The Transmutation Of Time is a multipart story that crosses time lines, overlaps Doctors and moves backward and forward along several individuals' personal time lines. It also sees the introduction of several original characters who will continue throughout most of this 4-part story. Strap in.
Part One is a 5th Doctor story that takes place after "Planet of Fire." It is a continuation of the story arc begun in the 2-Part story, "Who Is My Enemy."
THE WILL OF ORMRIL
The colors of the room swirled and moved as though with a life of their own, yet their beauty was lost on the young man who was trapped within a glowing ball of energy. He sat dejectedly staring into space and tried to calculate just how long he had been imprisoned. Days? Weeks? It seemed like years, he thought despondently. Shaking his head to clear it, he tried to concentrate his muddled brain in yet another futile attempt to remember his last clear thoughts before finding himself imprisoned.
He had arrived on the planet Lumenarus IV to do his graduate thesis. That much he remembered quite clearly. The people had been friendly enough at first, but that did not last long. Things had started to change. He remembered the headaches started at the same time, then… then… With a sigh, the trapped youth could recall no more.
The prisoner looked out at the room in which he was suspended, breathing a sigh of re lief when he saw he was still alone. Frowning, he tried to recall the last time this had happened for such a long period of time, but was unable to retrieve anything in his tangled thoughts. Sighing heavily, he decided he might as well scrutinize his surroundings, which were just as bizarre as his prison. There was no door, window, or sliding panels that he could see. In fact, as far as he could tell there was no visible entrance at all. A cloud of smoke suddenly appeared out of no where and he stiffened visibly. His captor had returned all too soon, and that meant another round of interrogation. Not that he would have minded were each session not accompanied with what seemed to be an obligatory application of torture.
"My Master is displeased with the progress of those under your dominion, human," the entity within the cloud announced in a deep, toneless voice.
"Well, what am I supposed to do about it?" came the caustic reply. "You've already got people rioting in the streets, destroying property, killing each other. You've even got them sabotaging their own equipment for you."
"The overseers of this planet have grown suspicious that the investigation into these events has produced no results."
"I'm not surprised. Especially with your Master running the whole show," the prisoner snapped, his anger helping to clear his thoughts.
The sarcasm was lost on the entity, it only understanding the hostility behind it. "My power is limited by the spatial rift. That is why your assistance is required, human."
"Well, it might help if you stopped calling me human. I have a name, you know."
"All of your designations across the rift have passed on to my Master. You no longer—"
"No! He may've taken my place but that doesn't change anything. I'm still the real Juris!"
The entity ignored the outburst and moved slightly away. The colors in the wall a few feet from the imprisoned youth suddenly swirled violently and then divided as a large view screen formed within its semisolid surface. Juris looked at it in a combination of longing and dread as he got to his feet, his eyes growing wide when the face of a kindly looking old man with snow-white hair and a short cropped beard appeared on the screen.
"This man is being sent to take over the investigation," the entity was saying. "He is the ruler of a planet outside of this system and is reputed to have produced unexpected results, although it is rumored his staff—" The being in the cloud broke off. While the face of its prisoner was, at times, obscured by the energy field, his emotions came through clearly. "You know this man. You will tell me of him."
The sphere started to glow brightly and its trapped occupant cried out in desperation, "No, stop! You don't have to do this!" Juris' pleas went unheeded as the inquisition began once again. He writhed helplessly within the force field, the intensity increasing to the point where he was completely paralyzed. "Stop, please!" he screamed in torment. "I'll…tell you! Just…stop the pain!" To his relief, the glow faded, ending his agony. He sagged against the force field, dazed and badly shaken. "Wh…why…must you…do that?" he demanded weakly.
"It is the way of my Master," came the unrepentant reply. "I know of no other."
"Your Master's a barbarian!" the young man spat hatefully, only to shrink back as the entity moved closer. "Why don't you just ask me?" Juris said reasonably. "I'm perfectly willing to answer you as long as you don't torture me every time. You said you could feel my emotions. Surely you'll know if I'm lying or not." Receiving no reply, he asked coldly, "Or do you just enjoy being sadistic?"
"It is not my function to enjoy. Only to gather and direct."
Juris was none the wiser and chanced another direct inquiry. "How?"
To his surprise his captor obliged him with a reply. "My function is to redirect the mental energies generated by living beings. I am not a living being. Therefore, I am not capable of generating or feeling emotions."
"You mean…you're a machine?"
"I am an extension of the will of my Master, Ormril, created of pure energy."
"Does that mean you have to hurt me whether I agree to answer you or not?" the young man asked reasonably.
The entity's voice changed dramatically, taking on a lighter almost effeminate tone that completely threw its prisoner. "My Master desires only that I gather certain information from you. He did not specify as to the means by which I am to extract it. If you cooperate willingly, then I will try your way. The pain clouds your mind and makes it difficult to read. It also weak ens your conscious mental energies."
The cloud of smoke billowed across the room as its captive struggled without success to completely understand. Looking down at himself, Juris said, "I don't understand. Are you saying I'm here only as mental energy?"
"Then why can I see myself?"
"You have no substance here, human. Your appearance is a manifestation of your own consciousness."
"Great. I have no body, but I'm still trapped," the youth muttered darkly. The cloud moved even further away and he relaxed slightly. As far as he could tell the creature could only hurt him at close range, so the further away the better.
"You are quite different from those I have encountered in the past," the entity was saying. "Most were consumed with greed and the lust for power. And those who sought to destroy my Master were driven by fear. These emotions I understand. But yours are completely different. Complex. I must study them further. I find them interesting."
"Interesting! I'm not a bug in a jar! I'm a person! A living, breathing, sentient being! I have a name, friends, family. I have a life!"
The indignation felt by the imprisoned youth intrigued the entity all the more and it moved closer to study him. Juris, in turn, shrank back, certain his prison would become a torture chamber at any moment.
"Fear," the entity observed blandly. "Interesting. Why do you feel fear?"
"Why!" Juris was incredulous. "What do you mean, why? Every time you come near me, you hurt me. Who wouldn't be afraid?" He watched as the cloud changed shape, growing larger and smaller, something he would later come to recognize as a sign it was thinking. He jumped when the entity suddenly seemed to remember the original reason for its visit and abruptly changed its voice, which was once again deep and threatening. "This man. You know him?"
"Oh, yes," came the quiet reply. "He's—" Juris broke off as the ball started to glow again and looked around in horror. "What're you doing! I said I'd answer you! You don't have to—"
"If you wish to give me what is in your mind," his captor interrupted, "then you must not fight me. Your mental energies have recreated your physical self within the sphere. That is why you feel pain."
This explanation only increased Juris' mounting confusion. Struggling to comprehend, he said, "You're saying I'm doing it to myself? How?"
"My Master created me to turn strong emotions, such as fear, into a weapon. If you do not fear, then there is nothing to use as a weapon. Do you understand?"
"I…I think so. How do I…give you what's in my mind?"
The entity moved even closer. "You must willingly open your mind to me."
Closing his eyes, the imprisoned youth drew a deep breath and swallowed hard, trying hard to do as instructed. After a moment he felt the alien presence in his mind and tried to relax. Unfortunately, the creature was less than gentle. "No, slow down! Not so fast!" he cried out in pain. "I can't…think!" Within seconds Juris was completely overwhelmed, his thoughts once again being savagely torn from his mind. After what seemed an eternity, he was released and collapsed to his hands and knees. Looking up, he wondered dazedly if he were any better off than before.
"This is most unexpected," the entity observed, its voice light once again. "My Master must know of this immediately." The cloud abruptly vanished.
Juris only managed to get to a sitting position before the entity returned, announcing, "My Master is pleased."
"I'm overjoyed," came the embittered reply.
"Your words do not match your emotions. You are angry."
Juris sighed heavily. "It's called sarcasm. It's when you say one thing and mean the opposite." Seeing the view screen go blank, he assumed the interrogation was over and breathed a sigh of relief. To his surprise, the creature did not leave, remaining where it was across the room. "Is there…something else you wanted to ask me?" he asked hesitantly.
"Not at this time," came the succinct reply. "I would observe."
"You would, would you?" Juris muttered to himself before venturing, "Can I…ask you some thing? Why do you need to keep me in this thing? You said when I got here this was an other dimension. I can't possibly escape, can I?"
"This is true. But your mental energies must remain protected until the time of their absorption."
Juris did not like the sound of this. "Their…absorption?"
"When the time comes, I will absorb what you call your life force into myself."
"Absorb my…? Do you mean kill me?"
"If that is the term you prefer," came the bland reply. "Until my Master's escape from this dimension, he forbids this. It would destroy your physical form also, and that is required to draw the energies from the far side of the rift. Until my Master passes through the gateway, you are to remain in the energy sphere."
Juris shuddered. "When will that be? I mean, how long do I have?"
"I do not know. Time moves differently here than in your dimension. Here I have the power to alter its course."
"But…if you can do all that, what do you need me for? The physical me, that is."
"I do not have the power required to open the gateway. And while you possess only a rudimentary knowledge of the spatial mathematics involved, it pleases my Master to know that this king—"
"I don't think he has the skill to open your gateway, either," Juris interrupted sharply. "You'll need the man who taught him. He's the expert."
The cloud changed shape in reaction to this, apparently thinking once again. "And who is this expert?"