The last few days had been particularly difficult for the
Maestro. First he had woken to find that much of what he had thought was real
was just a dream, and that perhaps he was starting to go mad. Then he got
attacked by those street kids. And he still hadn’t figured out how to get the
rift opened again without the devices he didn’t actually construct. Then it hit
him. In one of the crates salvaged from Warehouse VI was a portal generator,
not very much unlike the one in the Power Station, although probably a little
less complex. He ran as fast as he could to find the generator. Fortunately,
the crates had been hidden nearby.
A few hours later, the Maestro had dragged the crate
containing the generator to the Power Station. He needed somewhere with a wide
open space, and just in case this didn’t work, he could resort to using the
Aetheric Portals if necessary. The Power Station guards were a little hesitant
to let the timelord set up a “scientific experiment” so close to the generator,
but they were easily convinced (with a little help from his screwdriver). He
opened the crate and removed the device. After stacking the device on top of
the crates to ensure a steady beam with nothing in its way, the Maestro fiddled
with it, making a few last minute adjustments. Once he was sure that all the
mathematical formulas were correct and the device was targeting the correct
coordinates, he pulled the switch.
A bright beam emanated from the device and stood in stark
contrast to the smog that hung in the air. A few meters out, the beam seemed to
stop. As the Maestro watched with glee, a small fissure began to form. Radiant
beams of energy swirled around the edge of a blindingly white hole in the
aether. Even without checking the readings, he knew that he had penetrated into
the void space. “I did it!,” he shouted, “I did it!”
As he celebrated, he heard his friend call up to him. He
came up and stood next to the Maestro.
“Isn’t it beautiful?” asked the Maestro.
“Well, it is quite shiny, but what are you doing?” his
“I reopened the Aether… I’m retrieving my TARDIS from the
Void,” said the Maestro.
The newcomer looked at the Maestro’s bowler. “I guess… hmmm…
that is a nice hat I suppose,” he said.
The Maestro continued, as if he hadn’t realized he was being
spoken to, “Just gotta send out the… what about my hat?”
The man asked if he had had a run in with a group of
urchins. The Maestro responded that he had as he activated the signal for the
TARDIS to lock on to. As he fumbled in his pocket for the key, he began to grow
worried. As the other man informed him of where the plan began to fall apart,
sparks began to fly from the device. Suddenly, there was a flash and the
Maestro observed that the afternoon that had once been a typical smoggy gray
was now bright red, as if the sky was burning.
“Come… on… come… on… shut… off,” he shouted as he pulled at
the device’s protective plating. To him, it sounded as if he were speaking in
slow motion. As he pulled the machine apart and tossed the cover aside (also in
slow motion), the two men shouted in unison, “Reverse… the… polarity… Neutron…
Flow…” The Maestro reversed a couple wires, and the beam ceased. As suddenly as
the sky had begun burning, everything returned to normal. There was a quick
rush of air as the rift began to close, sucking the device into the hole. The
Maestro dove for cover just in time, or he would have been pulled back in as
well. As the two men sat there, gathering their strength again, they spoke
about what went wrong. When the Maestro had been robbed, the urchins who stole
from him ended up with the TARDIS key, a key which now was in the hands of the
younger version of the Maestro, who thought it was some form of treasure. As
the Maestro worried about what would happen, he did a quick scan to see if the
TARDIS had in fact come through the rift. To his surprise, he detected a faint
trace of his TARDIS coming from somewhere in the Old Quarter, even though the
key had been in the Port District. The Maestro excused himself so that he could
make preparations to get into the Old Quarter. He would worry about getting
past the quarantine to leave later, he had to find his TARDIS soon, before the
council realized the paradox he may have created.
Elsewhere in the city:
As Orpheus ran down the street, trying not to drop the bars
that Miss Yardley had given him, he heard a strange sound. It sounded like one
of the trolleys trying to run with its brakes still on. Suddenly, he was
surrounded by something strange. At first he thought it might be one of those
blue boxes he heard stories of. Part of him thought it looked kind of box
shaped. But there were no walls. Instead he was looking into the vastness of
space, and yet down the street at the same time. Then, things began to fade. As
the buildings outside grew fainter, the space walls began to solidify. He found
himself in a strange room, and the room thumped hard against something. He
threw the door open and ran out. It was New Babbage, but it was different. He
hid inside the box again, hoping that things would start to make sense.