"A Whole New World"
STANDARD DISCLAIMER: This is meant to cover all subsequent chapters, because I'm sick of always repeating myself. Additional disclaimers will be added on a chapter-by-chapter basis as needed. Doctor Who belongs to the BBC. Detective John Munch belongs to NBC Television, but I figured that since they've been so good about loaning him out to shows on other networks (The X-Files, The Beat), they won't mind my borrowing him again for a little while. The other Law and Order characters belong to Dick Wolf and NBC Television.
Madame President Romanadvoratrelundar stood before the High Council, regal in her white robes of office and matching winged headdress.
"Is the Council unanimous in their decision?" she asked formally. Chancellor Flavia stepped forward.
"We are, Madame President." Romana gave a slight nod. "Castellan," Flavia continued, "bring forth the Eye of Rassilon, and for the first time in living memory, a President of the High Council shall look into its depths and see the future, and all other futures that may be."
The stairwell is gray cement, with bright green metal handrails down both sides of the staircase. At the very bottom of the stairwell lies a young girl, probably just out of her teens. She has long blonde hair and is very beautiful. She is also very dead; one of her legs lies twisted beneath her, and her head is bent back at an impossible angle. She is wearing a powder pink dress and an unusual pendant suspended from a delicate silver chain around her neck. There is a small trickle of blood at the right corner of her mouth, and her deep blue eyes are open and staring at the ceiling, staring at nothing; already they have become glassy and vacant in death. A red-haired woman wearing rubber gloves kneels beside the body as police officers work around her. She and the poor dead girl are the calm in the center of the storm. Hearing footsteps in the stairwell, the red-haired woman stands up to greet the new arrivals. They are two detectives in long gray trench coats, one young and black, the other white and middle-aged. Detective Ed Green looks down at the dead girl and says two of the seven words that can't be said on American television. The older man, Detective Lennie Briscoe, says something in another language under his breath.
"No cause of death yet, gentlemen," the red-haired woman tells them. "My guess is broken ribs and internal bleeding. But this wasn't an accidental fall… she had help down these stairs. Her neck was snapped after the fall, not as a result of it."
"Snapped neck," Briscoe says meaningfully, raising his eyebrows at her.
"Yep. Severed the spinal cord," the red-haired woman confirms, making a cutting gesture.
"Damn," Green says softly, shaking his head. "Damn."
"Sir, you don't want to go down there," a voice says from the top of the stairwell. The detectives turn and see a man with salt-and-pepper hair, slightly tinted glasses, and a badge clipped to his long black coat being held back by a uniformed police officer.
"No way," Green says firmly as Briscoe begins climbing the steps.
"Come on, Munch… trust me… you don't want to see this," Briscoe tells the other detective at the top of the stairs. A uniformed policeman catches Green's attention.
"We're treating this like one of our own?" he asks, gesturing at the girl's body. His tone indicates that it's not really a question.
"You'd better believe it," Green replies with feeling. He looks up at Briscoe, who is trying to convince the other detective to leave the crime scene. With a sigh, Green begins climbing the steps to join his partner. A uniformed policewoman approaches the red-haired woman.
"What's that around her neck?" the uniform asks, pointing. The red-haired woman kneels down by the body again, taking the pendant in her hand and inspecting it carefully.
"I have no idea," the red-haired woman tells the uniform. "Bag it and tag it with everything else."
With a gasp, Romana's head jerked up from the glowing pink globe she held in her hands. She blinked, looking dazed, and then resolutely forced herself to look into the globe again. The High Council saw her eyes widen in horror at what she saw next.
"Oh… oh no!" she cried. Chancellor Flavia only just managed to catch the Eye in its velvet bag as Romana collapsed to the floor in a dead faint.