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Orpheus and the Dark Aether – Chapter 4

Orpheus continued on his walk when he ran into Wes Franklin, a Time Lord of the equine variety. Wes had not been around, so Orpheus filled him in on the events of that weekend. He also told him about the cracks in time forming around the city.

“I don’t believe it,” said the Horse. “Something has to be done about this!”

Orpheus explained that he had gone to Zenobia Station, far in the future, and had found nothing about the destruction of New Babbage in the archives. Clearly, events were occurring to rewrite history; two possible timelines waiting to branch off from current events.

“It gets worse. The Council, in its infinite wisdom, has placed a temporal quarantine on the city, or so it would seem.”

“Yeah, wait, the High Council put a temporal quarantine on the city? I’ve never heard of any such thing!”

“I guess they recognize the precarious nature that exists with the situation. There was almost an incident with someone from the city crossing his own timeline, so they have intervened. Tardis travel is impossible right now, I thought you should be aware.”

The two men took their leave of each other and Orpheus continued on his walk. Suddenly, his Sonic began to alert him to potential danger. He followed it through the streets to Loner Lane. The closer he got to the disturbance, the louder his Sonic hummed. Finally, it directed him down into the sewers. Unsure of what he would find, he climbed down.

Fortunately, this section of sewer led to an underground pool, instead of the tunnels of filth he was expecting. It still smelt quite foul however. As Orpheus turned the corner, he came face to face with a creature he had never seen before. It had one large eye and a mouth full of

sharp teeth. It looked as if it had tried burrowing and become trapped in a shimmering forcefield. The field prevented Orpheus from being able to take any readings on what it was or where it came from. Unable to do anything else, Orpheus climbed out of the sewer and went back to his Tardis to change out of his smelly clothes.


After he went to change, he headed back to City Hall to see if the device from the future had written any more. While there, he ran into Doctor Sonnerstein once again.

“Good evening Doc. Good to see you again.”

“Good evening. You’re sure dressed a little unusual this evening.”

“I wear Stetsons now. Stetsons are cool. Still only 3 entries I see. That is good, I suppose.”

Dr. Sonnerstein seems distracted, paying more attention to the device in Mr. Angkarn’s hand than the book in front of him.

“That is an unusual device,” he said, his ears flickering.

“Oh this little thing?” said Orpheus, holding up the device. “It’s only a screwdriver.”

“Strange screwdriver…” mumbled the doctor.

Orpheus interrupted him. “There is something under Loner Lane.”

Kristos perked up. “What? What’s under Loner Lane?”

“Some kind of creature down by the underground lake. It has a forcefield around it and I couldn’t get a clear reading.”

“Can you show me?”

“Of course.”

 The two men departed City Hall, and after a few minutes, Orpheus was able to lead the way back to the manhole. “It’s down there.” He slid the cover away, and the men descended.

“How did you come across it?” asked Sonnerstein.

“My Sonic detected a disturbance and I followed it here. It’s just around the corner right….”

As the men turned the corner, no sign of any creatures, living or dead, could be seen. Where the creature had been was now occupied by a cylindrical machine.


“You said it was a creature,” noted Dr. Sonnerstein.

“It was! Had a big scary eye and sharp teeth and everything!” commented the puzzled Timelord.

Suddenly, the device began to emit the most horrible sounds. Sonnerstein leaned in close, then winced as the screaming sound started again.

“What on Earth is that?!”

Orpheus pulled out his Sonic and began to scan the device. “I…. I don’t know. But whatever it is, it can’t be good.”

“I don’t think I can say I’ve ever heard anything like it…” commented the doctor, his brow furrowed. “Whatever it is, it sounds like it’s in a lot of pain.

Without much warning, the two men began to yawn and rub their eyes, a feeling of drowsiness settling down on them. It was decided that they should leave the device. They climbed out of the sewer again. The further they got from the device, the better they felt. At least, the less exhausted they felt. Doctor Sonnerstein commented that it was the most haunting sound he

had ever heard; his ears still rang with the screams. Orpheus agreed that he wouldn’t forget the sound for quite some time.

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