself.
Excitedly, Brother Timothy ran to the door and peeked out.
“Don’t you go anywhere, Wench! I’ll be right back, I promise. This is one adventure I just can’t pass up. And Jack, you had better treat her well, or there will be more than a bucket of ice water waiting for you! And Lil, Elinor, Martin... do take care, my young friends.”
“Oi! Shut that door and get up here!” yelled the Doctor as he smacked a bell on the console with a rubber mallet. “You’ll need to hang on tight. It’s a bit of a bumpy ride through the 1980’s. Blame Maggie Thatcher or Ronald Reagan, everyone else does. Now, allons-y!”
The Doctor threw a large illuminated lever, and the TARDIS sprang to life. The time rotor, a series of green, glowing interlocking cylinders housed in a tall transparent cylinder in the middle of the console, began to glow as it surged up and down noisily.

Timothy closed the door, and the unearthly grinding, wheezing noise began again along with its wildly swirling winds. Almost deafening at first, then it quickly faded until the TARDIS and its inhabitants vanished from sight.

Timothy kneeled and petted Amber's head.
"Doctor, what did you mean when you said 'you humans'? Should I take that to mean you yourself are not human?"
The Tardis began to shudder and pitch violently.
"Hang on! There, to the rail!" cried the Doctor. He adjusted some controls on the console, using both hands and even a foot, before looking back to the monk. "Tell you what; let's get through the 1980's in one piece, and I'll explain it all over a beer. Or three. Look out, we're coming up on George Michael! Make it four beers!!"
With one arm hooked around a railing and the other around his faithful dog, Brother Timothy grinned happily. "Doctor, I can hardly wait!"
« Last Edit: January 19, 2016, 10:44:39 PM by Captain Jack Wolfe »
"Be extremely subtle, even to the point of formlessness. Be extremely mysterious, even to the point of soundlessness. Thereby you can be the director of your opponent's fate." ~ Sun Tzu


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