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21 December 2005 @ 06:11 pm
Short Doctor Who story  
I promised myself, I'd post this little spy mystery sometime before Christmas, and so I'll do. Fifth Doctor Era. Two members of the Trion secret service pay a visit to Vislor Turlough... Lots of thanks to my betas Sam and Whochick!

( selenak, just in case you are reading this: Turlough's the guy I told you about when we were discussing unsusual character preferences... )


by Bimo

Officially, the Trion Directorate of Planetary Security never held much information on Vislor Turlough. Yes, of course there existed a couple of files documenting the long and complicated history of his parents' fall from grace, the assassination of Turlough's mother and young Turlough's own exile on some remote, utterly useless planet. But apart from that? Very little.

Remember, this was still the immediate aftermath of the Glorious New Beginning, a time in which the Party was virtually obsessed with demonstrating their trustworthiness and a clear ideological break with the old ways. Had not Citizen Gelarre himself shouted the message all over the demonstrators' heads from the Party Headquarters' balcony? The fateful promise that from now on the private life of any Trionian was indeed private and no longer of any interest to the Directorate?

So goes the story.

Behind this, however, were workings of a much more prosaic nature. While the official doctrines had changed to meet the demands of the people, the actual structures had not. By the time of Turlough's return, most of the old string-pullers, at least the ideologically flexible ones, were still in their place. And now, in the new era of transparency and official accountability, they were more desperate than ever to hide how much they had actually screwed up. In their minds, the obvious problem with Turlough's case rang clear and sharp as a crystalline ice bell. Young Turlough had been exiled to Earth, but instead of getting old and tired there, his life perfectly wasted, he had resurfaced on Sarn. Just like that. Perhaps a bit paranoid and estranged from the ways of his people, but otherwise in remarkable shape.

There was this obscure, small yet huge, blue little ship which had disappeared right before the Trionian Captain's eyes… Oh, these Custodians, these careless henchmen… Their mission report seemed about as professional as an imbecile's joke; especially if matched against Directorate standards.

"So, did Turlough ever have to explain how he escaped from Earth and found the old prisoner colony that held his brother?" an annoyed Meladka Gerl asked when she and her Superior stepped out of the transport cabin.

"Officially? No. The Directorate was too afraid people might get the wrong impression if word about the interrogation of a former political refugee ever permeated into the wrong circles. As strange as this may sound, rumour has it that they did not even care to ask him. Too afraid the incident might cause waves."

Meladka just nodded. After a small pause she asked "Any idea why the Directorate wants to speak with him now, after almost twenty-nine cycles?"

"Patience, Operative Gerl. You'll be informed of the reasons at the right time."

The Superior's tone left little doubt that even she was utterly clueless. Together, the two women left the platform and walked down the stairs that led from the transport station to the habitat. Nuslow settlements lay in a remote but well-to-do suburb. Large rectangular houses resting on solid stone pillars. The bridges connecting the individual buildings were painted in bright turquoise and clear of snow.

"Over there, the third on the left."

Meladka raised her arm and pointed towards a stern, but otherwise inconspicuous looking bungalow. "That's the address under which he is registered."

"Good. Let's hope he acts like a responsible citizen," the Superior muttered and hastened her steps as if trying to make up for the time they had lost during the cabin ride. Air streamed from her thin, hard lips in white, puffy clouds.

Meladka would have liked to reply "It's not like we still have the authority to force him," but found it wiser to remain silent.

They reached Turlough's doorstep. Superior Kalewnyn pushed down the buttons of a neatly polished, but rather old-fashioned looking announcing device. After a while Turlough's face appeared on the screen.

"What is it you want from me?"

"To deliver you an invitation," Kalewnyn said calmly.

"From whom?"

"Cleven Venar."

Venar was the Directorate's First Chairman and his name practically synonymous with the organization he worked for. In some remote corner of her mind, Meladka wondered whether Kalewnyn's laconic, not-by-the-book approach was the right way to solve the problem. After all, they had come to convince Turlough, not to deter him.

"Please, may I ask you to confirm your identity before we engage in any further discussion?"

For someone who, as a child, had experienced more than just a light brush with the Directorate's executive branch, Turlough remained remarkably polite, Meladka thought. They pulled their identity chips out of their jackets and inserted them into the announcing device's slots. Then they waited. A blinking signal on the screen informed them that the door locks had been released. Turlough came out, greeted them, led them in.

"Is there anything I can offer you? A hot drink perhaps, or something to eat? After all, we live in civilized times, don't we?"

"Thank you, but our stay will be rather short."

This time, it was Meladka, who spoke. Without further ado, she handed him the data crystal she had been asked to deliver. Turlough reached for it with his long, skinny fingers, pursed his lips, smiled.

"I had already wondered when this would happen. Methinks, you are quite late," he said, more to himself than to Meladka and Superior Kalewnyn.

After that remark, Meladka knew that telling him the crystal only played once was probably unecessary. Turlough seemed perfectly aware of how these things worked.

"Am I supposed to play the message in your presence or just when I'm all on my own?"

"It's a private one," Kalewnyn answered with that dangerously sweet voice Meladka was all too familiar with. How mad Kalewnyn must be not to learn what the Directorate wants from him, she thought. To be left out of the loop, as a Superior Operative…

"Just take care to play it soon. We wouldn't have come here if the issue wasn't important," were the last words Superior Kalewnyn said to Vislor Turlough that day.

Half a cycle later, crammed into some makeshift war room, the Dalek fleet just hours away from the Trion home world, she took great care to display much more respect and politeness towards him. After all, the man had proved to become one of their prime negotiators, hadn't he? The only one who had warned the Directorate not to put too much trust into the Time Lords' offer to help them.

"Very nice people," that's what Turlough would always say in interviews when Trion news channel reporters touched upon the issue. "You know, I used to travel with one of them for a while when I was younger. Called himself 'The Doctor'. Fine person. Well-meaning and quite resourceful, but tended to make things worse than they already were. I've no reason to suspect his entire species is any different."

Current Mood: accomplishedaccomplished, rushed
Hmpf: alienhmpf on January 15th, 2006 09:39 pm (UTC)
I'd read it, only I don't know that era of Who yet...
Maybe I will anyway...

BTW - speaking of fic. Don't you have some old German fic? I think attibr would be thrilled to have that for http://www.fanfic-paradies.de to archive. It's a nice little archive, and since yours isn't being updated anymore I'd say it's probably one of the prime places on the net for German fanfic.

Have to ask selenak about this, too... I dunno, I'm in a weird kind of 'grow German fanfic fandom!' mood today... *g* More specifically, in a 'get the good writers you know to post their stuff to your favourite newer friendly neigbourhoood German archive' kind of mood. ;-)
Bimo: DRD_bewarebimo on January 16th, 2006 03:14 pm (UTC)
Re: I'd read it, only I don't know that era of Who yet...
I'd read it, only I don't know that era of Who yet...
Maybe I will anyway...

Not wanting to influence your reading decisions in any way, but being the story's author, I'd say: Please feel invited to give it a try! While the text is about a specific character and the society that he came from, it really doesn't require too much previous knowledge. As long as you are familiar with the basic concepts of Doctor Who, everything should work perfectly fine ;-)

BTW - speaking of fic. Don't you have some old German fic? I think attibr would be thrilled to have that for http://www.fanfic-paradies.de to archive. It's a nice little archive, and since yours isn't being updated anymore I'd say it's probably one of the prime places on the net for German fanfic.

As much as I'd love publishing something in German again, I'm afraid that right at the moment I don't have any stories that would actually be worth the trouble of archiving.

But you are totally right about Atti's website. Fanfiction Paradies is about the only place I still recommend whenever somebody is asking me about a good, enjoyable multi-fandom archive in German.