Celestial Intervention - A Gallifreyan Noir (short story)

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Celestial Intervention - A Gallifreyan Noir was the fourth short story published in Twelve Angels Weeping.

Summary[[edit]]

Retired Celestial Intervention Agency agent Maris is hired to find the Doctor, a Time Lord who has recently left Gallifrey in a stolen Type 40 TARDIS.

Plot[[edit]]

The story opens in the office of Maris, who is a retired Celestial Intervention Agency operative. A  young male client enters her office, expresses disdain for the colour blue and tells Maris that he has been robbed and would like to hire her to find his stolen property and determine why it was stolen from him. Maris responds that she no longer works for the Celestial Intervention Agency, and the client responds that she used to be, and once again, Maris responds that she isn’t anymore. The client responds that he had already attempted to contact the Celestial Intervention Agency and that they laughed at him, saying it was a ‘small-fry’ case due to the stolen object being an old Type-40 TARDIS. Maris responds that she may not take his case but will hear him out. The client explains that the stolen TARDIS was taken by ‘an old guy and his grandaughter’ from a repair shop. Maris inquires what the names of said people are, and the client responds that the older man calls himself the Doctor. Maris then inquires whether the tardis belongs to the client, who does not respond. Maris theorises that the client does not care about the stolen TARDIS and is pursuing the girl instead. The client denies this and asks if Maris can find the Doctor. Maris responds that she hasn’t agreed to take the case, and the client states that he knows she’ll take it, as she’s ‘small-fry’ too. Maris turns around to grab a drink, and the client has left. Maris has a few drinks and retrieves her potential engine, a device that summarises all possible paths someone’s timeline could take. She leaves the device running through the timelines of the Doctor and leaves.

Maris leaves her office and heads down to the decaying Lower Len, where the repair shop the Doctor stole the TARDIS from is. She finds the repairman, Clastivas, working on a Type-58 TARDIS console. Clastivas states that he hasn’t seen her in a while, ever since Maris caught him working on TARDISes without a license. He says he has his papers, but Maris says she’s more interested in the stolen Type-40 TARDIS. Clastivas responds that he’s already spoken to two Celestial Intervention Agency operatives. Maris internally ponders if the client had lied about going to the C.I.A. or if the C.I.A. is covering itself by taking a cursory look. Maris then cites a Gallifreyan law stating that all TARDISes undergoing repair must be time-clamped to prevent them from being stolen. Clastivas responds that the stolen TARDIS was time-clamped and that the time clamp was supposedly unhackable. Maris sarcastically states that the TARDIS didn’t do it itself. Clastivas explains that the C.I.A. operatives didn’t seem like typical C.I.A. operatives since they only wanted the Doctor and were unusually determined. Then, Clastivas states that that’s not all and that the Doctor already had a [presumably, this statement was meant to end with the word TARDIS]. But this statement is interrupted by an unseen assailant hitting Maris on the head, knocking her out.

Maris awakes in a pile of trash in an alley and then gets rustled out by the owner of said trash. Maris deduces that since she’s still alive, she is not the target of the assailants. She enters the tardis repair facility to find Clastivas dead and not regenerating. Maris calls a contact from her former work as an employee of the Celestial Intervention Agency, reports the murder of Clastivas, and states that it may be related to the theft of the Type-40 TARDIS. Maris’s contact says that they do not know anything about the theft of a Type-40 TARDIS, and Maris responds that it’s alright; she knows they can’t talk about active cases to civilians, then hangs up.

Maris then begins to go to her office to retrieve her weapon, internally lamenting the failings of time lord society. When she enters her office, she discovers her potential engine has covered her floor in over one-hundred sheets of paper and has run out of paper. Maris then reflects that this is unusual, as most timelines only require one piece of paper to be summarised. She picks up one piece of paper, which states that the Doctor was Loomed into the house of Lungbarrow. She picks up another document proclaiming that the Doctor was born to a human mother and time lord father on the holiday of otherstide, under the sign of crossed computers, the symbol of the maternity service. Maris finds three more birth notices, none of which agree with each other about the circumstances of the Doctor’s birth. She finds more papers, all stating conflicting things about the Doctor. Maris proceeds to place more paper in her potential engine and reads the various pages until sundown, judging that while none of the documents are lies, none can be real, except that they are. She then feels the timeline changing, then takes her gun and leaves.

Maris first goes to the Time Lord academy. She finds yet more conflicting information regarding the Doctor, including everything from his academic area and performance to his family’s identity and existence. Maris then internally reflects that this is what having your timeline manipulated must feel like and concludes that the Celestial Intervention Agency must be behind the shifting of the Doctor’s timeline. She then gets a phone call from her client, who inquires if she has found the Doctor yet, to which she responds by asking who exactly the Doctor is and that the theft of the Type-40 TARDIS isn’t on any newscasts. The client ignores this question and asks again where the Doctor is and how to track them down.

Maris then returns to her office, where the door is ajar. She opens the door with her gun and finds that her potential engine is still printing and has covered the floor ankle-deep in pages. All of the said pages bear the faces of various incarnations of the Doctor. Some are printed in colour, despite her potential engine only printing in black and white. Maris then questions why the Celestial Intervention Agency is altering the Doctor’s timeline so much. A chronal mine then proceeds to detonate, causing the words and images on the various pages to change and shift and also knocking out Maris.

Maris awakes tied to a chair in an ornate room with two male and female ‘highborn brats’ interrogating her, the male one holding her gun. The male one moves to kill Maris, but the female one tells him not to. Maris asks if the two are trying to find information on the Doctor. Both react, and Maris asks why they’re looking for the Doctor, asking if the Type-40 TARDIS is theirs. The two scoff at this. Maris then asks why they’re looking for the Doctor, remarking that they’re not C.I.A. agents. The female one asks how she knows they’re not C.I.A., and Maris responds that they’re asking her instead of using agency resources, then remarks that they’re not catching the Doctor, to which the male one shoots the top half of her ear off in response. Maris responds that she cannot help them and that the two should be on their way as the C.I.A. could be rewriting the current moment as they speak. The two respond that the C.I.A. doesn’t know who the Doctor is, nor that he stole a TARDIS, and that they interrogated but did not kill Clastivas, the repairman. Maris then asks who rewrote the Doctor’s timeline. They do not respond, and the female one gestures for the male one to shoot Maris in the head. Maris is, however, saved as the shots from her gun fizzle away against a newly materialising TARDIS.

Inside the TARDIS, the pieces click together in Maris’s mind, and she then states, ‘You can come out now’ as the client reveals himself. He asks why she can’t find the Doctor. Maris responds that the client never went to the Celestial intervention agency and hired her instead because he was, in fact, the Doctor’s original TARDIS. The client stated that he wanted to know why the Doctor stole a broken Type-40 TARDIS instead of him. The client explains that as an unassigned TARDIS, he would be time-clamped and have his ability to look and travel through time removed. He compares it to being able to see and go anywhere, then being blind, deaf, and immobile, and then declares he will find the Doctor and get that ability back. Maris denies this, to which the Doctor’s original TARDIS screams the question of why not. Maris responds that it isn’t the C.I.A. rewriting the Doctor’s timeline but the Doctor himself. She then says that the Doctor is going to keep travelling. But before Maris can finish explaining, the TARDIS dematerialises around her, leaving her in her office. The story closes with Maris stating that to the Celestial intervention agency, you’re either a fixer, or a problem, that she quit being one, and that she was glad someone was out there being the other.

Characters[[edit]]

Worldbuilding[[edit]]

Notes[[edit]]

  • As The Dark Path describes the Master's first TARDIS as a Type 45, the rumours mentioned in this story about Type 45 TARDISes having the ability take human forms exist to allude to the long-standing implication of that TARDIS being the same timeship who later became Lolita.

Continuity[[edit]]