At the Capitol all the Time Lords were going about their business. At this point in time there were few female Gallifreyians in any positions of power, although they technically had the same rights to vote and to have equal wages as the men. It would be another three years before a woman (an ancestor of Romana’s) would join the council, and another ten before the President would be a Time Lady. However the females were working their way up already, and it was a Time Lady who Nydor had to get past to enter the chambers of the Panitopican Guard.
“Halt. Declare yourself and state your business,” she demanded of him.
Nydor paused, a look of pure loathing and twisted anger on his face. He wasn’t used to being treated like this on his own home planet. The small house that Aisha had made him share with her wretched boyfriend and her infant was just not fitting for someone of his breeding, of his high status. He’d protested before but the two of them had always put him down, not giving him the respect he deserved. Despite this, he still loved Aisha with a burning passion and since his own re-generation less than an hour ago it had mixed with his dislike for Adric till it became a mania, swamping all normal thoughts. On his way home, he’d been thinking about how close the two of them were, how they always left him out. And then he’d realised… Susan might not be his! Aisha regularly slept with the Alzarian, even at the same time she’d slept with him! That baby was nothing more than a mutt, a mongrel! Aisha had expected him to fall for the lie that it was his, well no more would he be the butt of their jokes. It was time once and for all to show Aisha the dangers of sleeping with alien trash and having his baby!
“I come to speak with the head guard. I have a feeling that there is an inferior being living in close proximity to me,” Nydor said. “And I am a Pian.”
“Oh, I’m sorry sir,” said the guard, suddenly polite. “I did not mean to cause offence. It is procedure you see…”
“Stop your babbling and let me in!” Nydor snapped. “The sooner I tell what I know, the sooner the scum can be taken and gotten rid of!”
“Yes, sir,” said the guard, opening the door for him.
Having listened to Nydor’s story, the head guard was confused and also interested. He paced around the room, stretching his legs and giving himself time to compose his words. He sat down and regarded Nydor.
“If what you say is true, then you have effectively been living with this ‘Alzarian’ for the past year and a half,” he said, looking deeply into Nydor. “If this is so, why have you not spoken up to us before Mr. Pian?”
“I was… too scared to,” Nydor said. “The Alzarian and the Time Lady who is harbouring him threatened to kill me if I said anything. But they have had a child together sir. A horrific mix, an unnatural mutant. And every day that child gets older sir… It needs to be taken, and so does the alien father.”
“But that’s not the only reason you came is it?” the head guard asked.
“No sir. I feared that if it were found out that… I was sharing a house with an alien, I too would be arrested for harbouring him,” Nydor said. “Even though I despise being a part of it.”
“You still could be arrested,” the head guard said, before getting to his feet. “However, you have done well in getting here to tell us. We shall protect you from any attack by this ‘Alzarian’, the young Time Lady and possibly the child if it proves to be a danger too.”
“Thank you sir,” Nydor said.
Outside listening to this chat, the Time Lady guard was worried. She knew Nydor, but he didn’t know her. She would be a part of the Aftershock crew’s future, and had learnt of Nydor and his betrayal. She frowned as he the young Prydonian gave away the secret that the crew had been trying to keep. She knew what she needed to do now.
“I have to tell Aisha,” she said, before running off.
Adric had gone down to the base of the hill, keeping his head down and trying not to draw attention to himself, although it was hard when his silver Guardian Angel star flashed in the sun and blinded people. Aisha had sent him down to get them more supplies, which meant that once again they’d be staying on Gallifrey until they were finished… As Adric browsed the stalls he heard whispering from behind him. He turned to see a group of people who lived a few doors down from theirs all talking. When they saw Adric looking, they quietened down, and used the passing of a guard from the Capitol (who was running up the hill) as an excuse to move off.
“Okay, that was weird,” Adric thought.
He turned back round to the stall and started to select some fruits, but suddenly the stall owner’s hand shot out and took the produce from him.
“Hey!” Adric cried. “What are you doing?”
“I don’t sell to scum,” the stall owner spat.
Adric backed off, as the man’s face was twisted with hatred. The crowds of Gallifreyians were all staring at him, all with identical expressions, some with a hint of worry or fear. Somehow, some way, they’d found out. They’d found out that Adric wasn’t one of them. He dropped the bag he had been carrying and pelted up the street, to get to Aisha, to warn Aisha! As he went people either ran from him, or tried to grab him. He phased through the arms of his would-be captors, the only thing on his mind that he had to get to Aisha, to make sure that all four of them could escape before the Capitol or Citadel found out. As he went past the guard from before he released his wings and felt more in charge having found his purpose once more.
As Adric came running in, he noticed something was wrong. Aisha was standing there, seemingly waiting for his arrival. The expression on her face was stormy.
“Aisha?” he asked. “What is it?”
“Adric,” she said. “It’s over.”
There was a slight pause as it sank in… Adric shook his head.
“W-what?” Adric asked, thinking he’d misheard her.
“I said it’s OVER!” Aisha shouted. “You’re not Gallifreyian and…” She turned away. “I have a family to look after now. I have Susan.”
“B-but what about us?” Adric said, panicky. “You’ve always… it was fate we met! Fate that I died just so I could meet you, so I could become your guardian angel, your BOYFRIEND Aisha!”
“I’ve made my mind up,” Aisha said, not turning but with a growl in her voice. “Get out of here Alzarian. I never want to see you again!”
Adric was speechless; he turned and ran out of the door again, slamming it behind him. He ran away quickly and so didn’t see or hear Aisha’s sobs as she broke down inside the small house…
As he fled down the steps between the houses the other residents of the quarters came to the doors, or windows as he ran down, making practically no noise. They seemed to sense he wasn’t Gallifreyian as they yelled abuse and hurled stuff at him, which he hastily dodged as he went.
“Yeah, run you traitorous savage!” yelled someone.
“Leave us alone!” another shouted.
“You deserve to die! I hope the soldiers get you!” Adric heard.
As he came to the end of the steps and ran through the wall into the wilds of the scrub-covered cliffs, he finally allowed the tears to come yet he continued to run. He just didn’t understand why Aisha had said those things. She’d always, ALWAYS said that it didn’t matter that he was Alzarian, it didn’t matter that they were different species. She’d believed in pure love, like he had. At least he thought she had… Susan was almost a year old now, if Aisha really felt that having him around was a danger to her, then WHY had she waited so long to say it?
What was going on?
In the house Aisha was just preparing Susan, she’d dressed her in the long blue robe she’d bought a few days ago and placed the giggling child into the travel basket that stood permanently on the table next to the single bed in the room. Suddenly Nydor burst in, looking excited.
“Soldiers!” he cried, trying and failing to sound scared. “Where’s that Alz… I mean, Adric?”
“Gone,” Aisha said. “They came for him didn’t they?”
“He… now they’ll arrest us!” Nydor cried, as the sound of marching boots came clearly from outside.
“I know…” Aisha said, as the marching stopped outside.
Nydor turned nervously round as the door was broken in, Aisha took a step back to protect Susan as the guards started to come in…
Adric was running, stumbling over the rocks when he suddenly heard the crash. He skidded to a stop and turned around, wiping his eyes to see what was going on. Inside the hill-based town where for the past year or so, the crew of the Aftershock TARDIS had lived, where the youngest member had been born and where he’d just been run out of soldiers were swarming… And they were entering into the top-most house where he’d just come… The soldiers were in the Aftershock crew’s house…
“No…” he said.
Inside the house Nydor had been putting up a terrific fight, screaming all the time that he had nothing to do with the fact that the Alzarian they’d come for was gone. Eventually he’d been arrested and now the soldiers were coming back, coming for Aisha. But she too wasn’t going without a fight. She knocked off their arms, she punched, and she struggled. Anything, she thought, to give Adric time to get away from here. Eventually though she was restrained by three soldiers and her hands bound together behind her. She was dragged up and away from Susan, as she was pulled out into the street towards a waiting transport at the bottom of the steps she was spat at and jeered. But one thing she couldn’t see was Adric. So as she was pushed inside the transport with Nydor she smiled slightly…
But as the door was closed Adric was flying above, watching. He wondered what he should be doing now… then it came to him and he flew silently towards the house…
“Right, got these two,” said the head solider. “Might as well dispose of the bastard child now.”
“Yes sir,” said another soldier, going back towards the house.
“NO!” Aisha screamed. “SUSAN! NOT MY BABY! PLEASE NOT MY BABY!”
As she continued to cry and struggle the soldier entered the house, drawing his sabre… and then paused flabbergasted.
“Erm… sir?” he said.
“What?” came the cry. “It’s just an infant man!”
He came up the steps, fuming.
“How long does it take to…?”
He drew off as he saw that the travel basket, containing the baby Susan had vanished seemingly into thin air…
Outside the town walls Adric was flying as fast as he dared, Susan’s basket with the sleeping infant under him. He was finding it a heavy weight but he kept going. Aisha had only said those things, he told himself, to get him out of the way. She’d known the soldiers were coming, he knew. Now he’d make sure they wouldn’t kill the one thing that would prevent the universe from collapsing in on itself…
As the soldiers descended the steps, they were baffled. HOW could a child have gone missing just like that? They’d had people stationed at the door, and that was the only way in. How could someone have gotten in and stolen the child from right under their noses like that?
As they came back Aisha had buried her head into the side of the chair, eyes teary and closed. She didn’t want to see the bloody corpse that would be her dead child, so when Nydor nudged her she looked up, furious.
“What?” she asked.
“Don’t be such a wimp, they haven’t got Susan,” he hissed.
Aisha looked out, hoping this wasn’t some cruel joke. But it was true. None of the soldiers’ sabres had any kind of blood on, never mind Gallifreyian infant blood, and there was no corpse in a bag. In fact, they looked baffled. She breathed a sigh of relief.
“Thank god…” she said, trembling with relief. “Thank god they didn’t get her.”
“I don’t know how you can care for that freakish infant anyway,” Nydor said. “Half Gallifreyian and half that Angel…”
“Nydor! Susan is YOUR daughter!” Aisha said, shocked. “You know that, I know that and so does Adric!”
“He was never any good for you, and stop your lying! I KNOW Susan isn’t mine! Admit it you whore!” Nydor screamed as the transport moved off. “Admit that Susan is Adric’s before the Panitopican Guards torture it out of you!”
“The Panitopican Guard?” Aisha said, then realised. “Oh Nydor, you told them about Adric! And your jealousy almost doomed your own daughter too! I just hope she’s alright!”
As Nydor turned away, Aisha looked out of the window, she knew that Adric must have come back, must have taken Susan before they killed her. She knew that right now she just had to trust her Guardian Angel to fix things.