The Belphegor Inheritance
The Guiding Influence
K9 glided from the lift, Rodan and the Surgeon General following him. They moved between the shelves towards the well lit central archive area.
The first thing that Rodan saw was the Doctor, lying on the couch with neural connectors attached to his forehead. She took one look at him and knew that there was something wrong. She looked around for Engin, who would be able to provide a detailed explanation of the Doctor's condition. The old archivist was nowhere in sight. "Co-ordinator?" Rodan called.
"Over here," said the Surgeon General. He pointed to the far side of the illuminated area, where Engin's body was lying, partially hidden by one of the computer consoles.
The physician knelt down to examine him. After a few moments, he looked up. "He's dead. Shot by a staser at close range. He wouldn't have stood a chance."
"Then leave him," Rodan said. They had to be practical. "Attend to the Doctor."
The Surgeon General got to his feet, and moved over to the couch. He studied the instrument readings on the computer screen. "His artron energy levels are falling rapidly. Body functions are shutting down."
"What is the matter with him?" Rodan asked.
"He's dying," the Surgeon General replied.
"Do something," urged Rodan.
"There's nothing I can do. That's not the Doctor there, it's just an empty body. His mind is inside the Matrix. If he dies in there, then no amount of treatment will keep him alive out here."
Rodan looked again at the Doctor. She reached her hand towards the neural connectors on his forehead. "There is only one course of action, then," she said.
The Surgeon General grasped her firmly by the wrist before she could take hold of the cables. He pulled her hand away. "That would kill him for sure," he said. "The psychic shock would destroy his mind."
"Then what can we do?"
"We can only wait for the Doctor to return of his own accord. Assuming he is strong enough to take that step."
"Negative," rang out K9's voice.
They turned to look at the mobile computer, who had extended his probe into an interface socket, accessing the registers of the Matrix control system. "The Matrix controls have been sabotaged," K9 announced. "A new subroutine has been introduced. The panatropic domain containing the Doctor's mind has been sealed."
"You mean he can't get out?" the Surgeon General asked.
"Affirmative. The Doctor is trapped in a pulse loop."
"That must be why Engin was murdered," Rodan realized. "Whoever sabotaged the controls wanted to cover their tracks."
"That may be so," the physician replied, "but it doesn't help the Doctor now. K9, is there anything you can do?"
"Affirmative," K9 replied. "I am accessing the operating system now. I am attempting to introduce a selective computer virus that will erase the subroutine."
"Will it take long?" the Surgeon General enquired anxiously. "I don't think the Doctor can last much longer."
"Impossible to estimate," said K9. "Stand by."
The Doctor slowly opened his eyes. He was still alive. He had blacked out for a moment. He still felt very weak.
He was lying on a smooth metal floor. Still inside the Varosian Punishment Zone, then. At least the sand had gone. It was of course just an illusion. He remembered the last time this happened - it had fooled him then, almost killed him. But now he knew better. He wouldn't fall for the same trick twice.
He got to his feet. He felt he had been given a new lease of life. The collapse of the mindscape had been stabilized, at least temporarily. He had a little mental leeway to play with. He didn't intend to waste it.
He started to run along the corridor.
"A response," called the Surgeon General.
"Is he all right?" asked Rodan.
"He is improving. His artron energy levels are fluctuating wildly, but I think they're increasing overall."
As they watched, the Doctor's body convulsed. Rodan looked up in concern.
"Heart flutter," said the Surgeon General. "Only to be expected. The back up heart is still holding up."
Rodan turned to look at K9. "Have you been successful?" she asked.
"Affirmative," K9 replied. "The pulse loop has been stabilized and
expanded. I am attempting to break open the loop, to provide the Doctor
with an exit."
The metal of the corridors had given way to rock. The Doctor kept running through more tunnels. These were not natural formations either.
He rounded a corner, and entered a cavern. He stopped dead. Scattered throughout the cavern, and extending along many radiating tunnels were fragments of the TARDIS. He passed a section of the control room wall, a portion of the scanner screen, part of the door from his bedroom. The whole interior of the TARDIS, torn apart by the gravitational forces commanded by the Tractators.
The TARDIS console was standing in the middle of the cavern. The Doctor walked over, and leant against it. He needed the ship's support, as much as she needed his. To see the TARDIS disintegrated like this, even as a memory, ripped open his soul. He was so inextricably linked with his ship, he felt her pain as acutely as if it were his own.
But his memory had a happier conclusion. The TARDIS was not doomed to rot here in the tunnels burrowed through the bedrock of Frontios. She would be reassembled by the controlling intelligence of the Tractators, the Gravis.
For the first time, the Doctor felt his own consciousness driving events in the mindscape. He recognized that it was necessary for him to achieve this control, if he was ever to get out of here. He had to force his memories through to their conclusion.
The Gravis stood on the other side of the console now. A huge insect-like creature, it uncurled from its armoured shell of a back. It started to concentrate on controlling the gravitational forces, pulling the TARDIS back together. Its own greed would defeat it. The Gravis wanted the TARDIS, but as soon as the ship had been reassembled, she would be secure within her own interior dimension. The Gravis would be isolated from the collective mind of the Tractators. It takes more than a overgrown woodlouse to beat me, the Doctor thought.
The TARDIS came together.
There was a huge explosion of light, blotting out everything. When the light had dimmed, the Doctor found himself standing in the rocky cavern still. There was no sign of the TARDIS, no Gravis, no radiating tunnels. The only feature in the entire cavern was a wooden door set in one of the walls. Painted clearly on it, in neat crisp letters, were two words: WAY OUT.
The Doctor smiled. He knew how to take a hint. He walked up to the door,
calmly pushed it open, and stepped through.
The Doctor's body convulsed once more, and was still. Rodan looked worriedly at the Surgeon General.
The physician carefully studied the instruments. Cautiously he announced, "I think he's made it."
The Doctor suddenly let out an involuntary moan.
"Yes," said the Surgeon General, "the Doctor's mind is back with us." He carefully removed the neural connectors from the Doctor's forehead.
"Has there been any damage?" asked Rodan.
"It's too soon to tell. We must wait for him to recover naturally." The Surgeon General moved away.
Opening his eyes, the Doctor was surprised to see the Castellan standing over him. "Oh dear," he said. "Have I left my TARDIS on a double yellow line?"
"I don't understand," Rodan replied.
"It doesn't matter." The Doctor sat up. Yawning, he stretched his arms. "You shouldn't let me oversleep."
Rodan turned anxious eyes upon the Surgeon General. She feared that the Doctor had suffered irreparable brain damage.
"How do you feel, Doctor?" the physician asked.
"Thirsty," said the Doctor. "I don't suppose you've got a glass of lemonade handy? Or failing that, some luminous spring water from Korlano Beta?"
"I'm afraid not, Doctor." The Surgeon General scanned him with the instruments built into the couch. "It looks as if your brain has suffered no damage."
"Well, I could have told you that," the Doctor replied. "I've never felt better." He fell back onto the couch in a dead faint.
Rodan turned accusingly on the Surgeon General. "You said he was unharmed."
"It's simple exhaustion," replied the Surgeon General. "Perfectly
understandable, after what he's been through."
It began slowly. The Doctor had spent a while getting used to his new body. There was always a great period of mental readjustment following any regeneration. It was the little things that were hardest to cope with.
For a start, he had regenerated into a quite diminutive form compared to his previous body. The result of this was that his surroundings seemed to have enlarged. If he reached up to a high shelf in the TARDIS laboratory, he found that it was six inches higher than he expected. He had got used to measuring everything according to the stature of his previous body.
There were some advantages however. He was considerably lighter than his previous form. The girl he travelled with at that time, Melanie, was a great believer in keep fit, a strange fad of late twentieth century Earth. This involved a great deal of physical exertion, for the sake of losing a few pounds. The Doctor couldn't see the point of exchanging one discomfort for the other. Of course, being a Time Lord, he didn't suffer from the vanity that humans did. His external appearance was, after all, just a transitory state.
The Doctor felt sorry for his previous self. Melanie had apparently imposed a strict regime of diet and exercise upon him. Fortunately the Doctor had been spared such an ordeal. Most of Melanie's previous relationship with him had been in a projected parallel future, which had not come to happen in his own personal time stream. It was a temporal paradox. She had known him for much longer than he had known her.
There were other difficulties. Every morning, it was a new face that stared back at him from the shaving mirror. Until he had familiarized himself with the contours of his new visage, there was a great danger of cutting himself. The Doctor used his pearl handled cut-throat razor very gingerly indeed for the first few weeks.
One day, the TARDIS landed at Iceworld, a trading post on the frozen side of the planet Svartos. The Doctor met a young girl called Dorothy, who had rejected her name and called herself Ace. She was a strange girl, a misfit. Emotionally stunted, she was unable to relate to her mother, and resentful of authority. She had experimented with chemical reactions to make explosives. An unhealthy obsession with loud bangs. Once, feeling a sense of futility after a racist attack on a friend, she had committed an wanton act of arson.
But it was the story of how she had travelled to Svartos which raised the Doctor's eyebrows. Making an explosive in her bedroom, she had somehow blown herself through a time storm, far into the future and halfway across the Galaxy. If it hadn't been for her physical presence, he wouldn't have believed her.
A voice started to whisper inside his head. It said one word: Fenric. Slowly the Doctor began to realize that something was wrong. There was no way a simple explosion could conjure up a time storm. Not unless it was a hydrogen bomb on top of an existing time fissure, and even that wouldn't be certain. Besides, there was no time fissure he knew of in Perivale in 1986.
If a time storm had spirited Ace here, it could only have been caused by some external influence. The voice spoke again: Fenric. The Doctor sensed a dawning awareness. It was as if long buried memories were being unearthed. Fenric. He needed to know what it meant.
When he came to leave Iceworld, the Doctor had no clearer idea. And yet, he also felt a conviction that something momentous was afoot. Something he had to do. He seemed to be working to a plan. Yet if he tried to get clear in his head what that plan was, he couldn't think of it.
One thing was obvious though. He had to manipulate events and people to bring about his ends. This girl, Ace, was one of those. He had to keep her where he could see her. The only way to achieve that was to take her along with him in the TARDIS.
Melanie chose to leave him at that time anyway. She didn't feel right travelling with him. Maybe she sensed that she didn't really belong in this new time stream. Before she went, she tried to convince him to take Ace. The Doctor didn't need much convincing, but he made a show of thinking it over. Suddenly deception had become very important to him.
And yet he was fighting a battle in his mind. A large part of him liked Ace, and wanted her to travel with him. He seldom travelled alone. With Melanie's departure, the TARDIS would be empty without a fellow voyager. He welcomed Ace aboard, despite her annoying habit of calling him Professor. But the nub of suspicion and doubt remained, gnawing away at him.
At this time, the Doctor found himself drawn more often to sleep. It was odd that he didn't feel the usual dread of repose, the fear of what his dreams might hold for him. He slept, and he dreamed. In those dreams, a voice spoke to him. It reminded him of things he seemed to have forgotten. Things he had to do. The voice spoke softly and assuredly, compelling him to fulfil these new obligations.
The Doctor found himself waking up and screaming. He tried to fight the voice in his head. He shouted at it to leave him alone. He pulled the pillow over his head, in some futile attempt to block out the sound. In his frustration, he slammed his fist against the walls.
He changed his bedroom, moving himself as far away from Ace's quarters as he could. He didn't want Ace to hear him cry out in the night. She might revise her opinion of him. He had to keep up the deception. No, the Doctor told himself. He meant no deception. It was just that he didn't want Ace to lose faith in him. He would overcome this mental intrusion, whatever it was.
For months, the TARDIS drifted aimlessly, landing at random. Yet the doors opened very seldom. The Doctor lost all interest in exploring outside. He spent his days wandering the bowels of the ship, discovering corridors and rooms he'd never visited before.
After waiting hopefully for a couple of hours in each new location, her plasmic shell sitting incongruously in jungles and deserts, cities and beaches, the TARDIS gave up and dematerialized, to roam the vortex once more. The ship seemed to sense some of her owner's mood. Her attempts to interest him in new surroundings came to nothing.
The Doctor found new memories in his mind. He seemed to acquire knowledge of the Dark Time, the lost history of the Gallifreyan Empire. The thousands of years that had elapsed before the time of Rassilon.
The memories were not constant. They formed a shifting miasma in his head, from which a fact would emerge on occasion. Some time later, he would forget it as if it had never been there.
And yet in the midst of this confusion, one thought seemed to sit permanently in his mind, just beneath his higher consciousness. It was a name. Belphegor. A name he felt he ought to know.
And then there was Fenric. That word had been whispered to him before. He heard it repeatedly now. Thoughts shifted, memories were uncovered. Centuries ago, when he had been young, before his first regeneration, he had encountered Fenric. It was shortly after he had fled Gallifrey. The memory of it was buried beneath a great psychic shock he had suffered at that time.
It was starting to come back now. Fenric was an evil intelligence, an embodiment of negative energy. The Doctor had encountered him in China in the third century, and challenged him to solve a chess puzzle. He had set an insoluble problem, so Fenric hadn't stood a chance.
The Doctor had cheated of course. The puzzle couldn't be solved without bending the rules of the game. Fenric was sealed in a flask like a genie - a symbol of his impotence. His consciousness was trapped in the shadow dimensions, held in place by his inability to solve the puzzle.
But it wasn't the end of the matter. Fenric still lived, and still influenced things. People, events, places. A complex plan was unfolding by which Fenric hoped to gain his freedom. Ace was a part of Fenric's plan. It became clear now. The Doctor realized that it was time to think about defeating Fenric once and for all.
And yet for all this clarity, he didn't know why he had this feud with Fenric. Why him? For all the significant things he had tried to do for the Universe, the Doctor was just a renegade Time Lord. What right had he to combat a force of absolute evil?
He didn't understand. It was buried somewhere in his shattered memory,
but he seemed unable to extract the necessary information. Everything
returned to Belphegor. Whoever Belphegor was, he was the reason all this
was going on.
Rodan helped the Doctor to get up from the couch.
"How long was I asleep this time?" he asked.
"Just a few seconds," Rodan replied.
"It seemed longer," said the Doctor thoughtfully. "Do you know, I had the strangest dream. In fact, it would be fair to call it a nightmare." He took a couple of experimental paces, just to check that his body was working properly again.
He was somewhat perturbed by his dream. It was clearly part of his missing memories, returned to him by his previous self in the Matrix mindscape. It was rather alarming to see what had happened to him. The whispered suggestions and distant remembrances had been just the beginning of Belphegor's mental manipulation.
The Doctor took a deep breath. It was not his place to lament his suffering, but to put an end to it. He crossed to the records computer. He pressed a few controls, read the data displayed on a screen, and frowned.
"K9," he said.
"Master?" replied the automaton, whizzing over to him.
"I need to access the Worshipful and Ancient Law of Gallifrey."
He heard a sharp intake of breath from behind him, and turned around to see Rodan aghast. The Doctor raised an eyebrow. "Is something wrong, Castellan?" he asked.
"The Ancient Law of Gallifrey is one of the artifacts," said Rodan. "It dates back to the time of Rassilon. No one has seen it for centuries."
"Not since I returned it to Gallifrey in fact," the Doctor replied. "I'm well aware of the ancient powers imbued into the pages of that book. It's far too dangerous to ever leave the Archives again."
"It's not the book itself I want, it's the information contained in its pages. It's the cornerstone of the Rassilonic Law, and it details the historical events which caused the Law to be formulated. That's what I'm after. Ancient history from the Dark Time. There must surely be a data transgram of the text, kept for study purposes. Time Lords are obsessed with recording historical facts, even though the majority of them never want to look those facts up again."
He glanced at the corpse lying on the floor. "It's a pity Engin's dead," he remarked. "I bet he would have known where to find it. K9, can you try and access the transgram?"
"Affirmative, master." K9 extended his probe towards the interface socket.
"Doctor," said the Surgeon General, "surely the history of the Dark Time has been suppressed for a reason. Because the knowledge is dangerous."
"I believe such knowledge may be crucial to the disaster that Gallifrey is currently facing," the Doctor replied. "And if I'm to effect a solution, I need all the help I can get. What's more dangerous, ancient history or willing ignorance?"
Suddenly an alarm signal shrilled out of the records computer. An electrical charge blew K9 out of the interface socket, and half way across the Archive section.
"What is it?" the Doctor asked.
"Access has been restricted," reported K9, his voice a little unsteady. He rolled back towards the computer.
"I thought as much," said the Doctor. "Did you locate the records?"
"Affirmative, master. The Worshipful and Ancient Law of Gallifrey is at data reference 47388/3536/12423/283/AR. Access restricted by order of the CIA."
"Well," said Rodan with an air of finality, "you might as well forget that idea, Doctor. The Celestial Intervention Agency will never declassify their files."
"This is an emergency," the Doctor replied. "They're bound to release the information to me."
"Maybe," Rodan muttered. "But no one knows who the CIA are. Their agents probably walk among us, and we'd never know. They aren't even answerable to the President herself."
"We'll just have to talk to their representative."
"The CIA always has one member of the High Council among its operatives," said the Doctor. "Didn't you know that? It's the only way they can have an input into political developments."
"That still leaves four possibilities," said Rodan.
"Not at all," the Doctor replied. "I know precisely who it is."
Commander Stalred opened the service duct at the foot of the Communications Tower. He shone his torch beam along the narrow passage.
"It's through here," he said. "Mind your head. It's rather cramped."
Rhonwen nodded her acknowledgement, and followed Stalred into the duct. They proceeded along it, until they reached the point where the body had been found.
Stalred shone his torch onto the floor to show the exact spot. There was no indication now that anything had ever happened here. "I don't know what good you think this will do," he said. "If there had been any clues, we would have found them."
"Well, you never know," said Rhonwen. "A fresh eye might see something you missed."
She knelt down and examined the illuminated area. She tried to remember what Superintendent Lockhart would have looked for in No Hiding Place. But she could find no clue on the ground.
"What was he doing here?" she asked.
Stalred shone his torch onto a wall panel. "He was working on the heating system," he explained. "This panel provides access to the hot air vents."
"Can I see?"
Stalred handed her the torch, and turned his attention to the panel, releasing the controls to open it. Rhonwen shone the beam onto the complex controls within. None of them made much sense to her. In the centre of the mechanism was a metal grille, that appeared to have been melted away.
"It must have come through that grille," Rhonwen said.
"My first thought was that there had been a blowback through the heating system," Stalred said. "But that was discounted by the technicians."
"But an energy sphere could have squeezed its way through the grille," Rhonwen replied. "That must be why it's melted."
"You could be right."
"Where does that grille lead?"
"I told you," said Stalred. "The hot air vents. They run parallel to the inspection shaft at this point."
"But the hot air?" Rhonwen insisted. "Where does that come from?"
"One of the sub basements ultimately," Stalred explained. "But the heating system is extensive with many convolutions."
"Well, the sphere must have entered the air vent at some point," Rhonwen said. "Perhaps it originated down in the basement."
"What are you getting at?"
"The energy spheres must come from somewhere. Whoever's sending them is trying to target the Doctor. Presumably the same person who is trying to destroy the planet."
"Pandak?" asked Stalred.
Rhonwen shrugged. "Perhaps."
Stalred rubbed his chin thoughtfully. Rhonwen could well be right, he decided. It had long been rumoured that Pandak was hiding deep beneath the Capitol. Following the trail of the energy sphere might well lead to Pandak's lair.
Thinking ahead, Stalred saw this as a chance to reinstate himself in the eyes of the Castellan. If he could track Pandak down, he would be a hero.
Cautiously he said, "The underground chambers are half forgotten. Corridors, vents and pipes intertwine and tangle. It would be very easy to get lost down there."
"If we could find the source of the energy spheres," said Rhonwen, "we might be able to put a stop to them. That would clear up one problem."
Stalred nodded vaguely. That hadn't been what he was thinking of. Suddenly comprehending what Rhonwen was saying, he looked up sharply. "Whatever investigations proceed," he stated, "it would be most inappropriate for you to take part. You are a young lady."
"Don't be silly," said Rhonwen. "I'm more than capable of looking after myself."
"But it is my duty to protect you," Stalred insisted. "I could not willingly expose you to danger."
"Well, either you take me with you or I'll go on my own."
Stalred opened his mouth to argue, but then stopped. He held up a hand for silence, and stood listening intently.
Rhonwen strained her ears. She could just make out a faint shuffling sound from the open end of the service shaft.
Stalred drew his staser pistol. Moving quietly, he started back towards the entrance. Suddenly, silhouetted in the light from the open hatch, he saw the moving shape of a robed figure.
"Halt!" Stalred shouted. He began to run along the duct. The figure ahead hesitated momentarily, but then darted out through the hatchway.
The hesitation had enabled Stalred to catch up. He managed to leap through the air, out through the hatch, and catch the hem of the intruder's garment. Pulling hard, he brought the fleeing man down, orange robes billowing around him.
By the time Rhonwen caught them up, Stalred had turned the figure over
at gunpoint. His eyes widening in surprise, the Commander took several
steps back from his captive. "Cardinal Zelara," he exclaimed. "Your
Eminence, what are you doing here?"
Chancellor Cabulas pored over countless documents, signing each with the Arcalian seal. Since the attempted coup, he had barely left his office. The procedure for the Arcalian Chapter to select a new Cardinal was lengthy and fraught with legal difficulties. The fact that Tamos had died suddenly, without nominating a successor, only complicated the matter.
Cabulas looked up as the door of his office flew open. Irritated by the intrusion, he watched in some amazement as the Doctor strode in, ignoring the guard on the door.
"Please, sir," the guard remonstrated, "you can't just walk into the Chancellor's office."
"Nonsense," the Doctor replied airily. "He'll see me. Won't you, Cabulas?"
Sighing, the Chancellor dismissed the guard. Once the door had closed behind him, Cabulas turned to the Doctor.
"It is customary to knock," he said.
"Well," smiled the Doctor, "I've never been one to stand on ceremony."
Cabulas arched an eyebrow. "Evidently. What can I do for you, Doctor?"
"The Worshipful and Ancient Law of Gallifrey," the Doctor stated, sitting down in a vacant chair.
"What of it?" Cabulas asked, matter of factly.
"I want to read it," said the Doctor.
"Then I suggest you ask Co-ordinator Engin," Cabulas replied.
"Really?" asked Cabulas. "How?"
"Shot with a staser," the Doctor explained. "Whoever did it tried to seal me inside the Matrix."
"Have you any idea who?"
"Someone working for Pandak perhaps," suggested the Doctor. "I hear the ex-President's been giving you a bit of trouble today." Rodan had filled him in regarding the recent attack on the Citadel.
"Do you now believe that Pandak is our enemy?" Cabulas asked.
"Oh, I don't think he's responsible for the difficulty you're having with the sun," replied the Doctor, "but he may well be in league with the culprit. It's also possible that he's been duped."
"And just who is the culprit?"
"Belphegor," the Doctor said.
"Ah, that name again," Cabulas murmured. "Have you found out more about it?"
"Yes. But I need to read the Ancient Law."
"After you returned it to Gallifrey," said Cabulas, "the book was sealed away. The power that it contained was too dangerous to risk it being stolen again."
"Oh, I quite understand," replied the Doctor. "But a transgram was taken of the text. It's in the Archives now."
"Then why don't you read it?"
"Because it's been classified by the CIA."
Cabulas spread his hands. "Well, I'm afraid there's not much hope of seeing it."
"I'd believe that," said the Doctor, "if you weren't an agent of the CIA."
"What gives you that idea?"
"The Great Key," the Doctor stated. "You told me you had it. Now only the Chancellor is ever supposed to know where the Key is. I can hardly see Pandak's Chancellor, in the middle of the revolution, taking the time to pass on the secret to you. The CIA would have known where the Key was located however. When he set the Agency up, Rassilon would have made sure they could safeguard the artifacts, just in case there was a corrupt government at some time in the future. If you've got the Key, it follows that you must have been a CIA operative, or that you were recruited afterwards. They'd need a representative on the High Council."
"Even if you were right," said Cabulas, "which I won't confirm, I would not be likely to break my cover."
"I know I'm right," replied the Doctor. "Look, Cabulas, you know how desperate this is. Gallifrey will be destroyed unless I can find a solution. Our enemy is Belphegor, and the only information about him is recorded in the Ancient Law. You must declassify that transgram."
Cabulas frowned. Clearly he was wrestling with a dilemma. Finally, he
said, "Return to the Archives, Doctor. I will see what I can do."
Cardinal Zelara struggled haughtily to his feet. "How dare you accost me in this way, Commander," he snapped.
"Forgive me, your Eminence," said Stalred. The staser did not waver. "But I must repeat my question. What are you doing here? You should not be outside of your College without an escort, particularly not during the present crisis."
"I am capable of guarding my own safety, Commander," said Zelara. "Will you kindly lower that gun?"
Stalred hesitated. He knew he ought not to be holding a Cardinal captive. But Zelara's presence in the service ducting was a mystery, especially as the discovery of the body there had not been widely publicized. Stalred could not rule out the fact that Zelara might be involved in the murder in some way.
"Commander," Zelara insisted, "I don't have to explain my movements to you. I'd thank you to not point a gun at me."
After another moment, Stalred lowered his weapon. Seemingly satisfied, Zelara turned with a flourish and stalked off along the street.
"What was all that about?" asked Rhonwen.
"I'll probably be discharged from service for this," said Stalred gloomily. "Either that or terminated. Threatening a Cardinal with a gun."
"But what was he doing here?"
"Exactly," Stalred exclaimed. "There's nothing that would explain it. Cardinals don't just go for walks, especially not into service ducts."
"So, do you think he's got something to do with the energy spheres?" Rhonwen asked.
"Maybe," said Stalred. "But I'd need a lot more evidence before I could go to the Castellan."
"Well, what are we waiting for?" Rhonwen started to walk back into the service shaft.
"Where are you going?" Stalred asked.
"We ought to follow that air vent," Rhonwen replied, "and see where it leads."
"No," said Stalred. "I told you, it's like a warren underneath the Capitol. If we went in there, we'd never get out again."
"So, what can we do?" Rhonwen asked.
"There might be an old map in the Archives - or a diagram of the heating system. At least that would give us somewhere to start."
"All right," said Rhonwen. "While we're there, we can tell the Doctor
what we've found out."
Whenever he slept, the Doctor heard the voice speaking in his head. It told him of the Hand of Omega, and where it was to be found. The legendary remote stellar manipulator, that had been missing from Gallifrey since the Morbius crisis. But contrary to popular opinion, Morbius hadn't taken it.
At the prompting of his guiding voice, the Doctor remembered what had happened to the Hand. He himself had stolen it from Gallifrey, and carried it around in the TARDIS. During that time when the ship had stayed in Shoreditch for five months, when Susan had insisted upon attending the local secondary school, the Doctor had taken the Hand and secreted it in a safe place, out of harm's way, where he could retrieve it should he ever need it.
According to the whispering voice, he had taken the Hand to cover eventualities, in case he should ever be under dire threat. Well, maybe that time had come.
The Doctor kept up with galactic politics. The Dalek Empire had split into numerous factions. Those Daleks who had reclaimed Skaro were rebuilding and remilitarizing, under the command of a newly proclaimed Emperor. They seemed to have an edge over the other factions. If they attacked and conquered the other Dalek groups, reconditioning them to serve the Emperor, the Dalek Empire could be rebuilt in a matter of centuries. Whilst the factional disputes continued, the Daleks had effectively lost their power base in the Galaxy.
The Doctor decided that he couldn't allow the Imperial Daleks that supremacy. A plan started to form in his mind, to lure them into a trap using the Hand of Omega as bait.
In a few isolated moments, the Doctor found it odd that he was so actively planning an act of mass destruction. It was not something he would have done before. He might have been forced into genocidal acts by circumstances, but he had never before set out from the start with such intentions.
He tried to analyse why he was acting in this way, but he could not. Any moments of doubt lasted but a few seconds, and then seemed to be swept away as the plan proceeded. The Doctor just told himself that times had changed. He had changed.
He began to drop clues, little hints for the Daleks to pick up on. He scattered thoughts and memories into the time vortex through the telepathic circuits. Let the Daleks think what they would. Perhaps they would assume that the telepathic circuits were malfunctioning.
Whatever, they soon learnt of the location of the Hand of Omega and that it was a source of absolute power. Keeping an eye on the tracking monitor, the Doctor felt some satisfaction to see an Imperial Dalek ship travelling back along a time corridor to Earth in 1963. It was time he acted, time to execute the final stages of the plan.
He had miscalculated - he hadn't expected two Dalek factions to follow his clues. A small group from one of the scattered space commands, led by their Supreme Dalek, were trying to seize the Hand, to gain victory over the Imperial Daleks. The Doctor decided to allow the two factions to fight it out - and concentrated his own mind onto the task of preventing any humans being killed in the cross fire.
Eventually, the Imperial Daleks beat their opponents and acquired the Hand, as the Doctor had planned. The Emperor Dalek revealed himself as Davros - the Doctor couldn't say he was too surprised. The evil scientist had been carted off to Skaro by his creations, presumably to face trial and execution.
But the Daleks weren't a species to waste resources. They had conditioned him and wired him into a new casing, as a sort of super battle computer. Davros was still an emotional, irrational creature, despite his attempts to turn himself into a machine. The Daleks used that to break the logical trap that had prolonged their war with the Movellans - and they used Davros's inventive and innovative skills to restructure their genetic composition, and to build new and better casings.
But Davros had managed to break free from his conditioning. That wasn't too surprising either. Davros's personality was far too forceful to remain suppressed for long. Besides, the Doctor knew that the mind control techniques practised by the Daleks had never been totally effective. He remembered Stein. So Davros had regained control of his will, whilst already installed as Emperor. He had finally got what he wanted, a Dalek army who obeyed his every command.
The Doctor taunted Davros into using the Hand of Omega. He didn't mention that he had pre-programmed the device to turn Skaro's sun supernova, and destroy the Dalek mother ship as well. And so in one moment, he had wiped out the Imperial Daleks. The Galaxy could breathe easily again.
The Hand of Omega completed the program he had given it, and returned to Gallifrey. The Doctor was left to ponder his actions.
"We did good, didn't we?" Ace asked him.
"Perhaps," he replied. "Time will tell. It always does."
He was uncertain in himself. The TARDIS started roaming the continuum once more. The Doctor withdrew to his room, buried deep in the darkest reaches of the ship. Had he done the right thing?
The voice shouted at him, decrying his actions. The Hand hadn't been for
the Daleks. It was for a far greater purpose. For ultimate revenge. The
Doctor felt a sense of frustrated anger that threatened to engulf him.
Fingers pushed into his mind. Like hot needles, they burned through his
consciousness. He was losing control. The Doctor's body convulsed, and then
was still. Belphegor was taking over.
The Doctor opened his eyes, to find himself slumped against the wall of the lift. The door opened onto the Archive section. In the space of a few seconds, he had experienced memories covering several weeks.
He was very disturbed by the dream. He could see a huge shift that had taken place in his personality. The influence of Belphegor had made him guilty of an arrogant presumption. The Doctor had taken on a role as a self appointed guardian, policing the Galaxy and destroying those he thought unworthy. To have deliberately planned the destruction of an entire Dalek sub-species - it just wasn't like him.
The Doctor walked through the rows of shelves, towards the archive control section. His dream had conjured up another mystery. He now remembered programming the Hand of Omega to return to Gallifrey. So, why didn't anyone know where it was? The only answer was that Belphegor had had some input in the programming, and sent the Hand to a secret location that only he knew.
K9 looked up as the Doctor approached. "Master?" he asked.
"Try to access the Ancient Law transgram again," the Doctor said. "We might have more luck this time."
He had some idea of what Belphegor had done to his previous self. Now he needed to find out who exactly Belphegor was.
K9 interfaced with the Matrix control computer again. "Transgram has been declassified," he announced.
"Good old Cabulas," muttered the Doctor. "Play it back."
"Data record is extensive, master," said K9. "Suggest specific references are accessed."
"All right," the Doctor replied. "Look for the first reference to Belphegor. We'll start there."
After a moment, a speaker channel opened. A clear, precisely spoken female voice rang out. "And in the Dark Time did Belphegor rule Gallifrey."
The Doctor settled back in the nearest chair, closed his eyes, and
started to listen.
Pandak turned at the whirring of the transmat. He shielded his eyes from the shimmering light. The slight figure of Belphegor appeared in the haze. After his materialization, he remained standing there, and said nothing.
Pandak shuffled his feet uncomfortably. He could not see Belphegor's face too clearly, but he imagined himself to be the subject of a withering, accusatory glare. At last, Pandak broke the silence himself. "You don't have to say anything," he said. "I failed. I know. You can call me a fool if you wish."
"I am not interested in your petty coup," Belphegor replied. "It was a futile gesture, doomed to failure."
"Then why did you let me go through with it?" Pandak asked.
"I told you to wait," snapped Belphegor. "But you were so insistent, I could not be bothered to argue with you. I trust you will now listen to my advice."
Pandak bowed his head in contrition. "Command me, oh Belphegor."
"The Doctor is still alive," Belphegor stated. "Your agents have failed yet again."
"I do not understand," Pandak stammered. "I passed on the instructions you gave me. The Doctor was sealed in the Matrix."
"Your agent should have remained to ensure the task was completed. The Doctor was retrieved before he could die."
"But my man could not risk detection," protested Pandak. "He has his position on the High Council to think of."
Belphegor lifted a dismissive hand. "It no longer matters," he stated. "The Doctor knows too much, but it is too late for him to do anything. I am ready to proceed now. Tomorrow at midday is the appointed hour. So before then, you must make your move. Take the Council chamber, and procure the artifacts."
"But how?" asked Pandak. "Our attack today was a failure."
"Exactly," said Belphegor. "You insisted upon a conventional assault. You failed miserably. But because of that, the enemy will not be expecting another attack so soon."
"They will increase security in the Citadel," Pandak pointed out.
"Do you not think that I have a solution for that? Long before you planned your futile coup, I knew exactly what had to be done."
Pandak said, "Tell me, mighty one."
"There is a hidden room at the back of the Council chamber. It contains the controls for the Death Zone and the Time Scoop."
"I am aware of it," said Pandak. "It was sealed by order of Chancellor Flavia, during the Doctor's short lived Presidency."
"But it can be opened from within. I will give you the access codes. A service shaft leads up from one of the underground vaults, into the Games Control room. This will be your way in."
"Why did you not tell me of this before? My attack today might have succeeded."
"I do not choose to share all my secrets with you," snarled Belphegor. "My plans shall proceed according to my schedule."
Pandak felt a moment of panic. He knew that he could not question the whims of Belphegor. He was dependent on this mythical figure for so much, and it would not do to antagonize him.
"There is one more thing you have to do," said Belphegor. "If you are to succeed, you will need a diversion. Something to occupy the Chancellery Guard, and keep them away from your real objective."
"What do you suggest, great Belphegor?"
"A very large explosion should suffice. Fortunately, the means are
already in place."
The Doctor arched his fingers, leaning back in his chair. The voice of the transgram continued.
"Thus did Belphegor go unto his servant Rassilon. And he said, The power of the tortured stars is failing. That which has served me for thousands of years will soon be exhausted. The forces of Time shall no longer be ours to command.
"And Rassilon said, Fear not. There is a greater power than that of the stars. If it can be harnessed, it shall be an eternal source of energy. All worlds and all times shall be opened to us for ever.
"And Belphegor said, If you do this, my gift will I share with you. The secret of immortality shall be yours also.
"And Rassilon worked for many years. He did forge the Great Key, that would harness and bind the very forces of creation.
"During these years, the power that Omega had wrung from the stars waned and died. And Belphegor did despair, for without mastery over all Time he was nothing. He depended upon Rassilon to restore Gallifreyan supremacy.
"When he was prepared, Rassilon travelled into a black Void at the head of a great fleet. Inside the Void, all was darkness and chaos. No light would shine, and no matter could survive.
"And Belphegor did laugh. He believed that none could survive the forces of the Void. From the depths of his memory, he recalled Omega, who had brought him supremacy, but perished in the process. Belphegor believed that a similar fate awaited Rassilon, that he would die even whilst attaining his goal. Belphegor shed no tear for Rassilon, as he had shed no tear for Omega. All his servants were to him as mere playthings, from whom he would take what he desired without thought or concern.
"But Rassilon had crafted a golden Sash, which protected him from the violent energies of the Void. He took the energies and gathered them, sealing them with the Great Key. Thus was forged the Eye of Harmony, which balances all things.
"And Belphegor did curse Rassilon. The power of the Eye made Rassilon greater even than Belphegor. The tyrant began to fear for his position. Would his servant Rassilon now turn against him?
"Rassilon brought the Eye of Harmony to Gallifrey, and..."
The Doctor looked up at the sudden sound of footsteps approaching him. "Pause," he said, silencing the transgram.
Rhonwen and Commander Stalred walked into the illuminated central area. "Are you still here?" Rhonwen asked. "Whatever have you been doing all this time?"
"Historical research," said the Doctor. "History is my subject, after all."
"Listen," said Rhonwen, coming closer. "We think we've found where those energy spheres are coming from."
"Really?" The Doctor's face lit up with curiosity.
"It's only a tentative lead," said Stalred, "but it's possible that the spheres came from a sub basement beneath the Communications Tower. They appear to have travelled through one of the hot air vents."
"Yes, that's possible," nodded the Doctor. "It would require a rather large psionic energy generator to create the spheres. That would need to be hidden away somewhere."
"I intend to search for the generator," Stalred said.
"And I'm going too," added Rhonwen.
She caught a warning glare from Stalred, but otherwise the Commander made no complaint. He seemed to have accepted that it was no use arguing with her.
"All right," the Doctor replied. "It might be of help. I'm going to be too busy to look for the generator myself. But be careful."
"I shall protect Rhonwen Jones," said Stalred, with overblown gallantry.
"I'm sure you will, Commander," the Doctor replied. "But I'd still feel happier if..." He snapped his fingers. "I know," he exclaimed. "K9?"
"Master?" The little automaton whizzed over from the computer he had been monitoring.
"I want you to go with Rhonwen, and make sure she doesn't get into any trouble."
Rhonwen looked a little put out. "I don't need a guard dog," she said.
"K9's more than a dog," replied the Doctor. "He's a genius on wheels. Do you know how to dismantle a psionic generator safely?"
"Exactly. But K9 does."
"Affirmative, mistress," K9 added.
Rhonwen could not help smiling. The little robot seemed quite eager to please. "All right," she said. She was struck by a sudden memory. "There's something else. We know who did it. Cardinal Zelara."
"We don't know that for certain," Stalred remarked pointedly. "You cannot make accusations about a Cardinal."
Rhonwen ignored the protest. "But we saw him, near the air vent, somewhere he had no place to be. It seems pretty suspicious to me."
"Maybe," said the Doctor thoughtfully. "You concentrate on finding the generator. Leave Cardinal Zelara to me."
"We need to find an old map of the sub basements and vaults," said Stalred. "I have no desire to spend the rest of my life wandering lost beneath the Capitol."
"Quite right," said the Doctor. "K9 can find one for you."
"Affirmative," replied K9.
"But the three of you can go to an auxiliary terminal and do it," the Doctor added commandingly. "Leave me to get on with my history lesson in peace."
Rhonwen smiled. "See you later," she said.
K9 led the way, and the three of them disappeared into the gloom between the shelves.
The Doctor made himself comfortable in his chair once more. He was finding the transgram fascinating. Although it covered a period of history which was now familiar to most Gallifreyan scholars, there was a rather different emphasis on many of the facts.
"Resume," he said.
"...caused it to be placed beneath the Panopticon," the transgram went on. "And the power of the Eye was eternal.
"And Belphegor said, Will this power control the forces of Time, as did the violence of the stars?
"And Rassilon said, It will be many years before we can regain our mastery of Time. My work is only partly done. And so, Rassilon continued with his experiments, using the power of the Eye of Harmony to gain access to all ages of time.
"Yet Rassilon was a wily man. He knew of ancient history, and knew well how Belphegor had let Omega go to his death with scarcely a sad thought. Rassilon swore that such a fate would not befall him.
"And at last, the first of the new timeships was ready. And Rassilon sailed the ship, and rode the time winds. And he said to Belphegor, Behold the mastery of Time. Now give to me that which you promised.
"But Belphegor was afraid that Rassilon would come to rival him. He reneged on the promise, and withheld from Rassilon the gift of immortality. Only he, Belphegor, would live forever. Now he had once more power over Time, he killed his servant Rassilon, intent on keeping the Eye of Harmony for himself.
"Now did Rassilon's true achievement become clear. Even as he died, he clutched to him the Great Key and commanded the powers of the Eye. And his body began to glow with a terrible energy. His very form changed, and Rassilon lived again in a new body.
"Thus did the first Time Lord walk upon Gallifrey."
K9 disconnected himself from the computer interface. Above him, a diagram of the heating system was displayed on a monitor screen.
Stalred studied it carefully. "It would be impossible to follow every branch of the system," he said. "Besides, the air vents are too narrow for us to pass through."
"Affirmative," replied K9. "It will be necessary to conduct an extensive survey of the system."
"How will you do that?" asked Rhonwen.
"I shall prepare a maintenance drone robot," announced K9. "It can be programmed to search the heating system for any evidence of the psionic energy."
"Some of the metal conduits may have been melted," suggested Stalred.
"Affirmative," said K9.
"Will it take long?" asked Rhonwen, stifling a yawn.
"Estimate eight point seven three six two four nine hours, mistress," replied K9.
"Well," said Rhonwen, "that'll give me time to sleep. I feel exhausted."
"It is quite late," said Stalred.
"I suppose so," Rhonwen muttered. Time seemed to pass differently on Gallifrey. But now she thought about it, she realized she had been up all day. "That must be why I'm so hungry," she added. "I haven't had a thing to eat since breakfast."
"There you are, then," replied Stalred. "I suggest you eat and retire.
By morning, we will know where to begin our search."
Belphegor was calling the shots now. Things became clearer in the Doctor's mind. He suddenly knew that had to deal with the Validium. A mass of the living metal that Omega had created as the ultimate weapon. The Doctor recalled now that he had launched it from Gallifrey centuries ago, using it to carry out various tasks.
He? These were not the Doctor's memories. They were Belphegor's. He and Belphegor were one. There was much to do. He had lost the Hand of Omega. He could not afford to lose the Validium as well. He sent the TARDIS hurtling towards England in 1638.
The Validium had come to rest in Windsor, on the estate of Lady Peinforte. She had fashioned the living metal into a statue, a likeness of herself, with a longbow and arrow. She called the statue Nemesis.
She kept the bow and arrow separate from the rest of the statue. She knew that the Validium would not become active until it reached its critical mass. She seemed remarkably well informed.
She was the disciple of Fenric. In her study, the Doctor found a chess set. Lady Peinforte had been attempting to solve the problem that held her master bound. She had not succeeded. The Doctor moved a few of the pieces, just to be on the safe side.
From his prison, Fenric had looked through time and space, and chosen Lady Peinforte as the ideal tool to seize the Validium. He had taught her well, giving her the power to create time storms. Her superstitious mind equated it with the black magic rituals she had tried to master. It made no difference to Fenric, as long as she served his purpose.
The living statue of Nemesis spoke to Lady Peinforte. It told her of its master, Belphegor. It revealed to her the long guarded secret - that Belphegor was still alive, and that the one called the Doctor was really he.
Lady Peinforte's possession of the Validium was to be short lived. The living statue sent out waves of evil, attracting the greed and aggression of others. On November 23rd, an army of Roundheads advanced upon the estate, intent upon stealing it, and using its power to overthrow King Charles. They fought Royalist troops, similarly summoned, who sought to guard the treasure for the Crown.
In the midst of the battle, the Doctor replaced the statue in its rocket sled, and launched it back into space. The longbow and the arrow remained behind. The Royalists seized the bow and took it back to the King. The arrow remained in the possession of Lady Peinforte.
The danger was not over however. The Nemesis entered a wide orbit, circling the sun every 25 years. It was mistaken for a comet. Each time it passed close to the Earth, it caused death and destruction, and prompted events that would shatter peace and alter the course of history.
The orbit was decaying. Eventually the Nemesis would return to Earth. The Doctor did some calculations. It would land in Windsor once more, on November 23rd 1988.
Lady Peinforte had employed an astrologer and mathematician, to work out the comet's trajectory. She intended to travel forward in time, and seize the statue when it landed. The Doctor gave the scholar a few clues to help him get started. He had decided that he would rather face Lady Peinforte than some other agent Fenric might produce.
Besides, she knew the secret of his dual identity, and he couldn't have her spreading that around. As long as the Time Lords remained unaware that Belphegor still existed, they would not be prepared for the absolute vengeance he intended ultimately to wreak upon them.
The Doctor waited for events to take their course. One night, he was wandering a dim freezing corridor in the depths of the ship. He stopped and fell to his knees. He had had enough. He would not be a puppet dancing on Belphegor's string.
His mind exploded with pain. Twisting on the floor, the Doctor reached into the recesses of his mind. He encountered Belphegor, and forced the intruder back. Their minds wrestled. The Doctor discovered that Belphegor was the weaker. For all his immense powers, Belphegor could not maintain the mind control. He was incomplete, and his powers suffered as a result.
The Doctor lay on his back, gasping for breath. He had survived. He was himself once more. But still, Belphegor was there. The voice continued to whisper in his head, trying to influence his actions. The Doctor fought against it. He had freed himself from direct control, but the sound of Belphegor's voice was firmer now, and harder to resist.
The Doctor discovered that the Nemesis had drawn worse foes than just Lady Peinforte. The promise of great power to be gained on Earth in 1988 had also attracted the Cybermen.
The second wave of invasion vessels had been waiting since 1974 for a signal from the spearhead force. It was never going to arrive. They had seen the return of Mondas, but any plans they might have based on that event had been shattered by the planet's destruction.
Now however, the Nemesis became their target. They had been given information by Fenric, and gathered together all their resources. The Cyber Empire had been crushed totally on Planet 14. Some of the remnants had colonized Telos. The others joined the invasion fleet that waited in the asteroid belt. As soon as their advance party secured the Nemesis, they would move in and take the Earth.
The Doctor began to devise a plan. He could hear the voice of Belphegor, screaming at him. Belphegor could not bear to lose the Validium as well as the Hand of Omega. But the Cybermen had to be stopped, and their fleet proved too tempting a target.
The Doctor continued with his travels. He tried to forget about the Nemesis and the Cybermen and Fenric. If he kept his mind off such subjects, he could keep Belphegor suppressed for longer.
But when the Doctor's watch alarm went off in the middle of a jazz concert, he knew that events were catching him up. It was November 23rd 1988, and the Nemesis was on its way back to Windsor. The Doctor went to Windsor Castle, to borrow the Validium longbow from its case in the vault. He discovered that it had been stolen in 1788. Megalomania and the machinations of Fenric were difficult to combat.
The bow had eventually found its way to Germany, one of the rare treasures that Hitler collected to satisfy his love of the occult. After the war, it had passed to an escaped SS officer, De Flores, who took it into exile in South America. He used computers to calculate the trajectory of the Nemesis. He intended to seize its power to form a neo-Nazi Fourth Reich.
The stage was set. The three parties advanced on Windsor to seize the statue of Nemesis. Lady Peinforte with the arrow, De Flores with the longbow, and the Cybermen's advance party. The Doctor let them wipe each other out, and chose the right moment to activate the Nemesis. He packed it back into its rocket sled, and programmed it to destroy the Cyber Fleet.
Lady Peinforte made one final effort to secure the Nemesis. She tried to blackmail him with the secret of his identity, threatening to expose him unless he gave her the statue. But the Doctor defied her. At that moment, the only people she could divulge the secret to were the Cybermen. The Doctor gambled that they would have no interest in such information, and he was right. The Cyberleader dismissed it as an irrelevance, a trivial fact about the history of the Time Lords. It was not going to stop his attempt to seize the statue. Lady Peinforte's bluff had been called, and easily defeated. Dismissing her, the Doctor surrendered the Nemesis to the Cyberleader, who ordered it to rendezvous with the fleet.
But the Doctor had deceived him. The Nemesis was still under his command, and it destroyed the waiting warships. The Cybermen had been wiped out as effectively as had the Daleks. The Nemesis returned to Gallifrey, where it could do no more harm.
The Doctor felt that he could rest at last. How wrong he was. He felt Belphegor stirring in his mind, attacking him more aggressively than before.
Belphegor's anger overwhelmed him. How could he have thrown away the two
ultimate weapons on such petty adversaries as Daleks and Cybermen? And yet,
to some extent, it was Belphegor's fault. He had introduced aggression and
scheming intent into the Doctor's mind. It changed the Doctor. Caused him
to make sweeping plans. To set traps.
The Doctor felt himself being shaken awake. He opened his eyes, and found himself looking at Castellan Rodan.
"Did I request an early alarm call?" he asked.
"It's not early," said Rodan. "It's late at night. You have been here for several hours."
"I must have nodded off," the Doctor said. Another dream had forced itself upon him. He was starting to become frightened by the memories of his previous self. It was even more terrible to realize that it only got worse.
"I was looking for Commander Stalred," said Rodan. "I understood he might be here."
"He was earlier," replied the Doctor. He took out his watch. "That must have been a few hours ago."
He turned his attention back to the records computer. "If you'll excuse me, Castellan, I've got to hear the end of this transgram.
"Replay from reference 465/487," he commanded, settling down in the chair once more.
"...did Rassilon gain control of Gallifrey," came the voice from the speaker. "But Belphegor was not destroyed. His immortal consciousness survived. He projected his will into Rassilon's mind.
"And then did Belphegor attempt to control Gallifrey once more. He caused Rassilon's soul to change, and turned the saviour to the ways of evil. And the people of Gallifrey cried out in misery. The wise and kind ruler who had saved them from the tyrant had become just as wicked as his predecessor.
"And Belphegor strove to make Rassilon's body his own. He bestowed the gift of immortality, that Rassilon would never die, so that Belphegor could dwell in him forever.
"But Rassilon was too strong for Belphegor. He fought for control of his mind. With his Coronet, Rassilon was able to exercise his own will freely. He sought to trap Belphegor, and ejected the evil consciousness into the well of thoughts.
"And there was Belphegor sealed eternally. Rassilon used his Coronet to remove all mention of Belphegor from the minds of the Time Lords. The grip of the tyrant was ended forever."
The transgram came to an end, and the Doctor sat still and silent, absorbing the facts. Finally he looked up at Rodan, and spoke. "You realize what this means?"
"Not really," said Rodan.
"It's no wonder this book was suppressed. It completely rewrites accepted history. I've got to talk to Cabulas about this."
"You'll have to wait until morning," replied Rodan. "The Chancellor has retired."
"I suppose you're right," said the Doctor. He got to his feet. "What did you want to see Stalred about?" he asked.
"What?" murmured Rodan. "Oh, I have received a complaint from Cardinal Zelara. He claimed that the Commander had been harassing him today."
"Stalred did have some suspicions about the Cardinal," admitted the Doctor. "He suggested that Zelara might be responsible for the energy spheres that have been attacking me."
"That scarcely seems credible," remarked Rodan.
"Oh, I don't know," the Doctor said. He suddenly sprang up from his chair. "There's one way to find out of course."
He went to one of the computers on the far side of the archive control area. "Now, let's see," he muttered. He appeared to be straining to remember something.
Finally, he pressed a few controls, and turned his attention to a large console. Into the top of this were set innumerable coloured discs, some orange, some green and some purple. One of the orange discs rose up, to reveal a silver cylinder attached to it. The Doctor snatched this up, and examined it.
"There you are," he exclaimed.
"There what is?" asked Rodan.
"My data extract, and it's been recently scanned."
"How can you tell?"
"There's no mica dust on the tube," explained the Doctor. "The psionic energy sphere that attacked me was able to enter my TARDIS, bypassing all the defences. It could only do that if it convinced the TARDIS it was me - it must have been patterned using my bio data."
"That is logical," replied Rodan. "But security has been tightened up on these records in recent centuries. Unless you're an authorized person, you can't access them."
"And who has the necessary authority?" demanded the Doctor.
"Only the Archive Co-ordinator, and the members of the High Council." Rodan's voice tailed off. "I see what you mean," she muttered. "But how did you gain access?"
"I used the presidential override code," said the Doctor. "I have been President, remember. You don't hold down a job like that without picking up a few useful tips."
"Even so," said Rodan, "you can't seriously be suggesting that a member of the High Council is responsible."
The Doctor shrugged. "I think Gallifreyan history has proved again and again that the best corruption is always in the highest places."
Rodan crossed to the console. "If I use a security code, I should be able to find out who the culprit was. As I said, the security arrangements are more elaborate these days. All unauthorized tampering with the records would be recorded."
Rodan busied herself with the controls. After a few moments, she gasped.
"Was it Zelara?" the Doctor asked.
"No," replied Rodan solemnly. "It was Chancellor Cabulas."