Theatre of War

Theatre of War

by Justin Richards
Theatre of War
Source Document
Clisolan's Account of the
Pentillanian Festival on Menaxus

The entire festival took place before an invited audience in the Pentillian Theatre.
            As Occlasian ambassador, i was fortunate to be present at a performance of Burgabe's The Hanged Man, which was in this writer's opinion one of his most triumphant works. The play started at exactly 14:00 and was enhanced considerably by the setting, with the Drapanth Mountains visible in the distance as the afternoon suns shone off their western slopes at the start of the play.
            The Play itself concerned a man whose entire life - his destiny - is mapped out at birth by the gods. He cannot help but play the role written for him in the heavens - a role which culminates in his tragic and undeserved death.

Literary criticism and archaeological research are interlinked. The one may illuminate workings and construction either intended or otherwise by an author; the other may reveal the workings of a civilisation and construction techniques of a building.
            But the words of the author, however bland and trite, may reveal much about the civilisation and culture of the society he is incidentally documenting. And the architecture of a ruined playhouse will give invaluable insight into the staging techniques and character of the plays performed there.

The Ways of the Worlds            
Hugo Dalthwaite, 2012

She was close to it. Camarina Lannic had been ploughing through the documents for almost a week, and at last she was within reach. She read through Clisolan's account of the Pentillanian Festival again. There was something there - hiding in his words - something that could fit the final piece into the puzzle.
            She looked up sharply as a shadow fell across the screen, throwing the lettering of the facsimile document into sharper relief against the illuminated background. The old man was leaning over her his white beard almost touching her cheek. He smiled at her from point blank range and a silver salver appeared from nowhere beside her, a glass of wine reaching towards her poised hand.
            The old archivist straightencd up as Lannic took the glass. He was still smiling - his face cracked open like a weather-weary statue. A smile of duty rather than displaying any genuine emotion - all part of the act.
            'Thank you, Elliniko.' She was not sure she wanted the wine - she resented the interruption.
            Elliniko nodded. 'With the compliments of Irving Braxiatel.' He turned and left without waiting to see her surprise.
            Lannic watched him make his slow way down the long room back to his workstation near the entrance. Elliniko's shadow followed him along the polished floor, darkening as he crossed the bands of sunlight which shone between the leaded glass of the high curved ceiling. The researchers at the other desks along the length of the book-lined room ignored his progress, intent on the puzzles of the past rather than the enigma of the present.
            Lannic returned her artention ro the screen in front of her. But the wine set beside it was a distraction. Why should she get special attention? Hardly anyone knew she was at the Braxiatel Collection - certainly she had not considered that its owner would acknowledge her presence.
            She sipped at the dry white wine, turning the delicate stem of the glass between finger and thumb as she examincd the engraved pattern - a cluster of small leaves spiying out from a single branch. And as the tiny veins in the leaves caught the sunlight spilling from the windows above her, Camarina Lannic's mind stipped the final pieces together.
            Clisolan's account was the key. She had the size from the bill of materials; she had the shape from the De Witte sketch. And now she could place it almost exactly from the journals of the Transpiran Traders coupled with Clisolan's description of the angle of the suns on the distant mountains. She knew where to find the ruins of the Pentillanian Theatre on Menaxus.
            The glass hit the polished wood at an angle, wine spilling from the bowl even as it struck. The base remained almost intact, but the engraved bowl shattered sending etched leaves of glass spinning and dancing across the floor as they were severed from the central stem.

The Rippearean defence sats round Gluvene were knocked out by the first salvo. The land-based surface to space missiles never got off the ground. The Heletian attack was as fierce as it was expected, but the Rippearean division left to stave off the inevitable was ill equipped and badly trained. The commander was slow to react, and in the ninety seconds it took for his officers to empower themselves to retaliate, the Heletian heavy landers broached the upper atmosphere and lost themselves in the ion layer.
            The garrison and munitions at Vanlinx was the main target, although (almost out of charity) a lander was also dispatched to the Palace. The siege of Gluvene had lasted less than seven minutes. As their advancing armada moved on towards Optron and Dosardus, the Heletians hardly noticed that their outer markers also now encompassed the small uninhabited planet of Menaxus.

They were in a mutually melancholy mood when they returned to the TARDIS. Neither would admit it, but they both missed Benny.
            'I think we need a break.' The Doctor tossed his hat on to the central column and hurried round the console.
            Ace watched the hat rise and fall with the grating vibration of the engines. 'Just us?'
            The Doctor glanced up from the console apparently startled, and looked round as if to see who else might join them. After a moment he broke into a wide smile. 'Just us.' He leaned forward and flicked a final switch. 'I know a world where the wild Time blows,' he announced to an empty pan of the TARDIS.
            'Excuse me?'
            'Mmm?' he turned and stared at Ace for just long enough for it to be unsettling. Alternatively, he suggested, 'I know a place where the sun never sets.'
            'The British Empire?'
            The Doctor frowned, ignoring her. 'Or to be more accurate, it's always setting.'
            "Oh?' Ace was not impressed.
            'I think we could both do with a sunset.' He nodded. 'Yes, that's just what we need at the moment. Very fin de jour. Very -' He stared at the ceiling, searching for the word...
            'Theatrical?' Ace prompted.
            He seized on it immediately, ignoring her sarcasm. 'Yes - yes, that's it: theatrical. They do a good line in sunsets.'
            'And what's so great about sunsets?' Ace wanted to know.
            The Doctor beamed. 'I'll show you,' he said as the central column and the TARDIS gently came co rest.

Source: Doctor Who Magazine #212