The following is a series of slightly modified scenes and incidents briefly alluded to in the main story that didn't make the final cut, a la most new DVDs. They are nothing more than the result of extreme boredom, and in no particular chronological order. First up, the pivotal moment of Chapter 3 given a slight facelift...

Lyra saw the sky, brilliantly illuminated by the Northern Lights. A great silver birdlike object screamed across her vision with a roar like a thousand fires. She looked to her left, and saw...

"Will!" she shouted. He smiled that smile of his, and walked over to her. "See you soon," he said, and-

Lyra sat up in bed, groggily trying to guess at the implications of what she'd seen. She happened to glance at the clock; 11:30. Putting thoughts of her dream behind her, she leapt from bed and dragged on her clothes. This was one appointment she did NOT plan on being late for.

Once she made it to the garden, Lyra pondered the implications of her dream. Pan, needless to say, was sceptical. "Your mind's playing tricks with you, he said. "You spend too much time pining for him."

"I've managed without you before," said Lyra in an ice-cold tone, "and I can manage without you again. So just watch what you say about how I act over Will, right?" Her daemon was not one to make an issue of something under such circumstances, and wisely shut up. He was actually just as bad, but less obviously so.

"I wonder if he made it, this year?" Lyra murmured to herself.

Somehow, she had managed to sleep through our somewhat dramatic arrival. Will certainly was going to make it, and in style!

Will raced through the narrow sidestreets, wishing he could spare the breath to curse. Police whistles sounded constantly, and aside from the additional cops they brought running they were beginning to grate on his nerves. Will didn't dare shoot at them, for that would entail slowing down, and with forty-odd cops and fifteen bullets that would turn out rather badly.

His slight lead enabled him to round a corner ahead of the pursuit, and duck down a side alley. Dave and his mother obligingly kept straight on, drawing pursuit, but Will didn't realise until some time later.

The alley ended in a wall. "Damn!" he gasped. Kirjava began scrambling up the conveniently stacked dustbins at the end. "Oh, God! Let me get my breath back!" he pleaded, still wheezing.

"There's no time! Come ON!"

Cursing Kirjava, the local police and his own wretched luck, Will complied. He landed awkwardly on the other side, and lay spreadeagled on the grass for a few seconds, gulping lungfuls of air. Vaguely, he realised that he was in THAT part of the gardens, and the person sitting on THAT bench was... Will drew on reserves of energy he hadn't known existed, and crept carefully to the bench, before sitting in his usual place.

Lyra sat on the bench, her eyes closed, concentrating as hard as she could. //Come on, Will! Where are you?// Her concentration was shattered by a person sitting down gently beside her. She opened her eyes, trying to frame a suitable remark, but was unable to say a word. The hand that gently grasped hers had only three fingers! She looked up into a pair of familiar hazel eyes.

Despite having been shot at, hurled in the river and chased across half of Oxford, Will could still find the time to be cool. "I'm not late, am I?" he said with a broad grin, theatrically glancing at his watch.

"Will? It's really you?" He was taller, and looked far older than he was. The RAF-issue flight suit and pistol holstered at his hip undoubtedly added to this effect, but underneath he was recognisably the same boy she had last seen two years ago this very day.

"Oh, yes."

"But how? You didn't use the Knife, did you?"

"I don't need it any more," he said, cutting off further questions with a kiss.

Now, if anybody can think of a less opportune moment for Elaine and myself to turn up, let me know. We'd realised what had happened after shaking off pursuit, and backtracked until we found a likely-looking turnoff. Elaine hoisted herself up without breaking a sweat.

"Why can't we use the damn gate?" I grunted as I struggled over the wall after her. "I'm not BUILT for this Krypton Factor stuff!" Actually I felt more like a contestant on Takeshi's Castle. If I'd been expecting sympathy -and after several years knowing Elaine I damn well shouldn't have been- I was to be disappointed.

"Stop moaning and get over the bloody wall," Elaine ordered, as she gracefully swung a leg over and dropped. I was privleged to see Will's face as his mother appeared right as he was catching up a bit with the girl he hadn't seen for two years. I mean, if that was you, or your boyfriend? Trust me, I've been there in worse circumstances; at least Will had all his clothes on.

"Oh, er, hi Mum," he said, going bright red. I earned his perpeptual gratitude by landing in a rose bush at about this point, breaking the awkward silence and distracting his mother long enough for Will to withdraw his hands.

"So this is Lyra, then," Elaine said in the special sort of interested-yet-mildly-alarmed voice that parents use when meeting their offspring's paramour. "It's nice to meet you at last."

Kirjava shrugged, insofar as a cat can. "Humans," she said to Pan in a voice laden with exasperation.

Lyra rose to the occasion magnificently. "It's nice to meet you too, Mrs Parry," she said politely.

"Oh, please call me Elaine. You'll find me less disturbed than Will's description of me the last time you met, I hope."

"You didn't boss me about as much when you were still slightly mad," I remarked, disentangling myself from the bush with some difficulty. Mother-son relations took a turn for the worse when Will failed to hide his snigger.

Will gave Lyra an apologetic smile. "I think your parents were less embarassing," he said as quietly as he could.

"Oh yeah?"

"Look, you lot, this is all very nice but can we think about evading the law rather than introductions?" I said. "I'm Dave, by the way."

The gate creaked open, causing all of us to dive for cover. An elderly and distinguished-looking man in the robes of a senior don walked in, accompanied by a constable.

"Well, I don't see any criminals in here," the older man remarked with an annoyed edge to his voice.

"Hmmm," the constable said thoughtfully. I don't doubt your word, sir, but we've looked everywhere else. I suppose they could have got back over the wall and doubled back on themselves. Thank you for your help," and the constable walked off.

"That's a master of one of the colleges," Elaine whispered. "Jordan, I think." She and John had been invited to dinner with the high and mighty of Oxbridge quite a few times, so I suppose she'd know. The closest I've come is a Combined Services/Oxford First XVI rugby match, which we won!

The Master of Jordan entered the garden. "Lyra?" he said hesitantly. "Are you in here? I've learned something that may interest you." She emerged carefully.

"The aircraft that landed on the river earlier- you did hear that? Oh, well anyway," he said in a voice containing more excitement than his dignity would normally allow. "The authrorities believe that-,"

"It's from another world?" I suggested, keeping my Browning aimed squarely at his chest as I moved out from behind a bush.

"Oh! You've met them, then," he said. "You can put away your weapon, my good man, I am no threat." I gradually lowered the pistol, but didn't holster it. I was getting to be a little paranoid after the morning I'd had.

"The whole interdimensionnal travel thing isn't popular with the Magisterium," Lyra explained. "Goes right against the Good Book, and my father didn't help much." I suppose not; attempting a coup d'etat against God would tend to make a man unpopular with the Church. I'll say this for Lord Asriel, though; he might have been nine parts bonkers, but he thought big.

"So they decide to kill us," I said quietly. I was NOT impressed with this particular world's government.

"Sadly yes. But tell me, how exactly does your travel mechanism function?"

"EM radiation at high frequency and a gradually broadening wavelength holds a microfissure open long enough to admit the Aurora Borealis travelling at twice the speed of sound," Elaine explained. "Apparently Lord Asriel used the same basic principle, but our system is much less crude and has only a short-term effect."

"We can fly between worlds as easily as flying between countries," I added. "No contamination, no soul-sucking ghost thingies, and no messy great holes lying around in the fabric of reality."

"I see," he replied. "Much as I'd like to learn more, I fear that it would be dangerous for you to remain here."

I nodded my agreement. "I suppose we'd better try and link up with Mary, wherever the hell she wound up." Lyra reached into her studenty leather satchel and produced the althieometer with a flourish. "I can read it again now, sort of," she explained. "Now..." there was a short interlude. "Got it! She's in the Fens, quite near a gyptian town."

"We can't hitch a ride on a boat without endangering others," Elaine said firmly. "If we get a train as far as Norwich we'll only be a day or so away from her."

"Right," I said, and then turned to Lyra. "Coming? Yeah, I know, silly question. Well, if that little gadget of yours is all it's cracked up to be we need you along anyhow, I reckon."

Next, the Unfortunate Incident With VTOL, which Elaine rather scathingly mentions in passing in the same chapter.

Vertical takeoff was not a successful design feature, as our earliest flight test proved. No vectored-thrust engine could propel us to Mach 2; well, the VTOL version of the new F22 Raptor's engine might, but getting hold of a pair of THEM would cost more than the rest of the plane combined. So, in true DIY fashion, I modified an existing engine.

The only difficult bit was the movable nozzle itself. A valve system to direct the exhaust would be a simple task for any competent plumber -and I don't mean the service jargon for an aircraft mechanic- but the heat and pressure generated by the engines, huge Rolls-Royce turbines intended for powering Tornado GR1 fighters, was immense. I was pretty sure the setup I designed would stand up OK.

The first vertical flight test arrived, with Aurora riding the swell a mile off the coast of Scotland. The others were watching from our Zodiac inflatable, whilst the crew of the freighter that had hauled Aurora up this far stood by the boats. Elaine had insisted on the latter; nice to know she had such faith in me, wasn't it?

"OK," I said through my oxygen mask, "VTOL mode on, throttling up." Slowly, wobblingly, Aurora left the 'deck' and rose to about sixty feet. Then the starboard exhaust nozzle fractured, and the engine thrust in the direction nature intended. There was a flash, a loud bang and a shower of metal bits. My right wing dipped alarmingly, and if I hadn't immediately switched over to normal flight Aurora would have flipped over. A Harrier prototype did the same in tests, and the pilot had to eject before his aircraft inverted and smashed into the ground.

Just as I was silently congratulating myself for being polite to the man who tried to give me a copy of the Watchtower, the freighter's radio antenna loomed in front of me. Training, experience and reflexes took over, and I rammed the stick over to the right and hauled it back. The turn almost worked, though G-force nearly collapsed my lungs, but the tail wheel smashed the mast.

"Dave! Are you alright?" Mary screamed at me.

"I'm still alive, I think. Damn thrust nozzle cracked up on me; it just wasn't up to the heat. Got my bloody sums wrong, by the look of it."

"I think that test was a regrettable failure," Elaine observed sourly. "The skipper of that ship says he wants to keelhaul you, by the way."

"Tell him to put a new radio mast on expenses," I replied.

"It's not the mast he's bothered about, it's you making him spill scalding tea all over his crotch!"

Just to make matters worse, I had to share a relatively small boat for three days with the man who poured painfully hot liquid over his nads and blamed me.

Now, a short scene in Mary's lab.

Mary looked over the readouts once again, and thoughtfully tapped her teeth with a biro. A burst of EM radiation certainly seemed to affect those 'stitches' as Will referred to them. She picked up the spyglass, and watched as another burst hit the fissure, the radiation visible as a shimmer effect in the pattern of Dust. The fissure glowed slightly, but there seemed to be no other effect... then it hit her. The radiation stopped at the fissure, or at least wasn't visible afterwards. "Of course!"

An inspiration hit her. Mary checked the power reserves, and discerned that she had enough for five seconds at maximum power. Firing another burst, she gradually twisted the dial increasing wavelength. The fissure widened, enlarged, and... opened!

"Yes," Mary breathed. The fissure snapped shut as the batteries depleted. There was a loud crash behind her, and Mary looked around and saw Will standing in the doorway, with a broken mug and spilt coffee on the floor in front of him and his mouth open.

"Did you just do what I think I saw you do?"

"I'm pretty sure you did," Mary replied. "We've done it, Will."

Will was on the point of cheering and bursting into tears both at once. "Once I fine-tune things a bit, we'll be able to test this thing properly. No wonder it's taken me so long," she mused. "I thought something in the human-daemon connection made the difference, but that's basically neuro-electrical energy; the alpha waves. Asriel just hit on a convenient power source."

Mary reached into a drawer, and brought out a half-bottle of champagne and two glasses. She filled them, and gave one to Will.

"To new worlds, and old friends!" Their glasses clinked together. "Right, now go and get a cloth before that coffee stains the carpet!"

Last of all before I start on Chapter 5, the misunderstanding over Will, firearms, and his mum's attitude.

I was a bit nervous about the situation in which I found myself. Will was practicing with a handgun in the RAF training school range, where I'd got him in on the pretext of a short visit to Uncle Dave's old buddies. He fired five rapid shots from the two-handed Weaver stance, and raised his goggles to look at the target through a sighting scope.

"Three nines, two tens, but none in the X ring," he reported. "Not bad, but hardly championship level."

"You'll do, lad," I replied. "Just so long as you can hit a man before he hits you, and your mother doesn't get to hear about this!" We both shared a (wholly erroneous) mental picture of Elaine's reaction, and winced. My mobile phone began to ring. It was Elaine.

"Hello?" I said slowly, trying not to sound as guilty as I felt.

"Hi Dave. I've just had a word with Mary, and I need to speak to you about Will's role if we find ourselves in a firefight." Gulp! "Go on," I said cautiously.

"Why aren't you training him with guns like the rest of us? If he finds himself in such a situation he should be given the skills and the means to defend himself..." Will fired another five rounds, looked, and cheered.

"Yes! Two right in the X ring! I'm getting better at this!"

"Dave, please don't tell me you thought I'd go beserk if you taught Will how to use a weapon, and you've been teaching him in secret." Elaine sounded slightly strained.

"Actually, it was Will who suggested training on the quiet," I replied.

"I'm going to throttle the pair of you!" Elaine shouted, though you could hear the barely restrained laughter. In the background I could hear Mary giggling helplessly; she hadn't been in on all this.

"Look," I protested, "how was I supposed to expect you to react?"

"I DID spend six months in a mental hospital because I was suffering from paranoid delusions," Elaine reminded me, now unable to suppress her mirth.

"And they cured you."

"No, I just stopped complaining about it. Will had to send me into hiding and kill somebody, then go on the run, remember?" I hung up, and gently banged my head against a wall.

"She's on to us, isn't she," Will groaned.

"No, worse. She called to lecture me about not training you with guns, because you'd be in the same danger as everyone else if we got shot at." This was basically the defence I had planned if we were ever rumbled. I could weep!

Well, that's all for now, everyone. It isn't strictly neccessary to read this chapter, but if you think this is a good idea I'll carry on. This chapter may get longer if I come up with any more ideas, or get stuck with the main story, or both. Bye for now,


Opening Credits

I was a little bit stuck after Chapter 6, so I decided to have a go at cobbling together an opening credits sequence, as this is the sort of ludicrous pastiche that usually forms TV spinoff plots. I freely admit that they read like a bit of a ripoff of the opening credits from Firefly, but I don't care.

BGM: XTM feat. Anya, 'Fly On The Wings Of Love'.

Opener: Aurora in blueprint form, fade to constructed aircraft waiting in hangar. Crew approaching from behind camera POV. Cut to Aurora in the air, filmed from chase plane some distance away, at full afterburner. Nosecone glows, Roughly spherical area of brilliant white light appears, Aurora flys through and portal vanishes with a large shockwave which rattles camera aircraft.

Shots of each crewmember in various 'typical' poses- flight station, combat with small arms, and static 'relaxed'; use scenes from main episode- with names of actors overlaid. (Author's note: you may wish to insert the names of the actors cast in the forthcoming film, God forbid it actually be made. I'd like the guy who plays Malcom in Enterprise to be Dave.)

Additional credits overlaid with scenes from 'pilot episode': Thames landing, Dave getting an elbow in the nuts, combat with zepplin force over Norfolk.

Finale: Aurora flying towards camera, background of large explosion, VERY rapidly cut to view of Aurora flying in opposite direction. Series title appears on screen. Fade to black.

Now, probably the final extra as the story is drawing to something of a close. I reckon I made a bit of a hash of Xanthania's bit, so I'm going to have another go here.

She flew through a space that cannot be truly described, for it was beyond the comprehension of mortal man. Xanthania could see and observe anything in any world from this place, which was as close to omnicognisance as angels got.

Xanthania was troubled, and checked upon Lyra once again. She was recovering, but still greatly missing her love. Should she check upon Will? No, he would resent her doing so. Time might heal them, but if it did not... Xanthania decided that after one more year she would give Lyra a few pointers on alternative methods of travel between worlds.

Her musings were disrupted by a sudden tremor in the fabric of the universe, what George Lucas would call the Force. "A portal," she said to herself.

Another angel appeared beside her. Insofar as angels breathe, he appeared somewhat breathless, as if he had just been running very fast. "You felt it too?" he asked.

"Yes. What was it? The Knife?"

"No, it could not have been. Those who watch for Spectres observed none being created in any of the worlds. And the portal was different, somehow. It was not fixed, like those that were cut by the Knife. It sprang closed within moments."

Xanthania was, to put it mildly, surprised.

"We must investigate this more closely," she said after a time. Can you trace this phenomenon?"

"The next time it occurs we shall be able to pinpoint it."

"Good. Those responsible must be warned of the dangers involved."

The second time, Xanthania and another angel were in a position to observe. The travel device was built into a great aircraft, which was equipped with such advanced technology that it must surely have come from Will Parry's world. It was also heavily armed, and the Magisterium's determination to destroy it had backfired significantly, and it was now apparently embroiled in the revolution. As the two angels watched, it despatched several zepplins and fighters with weapons that were outside anything ever created in this world. It landed, badly damaged but victorious.

The angels stayed in the background, observing as closely as they could without being seen themselves. They were able to follow the aircraft as it lifted off and apparently prepared to return to its own world for a short time.

"Look! Look at the Dust!" the second, junior angel exclaimed. The Dust was pushed aside as the aircraft opened a fissure, and none escaped. "It is completely safe. There is no danger of the star sickness," the other angel mused. There were implications to this that were not lost upon Xanthania.

Whoever had created this technology had put a great deal of thought into the problem of Dust. And how many people truly understood the issue? Exactly two, one of whom had a vested interest in being in this particular world.

She followed the aircraft through the fissure, watching as it slowed and turned for home.

She took up a creditable formation beside it, and rendered herself visible. The reaction she got was mixed; the pilot screamed slightly and nearly stalled his aircraft. Another member of the crew spilled scalding coffee in her lap, but the remaining three simply waved.

"What the HELL is THAT!"

"Exactly what it looks like," one of the crew, a girl, replied.

"And what it looks like is what permanently turned me away from hard drugs!" Xanthania thought this was quite amusing.

Will raised his helmet visor, and grinned.

"I bet you thought we'd just sit around moping," he said. "Am I right?"

"I forsaw that you would try to find a way to be together. I had, however, failed to anticipate that you would succeed."

"For a semi-divine being, that was pretty daft then, wasn't it?" Lyra replied.

"Well, nobody is perfect," Xanthania said defensively, but decided that Lyra was joking. "How exactly does this machine work?"

"Electromagnetic waves that force a fissure open AND deflect Dust away from it; we got lucky with that last part, Dust had me kind of stuck there," Mary explained. "It snaps shut as soon as we deactivate what I modestly call the Malone Drive. Clever stuff, huh?"

"Indeed. There seem to be no Spectres created by this process, as well."

"Phew. I'm still working on a way to use the Drive against them." Xanthania turned to Will and Lyra.

"It is clear that I was wrong about you, my children," she said. "For a long while I have regretted separating you, and wondered if I should not attempt to bring you together. I am glad that I was not needed, and I wish you well." With that, she disappeared into a fissure like the Starship Enterprise going to warp.

"That has to be the weirdest thing that ever happened to me whilst I was in a legal state of mind," I said at length.