It’s easy to lose track of time when you are on an adventure. I’ve learned a lot about time and space since that first day, on what could’ve, and should have, been my last mission: the last day of my last war of my last life.
I had a lot of learning to do and, to be honest, that much hasn’t changed at all. After Messaline was finally changed and united, I just had to … well, run. I took a shuttle and ran through the stars. And I saw so many different things: different people, places, societies … I thought the Hath and the Humans were strange and diverse on their own, my fellow soldiers, my former enemies, but there is so much more.
It’s like the Source, that elemental ball of shifting and flowing energies back on Messaline released an entire universe before me. Expanding out and every outward I discovered new lives, saved worlds, revelled in my victories and learned from my failures.
Someone should have told me about the failures and the defeats. The machine that made me wasn’t much a teacher. If you failed during the War, you died. You died and the machine took your stored DNA and replaced you with someone else to fight and die: until victory or death. It seemed so sensible, so natural until I met my Dad.
Perhaps Dad and his Companions were my first real teachers. One of them named me, you know? Jenny. Out of the word “progenation.” I’ve learned since then that other species do not necessarily reproduce like we did back on Messaline, though I’ve heard rumours about others …
You see, I knew — even before Dad would speak to me, not having expected me or even knowing what to do with me — that I was different from the other soldiers. I could see eddies and whirls around me. My reflexes were faster. There were angles in which I could perceive and move that our basic programmed training could not have possibly covered. And I just did them naturally.
Of course, having some hearts to hearts talk with my Dad really cinched it for me. The point is: even before I left I knew I was different.
I think my new adventure began when I found a vortex manipulator. It was an old one. Dad must have been a boffin: a quaint British word from Earth referring to tinkering and invention. You see, I learned something new when I travelled there back in the Sixty-First Century.
When I fixed, and dare I say improved, on the manipulator I realized something that not even Dad’s words could convey. The universe was not an expanding diaphanous cloak of velvet and glittering lights. It is a series of dimensions refracting off of one another: like a gem with different facets but all one gem. And I could, somehow, see those angles on this one surface: knowing that each was different but all of it was unified. In this kaleidoscope of existence, everything is connected.
That was basic Time Lord philosophy, but I don’t think I would have understood it from an Academy. This came later: a lot later or whatever constitutes itself as later when you are even a basic time traveler.
It was this basic understanding of time and my failure to protect so many lives that made me realize something. It’d been fun until it got serious, but I knew then that I couldn’t be alone.
And I did my best not to be alone. I looked for Dad, but I never found him. Sometimes I’d come at the tail end of his passing, or meet some people that knew him. As a soldier, because you never forget your basic training as a soldier, I didn’t inquire too closely as I knew from our brief time together that he had enemies. I wanted to help him. I remember how lonely he looked and how happy he’d been when I made the decision not to kill.
I came close once. One time I was actually abducted by one of his enemies. I briefly a few of his Companions. One of them even rescued me. But I had been taken during an important time and I had to go back. I don’t think I could have faced him if I’d abandoned all those people. As hard as that decision was, it was the right thing to do.
I had friends along the way. I suppose you can call them my own Companions. And they helped me in my new adventure. Perhaps out of a need to know where I came from, to know how I did what I did, and even out of a sense of needing some connection with my lost Dad I scoured space and time to discover more about my father’s people: the Time Lords.
There wasn’t much left.
When he said that their War had been bigger than the Seven-Day War on Messaline I had no idea. Even now, it boggles my mind to consider the horror of a war waged across space and time: obliterating places and people out of existence, warping and twisting basic matter, and creating literally endless and eternal suffering. From what I could gather, and from what didn’t kill me, I cried. I cried for my father’s people, for the races and civilians caught in that War.
And for my Dad: who must have suffered beyond any form of sanity. We had more in common than I thought, and I wish we hadn’t.
But my goal to know more became very important when, it was made clear, that the Enemy wasn’t dead. There were clues. I admit that in my quest to know more about Dad’s culture that I looked for the remnants of their enemies: particularly on a ruined world called Skaro.
I wish I hadn’t.
They literally are the Enemy. It was like seeing the attempted genocide on Messaline writ large and made into a whole other species. It’s the end result of war and hate. And I knew that Dad was their ultimate enemy. And despite what he thinks, he can’t deal with them alone.
So I had to jury-rig a people together. A family.
Messaline welcomed me back with open arms. I could’ve come to them in the future or even before the Seven Days, but it would have been disingenuous. The progenation machine had been shut down after my Dad ended the War. But I needed to look at it even if I didn’t want to get the Hath or Humans involved in this. However, I knew that if the Enemy and their … sickening puppets had gone as far as they have everyone was at risk.
All of us on Messaline are soldiers. My friends in the Human population knew I was something big and they were willing to help me. If my own people, my Dad’s people, were all dead then I would have to bring them back: in a way.
I learned something about Regeneration in my crash course through the remains of Gallifreyan history. It was like progenation — genes being reconfigured into genetic variation by a force that is both mother and father — except for the fact that it uses a pre-existing material template, a body, to create a new adult person. I always wondered how I came back to life after being shot by Cobb. One theory is that I got caught in the energies of the Source which was, in its own way, literally regenerating the whole of Messaline.
But I also know that right after Regeneration occurs for a Time Lord that they are filled with a bio-energy that, for a while, will repair wounds or even regrow lost limbs and organs. I realized that I had just been born the day that Cobb shot me. And even though it was one of my hearts, integral to Regeneration, that I was essentially a new “limb” or being with those same energies coursing through me. The Source might have helped as well.
Only a few on Messaline have even this basic knowledge of what I intended to do. It was risky, but worth it: to see my children born. The first ones had to be adults. I modified the training programming. While we have basic combat ability, there is more room for reasoning and thought. And, much to my mixed delight — as I don’t like being hurt or seeing one of my children in pain — I realized Dad passed on more to us than I thought. We can, in fact, Regenerate.
This makes things easier in some ways. My children have taken a variety of different forms and interests since that time. Where it would have been immensely hard for me to find a TARDIS Graveyard alone or with non-Time Lord Companions, they helped me. We are even developing something of a rudimentary telepathic bond: a shallow echo of the collective consciousness that the Time Lords, our Predecessors, used to possess. But it’s dangerous. I know enough that the Enemy has its own collective and should they ever find a way to access those of others …
In my own travels, I learned how to shield my thoughts and I’ve taught my children to do the same. We are less an army and more a series of cells through space and time.
We’ve suffered some setbacks. During our attempts to salvage from the few Graveyards we could find, and to harvest and grow the necessary coral for our vessels, we began to discover that all Time Lord knowledge and relics vanishing throughout the universe. Even the black markets, which were usually somewhat lucrative in the past and who I’d dealt with somehow forgot about any of our dealings. There was so little of it left to begin with and, to this day I’m not sure what was responsible for this: the Enemy, Dad, or something else entirely.
But we keep working. We’ve been trying to repair some of the damage that the Enemy, and the War, did to other civilizations and time periods: but always behind the scenes, always on the move. Dad’s First Rule: Always run.
And we kept working. We worked when something old, powerful and on fire with rage materialized for a few moments in our minds: just to vanish back into past flames. We even took time to deal with the cracks in existence that began to appear before memory failed us and, somehow, we were back in reality: with the multiverse repaired and somehow better.
Somehow I know Dad did that.
I wish I could thank him, but I have other concerns now. My vessel, Unity, has grown to something the size of a station and has seen and protected us from the very beginning. I decided to make the timeline of 6012, Vector N-6012 of the Multiverse, our home. I have, at least unofficially, made Messaline a protected-planet under my jurisdiction. Our vessels grow as do my children and theirs: who are allowed to be children and to choose their path as I did all those years ago.
I’ve gone through a few Regenerations since passing a few centuries and surviving more than a few scrapes. I’m Mom to an entire people. We are not Time Lords, but while not as powerful we are something else: something new. My descendants have taken to calling us the Travelers: for all the exploration and running that we do.
Looking back, it’s miraculous when you think about. From the seed of a soldier grown in one day of seven, not meant to last for even a week, we’ve created a people that might one day live for thousands of years. I just hope that, one day, instead of living short lives in war we will all live long lives in peace.
I never found my Dad, but I’m proud of my Travelers, my Seven Day Children, as we continue to explore, to defend, to help, and to keep running: together and as a family.