Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Lost Chapter - filename: “Strife of Tau”

[b]09.0 | Archive Ref #: b09.5-216-L(X)-m01 | [b]10.0

   I am so sorry. I cannot quite explain it, but it seems as though one of my work folders was pilfered from my collection. I searched my room top to bottom, and could find no trace of it. However, when I later went into the back garden to clean up around the lemon tree, I discovered my folder, spilled out over the lawn. It looked as though the family dog had gotten into my files, as there were teeth-marks and muddy paw-prints over the pages, many of which had been torn and chewed up.
  But I honestly have no idea how this could have happened, because not only do we lock the back door regularly, but my family does not own a dog. We've had a few over the years, but we gave away Ana and Jo when we moved to the city a few years ago and Winston died after being hit by a truck on the road outside my grandmother's house. The neighbours' dogs can't sneak into our yard, as the back fence is part of a retaining wall and very secure, so I don't know how I can possibly explain this . . .
  I collected everything I could from the mutilated documents, but I retained less than half of the information in any kind of usable condition. However, thankfully, I salvaged all of the details of a few of the pivotal scenes in this story, including one I believe to be the beginning, so I can recreate them for you in exact detail. But much of the ending is missing, so I hope you can manage to enjoy what remains of this story.

The palm trees swayed with the ocean breeze, heaving to and fro slowly, creaking blissfully. A small group of cormorants were fishing in the water, and by the edge of the island's tree-line, there were one or two lizards warming themselves in the sun. Several dozen long-tailed macaque monkeys were by the trees, picking leaves and eating them when they were heard the sound of a heaving, wheezing groan echoing through reality. They skitter away from the sound and watch from a safe distance away, screeching with alarm, as a bamboo hut appeared on the sand. It looked like a gazebo, three metres wide with six even sides and a peaked grass roof that was capped with a cupola. It had flyscreen windows on the four of the walls, as well as a full-length, bamboo gate on the front.1
After a few minutes, the gate opened and the Duke slowly walked out. He looked tired as he walked, as though his feet were sore, but he smiled as he walked down the beach. Inspector Chester Franklin Edison stood in the doorway leaning against the doorframe heavily and smiling weakly2 as he watched the Duke walk to the shore.
The sound of the wash as it wafted onto the sand then slipped away was mesmerising, the Duke's desert shoes squelched through the moist sand and splashed as he stepped into the water. The Duke began to smile as the next waves washed up, surrounding his feet. He walked just a few feet further, until his trousers were wet up to his shins, then he fell to his knees, his trousers and the lower portion of his leather coat soaking as he collapsed. Then, grinning brilliantly, to show off his white teeth, he dipped both of his cupped hands into the ocean and brought them up, holding a small amount of water. Then he opened his fingers and it spilled through, trickling down his arms and the Duke laughed out loud. Not out of madness or hysteria, but pure joy, a chuckled deeply and gladly as he plunged his hands into the water again and splashed it around. The policeman limped over and stood further up the beach, watching.
  “I've never seen you so happy before in my life,” said Edison.
The Duke turned to him, smiling brightly.
  “Come and see, Inspector. There's so much water!”
  “It's the ocean, Duke, of course there's water.”
  “I can't believe there's so much,” said the Duke, as he struggled to stand up, leaning on an arm to get back to his feet. “On Rathea, almost everywhere is sand and rock; dry and barren. We scrounge our water from harvesting the Great Cold or juicing desert plants.”
Edison coughed and held up his hand to shield his bloodshot eyes from the sun.
  “You know, we have to wake her up eventually,” said Edison.
  “I know,” said the Duke, “We just need more
[section missing]
- - -

The Duke & Edison continue their conversation. Edison is still worried, but the Duke insists that everything will work out fine. The Duke insists that Edison join him, since the water is so cool.3 Edison declines at first, but after some goading by the Duke, he returns to the ship to fetch some water-friendly clothing. After he leaves, the Duke sees something in the water.4
Edison returns to the ship. Inside the console room Anise is still unconscious on the couch.5 He heads down the doorway to the right, and heads for the crew quarters6 where he finds his luggage and changes into a pair of shorts. He then heads outside and joins the Duke on the beach. Edison wades deep into the water and the Duke says that he doesn't know how to swim.7 They swim for an hour, talking.8

The Duke and Edison discuss the Eighty-Eight9 and how exactly Anise was infected with the Gemohane Leech.
[page missing]10

- - -
 [section missing]
is side, the Duke guiding her towards the beach with a hand on her
back. He stopped in his tracks when he looked up to see Edison standing next to T'au.11
  “Edison?” calls out the Duke, cautiously.
  “It's alright,” said Edison, walking towards the Duke. “Don't worry, she's harmless.”
  “She?” asked the Duke.
Edison walked up to the pair of them, Anise smiled, but looked tired.
  “Are you okay?” Edison.
  “Anise is fine. Who is that?” asked the Duke impatiently, nodding towards their guest.
  “That's T'au,” said Edison. “Apparently, she lives here.”
  “Are we on Earth?” asked Anise.
  “Yeah,” said Edison.
  “Edison,” said the Duke, frowning, “what is 'Tau' doing here?”
  “I dunno, T'au just said that she lives here, but she's not easy to talk to.”
  “What do you mean?” asked the Duke.
  “She's off with the fairies, that one.”
The Duke frowned.12
“Look, go see for yourself,” said Edison.
  “Alright,” said the Duke. “You look after Anise.”
  “I'm fine, really,” said Anise, yawning.
The Duke gave Edison a warning glance, then walked to the shore, where T'au was tying her raft to a tree with a rope.13
  “You're T'au?” he asked
  “I am, in every way,” she said, in broken English.
  “My friend says that you live here,” said the Duke.
  “Your friend is right.”
  “I haven't seen your kind before,” said the Duke. “And you don't look like you're from this planet.”
  “You do,” said T'au. “Yet, you are not. It seems that looks can be deceiving.”
  “Are you saying that you do come from this planet?”
  “Not at all,” said T'au.
  “Then where did you come from?”
  “The water,” said T'au, pointing beyond the shore. “The fishing is good; but today, no fish.”
  “I don't mean today. How did you get here originally? And, what are you doing on this planet?”
  “Those are two very different questions,” said T'au, as she finished tying up her boat and walked towards the Duke.
  “On my planet, generally, people answer questions when queried.”
  “You do not understand. The answer to those questions will require more time than I have to offer right now. It is time to feed. After, then I can answer your question. Then you will understand.”
Then, T'au walked past the Duke and headed deeper into the island, disappearing from sight. Edison walked over to the Duke, who looked dumbstruck.
  “Do you see what I mean?” asked Edison.
  “I get the distinct feeling that she enjoys testing my patience,” said the Duke. “Did she tell you why she's here?”
  “Oh, yeah . . .” said Edison, with a smirk. “She said that she was following God's Will14.”
[page missing]15
- - -

T'au returns to the island, and Anise questions as to why she went fishing (twice) and returned without any fish. T'au explained that she is not hungry, so she had no need to catch fish, and she waded out because of "God's Will".
The Duke becomes very frustrated, explaining that he doesn't care about any of that, and is merely curious as to how she came to the island, so she explains how her ship crashed along with the sea monster “God's Will”16 and she became stranded in our universe.17
The Duke is intrigued by the monster, and so he leaves to analyze the creature with the ship's scanner.
[section missing]18
T'au is missing19 but the others don't worry, instead Anise and Edison talk around the campfire,20 the main topic of conversation is religion, Edison says that he doesn't believe, whilst Anise says that she grew up Catholic, but now considers herself agnostic.21 They also jokingly try to guess what the Duke believes, Anise is unsure, since he's an alien, but Edison suggests that he “believes only in himself”, but the conversation ends when the Duke appears again.
The topic of conversation then turns to the Duke's fascination with Earth. Despite first appearances, he says that Earth is heavily populated with aliens and extra-terrestrial influence, and he's unsure as to why “an outwardly unremarkable world could be such a bustling hub of intergalactic activity”.
Anise and Edison return to the ship to sleep, but the Duke remains outside, and watches the stars above.22 As he does, T'au approaches him to say goodnight. They chat briefly, then T'au once again leaves.23

- - -
The Duke was lying on his back on the beach, listening to the waves as they washed up onto the shore. It was a clear night, and the moon was crescent, barely bright enough to light up the sand on the beach. But the Duke didn't look at the sand, or the water; he looked up at the stars. On such a clear night, he could see the constellations of Orion, Aries, Perseus and Taurus, but he gazed beyond them, at the small speck of a galaxy, deep in the darkness.24As he watched the sky, the door to the hut-shaped timeship opened, peeling a sliver of light across the sand before Anise stepped out and closed the door behind her. She peered around before she saw the Duke on the sand and walked over to him.25  "There you are," said Anise, as she walked beside him and knelt down. "I thought you went wanderin' off."
  "Not at all. I was just watching the universe. When we were in the city, I could barely see beyond your atmosphere. But here, the air is much clearer."
Anise looked up at the sky, and the Duke glanced at her.
"Shouldn't you be in bed?" he asked. "You've been through a lot, you should rest."
  "I don't feel tired. I slept for a long time after the crash." Anise scooted closer and laid down on the sand next to him. "What are you lookin' at?"
  "Rathea," said the Duke, needing only to whisper, since Anise was so close. He pointed up at the sky, angling his arm slightly to right. Anise shuffled even closer, so her head was close to his, and she could look up as he did. She squinted and frowned.
  "How the hell can you see it from here?" she asked.
  "The planet is too distant to see, but the whorl of the galaxy is there. Can you see it?"
  "I don't think so," said Anise. "You must have very good eyes."
  "I'm a time lord,"26 said the Duke. "It's part of our nature to see so far."
  "A 'time lord'? What does that mean?" asked Anise.
  "It means that I am a citizen of time and space. It is part of my nature to see the stars and planets and feel the way they move, so that I can navigate the vast distances between them."
  "You can feel them?" asked Anise. "But they're so far away."
  "I cannot literally feel them," said the Duke, he took her hand in his and brought up their clasped hands, so they both could see. "Not a physical connection, like this. It's more like . . . empathy, or intuition. I can even see them moving."
  "They're not moving," said Anise.
  "They are," said the Duke. "The whole sky is spinning."
  "It must be moving really slowly then," said Anise.
  "On the contrary," said the Duke, with a chuckle. "It's all moving hundreds and thousands of kilometres a second. But at such vast size, and alien distances, even time seems to grow smaller. To you, perhaps, the universe is at a standstill. But to me? . . . the sky is dancing."
They both just stare off for a moment, at the distant wonders above.
  "Duke . . . ? If you're so far-sighted, then what about stuff nearby?" asked Anise, turning to look at the Duke. He heard the sand shifting under her head and turned to look at her. Their faces were less than an inch apart. "How well can you see stuff up close?"
  "Well, I've been looking up at the stars, so it can take a moment to focus," said the Duke. "But yes . . . I can see you, clearly."
  "Everything must feel so small," said Anise, her voice barely a whisper as she looked into his eyes.
  "It's just a matter of perspective," said the Duke. "You don't look small to me."27 Anise smiled, and turned back
[section missing]28
- - -

The Duke and Anise are interrupted by the sound of the sea monster, crying out.29 They look out to the ocean, to see the creature, several kilometres out, breach the surface of the water30 Anise is scared, and asks if the creature is angry, but the Duke insists they're safe, explaining that the creature isn't angry, it's just bored and restless.31
T'au runs into the water and yells at the creature in an alien language.32 After a tense few seconds, the beast returns below the water. T'au explains that the creature wants to go fishing. The Duke says the three of them are fully rested and they are planning on leaving. He also offers to let T'au join them.33 T'au refuses.34
The Duke understands, and so he, Edison and Anise head towards the Lift. Before entering the Lift, Anise rubs her hand across her neck, only to discover a long, thin scab from a healing cut on her collarbone.35 Although concerned, she enters the ship and says nothing of it.
The timeship vanishes.


  Many pieces of this chapter are missing, but I assure you that I have included everything that I could salvage from my ravaged notes. Although not much happens, this was a very slow and contemplative moment, so not much happens because they didn't do all that much to be honest. But nonetheless, I felt compelled to include the chapter.
  Especially with the sea monster. Because so many of the details are missing concerning the creature, I sometimes found myself forgetting that God's Will was a monster. In fact, the way T'au talks about following it, taking care of it and believing in it, I started wondering if, perhaps, it meant something more. The timeship travels through space and time, with seemingly no limits. If any kinds of gods or demons existed in such a galaxy, then surely they would find one. Or, perhaps more worryingly, they wouldn't. Maybe that's what the Duke believes.
  I don't know, I don't have all the answers. All that I can offer is what you've read so far in this lost chapter, and I hope you've found what you were looking for.

1The Lift has been, like, three different kinds of elevator; a carriage; a caboose and now a grass hut. I'm still wondering exactly how many different forms it's capable of.
2They're still weak, and Edison seems hung over, so this has to happen pretty soon after the last chapter, within four hours at least. It was never established exactly, but I assume that this whole journey is just so the Lift crew can rest after Chapter 9's stress.
3The Duke is so adorable in the water, it's like he's a little kid.
4I swear, I looked through all my notes, and even taped together some of the torn up pieces, but I can't find the fucking description of the sea monster. I'm so sorry.
5By the end of this story Anise is wearing a totally different outfit.5a So, either she changes after sitting out on the beach or - and I hope this isn't the case - either Edison or the Duke changed her clothing for her. Gay or not, that's weird for Edison, and as for the Duke, it would seem very inappropriate, especially after that kiss . . .
     5aAfter changing from her bloody clothes, Anise wears a close-fitting black & white striped shirt with a wide collar & sleeves that ended half-way along her forearms. blue jeans & brown boots.
6Gah! The first mention of crew quarters on the ship, and it's eaten by a dog?! I've lost so much good stuff from this chapter!
7I guess that makes sense, but he does wade pretty deep in the water. I think this means to say that he was never taught to swim and he's certainly not afraid of the water.
8It feels weird that the Duke doesn't check on Anise. I have to assume that he knows when she's going to wake up, as he only enters the ship a few minutes before she wakes.
9I don't have the full conversation, just snippets. But it must have taken a while, or there must be a gap in the records, because by the time the next scene starts, it's nearly sunset.
10Okay, I have to work from memory on this one, but the pair talk more about the 88 for a while, especially the Traveller (Edison thinks she's an alien). Then, the Duke goes inside to find Anise as she wakes up8 but in that time, a boat washes ashore. Inside the boat is a humanoid alien called 'Tau'.11 She talks to Edison briefly, and there was also a reference about speaking in an unusual accent.
11T'au is bald, with blue, leathery skin, no nose, a Y-shaped mark on her face, four digits on both hands and hooves instead of feet. Apparently, her full name is Holy T'au the Lonely World according to my notes, but everyone calls her T'au (pronounced like the first syllable of 'tower').
12I guess there's no such thing as fairies on Rathea.
13Apparently T'au made her own raft from resources on the island, but details are lacking.
14“God's Will” is what T'au calls the sea monster.
15Not 'missing', technically. To be more accurate, this is one of the pages that were torn into little pieces. But from what I can gather, I have a basic idea of what happens next, although it's difficult since most of the pieces are too shredded to read. Firstly, the Lift crew spend time on the beach.15a Then, T'au returns holding a dead animal15b which she had retrieved from a trap on the island. Without a word, she unties her raft and wades out to sea.15c The Lift crew continue talking for a few hours, unwinding and talking.15d Eventually, T'au returns, and the Lift crew are confused, as they believed that she was returning with food.
     15aUnfortunately, no, I can't decipher what they're doing during that time.
     15bT'au is described as 'dragging it by the arm', so I assume it's a monkey, but I might be wrong.
     15cT'au is just feeding the sea monster, which sounds sinister, but it's not really.
     15dTalk? TALK! That's all it says in these notes is that they talk! I have no idea what about, but since Anise doesn't freak out, all I can guess is that Edison is tight-lipped about the kiss. Also, it seems like the story they're telling Anise is that she was knocked unconscious when the ship crashed, as that's all they say when they talk about it.
16Thankfully, this conversation is intact, although extraneous details are missing:
DUKE: I don't understand at all.
T'AU: I said that would be the case.
DUKE: You also said that you would answer me after feeding, so answer me.
T'AU: Yes, that is right . . . but I also said that you asked two different questions, believing their answers to be similar, when they are not. You want to know how I came here? Then so would I. Where I am from, this kind of peace is unheard of. It's completely alien to me, because I am completely alien to it. I've never stepped foot on this world before, but the stories are of death and war, skulls piled miles thick, yet I see no such discord. I do not understand how, but I am a place that both is and is not my universe.
DUKE: Are you saying that you're from another dimension?
T'AU: I am saying that I do not know.
DUKE: How did you get here?
T'AU: I came here with several of my people, following God's Will, in the hope that I might stop it.
EDISON: Wait, what the hell is “God's Will”? If it's God, why try to stop it?
T'AU: God's Will is the enemy. At least, it was, during the war. A fierce beast with no soul, whose only goal was to consume and spread, like cancer.
DUKE: If it's the enemy, then why do you call it "God's Will"?
T'AU: It is a foolish joke. Because of its way of devouring, I once called the beast 'Hunger'. But it managed to survive with me. It is like a miracle, so I tell myself that it is the Will of God that it be with me now.
EDISON: The beast is here?
T'AU: No, the beast is there. (pause) We were fighting God's Will, when it fled into the place of blindness. We followed too closely and were swallowed by chaos. We could not see, and the starship was not made for such travel, the beast attacked and so we fell, together, out of chaos and into this place.
DUKE: What happened to your starship?
T'AU: It did not survive. We survived with God's Will16a into the atmosphere, where it fell into the water.
DUKE: What happened to your crew?
T'AU: God's Will consumed them. It would have consumed me as well, but I learned how tame it. I soon learned that it was as scared and lost as me, it could no longer hear the thoughts of its people, so I taught it instead to listen to me. Now I take care of it, and it takes care of me. It's just a wild beast, and some days it thinks of me as nothing more than something to be consumed. But so long as it lives, I will not leave God's Will alone.
DUKE: That's quite a story. But such a large beast must be hard to manage. If it truly is your enemy and one day wishes it could eat you, then why do you keep it alive?
T'AU: Because otherwise, I would be alone.
     16aOn several occasions, T'au references people 'on' the sea monster. At first I thought they rode atop it, but T'au calls it Y'he Shas'ka'ar, which my notes here translate to "The Weak Hunger's Sun Boat". I don't want to make any assumptions, but I think the 'sea monster' might actually be some kind of living starship.
17I believe that T'au has come from an another dimension, one which is consumed by war. I thought, at first, that she was from the future, but that conflicts with my other files involving travel to the far future. Unless she's from an alternate timeline. Is that even possible?
18I can't find any shred of the data regarding the sea monster. It's stuff like this that will make me paranoid, I'm telling you . . .
19Presumably, T'au has gone to bed, although she goes fishing an awful lot, perhaps she went again. To be honest, I can't predict what she would do, she is an alien, after all.
20I assume the campfire was lit after nightfall, but the time exactly is lost in the missing segment.
21Damn it. I love these Anise & Edison heart-to-heart talks, but I know none of the details.
22I don't think the Duke requires sleep at all. I've only seen him rest once and that was only because he was hit by a bus (See Ref#: b01.0-211-L(X)-m01).
23Before going to bed, T'au says to the Duke: "Some days, an odd man comes to this island, wishing to know how I stay hidden from his mind. He also wants to control God's Will; because he's fighting a war over what people believe. I refuse every time and he simply leaves, but I do not believe I am the only one he is recruiting. If he comes for you, I only ask that you consider carefully before making your decision."
24I have to admit, I've been reading further ahead in the files, so I hope this isn't a spoiler, but the Duke's homeworld of Rathea is within the Andromeda Galaxy. I don't know what he's thinking here, but I believe he's a little homesick.
25Oh, thank goodness . . . not all of the cute little one-on-one scenes were lost. I can't tell you how happy I am that this scene survived. It's so adorable!
26This is one of the few times that he refers to himself as a Time Lord, and to me this makes it clear that he is genuinely a Gallifreyan and must have been raised there. So, I have yet to learn why he keeps referring to 'Rathea' as his homeworld.
27I can't tell whether the Duke is being literal, poetic or (dare I say) romantic.
28I like to think that Anise fell asleep snuggled next to the Duke, but a large piece of the page is ripped off. In the next scene, it's sunrise and they're both awake, standing up and talking on the beach, so I can't tell. Also, Edison is standing a short distance away, watching the sunrise.
29The datafile describes the creature's cry as sounding like a guttural foghorn.
30Details are seriously lacking, but at the very least I can tell you this thing is really big. Like, several-magnitudes-bigger-than-a-whale big.
31I don't know if he's interpretting the scream, or if he can hear it psychicly.
32There's no explanation as to why the translator doesn't work.
33I think he's just offering to take her home. I'm not sure how, since she’s not from this reality, but it doesn't make sense that he'd invite her to join, as a companion, since he seems to dislike her so much.
34It doesn't say why, but my guess is that she doesn't want to leave God’s Will alone.
35The results of her fight with Countess Erszebet Báthory (See Ref#: b09.0-216-L(X)-m01).

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