Guardians of Time
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Born back in the early days of the Universe, the Chronovores are powerful beings that exist in the higher six dimensions of reality – the six dimensions that didn’t become dominate when the universe was born after the Big Bang. Essentially, they are cosmic vampires, feeding on the residue of the Lux Aeterna, the 11- dimensional quantum foam which underlies the structure of reality, also feeding on alternate realities when the universe is plagued by too many alternatives to support itself, co-existing with the Guardians and the Eternals in the Higher Plains. Normally, the three species have little interaction, due to an ancient Covenant, but, millennia in the past, Prometheus the Chronovore and Elektra the Eternal defied the covenant to bear a child, an Avatar they hoped would unite all of the races of all of the dimensions of the Universe.
However, at the moment of conception, they were found by the Guardians, the Six-Fold-God of the Six-Fold-Realm – the White, Black, Red, Crystal, Azure, and Gold Guardians of Order, Chaos, Justice, Dreams, Equilibrium and Life. The Guardians unmade Prometheus’ timeline so that he never existed, and the Avatar was taken from Elektra and confined at birth. The Eternals were all in favour of letting it just exist, but the Chronovores insisted that it was a blasphemy which had to be destroyed. However, the Guardians will not take a life as unique as this, and foresaw that there would come a time when it would be needed to preserve creation. However, in deference to the wishes of the Chronovores, the Avatar was bound in a crystal fragment of the Key to Time, to be freed only if necessary. If it was released before its time, madness, death and chaos would result, and shatter everything around it…
This eventually occurred on Earth in 1973, when The Doctor’s old adversary The Master, in the guise of the Greek Professor Thascales, had a device known as TOMTIT – Transmission of Matter Through Interstitial Time – constructed at the Newton Institute in Wootton by Professor Ruth Ingram and her assistant Stuart Hyde, TOMTIT was mainly used to transport matter through the gaps between time ‘molecules’ for lack of a better term, but he also intended to use it to gain control over Kronos. Kronos was summoned, but the effect proved uncontrollable, so The Master fled, leaving the Third Doctor to shut TOMTIT down. However, The Master later reactivated it, using it first to ensnare Krasis, High Priest of the lost city of Atlantis, and then to attack UNIT forces by way of a series of timeslips. The Master took Krasis back to Atlantis in his TARDIS in the hope of stealing the Crystal, with which he might finally dominate the creature. The Doctor followed with Jo Grant, but was unable to prevent his enemy from seducing Queen Galleia and staging a coup, although Galleia turned against The Master when she learned that he has caused the death of her husband, King Dalios.
The Master then unleashed Kronos, destroying Atlantis and capturing Jo. The two Time Lords escaped in their respective TARDISes and confronted each other in the time vortex. The Doctor threatened to trigger a ‘time ram’ – a devastating collision where two TARDISes materialised in the same location and destroyed each other- but couldn’t bring himself to do it. Jo, however, had no such qualms, and operated the controls herself. However, rather than being destroyed, the two TARDISes reappeared in a strange void presided over by Kronos – who now appears as a beautiful female face. The time ram had released Kronos, who agreed to return The Doctor and Jo to Earth. The creature planned to subject The Master to eternal torment, but The Doctor pleaded on his behalf and he too went free, leaving UNIT to clean up the mess left by TOMTIT.
Eventually, in 2003, The Master and the Sixth Doctor again faced off against Kronos, when The Master, apparently plagued by Chronovorse seeking vengeance for his treatment of Kronos, went after the TITAN – Trans-Interstitial Time Analysis Network – Array, the creation of Stuart’s prodigy, Paul Kairos, essentially, TITAN was a vast telescope that allowed the user to access Calabi-Yau space- the six higher dimensions that are not perceived by every other being in the Universe, based on the basic premise of TOMTIT’s matter transmission through the higher dimensions. However, The Master, apparently being hounded by the Chronovores seeking vengeance for his treatment of Kronos, stole TITAN, and headed off to the Midnight Cathedral, a vast complex created by beings called the Constructors of Destiny. Having upgraded TITAN, The Master intended to use it to tap into the Lux Aeterna – the 11-dimensional quantum foam which underlies the structure of reality – thus cutting the Chronovores off from their natural food source (After all, alternate timelines aren’t all that abundant) and, having transferred the power of the Lux Aeterna into himself, he would become a God and defeat The Chronovores.
However, things went wrong when the power was accidentally transferred into Mel’s old friend Anjeliqua Whitefriar, The Master assumed that the power would incinerate her, but in reality she became the Quantum Archangel, a being who wished to give everyone their perfect realities – despite the fact that, not only would this erase all real meaning from the universe since mistakes HAVE to be made for people to learn, but also that all these worlds would be devoured by the Chronovores due to the loss of the Lux Aeterna depriving them of their only other source of food. Despite their best efforts, The Doctor, The Master, Mel, Stuart and Arlene were all sent into alternate timelines – The Doctor and The Master sharing the same reality, in a world where The Doctor was the President of Gallifrey leading a war against an army of Daleks, Mel became the Prime Minister and met an alternate Third Doctor who never escaped his exile only to betray Earth to the Cybermen, Stuart was the victim of another plot by The Master, The Rani, The Meddling Monk and Drax to destroy the world, and Arlene was framed for embezzlement – leaving only Paul to bring them back to their own world…
Then, everything got worse.
Despite her powers, the Quantum Archangel lacked the processing power to create alternate timelines for everyone in the Universe, so it and sought the aid of history’s greatest computer, the Mad Mind of Bophemeral, a computer that sparked off a thousand-year-long war that featured every civilised race in the cosmos at that time and had been thought to have been sealed away forever, the war itself was so terrible that it had been erased from the collective memory of the Universe (Although The Doctor’s memory of it had been restored to enable him to deal with the problem). Fortunately, Paul was able to pull everyone back into the TARDIS before the Chronovores killed them as they devoured the last of the alternate timelines- because, as it turned out, Paul Kairos was actually a creation of Kronos. Seeking revenge against the Chronovores for his imprisonment, Kronos had set up an elaborate plan to give The Master ultimate power to destroy them (The whole threat against The Master had been nothing but Kronos from the beginning), but the transference of the powers to Anjeliqua had ruined everything.
With no other way to stop the Mind and the Archangel, The Doctor allowed himself to take on the last dregs of the Lux Aertena, ascending to temporary Godhood in a desperate attempt to distract the Archangel, while Kronos tackled the Mad Mind itself. In a noble move, Kronos committed suicide, willing himself dead, destroying the Mind and allowing the Lux Aeterna – now free of Anjeliqua thanks to The Doctor’s persuasion – to return home. Kronos’s only legacy to the Universe was Paul Kairos – who, no matter what his origins, was still a real person, who would now live a long, healthy life with Arlene.
In The Doctor’s last encounter with the Chronovores, it was with the Chronovore known as Artemis, who had been enslaved by his old adversary Mortimus, the Meddling Monk, using an ancient ritual – revealed to him by his new loyalty to the Eternal Death – that bound her to The Monk’s TARDIS, granting him even greater power. Using this power, The Monk not only released the Vardans from the time loop where they had been trapped by the Fourth Doctor after their invasion of Gallifrey (“The Invasion of Time”) so that they could aid him in conquering Earth, but also went on to change The Doctor’s own history, recreating the Land of Fiction (“Conundrum”) and an ancient nightmare known as The Garvond (“The Dimension Riders”), binding The Doctor to the psychically-enhanced Aztec warrior Huitzilin (“The Left-Handed Hummingbird”), and creating an alternate timeline where the Third Doctor was killed during the Silurian attack (“Doctor Who and the Silurians”) and Earth was subsequently conquered. However, even amid her imprisonment, Artemis exerted enough power to help The Doctor’s companion Ace avoid being hypnotised by The Monk, sensing that Ace had the potential to play a role in her escape, Ace adjusting the equipment The Monk was using to trap Artemis so that it would gradually lose power. Although Artemis almost consumed Earth during her escape, The Doctor convinced her to show mercy by noting that she had already done so by saving him in the past – using the fact that The Monk’s attempt to shoot him had failed as there was no power in his gun, Ace subsequently asking Artemis to thank Ace from granting her freedom by putting Ace in a position where she could save The Doctor’s old friend The Brigadier, who had been shot during the final confrontation with the Vardans before The Doctor’s allies managed to banish them. With Artemis now released by renegade Vardan officer Captain Alex Pike, Mortimus was subsequently taken away by Artemis so that she could punish him for her imprisonment (Although he eventually escaped).
Although the Chronovores have not returned to The Doctor’s life since, during “Father’s Day”, when the Ninth Doctor’s companion Rose Tyler changed history by saving her father’s life, the immediate area was attacked by beings called Reapers, dragon-like monsters that sought to ‘sterilise’ the wound that Rose had created in time by devouring those who had been affected by the change, until Pete Tyler sacrificed himself to undo the change to history and thus leaving the Reapers with nothing to feed on. Given the similarities between their methods – the Reapers apparently consuming people like the Chronovores consume timelines, the Reapers’ smaller ‘scale’ of power suggests that they may be either the Chronovores having regressed to a more primitive state after the destruction caused during the Time War, or mere ‘relatives’ of the Chronovores in the same way that humans are ‘related’ to monkeys and apes.