The Corsair: What is Love?
I rewrote episode one. The protagonist needed a better introduction due to the complex Whovian backstory.
Phil Collins, In The Air Tonight
Through binoculars, Tauran watched the slender brunette crouching on her hanches in front of a nine year old girl. She was buttoning the girl’s coat. Then she gently squeezed the little girl’s nose, honked, and laughed. The little girl laughed with her and threw her arms around the woman’s neck. Stacie hugged her back.
Releasing the girl, she stood up and looked around. A yellow school bus pulled up and the child climbed aboard. Stacie waved good bye.
He wondered what the relationship was between Stacie and the girl and he wondered why this was a Friday ritual. This was the third time he had observed this scene.
Perhaps, Stacie had met the girl on one of her adventures and bonded with her. Perhaps, Stacie had selected the girl as a recruit for the time agency. Just as Stacie had selected him, so long ago. He looked at the mark of the Corsair’s Horoscope on his huge forearm – the oddly thick snake swallowing it’s own tail.
Known to the Time Agents as Cardinal Tauran, he was a leading member of The Corsair’s Horoscope – a secret council of human and alien intelligence known. The same council was known in Earth’s history as the Paladins or Twelve Peers. Each member of the Horoscope also served as a member of the Time Agency’s board of advisors – reviewing the various interventions across time and space.
The big surprise for Tauran was that Stacie may be alive – that, perhaps, she had not died in her ninth regeneration as reported by The Doctor.
This girl that Stacie was visiting, however, did not seem to be the prefigure of another council member. But he’d scan the girl’s genetic code, later.
He paused to consider how Stacie would respond to his stalking her. But he had missed her.
He hadn’t seen her in years. Perhaps, Stacie would overlook his indiscretion – regardless of her Law of 12. To see her again, however, was worth the risk.
Tauran’s heart was full with this third sighting.
Stacie walked up the hill toward his position. She wore something old, something new, something stolen and something blue. Around her neck, sparkled an ancient key in the form of a triangular crystal. Above where a human heart is located, an eagle in flight and text was framed in a square on her white tee shirt. The text read…
Like the eagle, true leaders lift hearts
to where we can live together in love
Just above her hips, a multi-colored scarf wrapped around her like a sash. Over the sash, she had crossed, beaded leather belts. One was turquoise and it bore the white totem of the Native American thunderbird. The other was red with stripes of white, black and yellow – the colors of The Corsair. Around her wrist, she wore a bracelet in the shape of a black asp.
“Long live the queen!” the giant shouted out with pride – as he walked toward her with open arms.
“TAURAN, bebe…” she responded. “You missed me!”
“Which regeneration is this?” asked Tauran enthusiastically.
Stacie jumped up and threw her arms around the hulking Tauran’s neck and kissed him. Meanwhile, her bracelet came to life and slipped unnoticed down the collar of his shirt.
Tauran inhaled her perfume into his flaring nostrils – he recognized mimosa, iris, lemon, oranges, and peaches. It was Aria di Capri by Carthusia.
“It’s the ninth, silly.”
“Ninth regeneration!? So you’re not dead,” Tauran welcomed the good news. “I’ve missed you. We all missed you, Stacie.”
“Can you give me a ride, Tauran?”
“Of course and I can’t wait to tell the others!”
Stacie smiled sadly as she looked deeply into his eyes.
“Oh, lovely boy. I’ve missed you.
So tell me, how did you find me?
Tauran grinned and replied.
“It was synchronicity…
I was at a grocery store in 2013, standing at the checkout with a month’s supply of peanut butter cups…
Stacie smiled and Tauran continued as they walked arm in arm to his TARDIS – a time-space machine that was currently disguised as a distressed tool shed.
“I was standing behind a young korean male at the check out and my embedded scanners registered background radiation from the Zone. I promptly picked his jacket pockets and discovered a cork from a bottle of Rassilon’s Red. The lip print of Emma Frost blue lipstick was unmistakably yours. I hoped to find you, perhaps, a previous regeneration of yourself. I came to warn you about your demise at the hands of the entity called House.”
“Awww!’ Stacie cooed. She squeezed his arm in affection.
“I figured out that the bottle of wine had been uncorked in this time period but you’ve been exceedingly cautious. There are no time-space distortions or TARDIS signatures within twelve years (up and down) of this time period and location.
It was coincidental, however, that my TARDIS pinpointed you here a few weeks ago. If I had not decided to have a latte before my return to the 51st Century, I would never have found you…”
“How crazy is that!” Stacie exclaimed.
Tauran unlocked the door of the apparent tool shed and they went inside to a chamber many, many times larger than the tool shed.
“Hello – you!” Stacie said to the ship. Lights flickered across a center console in apparent recognition and excitement.
She walked over to the center console and tapped out several destination coordinates into a keyboard. Tauran didn’t recognize the coordinates, but he knew the location wasn’t in the known universe.
“Who’s the girl?” Tauran asked as slid out of his XXL J. Peterman Coat and hung it on a peg – he was dying to know.
“She’s our daughter,” Stacie answered.
A big smile flashed across Tauran’s face.
“I’m a daddy?!”
“You’re a mommy?!”
“Our daughter! But how?! When? I thought that Time Lords were sterile and barren?”
“Apparently, not this Time Lady,” Stacie replied with a wink.
Tauran uncorked a dusty bottle of sparkling wine, filled two champagne flutes and offered her a glass.
“We must toast our triumph,” he shouted gladly.
“Long live my Queen and Princess!”
They clinked glasses and each took a sip.
“So you’ve solved the dark secret of Rassilon’s Imprimatur. Or did the great Rassilon let you off the hook?”
Stacie was quiet.
Tauran understood the profound gravity of the revelation.
No one can know! You know what will happen if a single thought gets out – that a Time Lord child was conceived naturally.
Our daughter will be the target of a thousand civilizations across the universe and time – anyone and all who remember the Time Lord empire with fear and loathing…
You’ve put our daughter in great danger, Dammit!
She’ll never make it to her cotillion – not with the knowledge of her existence in your brain!
How could you forget the law of 12!?”
“The first rule – You do not go looking for the Corsair,” Tauran replied as he took Stacie’s hand in his.
“The second rule – You do not talk about the Horoscope.
The third rule – You do not think about the Horoscope in mixed company – regardless of you psychic ability.
The fourth rule – With great power comes great responsibility.
The fifth rule – Love never fails.
The sixth rule – Justice rolls down like waters.
The seventh rule – Death can be an inconvenience; it can not be said to be a judgment. Or a conclusion.
The eighth rule – There is only one penalty – Death.”
Stacie put her index finger over his lips to stop him from continuing.
“I’ll take your secret to my grave,” Tauren whispered.
A tear floated at the corner of Stacie’s right eye.
Yes, he would, she thought to herself.
A knock on the door was followed by another knock.
Stacie pulled Tauran’s face down to hers for a long kiss. Three hearts pounded and ached.
“Could you get that, bebe?” Stacie asked Tauran as she pulled away from him. She tried to sound cheerful and doting though she felt her two hearts being torn apart.
“It’s just an Ood. He’s come to help with my luggage. His name is Nephew…”
Tauran squeezed Stacie’s hand and released it with gentle reluctance, then went over and opened the door. Suddenly, a chill came over him as the door swung open. The air smelled stale and burnt in his nose. Tauran felt dizzy.
“It’s what’s best for our daughter, my love,” he whispered to Stacie from the doorway.
Unnoticed, the black serpent had injected it’s fatal toxin into the back of his neck. Then it rolled up into ball, dropped to the ground and rolled toward Stacie’s feet. She picked up the black ball and replaced it on her wrist where it again assumed the form of a serpentine bracelet.
Stacie had to tell Tauran…
“Our daughter becomes a great leader,” Stacie whispered to Tauran.
“She’ll be known by many names: White Buffalo, Sister Justice, The Peacemaker, Fire of Heaven, Pure Heart, The Great Mother and the Flower of Tauran.”
Meanwhile, Nephew stood quietly in the open doorway with it’s humanoid-octopus-like-head -waiting for the luggage. Tauran smiled – his daughter would be a great woman -and then he collapsed into the Ood’s arms.
Tauran’s last words flew from his glad heart: “Today is a good day to die…”
Nephew obediently stepped back from the door with the massive Tauran limp in its arms.
Cardinal Tauran, the Berber paladin from ancient Casablanca, was dead. Three psychic cubes lit up and flew out the door. One to the Horoscope. The second to a friend in a bue box. And the third to his daughter on her 16th birthday.
Stacie shut the door behind the flying, illuminated cubes and Tauran’s ship launched through time and space. Had Stacie waited another second, her fate would have been sealed with Tauran’s own untimely demise. House, a malevolent and dangerous entity, had only just realized their presence as the TARDIS dematerialized.
“Fare thee well, dearest Tauran.
Your journey now takes you to uncharted and brighter roads of hope. I will never miss anyone more…”
Walking around the control room, Stacie spotted the guilty crystalline cork amongst other curious objects scattered across an end table. She picked it up as anger and sadness shook her heart. Throwing it across the chamber, the crystalline wine cork shattered on the wall.
“Why Tauran! WHY! The first rule of the Corsair’s Horoscope is…
YOU NEVER NEVER NEVER GO LOOKING FOR THE CORSAIR!”
“My heart is empty,” Stacie explained. “I want to do more! I need to serve….”
“Winnie-the-Pooh once said that sometimes the smallest things take up the most room in your heart,” replied Az.
Stacie’s newly hired personal assistant was confused. Gray Kim Lee, a twenty something Korean-American, had just entered the room and found Stacie Rohr in the midst of a conversation. But no none else was in the room.
“Who are you talking to?” Gray asked.
“Az. Azrael,” she replied.
Gray looked into her sparkling eyes.
“On the phone?” he asked.
“I’m sorry if I interrupted you,” Gray apologized. “I can come back.”
“No-no. It’s fine. I’m not on the phone,” Stacie replied as she stretched and stood up.
She’s so amazingly hot, Gray thought to himself. But a little strange…
She walked over to the stone top table in the center of the room, picked up a peach and inhaled it’s sweet peachiness. Then she took a bite and tossed it to Gray.
Gray was confused but he caught the peach. He had Korean ninja skills…
Stacie then picked up a folder of photographs and searched for one in particular. She found it – a photograph of her standing with Tauran as the Gallifreyan High Council read the indictments against her.
Meanwhile, a male voice answered Gray.
Stacie’s back turned to Gray, Stacie was somewhere else.
“What!” blurted Gray.
“Azrael is my guardian angel,” Stacie explained as she looked over her shoulder; her hazel eyes sparkled with mischief.
“Where’s he hiding?” asked Gray impatiently.
“He’s not really hiding. He’s in the offing – he’s on a transdimensional tack,” Stacie added.
Gray had no idea what Stacie was talking about.
What is an offing? What’s a transdimensional tack?
“What the frell are you talking about, Ms. Rohr!?”
“Azrael is a TARDIS. TARDIS stands for Time and Relative Dimension in Space. He’s a dimensionally transcendent entity that can travel in time and space.”
“That’s some crazy…” Gray blurted out.
He didn’t know whether to smile and back out of the room. Or turn and go without notice.
“As a nautical term, an offing is the deep water off a shore where a ship can be safely moored,” Az explained. “In Stacie’s lexicon, an offing is the near future.
Typically, a tack is a nautical maneuver in which a ship is turned to an alignment with the wind…” explained the disembodied male voice.
“Who’s talking?!” Gray demanded.
Luminescent lines became visible above the table in the center of the room. A holographic image of rows and columns of screens, buttons, and strange shapes appeared above the table.
On one screen, the image of two frogs on a bench gave way to a picture of the Hanged Man Tarot card and then a crow.
On another holographic screen, Gray saw the face of a playing card – a queen of two hearts. It faded out to an image of a snake swallowing its tail. The image of the snake faded out and a new image faded in – a tarot card for the Wheel of Fortune.
A ghost like-face appeared on a third holographic screen.
“It’s true,” said Az as the mouth of the ghost-like face moved to the words.
“I’m a TARDIS.”
Gray paused to wonder if it was something he ate or drank that was causing this hallucination. He hadn’t ate anything and he was a little hungry. He did, however, suck down a bottle of water that was in the frig.
Was there something in the water? Gray asked himself.
“Is Elvis talking to you? Is he telling you to do things? Do you see spots?” asked Az.
“I’m not OK with this,” Gray said with stoild caution.
“You know where the door is,” replied Stacie and laughed.
Gray turned, went down the steps and opened the front door to the emptiness of space. He stopped cold. He was filled with awe and terror.
Is this a hallucination? Gray asked himself.
“Sometimes, a cigar is just a cigar,” Az replied.
Gray yelled out in reply to Az.
“OH NO… You are not reading my mind!”
Then Gray imagined a red brick wall around his thoughts.
“That’s the best you can do?” asked Az.
Gray ignored Az and imagined razor wire on top of his red brick wall.
“How about sharks with eyes that shoot laser beams?” asked Az.
Stacie roared in laughter at Az’s vocal impression of laser beams. But Gray pretended to ignore Az – he wasn’t going to have a conversation with Stacie’s imaginary, telepathic friend.
“If Az is a TARDIS, who and what are you?” Gray shouted up to the landing.
“It’s complicated,” Stacie said as she approached the landing’s railing and leaned on it.
“Tell me about it!”
“My people called me The Corsair,” Stacie started to explain.
“I’ve had many names. Some nice, some not so nice, but others were very cool. Fabulous, in fact!
Among the Lakota people, I am Wakį́yą. Thunderbird.
In the fourteenth century, the Spanish knew me as The Dread Pirate Roberta (Roberta Baal) – I liked that name a lot.”
I had a lot of fun in those days, but not as much fun as I had during the Revolutionary War with Ben. Az played his role as the pirate ship, The Black Prince – perfectly!”
In the twelfth century, I ran around painted in blue – the hindus knew me as Kali.”
“Ben?! Ben who?” Asked Gray,
“Benjamin Franklin, silly! Who else?” Stacie replied.
“You didn’t know that he was a pirate too?”
Gray furled his brow. He didn’t remember that footnote from his American history class.
Stacie paused, looked down at Gray, and began again.
“The thing is… I’m an illegal alien.”
She tossed down her calling card to Gray . He caught and examined it.
It looked like a Queen of Hearts face card. It smelled like Bulgarian roses. In the center of the card was her name and the text:
Illegal Alien. Virtuous. Two hearts.
Gray looked at the car and then back up at Stacie standing above him.
“If it’s true, why would you tell me?!”
Stacie winked and answered him.
“Because my black-haired thief, you don’t have time for charades and biscuits. ”
“This is a whole lot of crazy,” Gray exclaimed. Then he took a deep breath.
“Time and space travel wasn’t in the job description,” Gray stated firmly as he closed the door.
“The salary that we negotiated doesn’t adequately compensate for the stress…”
“How about a big hug?” Stacie replied from above.
Gray’s dark brown eyes seemed to darken to a stone cold black and he grinned.
This might work out for me, he thought to himself.
“How about we double my hourly rate and make me full time?” Gray proposed. “I could use some Obamacare.”
“Nice try but you know where the door is, bebe,” Stacie shot back.
Anyway, we haven’t gone anywhere. Not today! But the door, that’s something completely different.
That door can open to other places. Places you’ve never imagined. Wonderful places. Terrible places. But always, an adventure!”
Gray heard another R2-D2 ring tone. This was different. It sounded like R2 just blew a circuit. Then a Death Star warning siren sounded.
Stacie has the craziest ring tones and alerts, he thought to himself.
Gray didn’t know it but the door would open to the same neighborhood – ten years into the future.
Gray opened the front door again. Everything looked normal. He took a step outside and inhaled deeply. The air stank of rotten meat.
Looking to the left and up the street, he saw three people slowly staggering down the sidewalk. Then he noticed his motorcycle was missing.
Gray walked out to the driveway where he had parked his bike.
It occurred to him that he still had four years of payments on that bike. And insurance wasn’t going to buy him a bike like he had.
Gray had bought the bike on the cheap. From a cop that was about to lose his house to the bank. What a loser that guy was.
Lucky for Gray.
Gray noticed the three people making a slow b-line toward him and took a better look at them. They looked messed up. Their blood stained clothes were ripped and torn up. Maybe, they had been in a car accident. Whatever their problems were, he didn’t want to get involved.
Ain’t got no time for that, Gray thought to himself as he walked back to Stacie’s front door, went in and closed it behind him.
“So you’re staying?” asked Stacie from the landing above.
A body thudded against the door.
Gray looked through the peep hole and caught a glimpse of a mouth around which the skin had been torn away.
“Um, there’s a zombie on the other side of the door,” Gray announced.
He wasn’t sure. They could have been victims of an accident. But whatever they were, Gray didn’t want to deal with it.
“Where’s Sam and Dean Winchester when you need them,” teased Az.
“If it’s a zombie, gank it.” Stacie replied.
“Gank!?” Gray asked out loud. “What does Gank mean?!”
“Kill it. Kill it dead,” Az replied enthuiastically.
“FUCK that!” Gray shouted.
“Don’t be a wuss, assbutt,” Az snapped at Gray.
“There’s a machette inside the umbrella vase,” Stacie told Gray.
He pushed the umbrellas aside and found the machette. It had a hand guard and almost foot long, broad, black blade. He held it in his shaking hand.
“Killing ZOMBIES wasn’t in the job description either.”
“Whining wasn’t in the job description,” Az blurted. “I KNOW. Because I wrote the job description.”
“I add a little excitement and spice to your life,” Stacie started to tell Gray.
“And all you do is complain. Where is your adventurous spirit, your imagination? Think of the possibilities!”
“MAN UP, open that door and gank those zombies!” Az added.
Gray looked down at his shoes as he unlocked the door. As he opened the door, the zombie pushed in and the door flew wide open. The zombie’s hands stretched out to him.
Gray recognized the face of his younger sister. But she was older. Maybe, ten years older.
“Bring the machette down on it’s forehead,” Stacie instructed Gray.
He dropped the machette and it clanged on the marble mosaic floor. Gray’s zombie-sister grabbed his shirt with both hands and pressed her open mouth towards his face as he stood there in shock.
“That’s the problem with single-player games and shooters. They just don’t prepare you for actual combat stress,” Az remarked.
Stacie had leapt over the railing and brought a black tomahawk down on the top of his sister’s skull. The blade sunk in and florescing green-yellow blood and bits of blue-black brain sprayed across Gray’s face.
Both Gray and his sister slumped to the floor. Next, Stacie rolled Gray’s inanimate sister off of him and dragged the corpse (face down) out the door. After she took out the two other zombies wandering nearby, she returned and gently closed the door.
Gray muttered as tears ran down his cheeks.
“My sister was a zombie. My sister is dead. How the fuck did that happen?!”
I don’t understand. That was my sister. Or it looked like my sister. I don’t know…”
“That was her – your sister,” Stacie replied with sympathy.
“Enough already with the chic flick moment,” Az complained.
Stacie offered Gray a hand up. Instead, he curled up in a ball and hugged himself. Kneeling beside him, she put her hand on his head.
“He’s gonna pop,” Az warned.
Stacie whispered to Gray.
“Getting a glimpse of the future and a chance to stop it from happening…
That comes with a price tag. It’ll cost you everything you thought you were and everything you thought you wanted.”
Taking a sonic screwdriver out of her pocket, Stacie held the silver wand in front of Gray’s face. She wished Tauran had that option. Tauran’s advanced psychic abilities, however, made him immune to memory erasure.
“Or I can erase your memory and you can forget everything that happened today.”
“Take the blue pill, kid,” Az advised Gray.
Gray leaned over and puked.
“That’s what free will and freedom is all about,” Stacie explained. “You either make your destiny or it happens to you – for better or worse.”
“Erase my memory,” Gray whispered in shame.
There was a bright flash of light and a soft hum in his ears.
Gray shoved his hands in the side pockets of his jacket. In his right hand, he squeezed a crystalline wine cork that he had found in a box laying on the floor of Stacie’s furnace room. He had never seen anything like that. Gray had taken it to show Stacie and ask her about it.
“Is it going to hurt to forget?” asked Gray.
“Forget what, Gray?”
“I don’t remember,” he answered.
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Episode Two is here.
Author: Stan Faryna