"So it has been you the entire time," the Doctor said with grinding teeth. "The immortal pharao. Son of Ra. God of Christendom?" "Quite so dear Doctor. Please, have a seat." "A flash of white, and the Doctor found himself sitting on a lavish chair, a steaming cup of tea in his hand. How he hated Q's fondness of turning a polite offer into a display of power leaving you no choice but to accept. "I'm slightly puzzled by your surprise. Didn't you recognize my visage on the Colossus when entering the harbor?" "I... tried not to look too closely," the Doctor said rather sheepishly. "Was is strictly necessary for the statue to... stand at attention?" ""But of course!" Q said while sweeping his arms wide in a grand gesture. "Points perfectly east. Very useful for navigation. You won't believe the number of ships going through here ever since ancient times." "Oh there is no end of things about this I won't believe," came the sour reply of the Doctor. "Got bored in your precious Continuum again Q?" "You know how it is. Flitting in your little blue box through time and space, trying to find something new and exciting. But imagine there was nothing new to discover, living from the dawn of time, having seen everything, counted every atom thrice over. You of all people should understand the hell that is boredom, not as a temporary inconvenience but an inescapable state of eternal being." Much to his reluctance, the Doctor found himself emphatizing with what Q was talking about. An eternity without excitement, adventure, it would kill his soul where so many calamities had failed to kill his body. But he also knew he wouldn't recklessly put his own needs over those of others and perhaps even existence itself. But before he could mount a response the godlike being spoke up again. "Come, why don't I show you." He snapped his fingers and a sudden sense of vertigo came over the Doctor. All his senses were on fire and only with great effort could he keep himself from retching. "Q, what did you do?" "Oh, I just reloaded." "You WHAT." "Went back in time some fifty-odd years. Wasn't too happy with how I did some things. Turns out I can save a lot of money by changing our military to a levy system." Pharao's Log, 1423 ADA "Are you stark raving mad? The time stream is already falling apart and you're just casually pulling at the seams!" "Come now, it's not that bad," Q said dismissively. "Here, let me show you something more fitting your proclivity. Diplomacy." Pharao's Log, 1433 ADA "Not too exciting perhaps, but I get a lot of cash out of selling technologies to other civilizations whenever they have a decent bankroll." "And you're of course totally unconcerned with the effects this ought to have," the Doctor said dryly. "Oh, naturally. I only do this with minor peoples who will never amount to a threat anyway," Q explained. "Now Persia may be strong, but if you check their entry at the scoreboard in the throneroom you'll see they're already teetering on collapse anyway. Might as well get some shiny baubles out of them before they go the way of the dinosaur." This marked one of the preciously few times the Time Lord found himself at a loss for words. "Well then, moving on." Another snap, another white flash, and they stood at the freshly laid foundations of a massive fortification network. "Oooh, another quest! Those are always exciting." Pharao's Log, 1447 ADA "Is this, like, a game?" the Doctor asked aghast. "I think I asked you the same thing a couple regenerations ago, but it was way less literal back then." "Ah, the Trial of Mankind, was it? You've always had a soft spot for them. A common interest we share." Q gave him a sly smile. "You and I are NOTHING alike," the Doctor said with a cold fury. "Come now, lighten up. Why don't we take a look at the bigger picture?" The unequal pair found themselves drifting high up in the air, overlooking the vast expanses of the south-African Egyptian Empire. Q inhaled deeply, savouring the view. Pharao's Log, 1451 ADA "Impressive, isn't it? We just reached a population of twenty million people. Little more than 14 percent of the global total. As for your question, why don't you just read the manual?" Another white flash and the Doctor found himself sitting again, this time with a thick tome in his hands. Giving Q a belligerent look he started skimming through some random pages, his mood darkening with every word he read. "... Exceptional individuals like Isaac Newton are not born by random chance but rather incrementally accumulated through the efforts of lesser experts in their field of study?" "To be precise, Great People are an unrealized potential matrix quantum-linked to the creative node of common specialists, siphoning off their excess output. Thus, when enough energy for materialization is acquired the mental profile of the created Great Person is most likely to match the specialty most contributing to their formation." "Oh, that's cle-" The Doctor's brain caught up with his mouth and his excitement at Q's efforts died a sudden, unlamented death. "You put an entire solar system in a reality bubble, rearranged matter on a sub-quark level to conform with a modified set universal laws that still visually mimic the proper ones. To everyone around here it seems they got proper thermodynamics and stuff but once you get into the subparticles it's just a nonsensical and messed up jangle and the timestream is completely out of sync. Two decades passed in the rest of the world while I traveled here by ship! Are you trying to have the universe fold in on itself?" "Oh please, don't get your bowtie in a twist," Q answered with a total lack of concern. "Just enjoy the show while it lasts." Pharao's Log, 1457 ADA "I believe you have already seen this one when you first arrived, but this time you can actually witness the opening ceremony. Would you like to do the honours?" A comically oversized pair of scissors appeared in Q's grasp to cut through the red ribbon at the entrance to the deliberately askew tower. The Doctor alas declined to dignify the offer with an answer. "Is this what you've been doing all along? Jumping through time and space to the big events caused by your rule?" In a way it was reminiscent of the Time Lord's own travels, with the exception he only came to witness, and often to fix other people's interference. And never did he mess things up for his own amusement. "Well, of course. Did you think I'd sit on this throne for fourthousand years managing the most minute day to day business, after trudging for twelve thousand miles through the untamed wild before man ever paved his first road? I'd be bored out of my skull! And my feet blister way too easily. No, just the most important building projects, research priorities, selecting places for expansion and infrastructure. And war. Always unpredictable. Always exciting." Pharao's Log, 1463 ADA "This for example is worth a look. Seems the Persians aren't quite willing to go quietly into the night yet. Decent enough army, and the Turkish people fell apart into squabbling city states after the loss of their capital. Quite convenient. See Sur down there? It's always been a thorn in my side, hampering the growth of Jerusalem. Now the once mighty city barely houses a thousand people. And soon, not even that." The Doctor watched in horror as Egyptian grenadiers boarded their ships to bypass Arabian soil. A swift battle ensued as the Pharaonic vessels forced their way into the harbor. The fortifications of the defenders were no match for the Egyptian explosives and soon only ruins remained of the ancient settlement. "You look gloomy Doctor. Let's just move on." Pharao's Log, 1473-1479 ADA "Really if I didn't take it the Arabs or Persians would have, as you can see happened to the rest of the former Turkish territory. We were just talking about Great People, weren't we? Perhaps you'd like to meet one." "If that is supposed to be Ahmose the First of the Eighteenth Dynasty I already had the pleasure. Three thousand years ago of course, during his proper time in history you just casually ripped him out of," the Doctor said sourly. "More's the pity. But at least our quest concluded. Turns out everyone loves castles." Pharao's Log, 1481 ADA Their next jump took them back to the Egyptian capital of Abdju. Where upon his first arrival the Doctor had only seen the bare foundations now stood another grand work completed: the Sistine Chapel. "Impressive, isn't it?" Q asked with his hands clasped behind his back. "Call me a philistine if you must, but while I do appreciate the exceptional craftsmanship and composition of Renaissance art I decided to mix it up a bit. Still a lot of Michelangelo in there, but also some Picasso, Vermeer and van Gogh among others. Weren't you quite close friends?" The Time Lord gave him a puzzled look. "Sorry what?" "Nevermind. Wrong Doctor." Q paused shortly to consider. "Perhaps we'll get an ancient Egyptian artist as our next Great Person. Rather low chances, but the output is impressive so we'll have a couple more chances." Pharao's Log, 1487 ADA By now the Doctor was used to the sudden jumps and seeing Q spread the art of philosophy was about the least objectionable thing he had seen thus far, although it still made him wonder. "I thought you said you didn't do this with more competitive civilizations?" "You got me there, but with the French having a treasury bursting at the seams I couldn't quite help myself." Suddenly Q looked up with marked interest. "Oh, but we have something bigger to worry about. Much, much bigger." "Looks like the Byzantines fell apart for the second time. Although the name is rather unfitting, they lost control of their namesake capital three hundred years ago, a mere 25 years after declaring independence." The sight at the fleet base at the Suez canal sent a shiver down the Doctor's spine, regiment upon regiment of the Egyptian forces, grenadiers, musketmen, bombard artillery, lined up and ready to board ship. "Q... Are you doing what I think you're doing?" "Naturally. Greece is very worthwhile real estate, and the prices have never been lower. Just have to make sure I'm the first to make a bid before the other powers are ready to move in." Pharao's Log, 1491 ADA The Pharaonic forces made landfall northeast of the city, readying themselves for a short siege instead of opting for a direct amphibious assault like previously with Sur. The deafening roar of the massive artillery pieces soon was supplanted by the softer, more distant flashes of muskets and grenades. The defenders were all too quickly overwhelmed after a one-sided fight and Athens fell. "Good news Doctor! The Parthenon survived the sacking intact. Well, as intact as it was before. Would you care to take a stroll through its columns?" "I assume the blood has already been washed off?" the Doctor asked, the words dripping like venom off his tongue. Q sighed deeply, taking a seat on the broken off uper half of a marble statue, likely hit by a stray artillery shell. "You're way too softhearted old friend. Why all the gloom? Once I had my fill I'll simply snap my fingers and all will be as it was before." "Q, you can't just-" "Yes. I. Can." Q interrupted him. "You're so used to the rules you and everyone else have to abide by you forget that some people are not beholden to them. Chances are most of these rules were even made by us. I wonder, did one of the Continuum institute fixed points? I'd have to check, but it wouldn't be surprising to me and neither should it to you." The Doctor massaged his temples, trying and failing to stave off a budding headache and while breathing deeply he silently counted to ten thousand(Time Lords can count really fast). "Alright Q, fair enough, I don't know the limits of your power. Perhaps you can fix the horrible fallout left in your wake I can feel in my very bones. But I do know one thing and that is, while you may be omnipotent or near enough, you are not all-knowing and even further from all-wise. This has always been my greatest concern with your kind, your power over all of creation goes so far beyond your understanding of it. Your reach exceeds your grasp. So please consider, just for a moment, the possibility, the mere possibility, that your actions here could have dire consequences even your immense might will not be able to stop before it is too late. For all of us." Q seemed pensive, looking into the distance for some long, breathless moments. For some precious seconds the Doctor dared hope that maybe, maybe, his words had gotten through to him. But that hope died when Q waved his concerns off with a laugh. "Oh please, I won't break the universe and even if I did we'd just make another! Perhaps you should focus your saviour complex on a smaller scale for now and look to Sparta. I don't intend to hold a second major city on the Greek peninsula but I don't feel comfortable with Spain, Persia or perhaps the Holy Roman Empire moving in there and challenging my control of the surrounding land and waters." The Doctor wasn't quite sure where he was going with this? "So?" "So..." Q said harshly. "I'm going to burn it to the ground." The Time Lord's eyes widened in horrified realization. Slowly he turned, his eyes going west towards the setting sun. "You better hurry Doctor! Clock's ticking." The Doctor ran.