(Author’s Note: Ya know, I read that reusing old stuff is forbidden in PRIME unless it was for character development purposes only. Allow me to abuse that loophole thusly. Blame the Jabber conversation about regeneration and Tijuana for bringing this here. I thought about writing something about it. But then, a memory flare launched in my head. Didn’t I write about this before?
Why, yes. Yes, I did.
This is three–count ’em–three somewhat short CD pieces smashed together and brought to you from that distant year of 2017. Behind the scenes, said regeneration was always planned but it was also rushed due to drama. So this was me–both wanting to write/stay in efedding and simultaneously being burnt out on writing/efedding–in essence scrambling to make all this make some sort of sense in character. Could I have rewrote something new? Yeah. But I never would’ve been able to capture 2017 Heather’s mindset as 2022 Heather no matter how much I’d try. I envy those that can.
This is Anna. Pre-Multitudes, pre-Daniels, and pre-me knowing what I was doing with this Time Lord thing. There is very little editing on my part save for a small amount of clean up. It is raw, down to the shit Google Translate Spanish. Maybe there’s foreshadowing that you can see that I can’t or glimpses of things I am forever blind to. Is it still canon? Who knows? What is canon anyway? Enjoy or don’t.)
From the moment the two bodies collided, Anna Mathews knew that she was in some trouble.
It is no secret that a Time Lord must change after a certain point and for a few years now whenever one brought the topic up, she simply said that she couldn’t. And naturally in the grand scope of things, that was a massive lie. The truth is she could. It’s just that back in the days where her status wasn’t known in its entirety, Anna couldn’t run the risk of being outted as such and even when it was brought to the fore, it seemed quite illiogical to break the continuity of things. Thus she had resolved to make the brain change and leave the rest the same. But even though she’s managed to keep up, every single cell was telling her to give. They didn’t scream any louder than that night.
Still, it’s not like you can stop the match midway and say to the ref “Dood, I gotta go an spawn a nu skeleton and stuffs. BRB.” It was gonna happen, but nobody gets the satisfaction of getting a forfeit from her even when the guy is so old, he was bouncing baby dinosaurs on his knee. That’s the trouble. Sometimes, pride overrules sense. When that happens, the cost is more than anyone can afford to pay.
Moments later as she watched the massive frame of her opponent come hurtling down, pride ended up being the last thing on her mind. She was already glowing faintly, just enough to be noticeable from the disconcerting eye. He could fall on her. It didn’t matter. This would, in its own way, be the final night she would wrestle as the person people grew used to. No ‘Mania moments. No shocked faces. Nobody to reminisce and remember her as she was before all this. Anna would always be Anna in some form. But this was bittersweet. She looked towards the rafters and thought she could see the shadows of a tortured man or the glimpse of a tarot reader. She could smell the dust.
It’s true what they say, you know. You can’t go back home again. Once people are lost, they remain lost. She was a daughter, a sibling, a friend and a lover at more points than she could count. Would she still be a parent to her clones? She didn’t know. All she knew was that the nostalgia that was killing her was also devouring itself. She would’ve made a toast if she cared enough to move.
Instead, she exhaled.
The crash was impactful and only amplified things more. The crowd was deafening. The commentators were squawking. Pain. The Time Lord didn’t hate it. Pain was a teacher. Pain was the thing you feel when you’re holding on to something that was never yours. Pain tells you to let go. She began to burn.
It couldn’t happen here. It would’ve been nice to have an audience but she was a powder keg of unearthly energy. Kinetic in its nature. It has to be away from the arena. But there wasn’t much time.
Hao ironik. A Time Lord running owt ov time.
So all she could do is scream.
“EV’RYBUDDY KNEEDS TU GIT OUT OV THE BUILDING! EVERYBODY NEEDS TA GO! NOW!”
Not thinking straight. Not even remembering she is in Mexico. People are people and people don’t listen. Even on the stretcher, the words continued to flow from her mouth. To them, it’s gibberish. To the few that understand, it’s drama…except for one.
The howling continues as the halfassed doctors tried to pin her down in a room. She kicks a man near her feet. One called for a sedative. Anna thrashes. They can’t keep a hold of her. Everything burns. A rush of frustration and anger made her rise. The glow burns the brightest in her eyes.
They fled like cockroaches as she slammed the door behind them. Outside was too far away. The chances of them evacuating were zero. There was only one chance left. Her hands clench into fists. Fight. As much as you can. To the moon and back. To infinity and beyond. Maybe things don’t go boom. Maybe people don’t die from my stupidity. The risk that must be taken. Pain is a friend. Pain is a teacher. Let go of everything you know. Mind, body, soul…
One last look into the eyes of her brother. Micah had their father’s eyes and though they could never be together in childhood, that bloodstained room made them closer than those years ever could. She sings.
“Daizee, Daizee, gimmie yoor answer tru.
Aye’m half krazy all four the love of you.
I doan’t needa stylish marriage.
Eye kan’t afford a carriage.
Butt you’ll look sweet
Upon a seat, onna
The tears fell. The body is consumed with light. The mind is in Kalistan. The time when she laid in her own blood. She wanted to die then but there was more work to be done. More demons to slay.
Aye half dun mi duty.
The pressure released and everything turns white.
A voice activated recorder is sitting on a countertop.
“My name is Annaperennaepsilionomnicrex. My parents were from Gallifrey, originally in the constellation of Kasterborous many lightyears away from Earth. I don’t know where it is now. Heard rumors but…that’s not important, really. I am a Time Lord.”
The ruffling of hair through a towel.
“I am currently recording from a bathroom in my TARDIS. I have just taken a shower, one that I sorely needed given that I was pitch black and covered in soot.”
“I remember staggering out of a room filled with smoke and fire. It took me a moment to figure out that walking was either right-left-right or left-right-left. A lot of people came rushing by, presumably to put out the flames. There were also some in tights and many of those wore masks. Those ones ignored me. One didn’t. He wasn’t wearing a mask and was kind of scrawny. He saw the key chain dangling from my pocket, a tiny replica of the time machine. He called me Anna. That’s what people call me. He lead me in here and took me to my room. I slept peacefully with no dreams.”
A wearing of clothes, the brushing of teeth.
“According to the tracking system, I am currently in Tijuana, Mexico which makes sense. The guys in the masks must’ve been luchadores and since there wasn’t a ring in the place, I can only assume that I’m backstage as the…what’s it called? Coliseo Inmortal? That sounds right.”
There’s a pause after this. Exhale. A look at the mirror.
“I remember nothing else.”
The Zero Room is a room of nothingness, a tabula rasa amongst the multitude of doors in the TARDIS. It is used, primarily, as a place to stabilize after regeneration. In here, Anna floats into the empty space attempting to trigger the records of an empty mind. The whole thing still manages to baffle her. She is…or was?…a professional wrestler, one of the best, according to a man in a mask who considers himself a lost soul. A few friends showed up and even an ex-boyfriend emerged from the muck. They seemed familiar but still cannot be grasped. They are like ghosts talking to her with such familiarity even if their lives prove to be mysteries in and of themselves. After extreme analysis, she could approximate that 138 years were missing out of her 414 year timespan. Only a small portion of that was wrestling, but it was clearly the most important. Nothing else meant as much. Her (or rather She-That-Was-Her’s) last action was wrestling in a ring. It all must mean something.
But why? Why this thing? Why this fighting in colorful costumes? With all the resources at her disposal, she could’ve easily been a professor at a college or a full time wanderer of the stars. Yet even this far removed, she could tell that neither one of these options were her. Looking at that final match…the body may have been different but they’re still the same person.
Most people in situations where their entire lives have been overhauled has, at the very least, building blocks. Places and mindsets in which to hunker down and rebuild. But the loss of her memories have demolished that possibility. As far as her brain was concerned, she was a novice traveler fresh out of the Academy. All Anna Mathews has to prove that this isn’t the case, that there was a life beyond, is the stories of a few humans that may not even be true and a recording of one moment in time. That last match playing over and over again in every screen of the TARDIS. Every time she leaves this room. Every time she returns from attempting to live a normal life…
Even now in her head away from the electrical interference that crackles though the air on modern day Earth, she still watches. Trying to find a piece of her inside that fun loving yet ailing self. But this is much like telling a fully grown human to go back into the mindset of their five year old selves. They can’t. She can’t. They could only speculate. And under different circumstances, Anna could make peace with this. Yet two things about that night bothered her more than anything else.
The first was how many people she had put at risk simply by entering the building. There was a tone of regenerative energy there, enough completely dissipate the majority of the crowd in attendance. Winston–who has been so helpful in the aftermath–would be simply erased from the face of the planet along with many others. Not a trace left. Even with her being in the backstage area, there was always a risk. What if she wasn’t alone that night? What if she couldn’t fight it? The possible consequences is enough to make her stomach twist into knots.
But even with everything going as well as it did…there is still a giant elephant in the room. His name is Nirvana. He’s a mountain of a man and just as old as one. According to the commentary, they had been feuding longer than anybody can recall. And he had walked out of the match holding his stomach. Yet despite the last image of him walking through the curtain, there hasn’t been a sign of him since.
No tweet attempting to claim victory.
No update on whether he’s hurt or not.
No mentions. At all.
He actually did evaporate from the face of the earth. Nobody from HELL is talking. Nobody says a word.
By holding off the regeneration for so long, Anna risked the lives of many and started a fire that, thankfully, was snuffed before it could spread. Could it be possible that a spark…a bit…a part of the energy hit him as he squashed her? Slowing it down to the last millisecond, she could find nothing of the sort. But just because it can’t be seen, doesn’t mean it happened.
Am I a good person?
Am I dangerous?
Do I even want to know?
These are questions her friends can’t answer. These are the questions that plague her. These are the questions she can’t ask out loud. If she asks, she could be implicating herself into things she didn’t do. And if she deserves to be punished, there’s no way they would have the facilities to hold her. That final question is meaningless. What Anna wants is irrelevant. She needs to know. The knowledge affects everything. And the only way she can trigger anything is to do what she’s been doing for a while now.
As she floats towards the door, the burden crashes on her shoulders.
I need in that ring.
Thursday, August 17, 2017 – Budokan Nippon – Tokyo, Japan…
The lights are off and the crowds have left. It is quiet on the battlefield.
Until it’s not.
Some characterize the noise as a strange mechanical wheezing sound. If this was a comic book, perhaps it would be called a VWORP. But no matter what it’s called, those in the know have the noise pegged even if it is currently much softer than usual. What materializes is a box–big, blue, and beautiful–that clashes against the landscape. In truth, it doesn’t have to look so familiar. Unlike others, the chameleon circuit does work and it doesn’t really have to make that sound. Humans enjoy the familiarity, however. Even if the one who steps out is the “wrong” Time Lord.
The door swings open and footsteps fall. She smiles. Anna Mathews is alive, mostly sober, and until recently, unable to find a single clue of who she was. She had thought that taking up her past self’s “profession” would help trigger something and with the Coliseo Inmortal being rehabilitated after her little…incident, she had no choice but to set out into the world and find herself there. Nobody expected her to end up in Japan fighting ninja turtles and grappling during a scrabble game.
She keeps herself quiet as she inches closer towards the ring. Thankfully, it hasn’t been taken down or anything. The dark alter that she voted for–the very thing that summoned the clue–is gone along with its book of horrors. But a circle of blast back from a current explosion remains embedded in the canvas.
It’s only been a few days since the match. A few days since she attempted to summon a familiar and got distracted by a TARDIS in flames. Anna’s, but not Anna’s. It was and remains a complicated predicament. There’s no way the summoning failed. That was obvious. Yet why that? It doesn’t make any sense.
The sonic screwdriver leaps out of her pocket. Her hands bumble just enough to catch it before pointing the business end of the instrument at the burn. The whirr of its waves is faint, the light dim. Immediately, the glow gets bigger as a cloud of energy forms along the tip.
A victorious whisper. This is exactly what she was looking for. She turns it off and quickly slides out of the ring, heading right back inside her vehicle. The screwdriver is placed in a crystalized container, a vacuum sucks up the cloud particle by particle. The many gears and nozzles of the central console move in twitch by themselves. In this regard, it is not at all different from giving a bloodhound a bit of clothing to sniff out in order to find a person. The brain analyzing that the smell is human. The fact that the dog in this case in a thrown together time machine made out of scrap is inconsequential.
As she sits in a giant swivel chair, Anna flips on two switches. One is for stealth. The other for camouflage. Seconds later, the TARDIS vanishes into thin air much more quietly than before.
Tuesday, June 30th, 2015 – Coliseo Inmortal – Tijuana, Mexico…
Back in Tijuana.
Back in HELL.
But it’s made clear just from the sense of the air that this is a different time, an early version of the world she knew. Somehow, Anna couldn’t help but wonder what the other her was doing at this point.
“Lo siento. No hay ratas hasta después del espectáculo. “
She smiles. In the realms of professional wrestling, old habits die hard, especially here. Psychic paper is shown to the brawny man, showing exactly what he needs to.
“No es una puta, señor. Sólo parte del equipo de producción que verifica si todo funciona, eso es todo.”
It’s a lie and a horrible one at that with her rusty Spanish. But sometimes, faux-credentials and a boatload of charm can smooth that shit over. The guard gives it a once over, eyeballs her for a moment, then scoffs as he returns the paper.
“Ponte a trabajar, entonces.”
With a soft gracias before leaving, Anna takes off. He clearly didn’t think about it too much: a gringo helping out a lucha libre company. Or maybe he just didn’t care. Whether it be ignorance or lack of fucks, she could only praise him silently many times over. A rushing past the waves of masks, occasionally fiddling around with a camera or twelve haphazardly left alone to maintain the otherwise wobbly story…until something stops her in her tracks.
She turns to stare at the door. It seems so unassuming, but this was the very door to the very room in which everything changed (or would change?) years later. In here, she would have regenerated and lost herself in order to save what she’d risked. There’s a pit at the bottom of her stomach. The energy from Budokan came from here.
Do I want to know?
Doubt kept creeping in, making her panic. Her sight is overlaid by static as the doorknob threatens to burn through her skin and devour her outright. It takes everything just to stand here as the door, by its very presence, tries to suck the life out of her.
Can’t go around the void. That doesn’t work. I gotta go through.
Summoning her will, she turns the door knob and stumbles into the room, gasping for air. The equilibrium switches almost immediately leaving her to crumble to the floor. She closes her eyes and braces for impact…but it never comes. Her eyes snap open. What is clear is that she is afloat. There is no floor from a technical standpoint, just a network of constellations and planets below going about their business. The above carries no roof. There are no limits at all.
Tormentia in the garden of eden brings about a summertime sadness and in these dire days, who finds themselves wanting from the mouths of babes?
The voice scoffs and booms everywhere, yet it doesn’t seem to shout. Anna tries to move but her limbs are weighed down by some incredible force. Just near her line of vision, a figure remains blurred.
She sinks into a frisbee merry go round and tries to find the world in its hyperbole, never losing a single step. Can a person look back while moving forward? Does that make them stay in the same place altogether?
“What are you saying?”
The figure speaks.
Do I want to know?
The same words. It pierces through with the same words. And steadily, silently, it begins to solidify.
My wants don’t matter. They never matter. Maybe they should. Maybe I should look after myself this time. Look after myself. That’s a bit selfish. I live amongst humans. Selfishness is key to survival. But that’s not me. Isn’t it? I don’t know. Exactly. This way, it doesn’t matter so much. This way, I can rebuild myself in whatever image I want to. The old adage stands true. Ignorance is bliss. Another old adage disputes that. Knowledge is power.
What good is power if I can’t use it?
What good is bliss if I can’t enjoy it?!
I’ll never be able to enjoy anything fully. If there’s one lesson my mother seared into my brain, it’s that. It doesn’t matter that we’ve mastered time. It doesn’t matter if we can go back and forth at our leisure because the one aspect we can’t alter is change. Nothing remains the same. Ever. So whatever and whoever I care about has the slight taint of impermanence.
But I know that. Don’t I?
The breath disappears from Anna’s lungs. All those words were hers, thought up at one time or another. And it…became her. A facsimile of herself beaming wild as it offers a hand to pull her up.
I was born from perdition. I don’t have to stay there. This is a chance. Reborn without a single drop of blood on my hands. The humans forget. The worlds forget. I must not carry the baggage anymore.
They stand face to face, mirror images of each other. A whisper is unleashed as they look into each other’s eyes.
Forget. And never come back to those places.
And god, that sounds so tempting in places she doesn’t like to admit exist. Still the question must be asked.
“And what if I do?”
Then I’ll never be free.
Time stands still. The weight of that sentence crushing organs. This was the decision to make. She should agree, walk away, live her life. So what if a chunk of her life is lost? Being told by one of your own that there’s nothing worth remembering, it makes you doubt. Her hearts feel uplifted by the thought of just letting it go. But…
“Those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it.”
Anna–the real Anna–sighs.
“I have a lot of history. Some of it with people actually living in the present. And from the way those words were said, I imagine I’ve made mistakes. Critical ones.” The shapeshifter nods in its response. “That’s exactly why I have to remember as much as I can. If I am truly evil, I should know. So that I can be better.”
The shifter smiles sadly.
I knew that would be the answer. We are eternal idiots.
Very well. Lament, for the ghost of time’s ongoing struggle is here.
It snuffs itself out like a candle…