Monday, 31 December 1990

The Valkyrie Chronicles - The Theophilus War Chapter 2

Lom was walked through the engineering section of the Valkyrie, surveying the repairs. He was soon joined by Watt.
    “How are the repairs going, Lieutenant?” asked Watt.
    “I would like more time.” replied Lom. “We took one hell of a battering when we went through the wormhole. Unlezz we have more time, we won’t be able do deal with any threat.”
    “I agree.” said Watt. “Sometimes I think that Starfleet Command has no idea how a starship works!”
    Then, Watt got a call from the bridge.
    “Bridge to Captain Watt.”
    “What is it Commander Winthorn?” asked Watt.
    “The Admiral wants you to beam down to the surface.” Winthorn replied. “He’s found something that may interest you. He would also like to see Lt. Lom and Lt. Amarus.”
    “Tell Mr. Amarus to meet us in transporter room three.” said Watt. “You come with me, Lom.”

    About ten minutes later, Watt, Lom and Amarus beamed to the surface. They arrived at one of the suburbs of the capital city, outside one of the houses. They were greeted by the Admiral.
    “Glad you could get here.” he said. “I thought you might want to see this. Follow me.”
    The Admiral lead the three of them into the house. They walked through the living area into the ‘garage’ at the back of the house. In this large room they found what the Admiral wanted to show them.
    “It’s a Federation shuttle craft!” said Watt. “What’s it doing here?”
    “That’s what we’re trying to find out.” said the Admiral. “We asked you to bring Lt. Lom along because our engineers are working flat out on the Valkyrie.”
    Lom boarded the shuttle craft. He was slightly surprised.
    “Thizz izz not a rezzent model.” he said. “It’zz at least thirty yearzz old.”
    Lom switched on the computer.
    “At least the power cells still have some juice in them.” said Amarus.
    A few seconds passed while Lom accessed the shuttle craft’s computer.
    “How long ago did you find this, sir?” asked Watt.
    “Two hours ago.” the Admiral replied. “We’ve been running a routine scan of the area, trying to locate this shuttle craft.”
    “Where is the owner of this house?” asked Watt. “He should know what it’s doing here.”
    That’s the problem.” said the Admiral. “This house belongs to a Simon Renfield. He’s been in the psychiatric hospital for the past four months. He’s had a complete nervous breakdown. Since then the house has been empty.”
    “Simon Renfield?” queried Watt. “That name sounds familiar. Where is this hospital?”
    “Why?” asked the Admiral. “Renfield is now nothing more than a babbling idiot!”
    “A babbling idiot with a Federation shuttle craft in his back room!” said Watt.
    Then, Lom approached them.
    “The computer izz blank.” he said. “There izz full power in the cellz, all izz in working order, yet there izz no memory. The only thing I can tell izz that it izz at least eighty yearzz old!”
    “Security scan reveals nothing odd.” said Amarus. “Except one thing, no trace of human residue.”
    The Admiral called one of his aides over.
    “Have this shuttle craft taken back to the Starbase.” he said.
    “You two go with them.” said Watt.
    Watt then activated his communicator.
    “Watt to Pendragon.”
    “Pendragon here.”
    “Have Counsellor Trospheo and Dr. Singh meet me in the ready room in ten minutes. One to beam up.”
    When they returned to the ship they found Magus busily engaged in creating crucifixes in mithril silver.
    “What are you doing, Magus?” asked Watt with some surprise.
    “You will see, in due course. What news from the planet?”
    “They’ve found a shuttle craft in some loony’s back yard, a really old one.”
    “Never dismiss the insane, Watt, very often they are allowed to see things which sane people are not permitted to.”
    “The man concerned is in a mental hospital. Has been for at least four months.”
    At that moment, Trospheo and Singh arrived. Watt told them of his intent to visit Simon Renfield. At the mention of the name Magus snapped to the alert.
    “Renfield?” he asked. “Singh, get the medical records for this man.”
    Singh looked at Watt. Then, moving to the computer, he called the psychological profile of Renfield up on the screen.
    “It seems that he has taken to eating living creatures. He says he has been promised life by the master.”
    “The Time Lord called the Master perhaps?” asked Trospheo.
    Magus looked at Watt.
    “I think you should see Renfield tomorrow.” he said quietly. “I will accompany you.”
    The arrangements were made, and the visit set for the next day.

    They were greeted at the hospital by Dr. Humphrey Chilton. Soon they were seated in the cell with Renfield. He was a small, pale man, with deep set eyes.
    “Good morning, Renfield.” said Chilton.
    “Good morning, Doctor.” replied Renfield. “Who are your friends?”
    Chilton introduced the others. Upon hearing Magus’ name the mask slipped.
    “The master has spoken of you.” he hissed. “The master has ways of dealing with you.”
    Magus gazed sternly at the lunatic.
    “Many years ago I gave your master the peace he sought, in return from him he promised not to bother the universe. He has broken his vow. I intend to see that he pays for that.”
    Magus left. Shortly afterward the others left. Chilton rounded on Magus angrily.
    “Ambassador or not, you may have set that man’s treatment back four months.”
    “Dr. Chilton, you are not qualified to deal with the menace we are now facing. There is no point in curing his mind if his immortal soul is in danger. This, a man is facing a peril which his distant ancestor, Milo Renfield, faced years ago and like your ancestor, Frederick Chilton, you are more hindrance than help.”
    They returned to the ship.
    “I sense great anger and worry in you, Magus. What is it?” asked Trospheo.
    “I know now exactly what we are facing, dear girl.” he replied. “And it is not a task for the faint hearted.”
    “Explain Magus.” said Watt.
    “In the late twentieth century your grandfather and I were involved in a war to save the universe from a renegade wizard called Saruman the White. History shows that we were in the main, successful. Part of the reason Dracula is, or was on Monstron was through a deal I set up between him and the High Wolfman for Dracula to be granted asylum on Monstron. For his part he agreed to leave the rest of the universe in peace and not spread his vampirism.”
    “How do you know it is he?” asked Singh.
    “Of all the vampires I have ever encountered only two were able to drain a body of all it’s blood without it becoming a vampire itself. On is the Count St. Germain. The other is Count Dracula.”
    “I didn’t know Admiral St. Germain was a vampire.” said Trospheo.
    “He doesn’t need to go round biting virgins.” laughed Watt. “He has his nourishment created by the replicator.”
    “The fact remains, he is at Starfleet Headquarters. That means Dracula is somewhere near.”
    The meeting soon ended. Watt went straight to the bridge.
    “Message is coming in from the planet’s surface.” said Amarus. “From Bob Dones.”
    “In my ready room, Mr. Amarus.” said Watt.
    Watt entered his ready room. He sat down at his desk, and switched on his view screen. The image of Bob Dones appeared on the screen. He was not a happy man.
    “What’s wrong, Bob?” asked Watt.
    “I normally wouldn’t bother you with something like this, Jim.” said Dones. “But it’s my daughter, Mina. She’s suddenly become very ill, and the doctors here can’t tell a damn thing. I was hoping that one of your doctors could have a look at her.”
    “I’ll have my chief medical officer beam down straight away.” said Watt. “See you in a couple of minutes.”
    The screen went blank. Watt then activated his communicator.
    “Watt to Magus. Meet me in transporter room three. Dr. Singh, meet me there also.”

    A few minutes later, the three of them arrived at Done’s home. They were greeted by a rather sad looking Dones.
    “Thank you for coming, Jim.” he said. “I don’t know what’s wrong with her. She’s suddenly become very weak.”
    “I’ve brought along Ambassador Magus.” said Watt. “He’s a doctor also.”
    “A doctor of what?” asked Dones.
    “Practically everything.” replied Magus.
    Dones lead them into his house. They followed him into his daughter’s bedroom. Watt was surprised at what he saw. A few days earlier, when Watt had first visited his old friend, Mina Dones had seemed in perfect health. Now she lay on her bed, very weak.
    Singh walked over to the bed, and started moving his tri-corder above her.
    “I’m picking up no unusual readings.” he said. “The only thing I can tell is that she has a slight fever.”
    “You call yourself a doctor!” snapped Dones. “Can’t you see she’s ill? What’s wrong with her?”
    Magus walked over to the bed. He placed his hand over her head.
    “How long has she been feeling ill?” he asked.
    “A couple of days.” Dones replied. “Not long after Jim and Anthony visited.”
    “Anthony?” Magus queried.
    “Anthony Alucard.” Dones replied. “I met him about ten days ago. A rather charming gentleman.”
    Magus lifted Mina’s collar. He noticed two small puncture marks on her neck. A grim expression appeared on his face.
    “Have you any garlic, Mr. Dones?” he asked.
    “Not much.” said Dones. “Mina doesn’t like it that much.”
    “I need a lot of garlic Mr. Dones.” said Magus.
    Magus walked over to the window.
    “I want this window kept shut at all times.” he ordered. “It must not be opened by anyone. I want cloves of garlic placed around the door and window, and no matter what your daughter says, you must not remove it!”
    “But what’s wrong with her?” asked Dones.
    “She has been affected by the plague which now affects this colony.” said Magus. “Whatever you do, you must not let this Anthony Alucard into your home.”
    “Now come on, Magus.” said Watt. “Alucard is just an ordinary colonist!”
    “Sometimes, Captain, you can be very dim.” said Magus. “Don’t you get it? Alucard? It’s Dracula backwards!”
    “But why is he here?” asked Watt. “When you granted him asylum?”
    “That I intend to find out. I mean to ask Mr. Renfield.”

    Swiftly they made their way to the asylum. They were met there by Lethbridge-Stewart. The asylum was a smoking ruin. There were no survivors.
    “It started three hours ago. A fire of such intensity that all inside were killed before any help could arrive.” he said.
    “We have Dracula, here on this planet, instead of on Monstron, where he was at peace. We have Van Helsing, burned to a crisp, and now this asylum burned to the ground by a fire of such intensity that all was destroyed. I believe, Admiral, that I know another of the people we are dealing with. Could you have Ambassador Watt join me here?”
    It wasn’t long before Magus’ old colleague was with them once more. They walked delicately through the piles of smoking rubble. The fire had been so fierce that no humanoid remains could be found. Ambassador Watt looked concernedly at Magus.
    “It’s all falling into place, James. Bodies drained of blood which can’t become vampires. Anyone who could be of help to us burnt alive. Cast your mind back to the Saruman wars. The cave of the Holy Grail in Turkey.”
    “I remember.” smiled the Ambassador. “Only the penitent may pass. Celsius tried to enter the Sanctum Sanctorum and was almost carved in two. Theophilus got through, too the Grail and cured Celsius’ wounds.
    “In the process both became immortal. Theophilus has had century upon century to hone his mental powers. I would not be at all surprised if he now approached one of the more powerful mortal wizards in ability.”
    “Assuming you are correct, Magus.” said Watt. “How do we proceed?”
    “Lack of imagination does seem to characterize you, dear boy. I know I am correct. Dracula had no need of anything on Monstron. He had no need, nor any desire, to leave it. It would have taken a being of either vast persuasion, or one capable of controlling a mind such as Dracula’s, to get him to leave. Hence that he leaves us with only a few possible subjects…the Brotherhood of the Istari and Theophilus. He has not been seen or heard of for decades. It would also be simple for him to control the mind of Celsius, although I don’t think he would need to. Celsius is easily led.”
    “So where to find them?”
    “My guess is that they are using some sort of cloaking device.” said Magus. “How else would they be able to slip into this sector undetected.”
    “Are you saying they have Romulan connections?” asked the Admiral.
    “No.” said Magus. “In the twentieth century Armand Theophilus was adept at all sciences. With twenty-fourth century technology at his disposal, he would be capable of anything!”
    “Would we be able to alter our sensors?” asked Watt.
    “You can try.” said Magus. “But it would be difficult, because you wouldn’t know what to scan for!”
    “We can try.” said Watt. “I’ll put Sutek and a couple of others on it right away.”