Xadium-Hazel Road Trip Saga of 2018

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On January 25th, 2018, Doctor Xadium decided to walk the Earth for a time to do good and help balance his karmic scales. Bored and curious, Hazel Ninegate, newly revived and with absolutely shit-all to do, decided to tag along and assist. Of course when Time Lords roadtrip, their highway is vast~

This is a cheap capsule summary of those epic adventures.

Arkula Arc

1. Planet Expel

Thinking back to all the friends he has lost over the course of his long life, Doctor Xadium travels to the planet Expel, trying to find Shaldra Nightfall in the hopes of making sure all is well with her and to perhaps re-establish some form of friendship, or the very least clear up any bad blood that might remain from the past.

When he makes it to her old homestead, however, what greets him is not her, but someone looking like a younger version of Shaldra Darkness minus the tail and ears, wearing a blindfold. Bloodied up, she looks as if she was in a horrible accident.

Moving closer to check on her, Xadium is suddenly blindsided by a badly wounded Noriko, who reveals that this being isn't her mother Shaldra, but rather some kind of assassin sent to kill Noriko and her family, using that appearance as a trick to get in closer.

Unfortunately, Noriko's interference is too late, and Xadium is wounded as well, by the being who calls herself Adrestia.

She wields a blade strong enough to shatter Noriko's Validium blade, Invictus Vindicator.

Adrestia claims she is "that which cannot be escaped" and was forged in fire to put an end to Noriko and her line. She remarks that it is just as well that Xadium is here too, as her creators would be pleased with his termination.

Before she can land a killing blow, she is blasted back by a massive explosion which tears her in half. Xadium and Noriko turn to see Vermellia standing there, holding a smoking Crescent Claw.

Noriko wonders how Vermellia knew to get there on time all the way from Earth, and she steps aside to reveal she had a lift-- from Hazel Ninegate.

Before Xadium and Noriko can ponder this, however, Adrestia reappears, seemingly undamaged, grabbing Vermellia and vanishing in a blast of light.

Noriko tries to give chase, but is too wounded. Hazel waves her off, tossing her a stimpack, and grabs Xadium, saying they'll go after this "most interesting creature." She plots the time-track of Adresita and deduces that she couldn't have gone far-- planet EN II.

2. Planet EN-II

Appearing in the center of Fun City on Planet EN-II, Hazel gives Xadium a Senzu bean to help him recover. When he angrily asks why Hazel didn't give that to Noriko, who was more heavily wounded, Hazel laughs and simply replies "She would have gotten in the way, and besides, I don't like her."

Xadium starts to argue, and Hazel cuts him off curtly asking if he isn't at all curious why some kind of assassin has a weapon that can shatter Validium like it's nothing. Xadium blurts angrily that of course he's curious, but his grandaughter's life is st stake. Hazel points out that unless they understand the nature of their foe and her capacities they will "hardly be able to save the little kitty-kat."

As they try to track Adrestia / Vermellia's whereabouts, Hazel remarks that she is impressed with the technological advancement of the planet and muses that she remembers when the Nedeans ruled the universe by dint of their sheer technological might. She shakes her head with dismay at how that once-mighty empire is now confined to a few small colony worlds where weapons are virtually forbidden. She remarks on how similar their history is to Galllifrey's-- going from a vast power feared by all to hiding behind energy shields cut off from most of the rest of the universe.

Xadium asks if Hazel is still obsessed with Gallifrey's re-ascension to power, and Hazel just flatly replies, "The humans won that fight. I've moved on."

In the distance, they see a huge explosion. It is coming from the battle arena, where it is revealed that Vermellia had led Adrestia after escaping her grasp. Rushing there, they see that the other combatants who had signed up for a day's practice in the arena have all been stretchered out, casualties of a tremendous battle going on between Vermellia and Adrestia. Vermellia is too ridiculously fast for Adrestia to catch, frustrating the assassin, who is resorting to chopping up huge swaths of the Arena to slow her down. A stay shot from the fight damages, but does not destroy, Hazel's Time Ring.

Xadium is keen to jump in and help Vermellia, but Hazel holds him back, trying to study the assassin's movements. She deduces Adrestia can only move so fast, and is limited by reaction time, and does not seem to have energy based or ranged attacks. Xadium points out she's not getting tired either, while Vermellia is.

As the destruction continues, a strange kind energy shield rises up around the battle Arena, which seems intended to protect the rest of Fun City from the destruction.

Xadium becomes frustrated because now he's cut off from the fight and Vermellia is on her own. He can't breach the barrier at all-- it doesn't seem to be made of matter or energy. Scans from his sonic phone stubbonly insist the barrier isn't even there, but the blasts from Cresecent Claw that harmlessly bounce off of it insist that something is there.

While Hazel is impressed with its nature and muses that its technology would have to be even more advanced that that of Energy Nede's, Xadium wonders it it might just be magical.

At that he is interrupted by a sharp "Magic! Hmph!" from a girl behind them carrying a ridiculously large golden staff with a hand on its end. "It's one-hundred per cent my invention!" She looks at the two of them mischeviously and adds "Time Lords. Always ascribing to magic things they don't understand."

As Xadium and Hazel both turn to look at her incredulously, the girl grins and claps, asking if he's "Sakura's dad, X." Xadium is taken aback but quickly deduces this is a friend of Sakura's he hasn't met yet. The girl grins, anticipating his reasoning and says, "Oh, we've never met, Mister Xadium. Not ever."

As Xadium snaps "that's Doctor Xadium!", Hazel looks the girl over and remarks that she's not Nedean, given her appearance, dress and manner of speaking.

"Same goes for you two, obviously," the girl playfully retorts, introducing herself as "Welch Vineyard."

Hazel asks the girl if she can collapse the forcefield in to crush both Vermellia and Adrestia, calculating that given a fixed rate of implosion there's only a 30% chance Vermellia will be crushed before the assassin. Xadium retorts that there are also civilians in the stands and either way that would be reprehensible. The blonde girl looks between them as they argue, and just blurts "yeah, there's lots of angry sex potential here" leading Xadium to accuse her of being a cohort of Paisley Peinforte's.

The girl replies "now there's someone I need to get around to meeting." At that moment, there is a massive explosion as Adrestia manages to cleave through Crescent Claw's staff, and her points her blade at Vermellia's neck.

"Oh well, too late~" Hazel coos. "We have to help her!" Xadium exclaims.

"Well why don't we put a pause on this scenario~" Welsh asks, pointing the pointer finger of her "handy stick" at the forcefield, stopping all action in the Battle Arena at that moment.

Xadium and Hazel look at the stoppage aghast. Time hasn't stopped. Everything in the field is frozen. Reality itself has been stopped. int he battle arena.

"Ugh, I think I overdid it," Welsh mutters. "I was just trying to slow down time in the arena for you." She walks over to the field and taps it with the finger on her handy stick. "This is gonna take some time to adjust."

Pressing her hand to the forcefield, a box falls out. "Oh great," she complains. "The Omnicron is busted."

"Omniwhat?" Hazel asks in confusion.

"Omnicron," Welch replies like it's obvious what she's talking about. "you two are gonna have to fetch one from me if you want to get Vermellia out of there,"

"Forget it," Hazel snaps at the same time Xadium replies "Of course." They glare at each other.

"Great!" Welch grins. "Assistants one and two, go forth!". Pulling a red object out seemingly out of thin air, she summons a black portal surrounded by a maelstrom of purple erngy and shoves the duo in, slapping some tracker-patches on their back as she does so.

Hazel and Xadium find themselves dumped in a pitch-black environment, feeling as if they're suffocating.

3. Dimension Four

Hazel and Xadium barely manage to stand. They can see each other, but nothing else around them. They feel like they're underwater and unable to breathe, though it does not actually seem like their bodies need air in this realm.

"There no time here," Xadium declares, to which Hazel adds "or space." They're in a realm that seems to transcend reality.

"Do you know what we're supposed to be looking for?" Hazel demands. "Just what is an 'omnicron'?" The moment she asks, they both know, as if the answer was downloaded to their brains.

"What the hell was that?" Xadium asks in shock, as a slow grin creeps across Hazel's face.

"Omniscience," Hazel replies almost ecstatically. "All-knowledge, on demand." She closes her eyes and intones, "Where are we?" And she knows.

"We're one level 'above' our reality," Xadium says to himself, doing the same thing. "What some people called 'The Fourth Dimension' before that came ot be synonymous witrh Time."

"Who sent Adrestia?" Hazel thinks, but gets no intuition. She frowns. "How odd," she remarks.

"If this is a realm where thought and reality are fungible..." Xadium considers, and then imagines the "omnicron" in his hands. One appears. "We need to careful!" He admonishes. "Control your thoughts!"

Hazel looks at him oddly. Xadium replies "have you never seen the movie 'Forbidden Planet?' 'Creatures from the Id' and all that?"

"Creatures from the id..." Hazel ponders-- and just like that, it's too late.

The blacknees around the duo vanishes, replaced with a view of ancient Gallifrey. Hazel is suddenly a small child, sitting at a desk in a classroom. In front of her, some kind of holographic projection simulating a destructive nanoparticle. In front of that, a mass of students looking terrified, their teacher aghast at what she has created.

"They never understood," Child-Hazel remarks, glaring at the other children. "Just because I could see further ahead than they could. Imagine more than they could."

The scene shifts to a universe filled with chaos and destruction, and Hazel's terror at it all. The desire to control it, to order it. To stop the madness.

Xadium frowns. "Your father, The Corruptor. He believed in advancement through struggle and adversity. That the universe should constantly be filled with conflict so that only the cleverest and strongest would rise."

The scene shifts to riots in the streets of Gallifrey as there is an uprising against the Pythia, led by Rassilon, and Omega, and men of science, with The Corruptor behind them in the shadows. Hazel, as a young woman, following at her father's side, aghast at the treatment those-who-would-become-the-Sisters-of-Karn endured. One of her friends, now a political exile, doomed to spend the rest of her days on that wretched rock.

The temperature drops along with Hazel's feelings growing cold. Suddenly the simulation shifts and clearly something ahistorical occurs. The girl-- her friend, comes running at Hazel, begging for help.

"Staser," Hazel thinks to herself and creates one in her hand. As Xadium watches aghast, she shoots her friend to death and the memory shatters.

"How did you know that would end the memory replay?" Xadium asked. Hazel coldly replies, "the past is dead, let it die. All it does is chain you to people and events that have no bearing on your present concerns." She snickers at Xadium, spinning the staser in her hand. "Travelling all the way to the Arkulan sector to see someone who cut you from their existence like a troublesome wart. What good would that meeting have accomplished? All it nets you is pain."

"Maybe because the ties that bind aren't so weak," Xadium snaps back. "People and circumstances change, but friendship is--"

"--a convenient fiction," Hazel spits in reply. "There are no ties any longer. If these people you lost in the past were your friends, they would seek you out. The technology exists. But they have not. That is the proof the bonds are broken. You waste your energy grieving for those who don't spare you an erg of energy."

Before Xadium can reply, Hazel waves her hand in the air and creates a portal similar to the one Welch had made, kicking Xadium through it. "Get out of my sight."

When she is sure Xadium can't see her, Hazel allows tears to fall from her eyes and she creates a flamethrower, summoning the illusion once more and burning everything she sees-- including a version of her younger self--all the while howling with rage.

Finally, spent, she lets everything fade to black, and sinks to her knees, panting, taking a few moments before standing again with a cold, passionless expression.

"I need no past to make my own future," she declares coldly, opening another portal and vanishing through it.

In the blackness of void, someone remarks "What interesting creatures these Time Lords be. "

"Not so different than us."

"Not so different indeed."

"Did you change their destination?"

"Of course. Their game is just beginning."

Kasterborous Arc

4. Planet Karn

Xadium and Hazel suddenly appear on the blackened plains of Karn. Xadium, who immediately recognizes the place, becomes upset, demanding to know if Hazel diverted them here, worried to death about his granddaughter Vermellia,who is still in mortal danger on Energy Nede 2.

Hazel testily replies that she had intended the destination to be Energy Nede II, and tries to make another portal, but discovers that she has forgotten how it was done.

Xadium, worried that maybe nothing was retained from the four-dimensional realm which even he is fast forgetting, quickly checks that the Omnicron they collected still exists, and it does.

The duo is frozen in place by the collective mind-power of an enraged Sisterhood of Karn, who want to shred Hazel to pieces for the ancient crimes of her father-- The Corruptor--who was responsible for poisoning Rassilon's mind in the distant history of Gallifrey, causing him to unite with Omega and various others to cast out the Pythia, who at the time was ruler of the planet. Because of this, she perished and her followers, the Sisterhood, had been forced to flee to Karn in the first place.

Xadium telepathically argues they should be given a chance to plead their case, and the Sisterhood release their grip on the duo, but leave them no corner to escape.

Hazel smugly replies that the Sisterhood wouldn't have half the power they do now had they not "sharpened their blades" in the crucible of Karn and that her father did them a favor, and that they should bow down in gratitude for the present her family bestowed upon them.

Xadium is taken aback, watching Hazel dash her only chance. In shock at her sheer unrepentance, the Sisterhood declare she must be immediately executed, but Xadium should be spared. They do not tell him why, but it is because they can see down his timelime and know that he will have some important connection with one of their number in the future after he dies at the correct time.

Hazel becomes immediately suspicious when Xadium is granted clememcy, wondering if he has struck a deal with them. To her surprise, and heis own he argues for her release, stating that the sins of the father should not be visited upon the child, and while she is very, very guilty of a great many horrible things, she was made to pay for her crimes and she is changing, if slowly, from the person who she was.

The Sisterhood takes the argument under consideration but agains declare her too dangerous to live in either event. Before they can kill her, however, they are distracted by an event about to happen, using their formidable will to redirect their power towards containing an explosion they feel to be imminent on the Souther Plateau, in the Purgatus Mountains.

Diverting their strength thus, they have to release Hazel, who grabs Xadium by the arm and declares she still has her Time Ring and will use it to get out of here--he can come along if he wants.

Before Xadium can answer one of the other sisters declares they sense another massive explosion. And another. And another. Worse still there is a bomb in the old offices of the Celestial Intervention Agency's old Co-ordinator, and they don't have the mental resources to stop it.

Xadium demands Hazel wait and help him disarm this bomb, because it will kill everyone on this hemisphere of the planet.

Hazel points out they could just run and she and Xadium would survive. Xadium hisses that "they [the sisterhood] need our help" and again repeats his demand they assist.

Hazel balks, but as Xadium goes to work on the bomb, clearly leaving her to her own devices. He is having trouble though, as the technology is beyond him. She shakes her head in frustration and joins him. Together, they achieve the impossible and stop the strange bomb, which had exotic matter-shredding particles in it, unlike the conventional explosives in the other bombs.

It is quickly discovered that someone had fomented a rebellion amongst the males of Karn, (who are treated as a lower class, kept out of sight, forced to do domestic chores and blocked from most higher learning and "Assist" in the propagation of population) but even the most intense mind-probing cant' reveal who the perpetrator was-- except that it was a female and they apparently wanted to cast the blame on Gallifrey.

Xadium brokers a peace between the two factions, arguing that whatever crime the men of Gallifrey did to the Sisterhood in the ancient past, a stratified society like this will never flourish. The sisters consider that they had heard much the same from Sister Pythia when she had been training with them, and she had warned, in a trance, that there would be a day of reckoning for them as a society if they did not change course.

The Sisterhood agree to hold talks and elect to banish Hazel from Karn immediately, commuting her death sentence since she did help save them. Tehy warn her never to return without their permission, or the sentence of death would be immediately carried out.

As they prepare to leave, Hazel points out the irony that that bomb was placed in Noriko's old office on Karn. Xadium counters with the irony that Hazel just seemed to know which codes to use to disarm it. Hazel glibly replies that Gallifreyan technology, no matter how advanced from their time, is still basically playing catch up to what her family created in the Dark Times.

Before Xadium can fully parse what she means, Hazel's damaged time ring sparks and activates on its own, pulling the two of them forward in time and space... to the plains of outer Gallifrey.

5. Planet Gallifrey

Xadium and Hazel appear at the edge of the Wastelands, near Death Zone on Gallifrey, somewhere Xadium identifies as being able to see the Mountains of Solace and Solitude in the east.

Surveying their location, Hazel looks distinctly uncomfortable and remarks "300 kilometers west of the ocean of Salmizi Ba". She looks towards a non-descript spot in the distance.

Xadium wonders how they got past the Transduction Barriers without being detected, and why they are suddenly again not back at Energy Nede II. He again accuses Hazel of altering their destination, which she angrily denies, pointing out her Time Ring seems to be damaged.

Xadium testily retorts that at least they are on Gallifrey and can now find more reliable transport, but hey'll need to fin an aircar to make it to the Citadel of the Time Lords.

Hazel replies there is no need to do this, as she knows a place nearby where they can find whatever they need. She points to the wastelands and says it's "less than an hour's walk."

"To what?" Xadium asks.

"To House Nine," Hazel replies, mentioning the name of her family house.

Xadium is suspicious of the fact they landed this close to her ancestral home, and reveals he had assumed it had been destroyed.

Hazel replies that what the Time Lords could find, they sacked and took as their own, but when she had briefly become "The hero of Gallifrey" she had used her fame to gain access to all the records of what was taken, and realized there were still some secrets left.

Wary, Xadium agrees to go with her there, however before they can set off, agents of the Celestial Intervention Agency lead by Dead-Eyes appear and detain them both, their unauthorized appearance in fact not having gone undetected.

The agents quickly detain them, but Xadium, however, is quickly freed while Hazel is taken into custody. As she is taken away, Hazel remarks dryly that this keeps happening to her whereas Xadium seems to lead a "charmed life," her tone indicating she suspects him.

Dead-Eyes stays with Xadium and irritatedly chastises Xadium, remarking that there "are better ways to hitch a ride back home for your granddaughter's wedding than with one of the most infamous criminals in Gallifreyan History."

Shocked, Xadium realizes they must have come forward in time.

Hazel, for her part, is taken to an interrogation chamber and threatened with the mind-probe if she doesn't reveal all her secrets. It turns out the CIA doesn't even care about her past crimes-- they just want all the knowledge and secrets of her family from the Dark Time. "Oh, no, not the mind probe," she deadpans, daring them to use it on her. They do so, and activate the device. She screams in agony for a brief moment, and then smiles darkly-using a secret mental command to reverse the polarity of the probe and rip whatever useful knowledge the agents might have from their minds.

To her surprise, she discovers that the agents are acting under the compulsion of a third party, who intends to unleash a matter-eater weapon stolen from the Omega Arsenal-- nicknamed "Death-Eater Particles" in the citadel-- just where a wedding happens to be happening.

Taking a uniform and a biodata access key from one of the agents, she incapacitates the others and decides she needs to break into the Omega Arsenal to try and determine who they are working against. As she prepares to leave, another prisoner asks her for aid in escapting-- the almost skeletal Master, who is a badly degraded version of his "Harold Saxon" incarnation.

He tells her he was left there after wounding the Lord President Rassilon and leaving him in a regenerative coma. He starts to promise Hazenine power and influence, but she just lets him out because she has no time to waste and his antics might be a useful distraction for her.

As she turns to leave, the Master attempts to kill her with one of the guard's stasers, declaring he needs neither witnesses nor competition, nor does he want to be in debt to a woman. Hazel, anticipating treachery, was able to dodge in time and press her palms to his stomach, forming an alchemical circle on his abdomen, blowing away part of his torso and leaving him spasming ont he ground. Rather than leave him to die, however, she takes a quick count of the disabled CIA operatives and sees they number 13. She smirks, and alchemically reduces them down to goop, fusing them with the Master and stabilizing his condition. She leans down over him, her lips almost to his and whispers. "Haven't you heard, it's all about girl power now. Who knows, you might wake up in your next life as a woman. I hope you can figure out eye liner~"

Leaving him, she continues making her way to the Omega Arsenal. After infiltrating it she checks the data cores and discovers plans for a "Cold 2.0 x Validium Hybrid N-form Body" that looks like Adrestia whose intellect was force-distilled from an inhabitant of Yau-Calabi space. She dryly notes this sounds like something that came out of a "bad weapons engineering students' fan fiction."

She determines that someone with a very high level of clearance deployed this weapon, which is also "relatively desynchronous" with the Gallfreyan timeline-- meaning it came from Gallifrey's future.

"They're breaking all kinds of laws," Hazel remarks to herself, also seeing that the first place Adrestia went after activation was Shada, the Time Lord Prison Planet.

At the Citadel, Xadium and Dead-Eyes discover they have missed the wedding, but there is a mass panic as parts of the Panopticon tower start to rain down, their components being consumed by Death-Eater particles.

Elsewhere, Cressida and Intern are speeding off in an air car after the wedding. Intern holds Cressida's hand, remarking on how grateful she is for this day, regretting how hectic the morning had been. Cressida remarks it's fine, as they now have all the time in the world. At that moment, another aircar pulls up alongside theirs.

A shot rings out, and Intern is struck in the side by the Death Eater particles. Thanks to her Observation Haki, however, Cressida was able to somewhat anticipate this and was able to punch Intern in the side with a "Plasma Punch", burning out the particles and getting her out of the line of fire, but also heavily wounding Intern, who begins to regenerate because of the shock.

Knowing that Intern will survive, Cressida hits the autopilot on the aircar setting it to land and leaps out of it, heading over to the next car to take out the assassin, but by the time she gets to them they have already used the Death Eater particles on themselves. As they are dissolving away, they declare, "it's always the ones close to you." There is a massive explosion as a temoral bomb goes off.

Cressida crashlands Air car next to Intern's and, injured, starts to investigate, but Intern's body is gone...

At the citadel, Hazel reappears with an improvised cancellation device that stops the Death-Eater particles and renders them inert.

Xadium questions how she was able to do this, and she reveals that she's been able to somewhat study the future Time Lord technology.

She sports a new Time Ring she stole from the Omega Arsenal and grabs his arm, stating that she's in control of the trip now and they are going to Shada to find out who sent out Adrestia and these particles. Xadium demands they go back to save Vermellia and Hazel declares that they need to understand who their enemy is or they're just going to end up walking into a death trap, coldly activating the device and causing them to vanish.

6. Prisonworld Shada

Arriving on Shada, Hazel proceeds to hack open an apparently empty prison cell, revealing that one fo the secrets her family built into the prisonworld was a secondary arsenal-- and something more- a Deep AlterTime Excavator. Xadium states he's never heard of anything like that. Hazel asks him if he knows of the "Time Scoop" in the Death Zone on Gallifrey, which was capable of transporting any person from any location in space and time to Gallifrey for use in the savage games. Xadium replies it is something he knows about. Hazel explains that device was a bastardization of the DATE, which allows a user to pull any event from any timeline and drop it into the universe, like a plant graft.

As they walk into the chamber where the DATE was, Hazel concludes her explanation with.. "and it's been stolen."

As she says that, alarms go off and the lighting on the station goes blood-red. From hidden speakers, a throaty, distorted voice booms "Soon all sins shall be cleansed."

All the prisoners who had been locked in their cells are released.

There are so many monsters from all over time and space that all they can do is run. X steals a datacube, and they get away behind a bulkhead, the plan being to destroy the cell chamber and take the criminalks out with it. Hazel trips a self-destruct timer, and then suddenly pins X to a wall, pressing to him.

"Time to rectify all that unresolved sexual tension between us," she cooes, as X is mortified, replying "WHAT sexual tension~?" Hazel quips, "Oh I'm sure someone ships it~" and reaches her hand down, whispering "I'm going to take your"... and then swipes the Datacube from his pocket. X shoves her away in irriation as she laughs, "so you like it rough, eh, well, too bad, the moment is over."

She proceeds to read the data off the Datacube, reporting that "whoever stole the DATE was a member of the Celestial Intervention Agency. They used their codes to get in, and then somehow found this hidden location."

Xadium implores Hazel to use the Time Ring to get them off the station before it blows, she replies sarcastically that that was never an option, since what idiot would allow easy transport off a Prison world. There are multiple Transduction Barriers up in place. When Xadium demands to know how she intended to get off the planet, she replies "the same way the thief did," and deduces they used the time scoop in reverse to make their way out.

The same Time Scoop that is on the other end of the prison between them and the prisoners.

With time running out, they crawl through the ventilation corridors and paly a cat-and mouse game of survival with a Rutan genocider before making it back to the Time Scoop, going to whereever it was set to last, escaping just as the Shada facility explodes.

Someone watches this from a monitor screen, and crosses off the names of the prisoners who were killed from a list. Crossed off is also "The Intern." We see some more names yet to be crossed off on the list... including Hazeine, Xadium, and The Actuary.

They repeat to themselves, in a heavily modulated voice. "Soon all Sins Shall be Cleansed."

Outerworlds Arc

7. Planet Mondas

Xadium and Hazel appear on Mondas before the Cyber-era, in the middle of a full scale French-Revolution style massacre of the political elite. The wealthy have spent decades loosening environmental regulations so they can make massive profits and live in luxury, and now the climate of the planet has been ruined. The 99% are out for blood, and the elites have constructed a rocket to escape the whole mess and start over somewhere in space. (The same rocket from "World Enough and Time / The Doctor Falls", but with a much more massive first stage booster attached that is miles high)

The atmosphere is choking and toxic, and people are dying horribly everywhere. Xadium remarks this is the breaking point-- the last gasp-- literally and figuratively--of the Mondasian civilization.

Hazel takes one look at the rocket and asks Xadium if he sees what she's seeing. Xadium concurs. Someone has given the Mondasians Gallifreyan technology-- enough to build a pulse-boosted "footprint" engine, that will send a massive blast of power down to push the rocket up. They both rapidly calculate that given the size of the rocket, the footprint rebound effect will be so strong it will knock Mondas right out of orbit. Hazel admires the engine, calling it "brilliant", and Xadium calls it "monstrous."

The duo take advantage of the chaos to try and find out who provided the plans for the booster engine, heading to the other side of the planet, but all they can determine is this person was tall and wore a hood. They also used some form of strong mental compulsion. Xadium suspects the Master, but Hazel is not so sure, wondering what the benefit of all this would be for him.

Xadium wonders how they are supposed to follow the trail of this person now-- Hazel thinks the datacube may mave more clues, but before they can examine things any further, the massive rocket takes off, literally liquefying hundreds of thousands of people and starting a massive cataclysmic shift in the planet's orbit.

For the next months, it's all Hazel and Xadium can do to survive in the post-apocalyptic wasteland, as Hazel has to take time to build a new reader for the data cube. Xadium discovers that Mondas was the furthest out remote colony of the Silver Millennium, their mutual history all but forgotten.

Hazel initially ignores the people struggling to survive, and mocks Xadium for helping them as he creates makeshift food and air purifiers, saying the weak should perish, but over time, she is impressed by their singular will to survive... a trait she shares. She is especially impressed with their Leader, who manages to get the society back on its feet and rebuilding, even as the planet start to drift further and further away from the sun. She discovers he is dying of lung cancer due to the pollutants in the toxic atmosphere, and he is not alone-- their society is doomed to extinction.

The data reader complete, Xadium discovers several other planets of interest to the enemy, and lets Hazel know they can go. She agrees, and sets the time ring to their next destination. The duo leaves... but Hazel left behind a "present" for the Leader-- a bulky but usable cybernetic air / food purifier box to replace his lungs and stomach, and a special handle-bar shaped helmet for the brain interface to tie it into his body, taken and repaired from a damaged experimental science lab.

As the leader goes under the knife to have these attached, he says slowly. "Thank you for your gift Lady Hazenine... with this... We Will Survive."

8. Planet X "Nibiru"

Encountering a long-lost world-ship of aggressive Annunaki who are heading back through the Sol System with the intent of wreaking havoc on the climate and seas of the Earth, devastating its population and decimating it to the point where they can be easily re-enslaved, Xadium and Hazel discover the secret behind a hidden era of Earth History between the fall of the Silver Millennium and the modern day, when various groups of space aliems preyed upon the weakened post-war human population. In the face of the Annunaki super science which rivals even the Osirans', the Time Lords find themselves outmatched both physically and intellectually.

When the Annunaki force the two Time Lords to fight to the death in a sadistic war game, it is Hazel who has the last laugh as she cruelly turns the tables, exploting the one weakness of the Annunaki, jury-rigging a psychotronic generator that brings out the pure savagery of the Annunaki to its maximum as they enjoy seeing the Time Lords harm on another, sending the populace into an almost orgasmic bloodlust that results in them exterminating each other in an orgy of murder and mayhem.

Disgusted, Xadium demands she never do that again, to which Hazel simply replies, "well your precious humans are safe now, aren't they?" To which he has no good retort.

Klaxons go off as the world-ship abruptly begins to change course to take it out of the Solar System, as if pulled by a massive force. The Time Lords quickly flee, again trying to head for Energy Nede 2, but fate has other plans...

9. Fortress Orion

This time appearing on a ship parked so close to the sun no observatory on Earth can see it, Hazel and Xadium encounter the Orions (not the same race as the other Orions from Star Trek) who are huge lizard-people capable of mimicking human form. Xadium recalls hearing about them on the Annunaki ship as one of the other races that had their way with humanity in the post Silver Millennium Past, and they discover that the Osirans had oriented their pyramids so as to send a homing signal to Orion so their colony ships would arrive on the planet. It took many years for the Orions to arrive, and by the time they did, the Osirans had long since left Earth and Mars.

Strangely, the ship is mostly empty, except for a skeleton crew of Orions who are desperately trying to keep their vessel from crashing into the sun as its orbital motors are failing. Hazel tries to convince Xadium these Orions are no different than the Annunaki an should be destroyed. She points out that for all their talk of "just wanting to go home" they have been having fairly frequent long-range transports to Earth using a souped-up transmat beam. The Reason the orbital engines are failing is because they were damaged powering that beam powerful enough to send crew 1 AU across Space to Earth.

The crewmembers protest that their leaders had "their own plans" and created this situation but they wanted no part of it. Hazel doesn't buy it for a second, while Xadium helps them fix their engines, warning them to leave the planet alone.

Complicating matters is a Xenomorph on board ship that has been picking off the crew. Working together, they manage to kill it, but only three members of the Orion crew remain alive.

The repairs done, the ship gets ready to leave, but then one of the remaining crew members holds the others at gunpoint stating he wants to go to Earth to join "the others" who are already there. At that moment, there is a massive blast that sends massive space station hurtling out of its orbit. Hazel quickly makes a note of where it it most likely to end up, but there is no time to discuss as the blast provides the break needed for a massive gun battle to break out and all the Orions kill each other, with the Time Lords barely managing to escape via Transmat... the beam sending them down into a hidden Masonic Chamber... in a fortified bunker underneath Denver International Airport.... but before that happens...


Details coming soon.

Homecoming Arc

10. Denver, USA

Arriving in the Bunker under Denver International Airport, Xadium and Hazel catch a group of elderly rich men in robes by surprise. The men were actually attempting to summon someone else-- the Orions, with whom they have made a pact. The men pull out advanced weaponry, apparently having planned to betray their Orion "partners" and gain teleport access to their ship and technology. Instead, they decide they are going to torture and dissect the Time Lords.. but at that moment everyone is killed in the opening moments of The Quinox Incident.

Two weeks pass, and the world is restored. In that instant, Xadium and Hazel manage to overcome the disorientation of coming to with two weeks of memory missing, and escape their would-be captors. Chased, they find themselves trapped in a hallway with only one door leading out.

(Next segment was written by YingGirl as a writing exercise. I changed it very slightly to fit the narrative.)

The door will always be closed.

The two Time Lords from Gallifrey-- one, the renegade suburban Time Lord famous for his Soda dispenser-shaped TARDIS and the other the "true heroine" of Gallifrey, Lady Hazenine, looked upon the door that now barred their path.

Their mischievous adventures across times and galaxies had all come down to this door, their route ending with confusion at this intergalactic roadblock.

They Both looked at each other, temperamental buddies from the same planet, and started to pitch escape ideas.

“So now what?” Hazenine asked, pointing out the obvious. “Door’s locked.”

Curiously, with his sonic screwdriver, Xadium prodded the door, peering at it and hoping that with the screwdriver's quick humming, the door could be opened.

But the door did not open, even in the face of the cries of the screwdriver.

“Well,” Xadium replied, “I’m stumped. Screwdriver’s out.”

Shaking her head, Hazenine rolled her eyes. “Men and their screwdrivers,” Hazenine replied contemptously. “Here, let me show you what true Gallifreyan powers can do.”

Xadium looked on, curious as to what arcane display a Time Lord of the Ancient Houses, born of the Dark Times could display.

With her bare fists, Hazenine smacked the door. Punch after punch, she howled, submerging herself into primal rage.

Still, the door did not open.

"Well, that's certainly something," Xadium intoned, as Hazenine spun around to look at him, flushed with fury. "Was that the 'Puglisitic Punch of Rassilon?"

Hazenine punched him in the crotch, smirking with satisfaction as the guards rushed up the corridor, swarming to capture them.

Mercilessly, she spin-kicked the staggered Xadium right into their pursuers, who were momentarily caught off-guard, one of them losing their grip on their laser rifle. Hazenine quickly snatched the rifle out of the air and in a deft, fluid motion, blew the brains out of every one of the people who had been following them. Xadium chided her, snapping that she didn't have to do that. Hazenine considered this and concurred, replying that she should have left one alive to torture for information.

As they make their way back to the transmat site in the airport's underhalls, Orion Soldiers from another vessel in the Solar system appear. The Time Lords manage to quickly duck out of sight and learn that the Orions plan to destroy a certain location in Cardiff England... the Time-Space Rift at the Center of the rebuilt Torchwood Hub.


11. Cardiff City

Realizing that the Orions will be able to transmat right to the Torchwood Hub and they won't be able to intercept them in time, Hazel uses the rifle she had captured to snipe all the people in the room, save for one that she barely leaves alive.

Xadium berates her for the violence but she coldly plays out the scenario in which she did not use lethal force and clearly makes the compelling case that they'd both be dead at the hands of those she killed. She then bends down and takes a control key from the one person she spared, and after breaking both his arms with savage stomps of her feet, she tells Xadium she'll leave that one alive just for him.

Xadium icily notes that she only left that one alive because she needed his bioprint for the control key she just took, and she shrugs, remarking that "it was just his lucky day."

Taking the control key, she sends a feedback pulse up the Transmat device which fatally damages the Orion ship in orbit, sending it crashing down to Earth.

Xadium angrily points out that all Hazel did was strand a bunch of desperate, angry Orions on Earth. Hazel counters that now it's a race to get to Cardiff, and since the Orions have nothing to gain from harming humans, they're going to run straight to their allies, and with the control key she has, she can hack into some satellite networks and root them all out.

As Hazel and X make their way to Cardiff by Plane, using the in-flight Wi-Fi Hazel transmits the location of all Orion human ally sleeper cells to UNIT and her warehoused army of Cybermen.

There is a montage as UNIT captures orions disguised as humans, including some high-profile celebrities who are caught mid-transformation or "on the job" ala the final scenes of They Live. Hazel's Cybermen go after many as well, dragging them underground, the sounds of their screams giving way to the sounds of Cyber-conversion.

The one group of Orions heading to Cardiff she leaves alone, however, as the question of why they want the rift fascinates her and both Time Lords agree that if there's a larger game at play here then they need to know the plan because even if they stop this cell there might be others.

Xadium tries to impress upon Hazel the need to use a lighter touch and not be so cruel and overpowering in her stratagems if she's trying to work for the greater good. They get into an argument over efficiency vs morality and the greatest good vs the least harm.

Getting to Cardiff, they try to get to the staff at the Torchwood Hub, but everyone is off on a mission and it becomes a running battle between them and the orions for control of the rift manipulator. They manage to beat the Orions, with only one surviving, bu that orion reveals that the reaon they wanted to destroy the rift manipulator was that they were trying to stop someone else from using it.

Shocked, Xadium tries to find out more, but at that moment the Orion is vaporized by someone. Hazel and X hear a female voice say "Thank you for protecting my prize."

Before they can react, this person has used the rift manipulator to banish them in the time-space Vortex. Then, opening the rift, we see her from the back declaring that "The time is nigh for all sins to be cleansed... even my own."


12. Tokyo, Part I

Trapped in the Time Space Vortex, Xadium and Hazel work on getting the Time Ring to take them back to Cardiff, so of course they end up on Energy Nede, where they see Vermellia, who is just fine, folding up her scythe and heading off to check on her mom as Welch gives her a boost. They don't even get a chance to speak to her.

Confronting Welch, X demands to know who she fixed things without the Omnicron. Welch replies she got bored with waiting for them and so restarted local reality anyway. Xadium angrily demands to know why she did that given the danger to Vermellia ,and Welch just idly replies that Xadium wasn't paying close enough attention, that Vermellia had her claws out and clearly had the upper hand in that confrontation.

Hazel's jaw drops and she demands ot know why Welch didn't bother telling them and she replies, "oh my bad" before collecting the Omnichron, which she says she can use in "some other project" and vanishing.

Xadium and Hazel just look at one another for a moment in shock and then Hazel points out the obvious question "what happened to the assassin."

Adrestia is behind them suddenly, covered in scars and battle damage from her fight with Vermelia. There is a hole in her head, which is closing up.

Xadium wonders out loud as he's pondering how to fight her if that's a self-repair mechanism like Sakura-April or a function of liquid metal Validium.

Adrestia replies there is no further need for battle as her mistress has already secured her objective on Earth and so her mission is over, as soon all sins will be cleaned.

She reveals that the damage she took is "unhappening" because she is a being that has no past, or future, only a present. She is a fixed point unto herself, sort of like Jack Harkness - something that has no beginning or end, a quality that has made her a desirable weapon by many beings, but she takes no pleasure or anger from her missions. She exists in a state of pure equinamity. All Vermellia did was slow her down, but it won't matter because soon Vermellia will not exist, nor any of the Marianna-Xadium line or their accomplices.

When X presses as to what "accomplices" means, Adrestia simply seems to turn into dust and blow away in the wind.

Xadium is hot to get back to Cardiff and stop whoever this is, but Hazel demands they stop and take a moment to review what they know so far first. She's sure that their trip hasn't been as random as they think.

Analyzing the various events, she realizes that there's a pattern to what's happening.

Someone from the Celestial Intervention Agency stole the Deep AlterTime Excavator. The Actuary and Vermellia and the Panopticon, as well as Noriko's old office on Karn were attacked. These were all people and places associated with the Celestial Intervention Agency.

Someone gave the Mondasians the power to move their planet.

The planet-sized Annunaki world ship was suddenly pulled off course by what she now thinks was a magnetron. The Orion Fortress station was also blasted out of orbit... and by her calculations the three things will line up creating sympathetic gravity waves that will line up exactly with the space-time co-ordinates of the Cardiff SpaceTime rift.

Hazel speculates that this is like clearing a path for the DATE to pull some massive space-time event out of the tapestry of history.

X wonders if this person could be a threat known to his family, and at first thinks of Norom.

Hazel deduces that if the rift energy is being used like a towline to pull whatever it is out of space-time then they can use a reading of the rifts energy direction to see where its target is.

Taking a risk, they use the time ring to follow the rift energy and find themselves standing outside the crystal palace in Crystal Tokyo.

Xadium notes the dimensional displacement doesn't conform to Earth 1337, 1337A B or C, so this is different 1337 timeline altogether.

Suddenly, they are confronted by Shayde, a a guilt ridden alt-future (valeyard-like) incarnation of Noriko, who wants to kill all those who supported her past horrible self.

She rants about cleansing all the sins of the universe, and that she will use the silver crystal to brainwash the universe into a pure peace.

Hazel points out the Silver Crystal is too small to do this, as she had once considered using it for universal domination herself, and Shayde darkly laughs, remarking that "there is a much larger one that has been in plain sight all your lives."

She points behind her to the Crystal Palace, as the entire portion of the city it sits on begins to phase in and out of reality.

Holding a staser on them, she marches them to the throne room of the palace and stands in front of the throne, mocking them.

Shayde confidently brags that nothing can stop her now as Xadium and Hazel look on in shock.

Then, abruptly, Shayde falls forward, blood exploding from her mouth as she is impaled through the hearts by a bony hand and drops in front of them, stone dead.


13. Finale - Tokyo, Part II (End of The Road)

Kicking the corpse of Shayde down the stairs leading to the imperial throne, Death Phantom sat imperiously in the seat of power as Xadium and Hazel fled.

"Run!" he gloated. "Run like the dogs you are!" Death Phantom gloated. "There is nothing you can do! My victory is assured! Resistance is useless!"

"That level of psionic power is incredible!" Hazel exclaimed as she and Xadium made their way up a winding crystal staircase. "Was he always this strong?"

Xadium shook his head. "From what I was told, he was strong, but not this strong."

Hazel considered this. "Well, he originates from another universe, so it's possible your knowledge doesn't apply in this context."

Xadium nodded, frowning. "It's so much worse than him just being stronger, actually," he added. "Think about where we are." He gestured around him as they made their way into a large chamber, in which five glass sarcophagi lay.

"The Crystal Palace," Hazel confirmed. "Made of pure Imperium Silver Crystal grown from the heart of the late queen. The greatest amplifer of will in the universe. Your wayward alternate-alternate reality daughter wanted to use its power to rewrite reality across all multiverses."

"Exactly," Xadium replied, trying not to think of Shayde's agonizing last moments. "It's the sort of thing Death Phantom would use to enslave all of reality."

"It's not a bad plan, really," Hazel mused. "Had I thought about it long enough, I would have gotten there eventually."

Xadium just looked at her.

"What," Hazel asked with slight irritation at his gaze. "A girl can admire, can she not?"

"Don't get any ideas," Xadium warned.

"Oh I have lots of ideas," Hazel cooed, running a finger down his chest specifically to unnerve him. "But luckily for you and your pets none of them involve the mass mind-enslavement of reality." She chuckled, walking on ahead. "Think about it. To effectively control the universe would require constant mental exertion to the point where there would be no time to do anything fun."

If that's the only thing holding her back, god help us, Xadium thought to himself.

"Sailor Senshi," Hazel remarked, pointing to the bodies lying perfectly preserved in the Crystal Sarcophagi. "In stasis?"

Xadium nodded. "I believe they were using their life-energy to defend the palace from Death Phantom."

Hazel went over to one of the coffins, which held a blonde woman in a red hairbow.

"Sailor Venus," Hazel mused. "Weren't you banging that at some point?" She chuckled darkly.

"Don't be so crude," Xadium snapped. "We were wed until things changed... and this isn't even my Minako. Who knows what her life is like in the universe she's from."

"Well why don't we just ask her?" Hazel replied, pressing a finger to the release switch on the Sarcophagus.

Xadium froze. "Wh-what are you doing?"

"We need all the help we can get," Hazel replied sensibly. "They're useless in here napping. It's not like their defense worked. The queen is dead and Skeletor sits on the throne."

Xadium nodded numbly, unable to argue the point. In truth, ever since he and Minako had parted ways, he had stayed out of her way for the most part.

The covering of the Sarcophagus slid back. Trepidatiously, Xadium reached out to touch Venus' face to wake her up.

"Venus?" he asked.

As his finger touched her face, it pressed right in. Before he could realize what was happening, her body crumbled to dust, leaving behind only her clothing, which collapsed in the pile.

"Dead," Hazel clinically observed, as Xadium stood there in shock. "Molecular discohesion, only held in check by the stasis field. She probably burnt out every erg of energy in her body acting as a battery for the defense field."

Xadium stood still silently, just processing what he had seen. For the second time that day he had seen an alternate version of someone he had cared about just go to dust. First Noriko, now Minako.

Ninegate, for her part, moved on and tried the other chambers, to similar results.

"In whatever timeline this palace is from," Hazel declared, "the Sailor Senshi lost their war.. and their lives."

Finally, Xadium came to his senses. "Well, as long as he doesn't figure out how to use this palace, we still have a chance," he replied. "Maybe we can use it to counteract his mental power."

"If the normal Ginzuishou could drain the life out of its user for relatively mundane tasks," Hazel countered, "how much life-force do you think it would take to even get a spark out of this thing?" She picked up a small micro-computer from the dustpile that had been Sailor Mercury and started playing with it, cracking the access codes. "Maybe that's why Death Phantom hasn't tried anything with the Palace-it's not that he doesn't know its potential-it's that he can't harness..." her voice trailed off as she watched the screen.

"What is it?" Xadium asked, walking over to her.

"He may not be planning domination with the palace but he certainly has something terrible in mind." She showed Xadium the screen of the micro-computer, which showed a swam of green dots. A red dot introduced itself into the swarm, and every green dot it touched turned red, and each of those dots turned more green dots red until very quickly all was red.

"Sailor Mercury deduced his plan. He wants to create some kind of memetic virus." Hazel whistled under her breath. "Each of the people infected would be able to bring someone else under his spell."

"Like zombies," Xadium realized.

"Indeed," Hazel agreed. "According to this database, the population of Earth in the time of this Crystal Tokyo was actually shockingly small due to the rapid onset of a micro Ice Age and some kind of war with a planet called 'Nemesis', which ended when Death Phantom betrayed its people, murdering them with a nasty fast-acting, quick-dispersing poison gas. Most everyone left lived in this city. This simulation shows he plans thirty three million assimilated in the span of just six months from just three infected individuals."

Xadium frowned, looking out the window. "And worse yet, Shayde brought this metropolis onto an Earth populated by billions."

"Your family certainly knows how to muck things up," Hazel dryly observed. "One wonders if you have that capacity." She pressed close to him. "You certainly know how to attract danger~" she cooed.

Xadium scowled and pulled away from her. "Stop fooling around, we've got work to do."

Hazel mock-pouted. "And here I thought we were getting closer."

"The only thing you're getting closer to is nauseating me," Xadium snapped.

Hazel was about to retort when a blast of energy exploded upwards from the floor below.

"Now you know too much," boomed the mind of Death Phantom. "You will be eradicated!"

"Close your mind!" Hazel snapped, realizing instantly that Death Phantom must have been psychically listening in.

Another blast of energy smashed upwards through the floor and crumbled the floor under Hazel, causing her to fall through. As another blast screamed upwards, Hazel screamed out, vanishing in boiling blue light.

Xadium closed his mind, and, anticipating another blast, simply yelled out "It'll never work, you know."

A laugh reverberated through the chamber. "Playing for time, Time Lord? Very well. It will amuse me to watch you struggle against your inevitable fate. Come to my throne room. I will enjoy destroyed your spirit, just as I destroyed your friend."

"You Monster!" Xadium hissed, putting ona bit of acting. It was not like Hazel was his friend in any sense of the word, and he could recognize a short range Time Ring transport when he saw it. He just had to hope that Hazel hadn't run out on him and was still intent on stopping this threat.

If she did stuck around, he reasoned, perhaps some kind of friendship might be feasible.

Materalizing in a blast of light within a ventilation shaft, Hazel focused on keeping her mind closed and her presence completely hidden. The power of this Death Phantom was nothing to be trifled with, and she instinctively knew that Earth-- and more-- would fall if she sat still and did nothing. And she was not prepared to let her human experiment fail. They had proven their worth against her, and earned their right to the vaunted position history would afford them--if she could keep things on the rails.

Navigating through the ventilation shafts, Hazenine made her way to some massive underhalls beneath the Throne room. She saw Xadium walking into the room, and for a moment their eyes met as he looked down over the grate she was standing under. She nodded to him, indicating she was going to stay and fight.

For his part, Xadium pretended to ignore her presence and kept walking. as Hazel listened, he stood before Death Phantom, who had enlarged in size to about forty feet high. The Skeleton-faced being cackled as psionic energy flowed into him from seemingly every direction. There was so much of it so highly energized that impact of the thought-waves on the surrounding environment was actually barely visually perceptible.

Xadium opened his mouth to speak, but Death Phantom held up a silencing hand.

"Before you begin your futile display, know this, Time Lord," Death Phantom said, a twisted smile in his thoughts. "You are too late. The people of this city and I are already one." Death Phantom laughed, his "voice" mentally reverberating throughout the hall. "Body and soul, united in singular purpose. Their power flows into me from all corners of the city."

Xadium froze, realizing that the plan Hazel had uncovered was no mere plot or theory. Death Phantom had already made it fact! And that meant that his power was already at a scale that was almost unimaginable.

"And now you understand the utter hopelessness of your situation."

Raising a bony finger, Death Phantom discharged a bolt of pure green psionic energy that struck Xadium in the chest, sending him tumbling to the ground and skidding back almost a hundred feet.

"One mind, one purpose-MY PURPOSE!" Death Phantom boomed. "And once they leave this Crystal enclave, my millions of emissaries will bring my message to the people of this world." He cackled, leaning forward. "Eight billion minds will sing in my choir."

"You'd be unstoppable," Xadium wheezed, feeling the burnmark perilously close to his hearts. If Death Phantom succeeeded here, there would be no limit to the damage he could cause.

"I have thirty-three million minds as it is," Death Phantom confidently corrected. "I already am." He cackled. "But there are greater heights yet to achieve. Yes, once I assimilate this planet I will go from world to world, spreading my mind across the firmament, multiplying my might until I will stand alone at the pinnacle of creation!"

"Not if that connection can be broken," Xadium countered loudly, hoping Hazenine would hear him from her hiding spot in the underhalls. "Without them, you are nothing." He did his best to try and sound confident.

It was a struggle for Xadium to keep his mind closed against the onsalught of the Death Phantom. He couldn't let it slip that he still had an accomplice, or everything was over.

Hazel, I'm trusting you here, he thought to himself.

Hearing Xadium's words, Hazel understood, and quickly made her way through the labyrinthine underhalls, past the massive stockpiles of poison gas Death Phantom had stored for his betrayal of Nemesis in the 31st century, and she found an entry hatch to what must have been alternate Solarchos' bunker system. Breaking in, she made her way towards the city. Exiting a few hundred feet later from the bunker's sewer exit, Hazenine got to higher ground and surveyed the scene. A mass of glassy-eyed, mind controlled people were now swarming out towards the borders of the future-city Crystal Tokyo. In mere minutes, they would cross the threshold into Tokyo in the timeline of 1337-A's 2019. Ironically, for a Lord of Time, time was one thing she no longer had. She needed to act, and act quickly. There was only one solution she could envision, and she had to make it happen now.

"Will you die, Time Lord, or will you become my slave?"

The question was asked arrogantly, but confidently.

Xadium had nowhere to run and he knew it. The Death Phantom's mental power had compounded to the point where a mere thought from him spelled painful death.

There were no weapons in the room, and no hope of winning a battle of wills. The only chance was to hope that Hazel could find a way to break the psionic link between Death Phantom and the people, but to do that, he needed to buy her some time.

"Absorbing my mind won't do much for you," Xadium replied. "With that many millions of minds in your head, I have to think it's more of a deafening roar than any kind of library of facts you can acccess up there. I'd be subsumed, lost in the shuffle. What I have to offer you would be lost. I'm much more useful to you with my thoughts right where they are."

Death Phantom didn't answer, but didn't take any action either.

After a few moments, he finally said "I am waiting for an explanation, Time Lord."

"Sorry, it's rather hard to tell how you are reacting," Xadium replied, gesturing to his face. "No face, you see, rather hard to tell. I'd certainly hate to play poker with yo--"

"CEASE THIS FOOLISH PRATTLE!" Death Phantom boomed. "It is clear you are just stalling for time. Nothing you can do will save you now."

"Block Transfer Computation," Xadium replied confidently.

"And what is that?" Death Phantom replied, a slight tingle of curiosity in his voice.

"Well," Xadium responded, "So you've got thirty plus million minds at your disposal. What good is it to you right now besides flaying your enemies to death telekinetically, projecting lightning or making people into your puppets?"

"Is that not enough?!" Death Phantom boomed. "I hold the power of life and death! I am a God!"

"Bah, any old mutant can do what you describe. But what if I told you," Xadium continued, hoping he wasn't gravely miscalculating, "that with the power of Block Transfer Computation, and your mental power, anything you can imagine... you can create. Now that is the true power of a God."

Death Phantom stared at him impassively in silence.

Xadium stared back.

"I"M WAITING!" Death Phantom boomed after a few moments. "YOU HAVE MY INTEREST! TELL ME MORE!"

"Well you know you rather have to say those things," Xadium chided. "Like I said, you've no facial expressions."

"DO NOT PLAY THE FOOL!" Death Phantom boomed. "TELL ME ABOUT--"

Suddenly, Death Phantom dropped to his knees, gagging and coughing, screaming in pain. His physical size dropped from forty feet in height to thirty, then twenty, then ten... then five.

Hazenine must have done it! Xadium realized. Death Phantom was screaming and clutching his skull. The Psionic link must be broken!

Seizing the moment, Xadium dashed over to Death Phantom and placed a hand on his skull, forcibly initiating telepathic contact. His intent was to corner Death Phantom's mind and lock it away, but to his horror he discovered that due to the sudden outrush of enslaved minds, Death Phantom was overexerting himself trying to retain control. He was mere seconds away from total self-destruction!

Quickly breaking contact, Xadium pulled away, running from the throne room as Death Phantom let out an unholy screech. A low bass-filled explosion went off behind him as the creature exploded into a florescent green miasma of flaming energy which howled through the halls like a firestorm,its skull flying through the air like an out of control cacodemon.

Barely getting through the front door of the palace in time, Xadium slammed them shut and turned to Hazel, grinning wildly "we did it!"

Within seconds, however, his grin turned to a look of shocked horror as Xadium saw nothing before him but a sea of corpses. A city of the dead, citizens who had been gassed by Death Phantom's Cyanosarin. And before them, taking off a gas mask, was Hazel Ninegate. It was immediately obvious what had happened.

She turned to regard Xadium emotionlessly, the trigger-switch from an improvised delivery system falling from her hand as her blank gaze met his.

"How could you?!" Xadium demanded, livid with rage, aghast at the sea of the dead that surrounded the deathly silent palace. "All those people!"

"It was the only way to break the link in time," Hazel replied quietly. "They were on the verge of crossing into 1337-A and infecting the planet."

"All those PEOPLE!" Xadium yelled again, hands balling into fists, seeing red. "Monster!"

Hazel blinked at his reaction, feeling anger rise within herself as well. "They were mere tools of the Death Phantom!" she snapped. "He'd already engorged himself on their minds to augment his power!" She lowered her voice and regarded the corpses coldly, a mask of indifference falling over her features. "They were already dead in any way that mattered. I just finished the job so I could finish him before he got to the rest of the planet."

She stared at Xadium, awaiting the inevitable reaction.

"You don't know that!" Xadium snapped, shaking with indignation. You didn't even try to save them!" He looked away. "You just do what you always do," he hissed. "Bring about more death and then laughing it off with some glib justification."

"Does a Physician weep for the cancer cell when he cuts it out?" Hazel intoned almost soulessly. "These 'people' were a disease that, unchecked, would have eradicated your precious Human pets. I exterminated 33 million to save 7.6 billion."

"It's NOT ABOUT THE NUMBERS!" Xadium roared, so overcome with rage he lunged at her and wrapped his hands around her throat.

"No, it's not," Hazenine rasped, not moving to defend herself. "It was a choice I made, for what I believed to be the most benefit to the most people." She locked her gaze with Xadium coldly. There was no sign of arrogance, or remorse. Just cold neutrality. The ice-coldness of an intellect that had calculated the outcome of an equation and absolutely nothing more.

Xadium's fingers tightened around her pale neck.

"You'll need to do more than just stangle me," Hazel rasped coldly. "You know that. I've still got so many lives left. You'll need to finish me off properly."

"Don't you even care about your own life?" Xadium hoarsely growled, trying to keep his gaze locked with hers, but finding it increasingly difficult.

"Perhaps I too am a cancer," Hazel replied. "A woman out of time who looks upon the world from too high a perch. Who can't bring herself to care about the trees when saving the forest. Perhaps I too, need to be excised, to make way for the kinder, gentler world of your generation."

The biting irony of her words, rasped as her face slowly turned blue as Xadium's hands tightned around her neck was not lost on either party.

"You know how to do it," Hazel continued, fighting to get her words out. "You're a trained operative. Just snap my neck 32 millimeters to the side. Once it's done you'll have just the briefest of moments to pierce my hearts and sever my spinal column before the regenerative process can start."

Xadium bit his lower lips, fingers trembling, squeezing her neck even tighter.

"Aren't you sorry at all!?" he demanded sharply, hoping for some kind of contrition.

"No." Hazel's voice was almost tiny, as if a force beyond Xadium's grip was causing her to choke out the denial.

Time and space and sound and light seemed to vanish for Xadium at that moment. All there was was the sensation of his hands around Hazel's soft throat, and the throbbing of her arteries agsinst his fingertips. Her blood pressure hadn't even raised. She was not panicking, or preparing. She was just willing to accept his judgement.

All he had to do was snap to one side.

All it would take one was second.

A second that stretched to eternity.

Releasing his grip, Xadium shoved her back, more to get himself distance from her than vice-versa, tears clouding his eyes.

There they stood, two Time Lords alone, in a field of disppearing dead. Ancient creatures beyond time and space, alone and apart. Indifference and Wrath, looking each other in the eye.

The silence seemed to last aeons. The sound of a seagull crying finally broke the spell as the Crystal Palace completed fusing with the center of Azabu-Juuban on Earth 1337-A.

"You should have killed me," Hazel finally said, almost desperately. "I won't change how I do things."

Xadium did not look at her. He just looked over the bodies, which were snapping back to their own timeline, in the process looking like they were boiling away as they left the palace behind. "As long as we live, we change," he replied tiredly, sitting down cross-legged, suddenly feeling the weight of his years. "I just don't know what I'm changing into." He looked at his hands, the warmth of her throat still on his fingers.

Hazenine squatted down as well, sitting on her haunches, regarding him, red welts on her neck. "You were justified," she insisted.

Xadium closed his eyes. "How does that make me any different than Shayde, or you?" he mused. "Making the cold calculation as if it's the easiest thing in the world."

"I hear you say that," Hazel replied quietly, "but it means nothing to me." She looked off into the middle distance. "For me, it is the easiest, most rational thing in the universe. Some had to die so others can live. I don't see how it can be otherwise. Wasting time trying to save everyone just gets more people killed in the interim."

"The challenge, Hazel, is to try anyway," Xadium replied. "To be better than a computer."

"Isn't that just a way to make yourself feel better, Xadium?" Hazel pressed. "To say 'oh, all these people died but because I made an effort to save them I can sleep better at night?'"

"And what if I had been able to find a way to save the people of this city, Hazel?" Xadium retorted. "What if I could have done it? How would you feel if you knew these deaths were wholly unneccessary?"

Hazel pondered. "Like shit," she replied honestly, standing, and walking up to Xadium, hunching down again to go nose-to-nose with him.

"But tell me, Xadium," she whispered hotly. "Did you have a way to save them in time? Any kind of plan?"

Xadium did not reply, and Hazenine did not press the point.She was not trying to score points, and they both knew it.

It had been an honest, cold question.

After a moment, Xadium whispered "I'm done."

He stood, and Hazel stood as well. She did not reply, but her expression clearly indicated she was expecting elaboration on his statement.

Xadium looked over the now empty streets of Crystal Tokyo, which were phasing out of existence as time reconciled the presence of the Crystal Palace from another, doomed timeline with that of Tokyo 2019.

Xadium and Hazel both knew that the Palace-- the largest Silver Crystal in existence, would become a beacon that summoned Those Who Understood to war. Who would covet it? Who would defend it? How would it be used, or abused? In a world just adapting to open displays of super power, what would this Palace represent? Hope or chaos?

"I can't do this any more," Xadium intoned. "I can't stop the madness of this universe. All I can do is put a finger in the dam and watch helplessly as more leaks start happening. And It's turning me into something I don't want to become."

Taking off his jacket, he dropped it on the ground, leaving his Psychic paper, Sonic Smartphone and various other items atop it.

"What will you do now?" Hazel asked mockingly, the tone in her voice wavering, badly covering some other emotion even she was at a loss to conciously quantify. Some might have classed it as concern. "Going to go back home to your redhead and that economy-size TARDIS HOTEL to vegetate for the rest of time?"

"Gemini's always wanted a ranch," Xadium replied. "And I think, once she's done with the stage, I'll make sure there's one waiting for her. Goodbye, Hazel. Make sure she gets those, will you?"

He turned, and started to walk away, towards the setting sun.

"So you're just going to become a hermit raising livestock? Are you really just going to walk away from the Universe?" Hazel yelled, sounding angry, a fact which surprised even her. Theirs was supposed to be a rivary! A clash of ideas and philosophies! A Battle to see who would shape the future!

Xadium did not reply, his back to her, walking steadily further away. He raised his left hand in a "bye" gesture, and kept walking.

Numbly, Hazel picked up the jacket and items, watching him recede into the distance until he was no more.

With one last crunch sound, the Crystal Palace settled its foundations and took root in the center of Tokyo 2019, a gleaming, barren monument to a slaughter from another universe, whose echoes lingered on only in Hazenine's mind.

Hazel clutched the jacket to her chest and frowned. She'd won, hadn't she? The contest between the two of them was finally over. Xadium had left, and she remained.

But somehow it felt hollow.

Somehow, she knew that on this day, both of them had lost.