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Last Orders, Part 18

Deviation Actions

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By mappalazarou
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Cow was leading Dray away from the Cantina’s infirmary with the dead Laski in hand. Mapp was all set to follow, but P90 kept him in place with a concrete grip.
“We need to talk.”
Do we?” asked Mapp.
“You slept with Susie.”
Mapp rolled his eyes.
“And you turned me human, wiped my memory, wasted two of my regenerations, and made me miss the wedding of one of my besties,” he said, and then stopped himself. “It’s Susie, by the way. Not you. Just in case you were wondering.”
“Mapp,” P90 called after him. “You need to make this right.”
“I was only human,” Mapp shrugged as he reached halfway down the next hallway, “and she’s pretty.”
“Mapp. That’s my wife!” P90 hissed and chased after him, but Mapp raised his crossbow.
“Easy, big fella.”
P90 skidded to a stop. Mapp gave him a look he recognised from their final battle with a certain pirate queen. It was enough to stop anyone dead in their tracks.
“I wonder,” P90 started. “Had you always planned to ruin our marriage? Maybe it’s a Mappalazarou thing. You see someone happy and have to barge in and ruin it.”
Mapp gave a sarcastic curtsy, but kept his aim fixed on the Cantina’s only other fulltime Time Lord.
“Can’t help but think this trails back to Renette,” continued P90, bitterly. “So tell me. What exactly did you do to her to make her so psychotic?”
Mapp didn’t answer.
“Come on, Mapp.” P90 goaded him. “We followed you into battle with her how many times? And at the time none of us questioned it. But just between us, what did you do to her? You can tell me.”
Mapp sighed.
“Stop blaming me for your mistakes,” he warned P90. “And by the way, if you hadn’t had turned me human that day and lied to your dearly beloved about it, maybe she wouldn’t have been so eager to get even.”
P90 remained still.
It was obvious that he was trying to maintain his anger through slow, controlled breathing.
“We all have our inner demons, P90. You should know that more than most,” Mapp said, and then lowered his crossbow. “So yeah, a human version of me, that you made, ended up sleeping with your wife. That’s your fault. And Susie’s. My hands are clean of this. I’m actually the victim here. Now if you don’t mind, I’m going to follow Cow and make sure he doesn’t try to commandeer my ship. Apparently we killed each other the last time he tried, and crashed the Cantina in the process.”
He stepped back towards the direction of Cow and Dray.
“You, on the other hand, should probably stop letting Susie torture herself about that day, and maybe you should make things right. Because, to be quite honest, I don’t know how long any of us really have left. I mean you could be using your TARDIS right now to help narrow down the location of the Ark if you weren’t so focused on me poking Susie’s happy spot with my briefly-human love rod.”
And with that, Mapp whipped around and disappeared up onto the main deck.
“The Great End,” P90 said under his breath. “I bet it wasn’t that great.”

**

CJ kept Kazumi pointed at Koch’s back as the old, and now evidently mad, professor led them away from the electrified corpse of the Valculga mutant. That was when, for the first time, CJ acknowledged what the old man was actually wearing. The frock was various shades of pink, bound by a moth-eaten corset and complete with frilly sleeves fastened on. It was patchwork, and typical of Doggerland’s pieced-together fashion.
She decided not to comment.
Instead, perhaps in search of something less disturbing to focus her mind on, CJ turned and looked back to Susie.
“What’s wrong?”
Susie had slowed at a corner they had all just turned. She was visibly worn out, using a nearby wall to steady herself. She looked drunk.
“Susie?”
Susie groaned a little.
“I’m fine,” she mumbled. “I think.”
“You sure?” asked CJ.
Koch stopped too, and spun around.
“Sea-sickness?” he suggested in vain.
CJ wanted to hit him. Hard.
“Susie,” she said again instead, ignoring the mad professor to her right.
Susie holstered her zat gun, stretched out her right hand, and shone the torchlight over her pale fingers.
“Oh,” she said, noticing a slight change. “Oh...”
CJ approached, and then stopped when she too saw it.
The skin on Susie’s hand was becoming translucent, as if it was being slowly and painlessly wolfed up by the air.
CJ turned again, pushed Koch up against the wall, and pressed Kazumi to his throat.
“What have you done to her?”
“Nothing!” Koch swore. “I haven’t done anything!”
“Am I… fading away?” Susie asked without emotion. She reached for her zat gun again, but her whole hand passed through it as though it wasn’t physically there anymore. She tried a second time straight after, with more force, and managed to weakly nudge it free.
It hit the floor.
“I feel dizzy.”
“Koch,” CJ applied more pressure to the blade, causing one side of Koch’s neck to drip red. “Undo it.”
“It’s not me, I assure you!”
CJ forced herself inside his mind, licking around every nook and cranny of his unstable psyche, but found no answer. He wasn’t lying. He was actually telling the truth.
“Susie,” she released Koch and turned back to her ailing friend. “We’re going to fix this.”
But Susie didn’t seem to be paying either of them much attention anymore.
“It’s like they said, about the Great End,” she reminisced. “Whole worlds just fading out of existence. I almost forgot that meant people too.”
“Susie – don’t.”
“Huh… I guess one of my ancestors just got wiped.”
“We don’t know that!” CJ said. “We don’t know what this is!”
“Right,” said Susie, half-heartedly. “Well, we should hurry. Because if I’m fading away, then what about Elle?”
CJ grabbed Koch again, this time by the scruff of the neck, and threw him down the next hallway.
“Lead the way!”

**

Elsewhere, spiralling frenziedly through the time vortex, was the Gauntlett.
The Empress, now stripped her royal gown and instead clad in the leathery bonds of her adopted daughters, the assassins once known as Terrible Triumvirate, clutched with all of her strength onto the pilot’s console in the cockpit as her flagship rocketed fiercely through the shattered time stream. Outside, the hungry jaws of the vortex whipped at the Gauntlett’s eyes, blinding the already-busted navigation systems.
But still, like an ant on a boulder which had been suddenly launched from the jaws of a young volcano and was still falling, the Empress clung on for her life.
“What is happening out there?!” she screamed at her machine. “Why aren’t we on Gallifrey already?!”
But somehow, a part of her already knew the answer.
The time vortex appeared to be fighting back.
“AaaaahhhAAAAAARRRRGHHHHHHH!” The Gauntlett cried out. The front windows began to crack under the turbulence. “I’M SoRRY, EmPRESS. We HavE BeEN BoaRDED!”
“…What are you talking about?!”
Suddenly, the Empress felt a burning sensation all along her arms.
She looked down, and found fresh, thick, black tattoos.
As one of the terminals closest to her sparked and killed the nearby monitor, she found her reflection in its dead screen. Her face was burning with the same tattoos, marked in an ancient language not even she could understand.
“What…” she stammered, and then lost the ability to speak completely.
From the back of her mind, the tiny whispers of a thousand different voices emerged like an invisible army. Her body was being invaded. Her head, populated.
The Empress was knocked to the ground as the ship swerved violently. The Gauntlett was screaming the entire time, probably sensing that its master had now too been overcome.
Suddenly, with a final rush of adrenaline, the Empress of the Triangle shrieked. Scratching at her skin as if trying to claw away a tide of encroaching insects, she rolled along the floor of the cockpit like she was on fire.
The tattoos had swarmed and, within seconds, shut her down.

**

A terrible screaming rang out across the irradiated landscape. Gallifrey had not been host to such a crash in millennia.
The innermost altar of the Temple bounded away as a massive metal something demolished the north transept, causing much of the crossing and nave to lose stability. Ancient stones from the early days rained from high above, crushing many of the followers of the Chosen as they scurried around in the chaos.
Serena found shelter behind one of the chancel’s last remaining pillars which, although heavily fractured from the sudden collapse, held its own. The warmth of the Temple was sucked out into the icy, lifeless Gallifreyan atmosphere, and instead, the caustic scent of ash mounds and bones buried in bones, filled the freezing chapel ruins. When the quaking stopped, Serena finally stepped out into the dim starlight and straightened her robes. Her golden, Gallifreyan headdress had been lost somewhere in the chaos.
“My Lady,” one of the surviving monks called out from the wreckage behind her. “Is it… him? Has Mapp finally returned to face judgement? Has the Cantina finally come home?”
Serena acknowledged the metallic beak of the giant Firefly-class ship standing before her.
All along the bow of its cockpit there were barbed chains fixed in place, tying a family of scorched carcasses together, each surrounded by smears of long dried blood. The silver-red skin of the vessel beneath looked as though someone had been painting just recently as it was pocked with thick, black markings.
On humanoid skin, they would appear as tattoos.
“No,” Serena told him. “I don’t know… what this is.”
“Ah – My Lady! He is free!”
She looked over her shoulder as she heard the monk unleash a fearsome groan, and saw that B0R15 had just impaled him clean through the head. Apparently the crash had released him from his bonds. Serena, in impulsive fury, used her power to swipe the assassin up off the ground again.
He struggled a little at first, slicing his twin blades through the air in protest, twitching his various dials and clockwork limbs her way as the High Priestess spread out her palm, and channelled all of her strength into a single blow. Once gathered, she punched.
His blades swung free as B0R15 was flung into the far wall at such a speed that it caused another quake. Something, somewhere, caved in; creating deeper cracks in what little remained of the Temple. At last, at least for now, peace had come.
Behind Serena came a loud, metal creaking.
To the downward scrape of a cargo ramp, she turned.
A woman appeared from the mouth of the Firefly, armed with swords similar to those on B0R15.
She was scantily-clad, her body and dignity bound by leathery restraints. All over her skin, Serena recognised the same markings that scarred her ship, the same tattoos…
Serena raised her palm again.
“More invaders. Great.”
The woman’s eyes glowed with fire.
When she spoke, Serena heard the sound of a thousand different voices. Serena had not seen mass possession like this since before the War.
“The prisoner!” the woman shouted. “It belongs to us!”  
“…You mean the droid?” demanded Serena. “You’ve come for the droid?”
“It is our prisoner,” the voices spoke. “It was stolen from us!”
“The droid broke into my temple, along with two others. Both of whom managed to escape. I haven’t learned much from your pet, but there’s still time. That’s all Gallifrey has left.”
But the woman closed her eyes all of a sudden. She opened her mouth and moaned, as if trying to force away the world’s worst migraine.
“Urgh… Damn… Vortex dwellers!” she cried, and then wheezed. “They… were holding him prisoner… Penance for that damn Chronos… thing…”
She started panting. It was clear that there was an ongoing internal battle for control of her body.
“Look. I’m sorry, but who are you?” Serena tried. “More importantly, how did you get here? Gallifrey
Is hidden, sealed away, unreachable. Nothing can bypass the Macrophilian Junction. It shouldn’t be possible.”
Gallifrey!” the woman howled, her own voice mixed with that of various others. She opened her eyes, and Serena saw that they were utterly bloodshot. “Argh… Gallifrey.”
Her eyes, again, became engulfed in flame.
“The prisoner was ours as penance,” the voices sang. “You should not have taken it from us.”
The woman tore her swords free from her back, and Serena used her power to summon the two recently abandoned by B0R15. The blades danced around her like a protective shield.
She was so focused on the tattooed woman that she barely noticed the faint cry of incoming TARDIS engines. Suddenly, mutually aware, the both of them ducked.
An old blue box bounced into existence, and rebounded off the stone walls. It knocked down the few remaining structures and then slid to a thunderous stop near to where the altar used to be.
Serena shook herself free of the dust and used the swords to help herself back onto her feet.
The tattooed woman did the same, but kept her eyes sealed. It seemed to help her more effectively fight off the creatures inside her body.
“I know that noise,” she managed.
“It’s a TARDIS,” Serena explained, turning to the mysterious blue box.
Its wooden exterior smouldered from its rough journey through the vortex, and its blue paint was old and greyed from a lifetime of abandonment. Even so, its double doors hurled themselves open and unleashed a flume of poisonous smoke. From inside the damaged TARDIS, Serena could hear the distant call of the cloister bells.
And then, unexpectedly, human coughing…
Another woman, this one wearing leathery straps not too dissimilar from the first aggressor, emerged from the smoky ruins of the blue box, carrying another unconscious woman. She laid her captive down a few metres from the flume, and then finally looked up and acknowledged the Temple’s most recent damage.
“Huh?” she said. “Oh, that might have been us.”
Serena directed the swords to aim at her.
“Who are you?!”
“Relax,” another voice came from the TARDIS.
A final woman appeared, this one wearing a black headscarf over her shiny, golden locks above a long, tattered waistcoat patterned with a gold swirling design, held in place by an old sash.
“…A pirate?” Serena remarked. “Here?”
“I’m really as surprised as you,” said the pirate. “Not that I ever doubted that the five of us wouldn’t eventually meet. Shared goals and the like. But introductions. I’m Renette, once Pirate Queen of the West Indies.” She pointed to the leathery-bound woman to her left, along with her unconscious colleague. “That’s Aila the Countess of Doggerland, and her ex-lover and Mapp’s only daughter, Elle.” She then nodded to the possessed woman at Serena’s back, and raised her eyebrows. “And I speculate that Susie-lookalike, behind you, would be the long-elusive Empress of the Triangle of the Light.”
Aila looked up suddenly. For a moment, she looked like a child who knew that her mother had just returned to the messiest home and was about to yell so loudly that the whole of time and space could hear. She stayed silent, hoping not to be noticed.
“…Who… are… any of you?” spoke the Empress, still focused on her internal battle with the vortex dwellers. Her eyes shut. It was obvious that she had not heard Renette introduce the Countess.
“Look, we could stand around answering all of your questions,” Renette answered. “But Gallifrey is about to be eaten up by a particularly devastating temporal anomaly. Probably, I suspect, as a result of the time streams converging so abruptly, especially at a time and place so sensitive as Gallifrey itself. The universe really can’t take much more. Am I right?”  
All of a sudden the remaining walls of the Temple started to wobble, almost in response, as a great rumbling echoed out from the distant wilderness outside. Something was coming.
“Oh – timing!” she said, clicking her fingers. She looked to Aila for a moment for acknowledgement, but got nothing back. “Right, yes. Anyway, this TARDIS was old and weary when we accosted it from Earth, and just getting us here was enough to vaporise its engines. However, a young TARDIS like that…” she pointed a finger at the Gauntlett. “…might stand a better chance of escape.”
The rumbling gathered momentum. The ruins around them started to tremble.
From a nearby boulder, B0R15 crawled free.
“Oh, and of course. The clockwork assassin!”
What?” Serena shouted over the roar of the approaching storm.
“I’ll explain when we’re all onboard,” promised Renette, dancing around the various corpses of Chosen monks as she headed for the Gauntlett. “But we have to skedaddle. Like… now.”
Behind her, B0R15 had crawled towards the Empress and was already ushering her back aboard her ship. Aila carried Elle aboard and placed her safely in the cargo hold’s secret hatch.
Serena, meanwhile, remained in the Temple.
“I expected more from a High Priestess of the Chosen. Are you really going to stay here and die?” Renette called to her from the Gauntlett’s cargo ramp.
B0R15’s swords circled around Serena, warning off any who would approach. But Renette stayed well back. It was as if she already knew the power that this ancient Gallifreyan possessed.
“You come to my home, and destroy my Temple. You desecrate the holy foundations and murder my followers!” Serena roared. “What could possibly delude me into joining you aboard that travesty of a TARDIS?”
Renette sniggered, and then shrugged.
“You’ve been stranded here for millennia, waiting for Mapp to return and face punishment for blaspheming all those years ago. But Gallifrey is about to be destroyed once and for all. He’s never coming back here. Maybe in another timeline, but not this one. Things have changed.”
Serena turned away from the wreckage of the Temple.
“How can you know that? Who are you?” she asked once more. “And don’t lie to me.”
“I’m Mapp’s wife,” said Renette. “And if you really want him so badly, you can have him. I have a feeling I know where he’s headed.”
Serena stared. She was unconvinced.
“Look,” Renette tried. “I already got my vengeance on him. As far as I know, Mapp and I are square. But I’m not beyond letting someone else get their own back. Besides that, I actually need you.”
As a terrible gust rolled into the Temple ruins and began to suffocate what was left in an intense, radioactive fog, Serena appeared on the cargo ramp.
“Take me to Mapp,” she warned Renette. “Or I’ll kill you all.”
And with that, she disappeared into the Gauntlett.
Aila watched her go, and then came up beside Renette as the once-Pirate Queen looked out over the ruins of Gallifrey.
“Is that everyone?” asked the Countess. “That was easy.”
“Getting those three together was the easy part. There’s just one more now,” Renette said, and then smiled cruelly. “I think he’ll meet us there.”
The cargo ramp snapped shut.
P90 confronts Mapp about something important. Meanwhile, down in the ruins of Doggerland, something unexpected befalls Susie. And on Gallifrey, enemies of enemies finally meet for the very first time.
Published:
© 2016 - 2021 mappalazarou
Comments3
anonymous's avatar
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Annecakes's avatar
I'm gonna say the Vangaurd is the last of the "We hate Mapp" club they need to pick up. Or the Jester. Both hate Mapp, I assume. Anyway Awesome chapter, as usual I love all of it. Also Mapp is right, he's entirely blameless in the destruction of Susie and P-90's marriage. Though Susie is the most to blame. Its funny that P-90 did all this to keep Mapp from ruining his wedding, only to destroy his marriage.
Ebony-Draygon's avatar
Lets be honest, there's a very long queue for the "hate Mapp" party. I know Dray is on there, he did after all make her life much more utter hell... its just conflicted with uncertain familial ties xD

Over all, this is gonna be explosive when it hits the powderkeg.
Annecakes's avatar
Add CJ to list, I mean may as well. He's done some awful things to her. What I'm getting at is that Mapp is terrible with women.