The Twisted Skein

2013/2020 -- Returning

Tango Dioxide (né Dioxide - her culture didn't go in for changing surnames when you got married) jumped into the elevator as soon as it arrived. The doors slammed shut in flagrant disregard of health and safety regs, not to mention the Laws of Narrative Comedy - no-one should ever be able to easily escape a rampaging mob just by getting in a lift. Someone at Legal's going to get in trouble for that one, Tango thought, making the sign of the Legal Chao with one hand.

The ride up was accompanied by tinny music by a band that wouldn't have been allowed to exist if the Wrecked Music Department wasn't long since defunct, and then as the doors sprung apart Tango discovered exactly why Legal had been so lax:

Mobius lifts.

The one upside of her spatial loop of a journey was that the black-clad mob weren't expecting her to return. As they stared at her in confusion, Tango took the opportunity to bolt sideways - jumping over one particularly diminutive mobster... or mobette... or whatever the word was - and was off down a corridor. She hastily began to recite Treebeard's song in the original Entish, hoping that her 'unless you hadn't noticed' would trump the mob's 'catch the blasphemer'.

It didn't really work out. Gasping for breath, Tango threw a glance back over her shoulder to find her pursuers closer than ever. I haven't kept in shape, she lamented. Eight years ago they wouldn't stand a cha-OOF!

The 'oof' was the natural consequence of running headlong into a potted artificial plant, one of the hideous things Building Maintenance had decided to decorate the lobby with. Except this one wasn't in the lobby, it was in the middle of a corridor - and had a hand reaching out of it.

"Come on," snapped a woman's voice. "Do you want to be dismembered?"

"I'm sure they wouldn't-" Tango began, and then heard the distinctive snap-hiss of a dozen lightsabers igniting. "Uh, never mind." She grabbed the hand and let it drag her through the branches, into-

-a sleek metallic room far larger than the pot plant, or even the corridor. She looked around in wonder, and then turned to the owner of the hand: a short woman with cropped black hair, waiting with her other hand on her hip.

"A TARDIS," Tango breathed. "I've never actually been in one before."

"That's always nice to hear," the woman replied. "Nowadays I usually get 'Oh, did you pick one up during the Macrovirus infection too?'. Amateurs." She sniffed, then leant back and tapped something on the console. "There, we're in flight. You're welcome, by the way."

"Um, thank you," Tango said hurriedly. "But I don't understand. You're PPC - okay, DMS, I see the flashpatch, and it explains the shelf of potted cacti - but who are you? And, not that I'm complaining, why did you help me?"

The woman frowned at her. "I'm returning the favour," she pointed out. "Remember? When my pack got stolen by goblins in that Labyrinth 'fic, you and Nyx came and rescued me. Well, I saw you were in trouble, and-"

"Wait, wait." Tango held up a hand. "I've never even set foot in Labyrinth 'fic. I'm sure I'd remember."

"Hmm." The woman turned and tapped a dial on her console, then shrugged. "Must be on the blink again. So I guess I'm returning the favour in advance. That would explain a few of the things you said..."

Tango rubbed the bridge of her nose and leant on the nearest piece of furniture, which turned out to be a hatstand. "So you're from the future?"

"Or you're from the past," the woman offered. "Morgan. Nice to meet you - again."

"Uh, likewise." Tango shook her head slowly. "So what happens now?"

Morgan grinned and pulled a lever. A familiar rising and falling whine started up - the sound of a TARDIS dematerialising, made famous by the Doctor Who TV series. "Now I drop you off at your RC, and you do your level best to avoid... what was it you did to get half of HQ after you, anyway?"

"Nothing, really," Tango shrugged. "I just mentioned that I thought The Phantom Menace was the best Star Wars film... what?"

Morgan's grin had morphed into a frozen rictus, and she leant back against the console and closed her eyes. "I wonder," she said to the room at large, "if it's too late to put her back...?"

If you're worried about all that legal stuff, pay a visit to our Disclaimers page.

Main - The Future - The End of the Beginning - Returning