XTC
by Henry Wyckoff
Crossover: XF, DW (4th Doctor), HL, ST:Voy, and the world of David Eddings


Chapter 12

Need for Speed? Your Wish is My Command.



Silk was in the lead, that could not be disputed. He was the only one who could run faster, and the only one with a big enough lead. "Might as well stop and fight," called out Silk to the fleeing killer. "We'll catch up with you soon enough!" Thanatos didn't respond, but instead ran a little faster. "It was worth a try..."

Thanatos ran across a busy road, leaping over a car that nearly hit him, and smoothly hopping into the passenger seat of an open convertible. A rich college kid with too strong a sense of safety and security. She had some bags from the mall in the back seat. She jumped in shock when she noticed that he was there, and the next instant, she screamed when she saw the wicked-looking knife that he placed on level with her kidneys.

"Get us out of here!" he commanded, barely understood in his haste and strong Greek accent. "I have people behind me, and if they catch up, you die first!"

That was a successful threat. Even though the road was full of traffic going both ways, she slammed down on the pedal and wove around cars in her way, wishing she could ignore the honks of protest. She was a careful driver, usually, which was probably why she could pull this off.

Thanatos would have shook his head in sadness if it weren't for the fact he was too busy catching his breath. If they had only thought of grabbing their truck, or one of the bikes... but instead, they were all thinking with their adrenaline. Now, he lost them, or so he thought.

Silk saw what had happened -- all of it -- and decided he'd play the same game. One thing he knew was that glass breaks, so he took another car going the same direction as the convertible and intercepted it. Leaping into the air, he kicked his way through the back seat window of the driver's side. He lived to regret it, but at least he lived for the moment. If he didn't habitually wear light armor -- leather and padded clothes -- he might be in worse shape (he did, after all, come from a world where armor and swords were still commonplace), but as it was he was still pretty cut up.

The latter was a function of Silk's forethought. What he discovered next was completely due to chance. Because he was still new to this world, he didn't discover it immediately, but once he did, he appreciated the irony. As he learned the last, it would be truly rich.

Two men wearing proper blue uniforms, military-trimmed mustaches, and almost perfectly-cut hair sat in the front seats, and the one on the passenger side spun around. "What the hell-?" He was certainly startled. Things like this must not have happened often.

Silk didn't waste any time. "Someone in that," he pointed to the convertible which was speeding away, "is holding the driver hostage, and is making her drive where he wants! Follow that car!"

"He's right, Bill!" snapped the one on the left. "Let's get the car and sort this out later!"

The driver, Bill, nodded and flipped on the lights and sirens. It took a few moments for the cars to start moving out of the way.

Thanatos snapped at the woman, "What is happening?" He knew better than to look himself. "The sirens!"

She looked in the mirror, and saw that a police car was doing its best to follow her, and she desperately wished it would catch up. "It's the police!" she said. "You got their attention!"

"Then LOSE their attention!" he screamed. "Lose them!" Then he smiled, "No! Get their attention! Turn around in THIS LANE!"

"We can't --!" She cut off her protest, trying not to start sobbing when she felt the tip of the knife poking into her skin.

"Do it!" he said deliberately. "NOW!"

She spun the car around, and a car did clip the back. The feeling was quite distinctive. Cars immediately started screeching to a halt, and most managed to swerve aside. The police car was immediately immobilized by cars all around it.

"Now GO!" he yelled.

She kept going in the same direction, but moved into the right lane, speeding out of there.

* * * *


Scully stopped dead in her tracks when she saw the killer take the woman Silk had somehow managed to leap into a police car with the window up.

"Did I see what I thought I saw?" Powys stopped next to Scully with his jaw dropped. "I thought he was good, but not that good!"

"What is he DOING?" she asked.

"Following that car?" he asked weakly, his eyebrows raised. "What now?"

"The truck!" snapped Scully, running for the truck, which was a good two minutes run away.

That was when the convertible spun around and went against the traffic. Then the cars started going every which way they could go.

Clovis' truck sped up to where Scully was. Powys had managed to hop in the back as Pancho yelled, "Hop in! Don't know why I didn't think of this before!"

Scully hopped in just in time for Pancho to gun the engine, throwing both her and Powys against the tailgate.

* * * *


The woman driving the car was speeding down the road in fifth gear when she nearly got side-swiped by the big truck that shot out from an almost unnoticeable driveway covered by large mesquite trees.

'Almost' hit was as good as 'almost won the lottery' after spending one's life savings.

That didn't mean that there wasn't a truck tailing the car, however, and Thanatos understood that quite well. He snapped at her, "I'm going to take care of them, but I'm keeping an eye on you too! No tricks, or I'll have my time with you! DO YOU UNDERSTAND?"

"Yes." She almost whispered it.

"I DIDN'T HEAR YOU!"

"YES!" she screamed, her face shining with tears of fear.
Thanatos pulled a pistol out of his coat, aiming at the radiator.

BANG! BANG!

* * * *


Silk yelled, "They're getting away!"

"SHUT UP!" yelled the driver even louder.

"Come on, Bill..." said the other cop. "We're losing 'em..."

Bill already had his sirens and lights going, so all he did this time was slam his foot on the pedal, shoving two cars out of the way. He muttered, "I hope they don't get our car number... You have any idea how bad a cop can get sued these days? They'll take our kids' college tuition funds if we even scratch their cars!"

Silk snapped, "Look! If you catch this guy, you'll get paid more than enough to pay for your kids' weddings. All of them!"

The two cops looked at one another for a brief moment, "Would your boss be Italian by any chance?"

"Just get the guy!"

Silk wanted to strangle them yet again. For all the differences between his and their world, there was one constant: city guardsmen never changed.

Now they were in the clear, and shot down the road faster than Silk ever remembered going. If this weren't such a crazy situation, he'd positively hate it and feel sick to his stomach. In the meanwhile, he just felt uncertain and shaky.

Bill remarked, "It looks like someone else wants him too. You know the guys in the truck?"

"That would be... Powys, an 'FBI agent', and the Nightman."

The two cops said aloud, "FBI?!"

"That's what I said."

"You got a lot of explaining to do, and when this is over, you're going to be explaining a hell of a lot!"

* * * *


"Oooo..." Chuck couldn't open his eyes yet, but he could rub his aching temples.

"You're awake." The accent was most definitely Hungarian. Very familiar.

Chuck managed to open his eyes, fighting the waves of pain that suddenly shot through him. The origin of the voice was an ascetic-looking man wearing the old robes. The man was older than the robes, but still looked healthy. His beard and hair were gray and unkempt, but it looked like some black was beginning to return at the roots of his beard. It was odd, because the gray looked natural. It was too non-uniform to be dyed. His eyes were full of sorrow. Not death of a loved one, but perhaps the slow death of the man himself.

"You were at the Stone," Chuck croaked. "I saw you. I saw into you!" His eyes closed with the effort of speaking. "What have you done, Zedar?" He decided to test the knowledge that came from his visions.

Zedar shook his head, "I haven't done anything to you. What you have experienced is the natural result of being an untrained sorcerer."

Chuck spat. "Not another one."

Zedar laughed, "Not another charlatan, you mean to say?"

"Look! I've been all over the world and came across people claiming to know magic. Those who weren't stage magicians were deluded people. I knew only one man who could do things that I couldn't explain, but he admitted that they were tricks, and that I just wasn't seeing the whole picture!"

"Anything seen in ignorance is magic. But tell me, does it matter whether the distinction is important if I do this?" Zedar whispered a word, and suddenly the pain vanished from Chuck's brain.

Chuck's eyes widened. "That's a neat trick. You're like the Tibetan."

"The Dark Monk? He was a sorcerer, if I saw your memory correctly. It is that reason why I have remained behind. I must explain some very simple rules to you. If you do not understand them, it is my fault, but if you do not listen, then it's your fault."

Chuck laughed, "It's not like I'm going anywhere right now."

* * * *


Sarah looked at the Doctor, "What do we do?"

The Doctor smiled, "We're taking our own car?"

"What car?"

He looked hurt, "Don't you remember our grand car?"

"The Who-Mobile?"

"What else?"

He ran in the TARDIS and shut the door after him. A moment later, Sarah heard a honk outside the broken window. The car which the previous 'regeneration' had used quite a lot waited outside. "Come on, Sarah!"

"How did you do that?"

"I'll explain later. Come on!"

Trying hard not to get herself cut, she climbed through the window and hopped into the car, which almost resembled a motorized carriage. It was a convertible, with the top removed for the moment. Its looks were deceiving: it could go faster than a lot of cars on the road.

At this moment, the truck slammed onto the road, tailing the sports car, which was then followed by a police car with is lights and siren going.

The Doctor laughed. "It looks like this is going to be fun after all! I was beginning to get bored!"

He slammed the pedal down on his own car, and shot up to a 100 kph in only a second. They both got pushed back against their seats, but they were used to it. Making the turn onto the road, they started going a lot faster.

"Doctor! Does any of this make sense to you?" Sarah asked over the wind that now blew against her face.

He chuckled, "I'd have been shocked if any of this had made any sense at all! What I've been able to gather is this: there are two forces that are going to meet very soon. No... make that three! Powys is a force all by himself."

"The Welshman? What does he represent?"

"Himself, for what I can gather. I don't think he's on anybody's side. When I met him before, I didn't know what he represented either."

The Dagashi was firing his gun at the truck, which began to weave back and forth, making it hard for the police car. The police car nearly swerved into the left lane, and did scrape the paint off what looked like a new, black Porsche. The driver of this new Porsche, driven by what looked like a tough and macho man, spun his car around and began to follow as well. Sarah could see the man from behind the Doctor's car, and could see him gesturing and yelling, though his words couldn't be heard.

The Doctor warned, "Get ready! I'm getting ahead!"

It came only a moment later. Sarah didn't know how fast they were going, but they went even faster. They passed the police car and the truck, and approached the convertible.

The Dagashi yelled something to the driver, who was obviously being held against her will, and she pulled a sharp right turn into an alley.

Only the police car was far enough back to make the turn.

"It's an alley!" laughed Sarah as everyone else made their way back. "They're trapped."

"Not in Tucson," frowned the Doctor. "Here, a lot of the alleys are through streets. Who knows where they'll end up?"

They sped down the alley, now held up by the truck. "So what's happening?"

"What do you think is happening?"

She counted off on her fingers. "[One] There's some drug going around called XTC, and it's so powerful that it kills whoever uses it. [Two] The two FBI agents are trying to find out who's at fault. [Three] People from the future and two different worlds are here now. [Four] So far, a lot of people I don't even know want to kill the others, and probably us." She looked at the Doctor. "Please! Tell me you know what I'm missing!"

His look was grave. "You got most of it. The only thing you're missing is that we *are* in the middle of it, and there's something I need to do. Something I should have done a long time ago."

She looked shocked. "What are you talking about?"

His look as almost placid, even though they were going... she looked at the speedometer... over 130 kph.

* * * *

Remember that time where I vanished? I know, it
happens a lot, but this was when you were having a
genuine vacation in Glasgow? I vanished for a day,
supposedly to let you enjoy a day for yourself, without
any distractions? I had to leave and fight off the
Cybermen's plan to destroy the Earth, and they almost
nearly did so.

What you did not know was that after I had destroyed
their refrigeration units, which effectively destroyed
them, I left in the TARDIS and was diverted. In
retrospect, all I know was that it was a cosmic force.
It could not have been the Time Lords, that I know for
certain. Maybe it was one of the Guardians of Time.
Maybe it was the force that Powys serves...

What I do know is that instead of arriving at Glasgow,
a day after I left you there, I arrived in a place that
reminded me of Poland, before the Christian
missionaries came.

I was alone there, with the pine trees and the deer, or
so I thought. It was a truly tranquil place, with thin
mists crawling through serrated ridges and soft moss
growing on the trees. If my visitor hadn't come, I
might not have even questioned why I came here.

However, my visitor did come. It was a kindly old man
wearing a monk's robe, with long hair and a gray beard. Do
you remember the monk at the Buddhist temple? The one
who was actually the Hermit, my teacher back on
Gallifrey? He reminded me a lot of that man.


"Was he your teacher?"


No. As the man talked, I no longer believed so either.
That was instantly apparent.

"Welcome to the Vale," he said warmly. "I have not had
visitors of your kind in quite a while."

"Hello." I shook his hand, and found him to be
insubstantial, except for a definite presence. It was
not a holographic projection, I can say that much! I
had never seen its like before. "You are the first
substantial image I've ever shook hands with before.
Who might you be?"

He smiled, "I am Aldur."

He then made me a guest in his tower, which was just
like any other English tower. Clean, elegant, and
drafty.


"But what does that have to do with this?"

They spun round another corner, having reached a residential street. To Sarah, it seemed like one street was just like any other.

"I'm getting to that, Sarah." He didn't seem to have any trouble holding on a conversation and chasing down a car with a gunman on board.

That was merely the introduction. Some time into the
conversation, which was a discussion between the
differences between 'mist' and 'fog' if I remember
correctly, I felt ill. The man had poisoned me. So he
thought. I always keep some celery in my pocket. I
suppose I should wear it on my shirt, but I had some,
and that was enough. Celery aids resistance against
certain subtle poisons, and I chewed one. I offered my
host one, and he declined, not even understanding its
significance.

Perhaps an hour passed, he began to looked somewhat
worried. Nervous. So I ended the game. "Who are you,
really?"

The game was indeed over. Gone were the surroundings.
I found myself in a dark place. I couldn't see the
floor, walls, or ceiling. I knew the floor was there,
which was somewhat comforting.

My host, or should I say, my captor, had changed as
well. I guess you could say that his quality changed.
For every feature, it remained the same, but it was
somehow inverted. Tranquillity became control, joy
became glee, and pleasance became dominance.

"It was worth a try, Doctor," said the man. "Besides,
everyone condemned to die deserves a last meal. I take
it yours was sufficient?"

"Quite wonderful. Even the poison tasted good. Who
are you really?"

"If you should really know, it's rudlA."

Those cues came to me then. I'll spare you how I found
out for certain, but this man was an anti-man. Think
of it as the equivalent of an anti-particle without
draping it with any moral judgment. Definitions of
good or evil don't quite work with an anti-being.


"I don't know what you mean, Doctor."

He sighed, "Science fiction writers of your time, and even some philosophically-minded physicists envision this world where anti-matter lives. A mirror to our own." He snorted, "It's complete rubbish. There is no anti-matter world. It happens to be here -- it's just that whenever anti-matter comes into contact with matter, it equilibrates and releases so much energy that it destroys anything in its path. An anti-man is a similar thing. He lives in this world, but just hasn't come into contact with anyone yet.

"Yet."

"So what happened?"

I escaped, eventually. There was something about me
personally that he wanted. I don't know what he
wanted, but I learned why.


* * * *


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