Holben exhibits once again a profound mastery of acting as the GM and Ping acts as the medieval-knight-turned-time-agent Sir Peter.

Hijinks ensue



"So, Peter, first we're going to test your vortex manipulator. I've linked mine to yours so we'll go to the same place. Just operate it as we showed you."


I operate it as they've shown me (should I roll a die? If so, I roll a 6)


There is a roar and woosh of time as you are picked up and thrown into another time period. 6 is a perfect roll- you emerge nonchalantly in the Ice Age.

"Very good. Just have to stay here for a short while as it recharges- keep asking questions."


"Methinks this place is hellishly cold. What people livest here?"


"Primitive people. Fire, axes and spears are all they have." Your guide sighs and looks around. "We're being watched."


"Tis true. Let us retire to a defensible position." What is the area?


You stand on a low, snow-covered hill. It is surrounded by forest. Shapes move in the trees.


A hill is defensible. I stay put, and call out "Friends! We hath ventured here from the distant future! Dost thou need assistance?"

(By the way, what are my weapons stats?)


(Compact Laser Deluxe stats are on the 51st Century page: L, 50 (h) damage, 2 shots/turn, accuracy 1 in 2, range 40m. Long sword is M, Base+25 (sla).)

"Your vortex manipulator incorporates a universal translator, so they should understand you. But they probably will think you mad."


"Even so, twould be prudent to communicate. If they be humans, which I am not sure of. Shall we explore the terrain?"


Your vortex manipulator beeps to tell you that it has recharged. "If you like."

A Woolly Rhino walks into the clearing.


"My God, tis an ugly unicorn!" I walk into the forest, keeping a wary eye on the unicorn. Wooly Rhino, I mean.


The Woolly Rhino snorts at you and paws the ground with its front hooves.


"Twould be prudent to take our leave, methinks." I attemp to use the vortex manipulator, aiming for the Middle Ages and rolling a 4.


You have missed by one, arriving in the Renaissance. You stand at the centre of a bustling Italian marketplace.


"Tis vaguely familiar. Italy, methinks." I walk to the first somewhat well-dressed individual I can find and ask if anything "queer" has happened recently.


"Have you not heard? The Milanese are sending an army to attack us! And they bring with them indestructible soldiers!" The noble stares at you from his sedan chair. "Say... you're not from around here, are you?"


"Nay, I come forth from a far place. England, if thou must know. Pray tell me of these indestructible soldiers."


"Some say they come from the stars. Others say they have clambered up from hell. They wear armour too tough for any Earthly weapon to pierce, and their weaponry can kill five men with one flash."


"Couldst thou describe them for us? What do they call themselves?"


"No florentine has seen them speak. They stand like men, but men of steel."


we would be honored to help thee, sire. Give us a troop of thy finest men and we shalt destroy these abombinations."


"Well... he scratches his head angrily. "Very well. I shall send my Swiss guards to accompany you. Your friend there is acting oddly."

Your guide is playing around with a plasma cannon, which he promptly hides. "Don't worry about me."


"Tis not wise to play with such weapons. I once smote myself with such a thing." I turn to the noble. "Where be our enemies? We shall set off at once."


"You will be able to see the fires of their camp but a dozen leagues from the edge of our city."


Are the Swiss Guards with me yet? If so, I set out for the edge of Florence.


They are indeed. You see the Milanese campfires on the horizon.


Don't suppose I could go back 100 years, plant a bomb in that exact spot, and put a 100 year timer on it? :P

How many Swiss Guards do I have with me? I sneak cautiously towards the encampment.



20 Guards. Your sneaking goes unnoticed.


"Stay behind. If I give thee a signal, come down and aide me. I sneak into the encampment, and peak into a tent.


Inside the tent are three crossbowmen, arguing loudly. Their weapons lie by the entrance.


I listen to their argument.


"We can't trust them! Giovanni went into their tent yesterday. He never came back."

"He deserved whatever he got. No, they're our best chance of gaining dominion over Italy. And even if they did rise up, we know exactly how to stop them."

"And if that fails?"

"It can't fail."

"I still think that they're..."


I burst into the tent. Dual-wielding... I stab one in the chest with my Long Sword, rolling a 2, and I fire at another one, rolling a 5 and a 4. I place my sword tip on the survivors throat (he's the one who didn't trust them.) "If thou seeketh life, thou wilt tell me all thou knowest about thy newfound allies."


His eyes grow extremely wide and he falls back onto the floor. "Don't kill me! I'll tell you everything I know! They are like men, but made from steel, and they can kill you with a touch or by using strange fire from their wrists!"


I smile as menacingly as I can manage. "Pray take me to their tent."


Terrified, he leads you to the massive central tent. On entering, you see six large metal pods, evidently designed for humans to enter. A cyberman turns to you.


"Stand thee back, tin man. I am Sir Peter of the Time Agency. Explain thy purpose for being in this time, lest I bring the full wrath of eternity upon thee." Behind my back I prepare my Vortex Manipulator, just in case.


"You have designated yourself "Time Agent". You will be upgraded and your technology shall be used to assist in the upgrading of the universe."

It reaches out to grab you, but then it is blown to small pieces by a plasma cannon.

Two more cybermen march in.


I kick one into the other and start running away in a zig-zag motion. I yell for my allies.


The Swiss guards mob them, pushing the Cybermen to the ground and jabbing them enough with their halberds to kill them. Meanwhile, a plasma cannon is fired repeatedly until to upgrading chamber is left standing.

"Good work." The guide smiles. "Now just for..."

Your void manipulator, and then his begins to glow gold.

"Oh. Crap."


"Wilt thou tell me what it is doing, or shalt thou simply stand there repeating vulgar words as a peasant?"


"That wasn't even a word in the middle ages." He scowls. "Something extremely bad has just happened and time is rushing around crazily. Vortex manipulators won't work until it's calmed down... and by then, the vortex will probably be full of Daleks."


"Daleks... a man called the Doctor mentioned them once, methinks. What are they? Allies, mayhaps?"


The Guide actually looks frightened. "Nothing could be further from the truth." He locks and loads the plasma cannon. "Hopefully the Agency will send a ship to pick us up. Otherwise, I can't imagine us getting out of here alive."

The alarm is shouted outside, and you hear soldiers running towards where you are.


I prepare my weapons. "We shalt battle our way into the surrounding countryside, and then disguise ourselves as hermits until the Vortex becomes safe again."


"If it ever d..." His vortex manipulator blinks. "A message." He plays it.

"This is the Time Agency High Command. Code blood red. I repeat; code blood red. All agents disband. Draw no attention to yourself. Do not attempt to time travel. Await further instructions."

"Blood red. The Agency believes that it is going to be destroyed in the next few minutes." The Guide sighs, and then presses a different button. There is a blue flash as you reappear just outside the camp. "Teleporting is probably attention-attracting, but who cares."


Sir Peter utters a few period-specific swear words. "What do we do now? Shalt we employ my brilliant hermit plan...?"


"Alright. It might kill some time. No pun intended."


I spend two years as a hermit...?


Barely an hour into the hermitry, a new message is received.

"Attention all Time Agents. HQ has been destroyed. High Command has been destroyed. Emergency protocol 417 carried out successfully- new high command established. Please convene at [unintelligible] in three meta-minutes."

"That's our ticket out of here."


Aww... I was looking forward to eating locusts and wild honey. :P

"Twould indeed- if we could understand where to convene."


"That was deliberate- we all know exactly where to convene. We're going to go and beg the Time Lords for assistance."


I sigh. "I hate begging. Let us be off."


There is a flash, and you are all on board the Time Agency's new HQ- a Timecraft Carrier located somewhere between the vortex and space. It edges slowly towards Gallifrey.

"Guide! Take the novice to the lower decks."

"He should be fine."

"...alright. But don't let him say anything."


I start to protest, but then I wise up and try to avoid too much notice.


The screen flips into existence and a stern face appears. The owner of the face is wearing a crimson robe, and bears a strange gauntlet on one hand.

"Have you come to beg, little humans?" He spits.

"We humbly ask that you provide sanctuary for us until the vortex becomes traversable once more..."

"And why should I do that?"

"We can... we can help you."

"Not how you believe you can. But I may have a task for you."


"Go out and find the warrior known as the Doctor. He is needed. Then, I may listen to your pleading."


"It shalt be done, sire. I hath encountered the Doctor before; before we departed, he said he would venture unto the Cretaceous in search of a man called 'Robin Hood'. Know this, sire: we shall not return until we hath found him and returned with him at hand!"


Rassilon looks at you contemptuously and then closes the channel.

"Alright. Guide, can you handle this?"

The Guide nods. "Peter, you seem keen to come. Make sure to get kitted up in the armoury before we head out."

(Feel free to take one item of General Equipment and one item of 51st Century technology for no fee at this point)


I take a laser screwdriver and a particle gun, if that's OK with thee.


Wise choices.

"We're taking a Chula warship, for the accuracy. Robin Hood, you said? Off we go."

The ship shoots off into the vortex, with the pair of you in it.


What am I supposed to do? I wait for us to arrive.


You could talk :P You arrive over Sherwood forest, and a herd of deer flee as you land. The turrets of Nottingham are visible in the distance, and the forest road is a few hundred yards to the west.


I head towards Nottingham.


As you approach, you find a trail of armoured corpses, which seem to have been cooked alive.


I foolishly follow the trail.


You reach the castle gate, which has been smashed open through the battlements above it. Smoke pours out from inside. A group of peasants are trying to douse the flame.


"Peasants! I am Sir Peter, high-born knight of Burgonshire. Pray tell me the history of this wreckage."


"A dragon happened." The peasant wipes his dirty nose on his dirty sleeve.


"As I expected, peasant." I enter the castle.


He makes a rude sign at you behind your back.

Once you enter, a group of men-at-arms stop you, looking particularly scared and with damaged weapons and armour. "Who are you? Why are you here?"


"I am Sir Peter, high-born knight of Burgonshire. I hath journied here to speak with the Earl of Locksley, who is an old friend of mine. Mayhaps he hath spoken of my courage and selfless heroism...?"


"Ah! Sir Robert has taken charge of Nottingham since the death of the Sheriff. You should be able to find him in the keep."


"Thank thee, good sir." I head to the keep.


A familiar figure comes down the steps to greet you. "Sir Peter! I was hoping we would meet again." He shakes you hand warmly. He seems to have washed.

A figure in a suit and bow tie fiddles with some glowing contraption behind him, then looks up. "Oh! Hello again! I'm the Doctor, remember?"


I greet Robin Hood warmly, and then turn to the Doctor. "Well I remeber thee. Thou art the knave that strandest Blist and I at the Time Agency HQ! There is now a disturbance of some sort, and beings called Daleks render the Vortex unsafe to traverse. The Time Lords demand thy aide in these matters!"


His face darkens. "Well you can tell them that I... am... not... coming."

Roll two dice and try to persuade him!


(What? You can't make the Doctor do stuff by rolling dice. I'll talk to him.)

"Whyever not, Doctor? Thou art needed! Tis thy duty to respond to this cry for help!"


He looks straight at you, head angled down so that there is a definite shadow over his eyes. "I did it once before. I am not doing it again."

You are not going to persuade him with ideas such as duty or loyalty.


"But if thou dost not, trillions will die! Art thou too much of a coward to do what must be done?"


"You're right. I have to do something to stop them. But that is not joining the fight- that is ending the fight. Every Time Lord, every nameless thing, every stinking Dalek must die so that the universe can live."


"Then do it!"


"Alright!" He marches back inside the keep.

A few moments later, his head pops back out. "I'll... need a demat gun."


"I hath no demat gun, good Sir Doctor. Would thou be contented with a particle gun? Mayhaps a long sword would aide the..?"


"No no no. No substitutes are acceptable. The de-mat gun must have been used to breach the Time Lock, so if we can find the fault point, we should be able to follow the ardinomine signal back to its source.... hold right there!"

The Doctor runs back in, and then the TARDIS materialises beside you. The doors swing open.

"Here we go! Let's track that... oh..." The Doctor looks crestfallen.


"What is it now? What keeps s from our goal?"


"The signal doesn't lead anywhere. It goes... out of the universe. There's only... there's only one place it could be coming from."


"And where is that? Some form of horrific zone of death, I should imagine."


The Doctor looks up at you bemusedly. "Someone's genre savvy."

He looks back down. "Aaaand... we have no way to get there."


"Surely there is some way to journey there? The Time Lords seem powerful; mayhaps they would aide us, not knowing our true intent?"


"The Time Lords would send me to the front lines as soon as they knew where I was. We cannot rely on them for anything."

He sits down on the steps, thinking.


"Then what? Is time doomed?"


"Not quite." He turns to the Guide. "You there!"


"Can you get us to the year 1983, November the 15th?"

"Sure, but can't your TAR-"

"Not this time." He grins. "The old timeline, with my previous selves, is gone. But the membrane between the two is weak. If we supply enough power... we can break through! We can't do anything much, but we'll have enough time to enter the Time Scoop Borusa sent to pick the previous versions of me up and move them to the Death Zone. We won't be sent to the meta-time that the Time Scoop leads to, but the meta-current time in the Death Zone! Ha!"

The Guide scratches his head. "I'm not sure how that-"

The Doctor points his sonic screwdriver into the sky and the Guide's timeship flies up overhead. It picks up the TARDIS and then the three of you with its tractor beam, and then shoots off into the vortex.

"Now to use the temporal microfracture density amplification in order to project a re-establishment of higher chronons throughout the vorous network and get things moved!"

The ship shakes from side to side wildly, and looking out the window you see it emerging above the countryside. It shoots straight into a hovering, shining thing, and then the outside goes dark.



The warship lands, its outside emitting large quantities of smoke. The TARDIS is dropped from its underside, and then so are you.

There is an enormous, empty desert, broken by tall cliffs and strange obelisks. Lightning flashes on the horizon.


I touch a strange obelisk. "Is this a demat gun...?"


"That is just a tall pillar made from stone. The demat gun will look like..." He chews his teeth for a few moments. "'ll know it when you see it."


"Lets us look for it, then." I walk towards the horizon.


Something like a giant worm, fifty metres or so long, rises up and then sinks back down into the sand about thirty yards from you.

"A drashig. Watch your step."

Metal stingrays swoop through the sky.


"What manner of place is this?" (i. e, gimmee a link :P)


"This is the Death Zone, a place outside of time and space used by the Time Lords as an arena during times past. When it was abandoned... things... took up residence here instead. Nothing should ever come here."


"Methinks the Time Lords are barbaric creatures that should be destroyed." I search for the demat gun- probably irrelevant, but I roll a 2.


The Doctor sighs. "It won't be here. It will be in the most awkward place possible, with the greatest number of slavering beasts and monsters around it. Probably near Rassilon's Tower." He points at a colossal black tower on the horizon.


I head for Rassilon's Tower.


As you enter a valley, three Cybermen block your path. "Halt. Emergency upgrading needed. Submit for upgrading."


Dual-wielding particle gun and compact laser deluxe... 6 and 4. After armor, that's 125 damage to one Cyberman. With my superb knight reflexes, I rush back outside and hide behind a stone obelisk.


Particle gun does 200 (ex)- Cyberman have no ex save. The Guide's plasma cannon takes care of the others.

"Alright." The Doctor waves his screwdriver around. "I'm detecting Selachian weaponry."

Sure enough, a Selachian stomps into view.


Stupid shark derivative. I roll a 5 with my particle gun. Sushi time.


"Well, that was easy." The Doctor peers at the remains. "Stuff to do!"

He hurries off towards the Tower, with both of you in tow. You observe many battles going on in the distance- some species are familiar, and others not. A dragon fights a stingray-creature up above.

"Things get weirder as we near the tower. We start meeting things like... well, like that." He jabs the Fendahleen corpse with his screwdriver.


I looteth the Fendahleen corpse.


It's just kind of exotic meat.

You can see the entrance to the Tower. You can also see a Dalek.


{chuckles} "A bronze dome that couldst not besiege a flight of stairs! Let us dispatch this joker."


"EX. TER. MIN. ATE." The Guide begins firing, hitting each time but only causing 30 damage. In response, there is a flash and he falls down dead.


I fall back, rolling a 5 with my PG and dealing 200 damage before armor. I duck behind a strange obelisk.


It suffers 140 damage, so now it has 30 health left.


It fires its death ray at high power, and the obelisk is reduced to rubble behind you. The falling rocks cause 10 (k) damage.


I roll two 4s, dealing 250 damage before armor. What type of Dalek is this? Time War? Paradigm? Original?


Time War, of course. The Dalek explodes, leaving bits of dalekanium and mutant flesh on the ground.


"Was that one of thy Daleks? Methinks tis rather pathetic." I put the guide in a shallow grave and enter the tower.


The Doctor snorts and moves to follow you, but before he can enter the door shuts and the floor you are standing on begins to accelerate upwards.

"Human." A loud voice surrounds you. "Welcome."


"Welcome to where? Show thyself!"


"Welcome to the Tower of Skouros, formerly known as the Tower of Rassilon. You would not want to see my form."

The floor comes to a halt, and you are on a floor high above the ground. Looking out through the massive window, you can see monsters and beasts fighting all across the zone.

"Would you care for some Cypriot wine? I chose it from the 1372 harvest- the best there ever was." A platinum goblet appears on a platinum table before you. "I would offer tea, but you're five centuries too young."


"I do not trust beverages supplied by mysterious voices. Let me go; I am on a quest to retrieve the demat gun. Shalt we join together on this errand, good sir Skouros?"


"I have the demat gun. Or at least, I am sharing it with several others of my kind. Now drink, before it gets too warm. Commandaria is best served cold."


"Relinquish the demat gun, Skouros. Before I am forced to harm thee."


"Oh, that's an interesting idea. I wonder- how would you go about harming me?"


"What could be more harming than an eternity in Hell? Art thou truly going to sit back and watch bemused as the universe falls apart around thee? No doubt thou fancy thyself a great being, so stop acting like a petulant brat and help us!"


Skouros laughs long and hard. "Wonderful, simply wonderful! I made a Hell once. It wasn't as fun as I wanted, so I destroyed it again. The universe can rot and die- I'll just make a new one exactly as I want it."


"Fine. If thou art too arrogant to help, I shalt do things myself. Thou may fancy thyself God, but I still be a better creature." Any way out? Could I climb to the ground?


Only a steep drop from the edge of the balcony, straight down to the ground several hundred metres below. However, I can see a way out.

"It's not about arrogance. I caused this. I chose to bring the Time Lords and Daleks and all their children back into the universe for a reason."


"And what reason is that?" I study the wine, pouring a few drops on the ground."


It is just wine.

"You could never understand. You were born and raised to a simple world, with simple minds and simple motivations. No being born of matter is free from the burden of simplicity. But I see the universe, and I know what must be done. I see your thoughts, and your connections, and your timeline, and it only reinforces the need to do what must be done."

The way out is a little unconventional.


"Perhaps it is you who art incapable of seeing the mortal way of thinking. Thou art incorporeal; it is not for thou to judge the fate of beings so different from thyself, anymore than we can judge thou. Remove thyself from our matters. It dost not concern thee."


"This universe is more mine than yours. Why should I not care about what I possess? Should I leave my designs to fade away, incomplete, slowly eroded by the chaos of eternity, or bring them to fruitition? I understand mortality better than any mortal, and since understanding is the basis of sound judgement, I must be the one able to choose the best way forward. I care about you all."


"You claim to understand mortals? Then explain what defines us, what drives us. Explain love. Explain loyalty. Explain the desire the defend the weak, explain the desire to teach those with less knowledge, rather than dominate them! When thou can do this, when thou can define these things by thy own experience, only then will I accept thy judgement! Until then, thy words mean nothing unto me, and I will find a way to foil thy wretched schemes!"

I pull out my Void Manipulator; will it work here?


The screen is blank and it does nothing.

"Nothing defines a mortal. They are what their world makes them. Love, loyalty, chivalry, kindness- all have their place keeping a social system together. Systems of electricity and chemicals go through your brain and you serve them- you are organic machines. Altruism developed for a reason, and that reason is fundamentally selfish. You have evolved as you are simply because you are stuck in a cycle of genetic self-perpetuation. Your forms, your minds, are transient constructs only there to further the survival of a single molecule. You are not free. You refuse to make the choice because you cannot- you are nothing without body and you obey your body without question."

"You should hate yourself. And you should heed those who offer a reprieve."


I smile. "At thy own arguments thy plan falls apart. All these emotions we hath- thou claimest they evolved to keep us alive. Which means that we, not thou, are born with the instincts to keep us going in this world. We are forged by evolution to survive- thou art not. Thou viewest our world as an outsider, as a foreigner who doth not understand us! Thou art a stranger. Thou cannot even explain our most central emotions, molecules though they be. Until thou walkest in a mortal body, thou wilt always understand but a half of the debate."


"For someone who does not know about evolution and molecules, you're very sure of your words. An outsider can often better understand the system than one who has been blinded by repetition- the greatest thinkers spend more time within the windmills of their minds than labouring. I understand you better than you can ever understand yourself, as I see where every part of you comes from, and how, and where it will go, and how. I have watched a trillion human lives begin and end, and not once have they ever broken the mould. You... are... predictable."


"An outsider dost not see better. Only differently. Thou only knowest one side of us: the outside. Until thou knowest what it feels like to walk in our 'organic machines', thou art not fit to decide our fate."

I pull out my particle gun, and shoot the floor.


There is now a black mark on the floor.

"Oh, I can see your insides too. I have at least as much right as any other to decide the web of time, and since I have shown throughout history that I am more than capable, I will be the default judge until someone better comes along."

He laughs.

"The only ways out are with me, or through the window."


"Someone better has come along. Thou refuse to see it."

Using my stupendous knight muscles, I move the platinum table, studying it carefully.


It is a wondefully designed, very heavy and ornate platinum table. It possesses no hidden compartments, trapdoors, controls and rocket boosters.

"And who is that?"

(Is that window beginning to look inviting?')


"His name is mysterious... but he is called the Doctor."

I hate puzzles. I throw the table out the window.


"The Doctor's existence is due to me. I enabled his birth and rise and escape! He is part of my plan."

The table falls out and hits something a short distance below with a splash.

"What the..."

A familiar voice calls out. "Not the table, you!"


I smile again. "Then see thy plan take life of its own."


A wall of fire forms in the window, and orbs of darkness begin to manifest around you.

"I can't let you leave."

The sky outside darkens and red lightning lashes the Tower.


"And why not? What dost thou need me for?"


"You'll only find out if you stay."

The orbs are solidifying, tendrils grow from the floor, the flames grow thicker and brighter, lightning frequency increases...

The Doctor's voice rings out. "You have less than a second! Just jump!"


I defenestrate myself.


Suffering 30 (h) damage and being set on fire by the flames, you fall down into the air. Dark tendrils reach for you from above and behind, but before they can touch you, you fall through the open doors of a large blue box, straight into a swimming pool.

"You took your time!" Shouts the Doctor, from the control room. "Now, let's go!"

The TARDIS' engines grind and moan as it pushes through the tiny link back into the universe. There is a flash of light, and then the time machine is floating in space above the planet Earth.


"Did we suceed on our quest? The Vortex is safely traversable again?"


"We failed! But we're still alive, so we can try again. Later."

He fiddles with the controls. "Now, where would you like to be dropped off?"


"Tis my duty to see this quest through to the end. I cannot abandon this undertaking."


"So... you want me to take you back into the Death Zone to find the demat gun? I'd rather not."


"Truly, I would rather go back home. But I have my honor to contend with. Why wouldst thou not bring me back?"


"Because I can be certain that you would either die or worse. What use is your honour if you're dead and there's no-one to tell the universe how you did your duty?"


"I see. Skouros wants something from me, methinks. What other task can I perform?"


The Doctor looks at you piercingly. "We need to get that demat gun. And you know the best way to do your duty, and to help us retrieve it?"

He leans over. "Get the universe ready. Everyone must stand together. Get the Time Agency on our side, and any species which will join our cause. We need to rebuild the Time Lock, before the universe dies. So go out there! And bring back the hope of the universe!"


"It shall be done, good Doctor. If I return to the Time Agency, they would send me back, or even a more pointless mission. Nay, I shall return to my home for a time; strange things happen there, and from that point I can reach out and contact others."


"Good to hear it, sir knight." He smiles.

The TARDIS deposits you in Burgonshire, a week after you left.


You win: Everything you had at the end of the mission.

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