Time and the Trickster
Chapter One: Mission in Time: White Guardian's Errand
Disclaimer: I do not own Doctor Who or any of the spinoff material and I gain no income off of this story, just the satisfaction of playing with the characters.
AN: Welcome to the fourth story in the Guardians of the Universe series. If you have not read The Blond Girl, Defender of the Earth and the Companion Connection I strongly urge you to read those first otherwise you will be very lost very quickly. To all returning readers, thank you so much for all the awesome support you have given this series! This episode was inspired by the Sarah Jane Adventures episode Lost in Time, but I've made a lot of background changes to fill in some plot holes and questions that I had when watching the episode.
Rose Tyler was nineteen years old and in her second year of university at Cambridge. At first glance a stranger wouldn't have noticed anything unusual about Rose Tyler. She was of average height, had a toned body from athletic pursuits and wore blue jeans with t-shirts and trainers just like a lot of kids in university. It wasn't her motorcycle, friendship with her favourite professor or even her concurrent degree in physics and computer science that set her apart. Instead, it was her knowledge of aliens and her history with different sentient species that made her rather distinct.
She had first encountered aliens at the age of eleven when an alien being known as the Pied Piper kidnapped children in her area to feed on the fear it caused among parents. A few years later she was attacked by a living Mona Lisa straight out of her frame. Now at nineteen an average month for Rose included dealing with some alien threat to Earth and seeing her alien significant other: a time travelling humanoid known simply as the Doctor who had a complicated temporal relationship with her.
Yet September had been quiet with Rose working in the UNIT labs with Malcolm, Toshiko and the newly arrived Kate and no exciting alien threats at all. October had typical for the average university students: returning to her apartment by the Cambridge Botanical Gardens, resuming classes and having dinner with the Chesterton's every other Sunday. It was now late October and the temperature drop had already occurred, leaving a chill in the air and the firm understanding in the population that winter was coming. So after nearly two months of calm with nothing interesting, at least not on Rose's scale of interesting, she was beginning to feel extremely bored. She'd gotten ahead on her schoolwork and had already written two of her first term papers just in an attempt to fill her hours. Rose had competed with some of the school fencers a few times, not using her real sword, of course, taken a pottery class and finally read Malcolm's recent book on psychics.
Even her last three dates with the Doctor had even been calm. Renaissance Florence was lovely and beautiful, the Festival of Lights on the planet Simpi VI was stunning and the World Fair in Chicago had remained remarkably alien free. This was why Rose Tyler was now standing in front of a small shop with her umbrella in one hand and a letter in the other. Rose was wearing her crème trench coat and a red knit cap over her loose blonde hair. She glanced at the address mentioned in the letter and back at the shop. It didn't look like a place in trouble. Of course, Rose wasn't really expecting it to. Once again she had doubts bubble to the surface. She looked down at the letter again and reread the neat script.
Dear Miss Tyler,
I request your assistance in handling an unusual matter that requires special skills that you possess. Please meet me this Saturday at ten o'clock at the following address.
The letter had the address under the message, but no signature and Rose had been very tempted to throw it out or call UNIT until a note from Eve had arrived. It had been the shortest message that her friend had ever sent with only two words: good luck.
Folding up the letter, Rose slipped it into her coat pocket and examined the shop again. It was a small place with large windows that had old antiques on display. Unfortunately, it reminded her a bit of the shop where she had bought the brooch last Christmas as part of a plan by the White Guardian. Rose's hand went to her pocket to check that her sonic pen and phone were still in reach. She nibbled at her lip for a moment before her curiosity and sense of adventure won the internal debate. Walking across the street, Rose went to the front door, pulled it open and stepped inside the shop. An old fashioned bell rang at the top of the door breaking the silence, but Rose moved further into the shop.
It was clean with glass lamps hanging throughout the main room from the high ceiling. A thick green carpet squished under Rose's feet with each step. The room was filled with tables with various items on them from music boxes to small statues. Several paintings of varying ages were displayed on the walls or on standing easels. Her shoulder brushed a tall standing plant as she moved and she caught a glimpse of herself in an ornate full-length mirror. On a table next to her was a beautiful old fashioned necklace sitting in a small ornate box. Gently Rose picked up the box and examined the necklace, it looked almost medieval in design with a large blue stone surrounded by engraved gold and decorated with pearls.
"Hello," a strange voice called from the far side of the room.
Looking to the side of the room, Rose frowned slightly as she noticed a pair of large white chairs with a small table between them. On the table was a beautiful tea service that looked strangely familiar and behind the left chair was a tall bird perch with a parrot sitting on it. Her fingers tightened around the box, snapping it closed as she took a reflective step back.
"Oh no," Rose breathed. It was all too much like the shop in London that the White Guardian and that odd servant of his had been behind. Rose turned back towards the door and started to walk towards it.
"Please Miss Tyler," the deep voice of the mysterious Shopkeeper called out from behind her. "Please just hear us out."
Rose sighed and turned back towards the chairs against her better judgement. The Shopkeeper was standing next to one of them. His paisley suit was neat and well-tailored just as it had been on their first meeting and he was still wearing the kufi with the large gold tassel.
"I hope you had a pleasant summer," the Shopkeeper said warmly to her with a smile.
"What do you want?" Rose questioned, crossing her arms across her chest.
"Please," the Shopkeeper said gesturing to the chair in front of him. "Sit down and have some tea."
"Last time I took tea from you, it was drugged," Rose reminded him with a raised eyebrow.
The Shopkeeper nodded and looked a little embarrassed. "That was an unusual circumstance, Miss Tyler," he insisted. "I would never harm you," he added with conviction.
His tone surprised Rose and she found herself believing that there was at least some truth in his words, but she stayed in place. The Shopkeeper sighed but nodded in understanding. A moment later there was a flash of light that disoriented Rose and forced her to blink several times.
"Hello, my dear." Rose grimaced at the voice and found the White Guardian sitting in one of the chairs with a pleased smile on his face. "Rose," he greeted warmly. "I have a little errand for you."
Rose remained calm as she studied the Guardian for a moment. He was dressed in a perfectly clean white suit that matched his neatly trimmed white hair and beard. His tie this time was a light blue colour that matched the handkerchief in his pocket and the small flower that was pinned to his lapel. Nothing about him appeared threatening, but Rose knew that appearances were often very deceiving.
"Hello Rose," the White Guardian greeted. He turned and accepted a cup of tea from the Shopkeeper. "Please sit down."
"There are only two chairs," Rose noted pointedly.
"This one is for you," the Shopkeeper informed her as he gestured to the empty chair. "Please sit."
"Why did you send me that letter?" Rose asked, turning her focus to the White Guardian and raising an eyebrow.
The White Guardian sighed softly and set his tea back on the table by the service before looking at Rose. "Very well my dear," he conceded. "I need your help. A situation has arisen that could potentially destroy the world you know."
Rose blinked at the matter of fact way that the White Guardian made that announcement. "What do you mean?" Rose asked with wide eyes.
"Time is under attack," the White Guardian answered calmly. "I believe you already know of the Silver Lord an abdominal mix of chronovore and Eternal, but now he has combined forces with an equally dangerous being known as the Trickster and helped him manifest himself into our universe."
"Who is the Trickster?" Rose asked with a frown. She knew that the Silver Lord was dangerous, but had never heard of this new being.
It was the Shopkeeper who answered her question, "The Trickster is an extra-dimensional being who along with the rest of the Pantheon of Discord was banished from this universe. However, in certain circumstances, he is able to manifest himself within the universe long enough to create chaos which gives him power."
"Chaos," Rose repeated thoughtfully. "Is he the Black Guardian's servant?"
"No," the White Guardian replied quickly with a glance around. "And I wouldn't suggest such a thing again." The White Guardian then added, "The Trickster wishes for chaos that is capable of ripping the universe apart while the Black Guardian is still a protector of the universe. He would never work with a creature looking to destroy it."
"I see," Rose said, now feeling concerned. "So he's teamed up with Silver Lord now, what are they doing?"
"Has the Doctor explained the Web of Time to you?" The White Guardian asked as he picked his tea up again. He took a sip as Rose shook her head. "The Web of Time was the orderly co-existence of events within Time as created by the Time Lords. It fixed certain events within time to avoid chaos and damage to time."
"The Time Lords are gone," Rose pointed out uneasily.
"Yes, and much of the Web of Time is gone, allowing Time to take on the more flexible flow that it originally possessed when the universe was new." The White Guardian paused and added, "I never cared much for the Web of Time myself, but it had its uses."
"You said that time can mostly flex and flow now," Rose pointed out. "Does that mean that not all of it can?"
"Indeed," the White Guardian agreed. "The Web of Time was established with several key points and planets holding it in place. Now, in addition, imagine millions of threads, timelines being twisted around each other, linking to one another over, under and around these key points. This is why despite the end of the Time Lords there are still fixed points in time. Too much structure remains in some areas of the Web of Time for all things to be rewritten. Since the Time War, time and space are more vulnerable to change and paradox as time is flexible at some point and not at all in others."
"I see," Rose said with a concerned look. "And the Silver Lord and the Trickster are attacking this how?"
"Earth I'm afraid was one of the worlds that held the Web of Time in place," the White Guardian explained. "It is one of the reasons your planet is attacked and invaded so much. Time itself pulls beings in from around the universe, not on purpose of course, but the cosmic metaphysical placement of your world is very significant. Only a handful of worlds existed like this: Gallifrey and Skarro notably."
Rose swallowed and was sure that her face paled at the names of the gone Time Lord and Dalek homeworlds.
"I see you recognise those names," the White Guardian observed with a nod. "Well, now the timeline and history of Earth are about to come under attack in a way that would disintegrate almost all of the remaining Web of Time and possibly destroy Earth in the collapse of it."
"Okay," Rose said with a nod. "How can I help?"
"Good girl," the White Guardian cheered warmly before he gestured to the Shopkeeper who walked around the chair to stand near Rose.
"Together the Trickster and the Silver Lord have forged a new form of metal that they are calling chronosteel," the Shopkeeper informed her with an uneasy smile. "They used their powers over time and created it in the time vortex. It can alter timelines, change destiny even in fixed points and three pieces of it are lodged at key points in the history of Earth."
The parrot nodded on his perch to the Shopkeeper and announced. "They must be recovered."
"What objects and where in history?" Rose asked, stepping closer to the Shopkeeper and the White Guardian.
"Could be anything," the Shopkeeper admitted with a shake of his head. "And anywhen?"
"So what can I do?" Rose asked. "Do you need me to call the Doctor so I can travel through time in order to find these objects."
"The Doctor is of no use here," the White Guardian informed her. "His Time Lord nature is a disadvantage here. You must go through time on your own. The Artron energy that you carry from the TARDIS will protect you in the time window."
The Shopkeeper made an elegant gesture with his hand and a glowing hole appeared in the air in front of Rose. The edges of it twisted and turned as the portal churned in the air.
"If you can make that, why can't you go?" Rose asked the Shopkeeper suspiciously.
"I am a servant of the White Guardian," the Shopkeeper explained. "I am his disciple and it is forbidden for me to travel through time." He grinned at Rose and added, "But you can."
"If I go and I'm not saying I will," Rose said quickly, "Then how do I get back?"
"This Time Window has been locked onto the energy signature of the chronosteel," the White Guardian explained from his chair. "It will take you near the chronosteel. Simply touch the object and it will lead you to the next one. Once you have all three we will be able to pull you back to this time. All you have to do is touch the chronosteel with your skin."
Rose looked at the Time Window nervously and then back at the White Guardian who was watching her with an expressionless face. "You're sure the Doctor can't help me with this one? I've never travelled through time on my own before."
"The chronosteel will react differently to him than it would to you," the White Guardian said firmly. "It had to be crafted to react with humans in order to change Earth's timeline and you are a human, but one who is aware of the proper timeline and whose touch can stabilise the effect long enough to bring the items to me."
"What will you do with them?" Rose demanded.
"They will be unable to effect time in the Hall of the Universe," the White Guardian replied. "I believe you remember it."
Rose swallowed and looked back at the Time Window. "Earth will be destroyed if I fail?"
"I'm afraid so," the White Guardian confirmed. "This plot was done to avoid the intervention of the Guardians of the Universe."
"Well then," Rose said taking a deep breath. "What do I do to go through this thing?"
The White Guardian smiled at Rose and stood from his chair. He nodded respectfully to her. "Thank you, Rose. Be careful, history can be a dangerous place."
The Shopkeeper snapped his fingers three times and the Time Window suddenly opened wide and rushed towards Rose. She flinched back on reflex as the wind howled around her and swept her up. Then everything went still and she lost track of everything.
Rose forced her eyes open and sat up slowly. She was in a strange room, more like a hall actually. A timber roof was over her head with some paintings on it and elegant carvings. One the wall in the corner of her eye she saw a heavy tapestry hanging over the stone wall. Forcing herself to her feet, Rose noticed that she was still holding the jewellery box in her right hand. Once she was standing, Rose noticed the furniture and tall standing candles that were lit. The place looked strangely familiar and right out a Tudor-era history show.
Footsteps down the hall made Rose turn towards the doorway just in time to see a short middle-aged woman dressed in a dark Tudor era dress walk through the door. The woman gasped at the sight of Rose but recovered quickly.
"Goodness you gave me a fair fright," the woman said as she recovered her breath. "Creeping up like that." Then the woman's face became confused as she studied Rose. "You are not expected until the morrow."
"Forgive me," Rose apologised, swallowing back her nerves. "I did not mean to startle you." Rose struggled for something to say. "It has been a long journey and I-"
"Oh of course," the woman sighed gently. "I'm sorry milady. I am certain that it has been a long journey indeed."
"And you're expecting me," Rose questioned.
"Of course," the woman looked confused again. "It was the Queen's personal request that you came. Queen Jane is eager to meet you."
Rose blinked and turned back to the woman, dread settling into her stomach. She may not have been very good at history and couldn't say for certain what year she was in, but even she knew the name, Queen Jane. Tudor Era indeed and she'd arrived after the death of King Edward and the rise of Queen Mary.
"Jane?" Rose repeated softly, her mixed emotions must have shown.
"Oh you are tired indeed," the woman remarked. "I am Mistress Ellen, head of Her Majesty's Household. I've been with her since she was babe. Lady Jane, she was then."
"Of course Lady Jane Grey," Rose agreed with a nod.
"She was made Queen nine days ago," Mistress Ellen announced pleasantly.
"Yes, of course," Rose replied with a nervous swallow. "Thank you. I suppose I am simply nervous."
"Now," Mistress Ellen said as she glanced over Rose in confusion. "We had best find you more suitable attire for the Queen's new Lady-in-Waiting.
Mistress Ellen turned away and gestured for Rose to follow her. It took Rose a moment to recover from her shock and follow. Important moments in history indeed.