Child in Time
Chapter Five

Authors note:-

Alright I admit, I'm stealing whole sale from the Doctor Who episode Blink. However the Tenth Doctor has previous examples of leaving messages, in one form or another, for his friends.

There is another reason I've brought the Doctor into the story, even if it's just for a cameo, and you'll find out what that is later.

Also, panel beating your own head with your keyboard is not a good way of defeating writers block. Other than discovering that you really should clean your keyboard once every so often the only real result is an odd cracking sound every time you press the shift key...

Finally you may have to forgive me, I've seen the end of the US version of Life on Mars and all passion for the whole genre has been SUCKED out of me. It was a god damn metaphor you yank morons. There isn't a Red Dwarf slaying dragons next to Dave Lister. Blake's seven, there was only six of them. The Doctor's name isn't Who. Please get the bloody point next time you want to rip off one of our classics!

Harlen and Bova met up with Rosie and Miss Davenport just outside the Command Post. 'Any luck?' Rosie asked.

'It's like she vanished.' Harlen shrugged, 'Her shuttle's still here though.'

Bova threw his hands in the air. 'For whatever that means. She hid from a whole army of Spung, on their own ship. What chance do we have finding her?'

'Well I for one know we're better off without her.' Miss Davenport folded her arms. 'All she's done is disrupt the ship and got us all in danger.'

'And then get us out of it.' Rosie pointed out as they went inside.

The blonde woman was there with Radu, Cat and the Commander. They were looking at a strange man on the main screen. 'Jenny,' He said in an English accent, with a twinge of sorrow. 'There is so much I want to tell you. So much you have to know. And I can't. There are laws of time for a reason. I can't bend them anymore than I have. Otherwise I could destroy three quarters of the universe. Or worse.' He smiled 'Exciting isn't it?'That wasn't what Harlen would call it. He hoped the man was joking.

The man on the screen continued 'If I knew you had survived I never would have left without you. I waited, but there was no sign of regeneration. I didn't know and I'm sorry, I'm so sorry.'

'Know what?' she asked, but it was like he already knew she was going to ask that.

'The Source. You caught a lung full of it as you died. The chemicals interacted with dormant genes you inherited from me. Jenny, children of my people, our people, are not born with the powers of full Time Lords. They have to be activated.'

'And the Source did just that.' Jenny said, 'But why are you sorry?' Somehow she was carrying out a conversation with a recording.

'You have to understand, when I said you were an echo, all that has changed. You are a Time Lady, with all the power and instincts of your people, but none of the knowledge. That's how you survived, the gasses gave you the power of regeneration.'

'What does that mean?' She asked again.

Cat tapped her on the shoulder. 'It's just a recording, he can't hear you.'

'Well, sort of.' He chuckled, almost answering. No, to Harlen's shock he was answering. 'When Jenny does catch up with me, finally, she'll tell me that I left this for her. Or that I will.'

"That's not possible.' The Commander almost shouted looking up. 'You'd have to travel in time to do that.'

'Time is a lot more... yes, well, that would just confuse all of you even more. The point is that I am a time traveller. I went back to leave this message to help. 'Oh this was so much easier when I had an auto-cue. Jenny I can't stay long so you have to listen. You're a Time Lady. That means you have a responsibility, powers that you are only just learning about. They are dangerous, but you have to trust your instincts. If your not careful the damage you can do is... well let's just say you should really be careful.'

The man on the screen smiled again. 'I'll tell you this much, you're going to love it.' He laughed, Jenny laughed with him as he stepped away from what ever he had recorded the message with.

After a moment the jumped back 'Oh yes, forgot. I've left something for you. THELMA here's just got to get it for you. Good luck.' then finally the screen went blank and shifted back to normal.

The android came back into the room after a couple of minutes. Jenny and everyone had been so preoccupied watching the video that they never saw her leave. When she did come back she had a small box. 'This is yours.' she said handing Jenny the box.

'Is that some sort of writing?' Catalina pointed at the hand written note on the side.

Harlen came up. 'Looks Greek to me.' he laughed.

'It's old' Jenny said turning it around in her hand, tracing the pen lines with her finger. 'I... I think I understand it.'

'Well what's it say?' Asked Catalina.

'Something about minds, an affinity for time. About feeling time as if... I don't know.' Opening the box Jenny found a dull copper bracelet with a strange double spiral embossed onto it. 'This is something called a Time Ring. It's supposed to be a replacement for my shuttle.'

The Commander of the ship came up to her. 'How can a bangle be a replacement for a space capable shuttle-craft?'

The bracelet felt strange. Warm, but not hot. It was more a deep rich warmth coming from within it. Gently Jenny blew on the symbol and the whole thing trembled. 'It's alive.' she gasped before looking up. 'My shuttle's only short range, there's not enough supplies or power for a long trip. This, this is so much more powerful. It can take me anywhere.'

'Anywhere?' Catalina and Radu said at the same time

'You mean back home, back to the Starcadamy?' Rosie asked.

Jenny smiled at the youngest girl there. 'I can't. I think that's what dad was trying to tell me, and he's right.'

Miss Davenport, the teacher, was the first to react. 'You mean you can take us all back with that thing and you won't!'

'It's just not possible.' The Commander insisted. Even if that was a matter-transmitter you'd need some kind of beacon to home in on. Otherwise...'

'Hey.' Jenny held both hands up, finding the bracelet slipping onto her wrist easily. 'I don't pretend to understand this. I just know. No, know is the wrong word. I feel it. You all have so much to do.' Once again, just like when she met Catalina and they had hid in the ships lounge ,Jenny wasn't seeing the Christa's crew. She was seeing what they could become. She saw how each jagged destiny slotted perfectly with those around it, becoming a whole.

Laughing Jenny took it all in, ignoring their worried looks she knew what it meant. The last thing she needed to do here had been done. 'Oh my friends, don't worry. You might get back eventually, but that's not home. This is your home.'

'Are you alright?' Rosie asked

'I saw her like this before. Suzee thinks she's seeing something we can't.' Catalina explained.

Jenny nodded. 'That's exactly it. It's part of the powers Dad was talking about. Trust me when I say you'll all see what I mean. Eventually.' She touched the band as it quivered slightly, whispering a soft hum. 'I'll see you all again.'

The hum pulsed louder, cycling. 'What is that?' Radu asked as it got louder and Jenny felt something pulling her away, like the gentle changing of a tide. While the pulse grew louder the Christa grew fainter until it disappeared all together.

Jenny didn't know what to expect when flying through the Time Vortex without a ship. Falling backwards through a swirling blue tunnel wasn't it though.

End Child in Time

Authors postscript:-
That was why I brought in the Doctor. So that, later, when I add new stories to this series I don't have to come up with unconvincing big swirly things to deposit Jenny into a story with.

In all seriousness, if you have a chance, see if you can dig up some episodes of Space Cases. It was a good show, especially if you remember what age range it was aimed at and when. It only lasted two seasons, which was a shame, and what was made should be seen.

Thomas Fishwick
AKA Mountain King