Hanging moodily over the main console, Turlough unconsciously fiddled withhis tie and rubbed a hand through his close cropped auburn hair. Humming out of tune he seemed mesmerised by the winking lights and multi-function uni-stabilisers. He glanced to his left, unmoved by the quiet efficiency of the TARDIS and noticed the visi-screen holding a mute conversation with the rest of the circuitry littering the craft. Unrelenting figures toiled a mournful path across its blinking screen; looking out on the world as if begging for someone to watch it.
Suddenly the abstract symbols were erased from the screen to be replaced by a chattering array of letters, racing backwards and forwards, each line trying to out run the other. Then it happened, the TARDIS lurched from side to side, the main time rotor juddered, screeching its protests unseen antagonists.
Turlough was flung in a highly undignified manner, across to the main doors where he scrambled desperately, like a spider on the side of a bath, for a handhold. Almost immediately the console room steadied out. The TARDIS had retained its balance.
A very concerned Time Lord launched himself at the console a few seconds later, and with a flurry of hands deactivated, activated various functions before fixing the alien youth with a steely stare. Face grim, the Doctor spoke: 'You didn't touch anything, did you?'
Numbly, Turlough shook his head and began to recite utter gibberish as a means of asserting his innocence. Babblings the Doctor chose to ignore, until the youth asked tactfully, 'What's wrong?'
'Something or someone has, or did, take control of the TARDIS for at least a minute. To use that amount of energy they must be desperate.'
Turlough sneered. 'And just how do you know they're desperate?'
The Doctor beamed and replied, 'Because they have just activated a system called co-ordinate override. We are now on a locked and fixed course to wherever they want us.' His brow creased; the Doctor thoughtfully studied other readouts, his face grew graver and graver. 'Oh dear...oh dear, dear, dear. Someone is making holes, very big holes at that, in the Temporal Vortex.'
'What? What does that mean?' asked Turlough, puzzled by the Doctor's cryptic exhortations.
'Doomsday!' summed up the Time Lord in one chilling word.
Across the Time Lines, at the very epicenter of time itself, sat the Lords of Time; Lords of Space and Lords of Eternity. Lords upon Lords were assembled within the confines of one singularly important and, dependant on which view point was taken, insignificant planet. They had come from all time and space, and all planets from within the infinite universe; together in a common bond to share and experience each other’s knowledge. With all the most brilliant creatures in the universe here, a solution could be found, or could it?
The planet was Gallifrey. The location was the Capitol. The time, immaterial. The function: to discuss a threat that touched all creation and dirtied it with its foulness. To isolate and eliminate that threat. Only one problem existed - the threat came from within and outside time itself. The threat could not be traced to anywhere; it kept moving, always covering its tracks but leaving behind it the most destructive force known to the entire universe - Time. Time was of the essence and time is not what the Lords had.
Time was running out everywhere and once it stopped flowing the dissolution would follow and that would be the end of everyone’s troubles, forever or never, for they had no time and could not say whether it had happened once or even twice...?
The Capitol, heart of the Time Lords was little more than a debating chamber at this moment. They had sworn never to interfere and they still held to this policy.
The Lord of Mortality took the stand in the centre of the Panopticon. The echoes of discontent were quickly stifled, because every Lord realised they had little time to argue.
'My Lords and Ladies. I, as representative of the race known as Mortals, am not one to speak of such concepts as Time because we have little time ourselves to live. Our life spans are short in most of your terms, sometimes we go past a century but...still, I will press on.' Abruptly he was cut short by a chuckle.
'About time too!' screeched a voice mockingly, nudging his companion, also a Lord of Eternity. They had very little respect for mortals.
'Thank you,' smiled the aged gentleman as he continued. 'I realise the seriousness of this situation. We need Time to exist, thus we must preserve what time we have left. What little time I have, we mortals cherish. I would hate to see that deprived from anyone. I bid you my leave, Guardian.'
Sitting, resplendent in his glittering, highly reflective white robes and diamond-like headdress, the White Guardian of Time, nodded his thanks to the Lord of Mortality who returned to his seat; seats that were surrounding, in a large semi-circle, the two Guardians of Time.
'Where is he?' asked the White Guardian anxiously. 'I thought you had your agent effect a co-ordinate override?' The bitter tinge in his voice rattled the eagle like Black Guardian of Time by his side.
'The pathetic Turlough will have unwittingly done his work. You were lucky in that I have a useable agent, unlike you. I am controlling this stage of the offensive against what is out there, which is more than I can say can for this useless rabble we've called upon.' With a stony face, the Black Guardian delivered his angry retort. 'Ah, welcome, Doctor!'
All heads turned and a flowing mumble rippled across the Panopticon.
The Doctor stormed angrily into the centre of the huge chamber. 'So, it's come to this, has it?' I never thought that you would have the nerve to show your face here amongst beings that radiate such compassion.' He had to get this, rather patronising remark out, to revolt against being yanked back to Gallifrey.
'Do not trifle, Doctor. Our situation is grave. I am compelled to be here because if Time itself ends, there will be no use for either myself or my opposite. With no Time to guard we will cease to exist.' The Black Guardian's face remained impassive. He was keeping his anger under control. 'You have been brought here to go out into Time again, through the vortices until you locate our enemy. We cannot, because we are as forbidden as the Time Lords...'
The Doctor waved his hand dismissively. 'I know, forbidden to interfere...so you use puppets instead and I'm the stooge, until you've finished with me. Then it's a 'Thank you, Doctor and goodbye!' '
'Doctor, I understand your distress,' said the White Guardian, calmly, placing a hand upon the Doctor's shoulder, 'But unless you do what is requested of you, there will be no one left here.'
'It's that bad,' exhorted the Doctor anxiously. 'I had no idea. I'll do it...I'll go out into the vortex and if I don't come back, I'll say my good byes now.' Turning swiftly upon his heal the Doctor left leaving an empty silence in his wake.
They monitored the Doctor's conversation with the Lords. They watched with some appreciation, and smug complacency, as the Doctor agreed to help. From nowhere, they kept watching, untouched by outside influences, until they were satisfied. The bait had been taken. He was coming for him. When they meet the revelation would come. The trap had been strung, would he remain their prisoner?
Bouncing from time line to time line, the TARDIS danced its way through the fourth dimension. Around it deep fissures were rhythmically opening and closing, opening and closing; pouring their emptiness out and sucking lines and strains of time into their gaping maw. Then they rippled further across until one opened behind the blue police box, dragging the object inexorably towards oblivion...
A hand gripped the edge of the main console; it arched and relaxed then limply slid out of view. The Doctor lay sprawled beneath. His cheeks flopped around his jaw bones almost as if they were becoming liquefied as the Time winds roared their way around and into the craft. Inch by agonising inch the Time Lord crawled his way back towards the console. It held the only hope of the survival of the entire universe throughout all time. Flickering across a switch the Time Rotor juddered to a halt. Materialisation had been achieved.
Turlough staggered around clutching his aching forehead and watched as the Doctor operated the scanner controls. Turning the screen on he saw crowds, crowds in a square somewhere, before a magnificent building, with an equally ornate balcony, chanting reverently, 'Sieg Hiel ! Sieg Hiel !' their cries were directed, he noted, to a white hole which was rapidly stretching across the whole building, edging its way outwards to engulf the entire scene in a blazing, roaring mad storm. Their cries echoed down the centuries before being swallowed into obscurity.
The Doctor's voice was filled with fear. 'Nazi Germany, circa 1933.'
Turlough cast a puzzled glance over his shoulder. 'What does that mean?'
Gulping, the Time Lord said, 'That Earth has been consumed by the time breaks. it doesn't exist anymore.'
'We don't know that,' argued Turlough. 'We dropped Tegan off didn't we. She came from the 1980's.'