Dana Bell

I am Four Footed One, Companion, an ancient and honored title among my people, to she who has seen as many centuries as I. For both our people are old and long lived. We have traveled to this place to see the results of our handiwork. I am the Chronicler. To me, as always, falls the task of recording our travels. So shall I begin this record. The year is 2260. We are aboard a space station the Terrans call Babylon 5. And yet, this tale, in truth, starts 265 years ago. No.farther back than that. In the dark time of Adyra's people. So perhaps, I should start there. Over a millennia ago, in a time not forgotten by Adyra's people, there was a period of great evil, and now of shame, to every Timelord. There was a place on Gallifrey called "The Death Zone". The Timelords used a timescope to bring different species to this bleak wilderness to fight each other. However, there were a few for whom this entertainment was not enough. One called Mosar, a brilliant genetic engineer, set about to create "The Perfect Warrior". He had a great admiration for the Terrans. They were resourceful fighters and cunning survivors, so he decided to start there with his experiments. After many failed attempts, serendipity intervened, and he accidentally mixed Timelord DNA with that of the Terrans. The result astonished him. He made many batches of his new creation: and, as he waited for them to mature, he and many of his co-conspirators decided their fates. Thus, they created "The Game". The playing field would be Earth, and since the Timelords were not confined to the present, they scattered their perfect warriors all through time. I suppose the idea had been to provide future Timelords with entertainment as well. This, of course, did not happen. Rassilon rose to power and put an end to the gaming and the deadly Zone. He knew of Mosar's experiments and, after much deliberation, decided not to remove the geneticist's creations from the timestream. He felt they could yet play an important role in Earth's development. He neglected, however, to end "The Game". And so begins Adyra's and my involvement. Adyra is descended from Rassilon's line. She is a historian and time researcher. Like the infamous Doctor, she has a great love for Earth and its people. Mosar's creations, the Immortals, as they have been dubbed, have always been of interest to her. So, she decided that somewhere in the Matrix there had to be records of when they first appeared, how they came to be, the Game rules, identities, etc. Some of what she sought was recorded. Timelords of the past who had observed the emergence of these creatures had recorded them. Some had even bothered to find out and document the rules. One had even made a half- hearted attempt to find the identities of a few of the Immortals. Adyra had even found a vague mention of a group of humans who chronicled the Immortals. They were called Watchers. Yet, nowhere, did she find their origin. This troubled my long time friend. So again, did serendipity intervene. While searching the Matrix for something else, she found a long forgotten corner. It had a thick cover of dust, fine webs, and scurrying rodents. Even now, I tend to forget the Matrix is as much a living organism as it is a machine. In this corner, Adyra found what she sought. The origin of the Immortals, as well as a full set of "The Game" rules. She took her find to her rooms and studied for weeks. As she read the history, she took on a troubled look. "It's not right," she would say over and over, pacing her marble floors. Her chambers are done in an old Earth style; Roman or Greek-I tend to forget which. Such things are not important to me. I ask only to be fed and to have a dry, clean place to sleep. Adyra as last came to a decision and discussed her findings with the Lord President. But the President was no help. "Rassilon knew best, my dear, " she told Adyra. "We will leave matters as they are. It will sort itself out in the end." "But," Adyra tried to say, "We have a responsibility." The Lord President waved a dismissal. 'Rassilon has already settled it." That is not what my friend thought. And so, like the Doctor, Adyra stole a TARDIS and became a renegade. Not that I minded. The TARDIS has many corridors and interesting rooms to explore. Like the room filled with green plants and the one which attracts me and I roll in and play. For a while, Adyra drifted through time. She landed the TARDIS at multiple points in Earth's history, watched the Immortals battle each other, watched them live and grow. She even went to the end of the game in 3010. "Such a waste," was all she said as she watched the final confrontation. So again, I watched her pace. Twitching my long tail in agitation. I wanted some fresh water. "There has to be a point where we can intervene and stop the game," she's say. "It states in the rules that any Timelord can add a player, dispose of one, alter or end the game-but how do I end it?" She looked at me with her very dark, almost feline eyes. Perhaps that is why I trust her. Her eyes are so much like my peoples'. Besides, if she finds the answer, she'll give me what I want. Water. "The Watchers are the key. They were not part of the original game. Maybe," she grew thoughtful then. "maybe." She went to the console and set the co-ordinates. Her thin, delicate hands flew over the blinking and colorful buttons. "Dawson," she said, "Joe Dawson. Watcher in the late 20th century. He had contact with a couple of Immortals." She scooped me up and held me against her chest. She rubbed my ears and I rewarded her with a purr. I can wait for my water. I like the attention. "We'll start with Dawson," she continued. "There has to be a way." Joe's was a stinky place that offended my sensitive nostrils. I slunk in beside Adyra, being inconspicuous. Easy to do when you're all black. At a back corner several heads swerved. All male. I sensed Adyra tense. She had known it was possible they could feel her, the genetics being what they were. "I am Adyra," she spoke softly. Her eyes met all of theirs and finally rested on Joe Dawson. From inside her grey cloak, she produced a leather-bound book. I had observed her writing in it recently. "This is for you." She gave the book to the Watcher. "Are you an Immortal," he asked. She shook her head. "No. My people created them." Stunned silence. Finally, Joe seemed to recover. He indicated a chair. "Please, sit. I want to hear how they came to be." Adyra sat on a wooden rickety looking chair. I, of course, jumped in her lap. I settled myself on her blue velvet dress as the Watcher made the introductions. Pointing to a dark haired man, who wore it back in a ponytail secured with a silver clip, he said, "This is Duncan MacLeod. His clansman, Connor MacLeod." He indicated one who wore his hair short, "and Richie Ryan." Ryan was the youngest of the group. I found myself like him. "And Adam." "Methos," the man interrupted. "An Immortal.and a Watcher," my friend observed, pushing a stray brown lock away from her face. I had heard her talking about the oldest Immortal and his secret only Dawson knew. He smiled. "How else can I be sure of my people's history?" Adyra laughed. "Your own, you mean." He smiled at her. She tapped a nail on the table. "It would seem," she mused, "I have chosen the right time, place, and people, to tell the origin of the Immortals to." "And just what do you hope to accomplish by telling us?" Connor asked, suspicion written all over his face. "I want to end the Game. There is no reason for it." She scratched my chin. I like that and stretched my neck out further, rumbling quietly. "According to the rules, I can do that. But, I will need your help to tell the others." "Why do you want to end it?" Duncan inquired. He shifted forward in his chair, his dark eyes watching her. "It is a waste of very good people. And." Adyra told them the whole sordid affair, including the fact that the Quickening was an accidental side effect of Mosar's genetic tampering. Something akin to a pop can when shaken. I didn't quite understand the analogy. I did, however, understand the anger as they came to realize they had been invented to serve as entertainment for an older, arrogant race. "We'll find a way to end the Game," Methos vowed. "Good," was all Adyra said. "I must go now, my friends. This matter I will leave in your capable hands." "You're not going to help us?" the youngest one objected. My friend sighed. "I've already defied the wishes of the Lord President. If I do more." she shook her head. "Our laws and penalties are very strict." The one called Duncan took her hand. Adyra seemed a little uneasy. Timelords don't show physical affection to each other. "We understand. Thank you. You've given us a lot to think about." He lightly kissed her fingers. She pulled her hand away from him. "Make the best of it," she answered. We left then, returning to the TARDIS and our fate. Or at least, so we thought.

Which brings me now, to where this tale began: in the mid-23rd century aboard a space station in neutral territory. Much has happened to our friends, the Immortals, during the past two and half centuries. Those who survived the purging of the first fifty years finally settled on one of Jupiter's moons. Callisto, I think. They have a voice in Earth's government. Many have married, adopted children. Connor MacLeod is currently their senator. It shall be interesting, I sure, to discover what their role shall be in the Great War, which will start quite soon. Oh, Adyra is now Lord President. Its seems the High Council decided she showed great daring and compassion in wanting to correct a past Timelord's mistake. The people agreed and placed her in a position of power. We came here, in part, to observe the result of our handiwork, but also to meet with the younger races. You see, they will not win against the Shadows without our help. We know the true reason Valen won a thousand years ago. But I will speak of that just now. Oh, here comes Connor. I sit down on the cold metal floor to observe their, Adyra's and Immortals, reunion. "Connor MacLeod," Adyra greets him. He tenses. I see him subconsciously reaching for his sword that he no longer has a need to carry. Old habits die hard. "I am Adyra. Lord President of Gallifrey." A moment and he remembers. "We never got a chance to thank you." "It is not important." She smiles at him and he at her. "I wish an introduction to the Advisory Council. Dark times are coming and they will have need of our help." Connor nods. He knows, or at least seems to. I consider him wise.for an Immortal. He takes her gently by the arm. She resists briefly and then relaxes. Touching is normal between humans; she just needed to recall the fact. "They meet this afternoon. Can I buy you lunch?" he asks as he leads her away. I get up and stretch my limber muscles. This station is a fascinating place. Long Tail has told me of its long corridors and special hidden places. I could probably spend years exploring. Not that this station has that long. We can't change everything. But at least the Immortals have a new lease on life, as the Terrans used to say, and no longer play The Game. The evil ones are all dead. The best survived. They are still excellent warriors. Their skills will be needed in the coming war. I wonder if they know that?

Ah, well, something smells tempting; I think I'll go find out what it is. Perhaps visit my grandkit, Long Tail. Later, I'll go back to the TARDIS and nap. Good Food. Clean bedding. I ask so little in life. And my friend Adyra always provides it. We will have many years together yet. Providing, of course, the Shadows are defeated. But they will be. That is, after all, why Rassilon left the Immortals on Earth. They are the ultimate warriors. Maybe one day I'll accidentally show Adyra Rassilon's personal records, which of course I found by-what else?-serendipity. All I was interested in was the fat, yummy mouse. He even sanctioned the original research. The Game was intended to weed out the evil and the weak. He knew strong fighters would be needed to defeat the Shadows. And that's why they were really created. Rassilon was indeed wise. This record now ends.

Four Footed One. First Feline of the Oldest House. Seventh Generation since the Great Crossing.

Originally published in Rules of the Game #2. Posted by the author with editorial changes. First story in the Felcat series. The Felcats are the writer's own original universe and are copyrighted. May not be used unless written permission is given.