The classroom was filled with little clicks and taps as students rushed to complete their assignments. Concentrating, they hurriedly pushed and swiped on their little EduTabs to get it finished on time. The room was otherwise filled with complicated temporal-based machines. In one corner floated several miniature planets, each one hosting billions of microscopic life forms, just like full-sized ones.
Standing before them all, on his elevated podium, was the Time Lord whose public name was Borusa. The ancient teacher’s eyes gleamed as he surveyed his pupils, watching them work.
His eyes, glistening with a primordial gleam, narrowed in suspicion as he focused on one pupil in particular. A skinny young Time Lord-in-training, his hair was a faded sort of grey, despite his young age of only seventy.
The grey-haired youth was smirking down at his EduTab when he heard a voice that might’ve belonged to a mountain clear its throat.
The smile falling from his face, he looked up to see Borusa glaring down at him. “Young One,” the Professor rumbled, “I will see your tablet.”
The Young One instinctively drew the EduTab to himself, not wanting the old teacher to see. Ignoring this, Borusa flicked his wrist, and the tablet flew out of the Young One’s hands and into Borusa’s waiting ones. Borusa looked down at where tablet had perched on his fingers. He nodded. “I thought as much.”
Turning, he pointed at another young Time Lord. “Koschei,” he growled.
The boy he was pointing at was the same age as the Young One, but rounder, with short, brown hair.
Koschei looked around, eyes wide in an exaggerated Who, me? expression.
Borusa flicked his wrist again, and Koschei’s desk shot out of its place and up towards the front, slowing down and stopping next to the Young One’s. Koschei shook himself and grinned at the Young One.
Borusa held up the Young One’s tablet and pointed to Koschei’s. They both had identical symbols on them, private notes and messages passed secretly between the two young Time Lords. Borusa rumbled “I am finished with the antics of you both. You will go…” his eyebrows lowered even further “… to the Dilator.”
Koschei and the Young One’s eyes went to the pulsing, green tube in the corner of the large room. They shuddered. When you were in the Dilator, your personal time slowed down. You could stay in it during the length of the lesson, and leave with everyone else, but to you it would have seemed like hours, or even days.
Koschei, unseen by anyone, subtly reached his hand behind his back.
Just as Borusa opened his mouth to once again order them to the Dilator, the sound of gongs echoed from deeper within the building. Gongs which meant that lessons were over for today.
Borusa looked around, eyes narrowed. He was not a fool. He knew that it was no coincidence that the gongs had sounded right before he had put the boys to the Dilator. But still, the gongs had sounded. Lessons were over. The pupils all had to leave. There was nothing he could do now.
Saying nothing, he scowled at the boys before turning and marching away. The boys looked at each other, thinking almost as one, and then melted into the throng of young Time Lords fleeing the classroom.
Probably wisely, they waited until they were outside the Academy before they exploded into laughter.
They threw themselves down onto the red grass and let loose with all the giggles and guffaws that had been buried inside them up until now. Their shared laughter practically shook the silver-leafed trees as they rolled on the ground like only children of any species can.
The Young One eventually sat up and, still giggling, said “We-We’re going to get in trouble, eeh hee…”
Koschei sat up too. “Ha ha, I just got-got us out of trouble!”
They chuckled for a bit more, than quieted down and just lay there, staring up at the sky.
The Young One asked “How did you do that?”
Koschei held up a small round orb. It pulsed with a slightly different shade of green than the Dilator. “I nicked it off my brother a few days ago. Lucky I did. Sped up the classroom’s personal time, brought us right to the end of lessons in those few moments.”
The Young One laughed. “When are you going to stop stealing from him?”
“When he lets me change my name.”
“Koschei’s not so bad.”
“It’s stupid. You’re lucky you don’t have one like it.”
The Young One shrugged. “Well, what would name would you choose?”
Koschei scratched his chin. “I dunno… maybe more of a title than a name, like the old outlaw Gallifreyans. Something like ‘the Leader’ or ‘the Chief’ or something.”
The Young One nodded thoughtfully at this idea. Koschei watched a blue crystalline caterpillar slip through the grass for a little while, then said “So how’re things at home, then? You know, with… him?”
The Young One sighed and lay back down on his back. “He still doesn’t listen. Sometimes he’ll go whole days without speaking or looking at me at all. The others try to help, sometimes, but they can’t really.”
Koschei grunted. “First chance we get, we’re getting out of here.”
This drew a grin from the Young One. “You said it. Where first, d’you reckon?”
“I dunno. Dido, maybe, or the Great Library, or… oh, Metebelis III.”
Koschei reached over and affectionately put his hand on the Young One’s shoulder. “It doesn’t really matter anyway. We’ll see them all.”
The two shared a grin and fell silent again, looking up at the sky and listening to the distant song of the dew-birds.
For a long time, nothing happened.
Then Koschei sat up a bit.
“Did you hear that?”
“That drumming sound.”
The Young One listened. “I don’t hear anything.”
Koschei looked around. “Oh. That’s alright, I can’t either, I think it’s gone now. Wonder what it was?”
Neither of them knew what it had been, but it didn’t matter. Nothing mattered, because lessons were over, the day was peaceful, and the two young Time Lords would be friends forever.
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