Everything then was of The Moment.
Upon activation, it could see all that was tangled and untangled through time, through days to come and all the love of long ago.
It saw the births of every hero, every monster, the cause and solution to greater and greater conflict.
But The Moment could not see an end in sight to this.
This war across time was waged with tremendous ferocity, and it had broken every conventional rule that had been put in place long before the conception of our latest reality.
For if there was to be an advantage, a victory, a step forward, it would be all too easy for a disagreeable to take two steps back through the passage of time and ensure the win would be in error, that it required an intervention, a rewrite.
History was written by the victors, but now it could be spoiled by the losers.
It was in a position where it could stand in judgement of them all, but it was not its place to determine who died. The Moment could only guilt those who can live with the cost of a most heinous of deeds.
Yes, more heinous than the constant revisions of countless lives.
The judgment would be reserved for one who would deny the young and the bold a constant of time.
The future. Their future.
Everything has potential, and the children were always so full of that.
Born into the universe, no immediate need for the touch of resurrection, carrying with them their old and outdated ideas, ready to inflict them on the disenfranchised.
The children were always the true leaders, those with bold and ambitious ideas, no matter what you thought of them, no matter how bitter the disagreements or the manner in which they judged you and the ways in which you were taught, it was they who would shape their world and the universe around them for better or worse. They had as much right to making mistakes, and correcting them.
The future was always changing, and nothing spoke to this more than what shaped this war.
For here, the enemy of the future, the blight of change, was change itself.
The children needed to stand, they needed to be counted.
The Moment was at a loss at what to do, who could spend what remains of their lifetime tallying up the cost of these inhuman actions by Time Lord and Dalek alike?
It broadened the scope of its search, expanded itself beyond time’s horizon and looked deeper, past the burning, towards the time of the fateful crossfire.
The Moment Before had reached out to The Moment After, and found the lack of response concerning.
It wasn’t expected.
So many voices being shared telepathically, channelled across the entire spectrum of the time and space vortex, they could open as many doors as The Moment could, see everything it could.
None of them had the time for The Moment or its plight though, save one.
Something distinct, something that set itself apart from what the remainder.
A constant in time.
And it sounded Northern.
“I know you’re scared, I know you have no reason to trust me, trust any of us, but it’s far from being all over, you know that. Nothing is ever over, everything ends, then it begins, we all go on to be somebody else, sometimes we tire, sometimes we give in, but everything that gives us pause in life is just that, it’s of a moment, and the immediate moment just as important as the moment before or after, they inform who we are in between the past and the present, and from there, we contribute to the constant of time, we dedicate our all to the betterment of the future”
The words flowed like a river, replenishing the Moment Before, bedazzling it almost, it was like magic.
“And for my next trick…” the Northerner uttered, pulling the curtain back by throwing a switch on his TARDIS console.
In the heat of the immediate moment, his past self could tangibly feel the burn.
The unwavering sensation of intense conflict, the pressure to do what was right, and the almost remarkably disenfranchised fatigue was steadily compelling The Doctor of War to answer the call of the higher Gods.
He’d done enough by now surely? One last miracle to perform and he could be done with it all, he could return to Time, who had bestowed him the honour of being it’s champion, in triumph. He could ascend and settle into long overdue retirement.
Another shudder sent him reeling back, thrown across the console room and into the back of the roundels.
In agony, he reached for the back of his neck and checked for any creaks.
His TARDIS buckled as it took a direct hit from the Dalek saucers as they converged on his location. A small laser guided time shift missile found its mark and cut its mark deep on the right side of the ship, throwing the Doctor of War off course.
Worse was to come, the forty-eighth Death-Watch battalion of Goth had eluded the sealing of the white point breach and was headed straight towards a vulnerable Gallifrey, bursts of blazing molten flame lit up its sails.
The TARDIS was headed directly towards it, the navigational systems knackered, the breaks faulty, nothing could hope to prevent the collision.
The Doctor of War braced himself for a swift end.
And then, from out of nowhere, another TARDIS shunted his own out of the way, attracting the ire of the Battalion.
They opened fire on the two ships with electrically charged balls of wild energy, but the Northerner’s TARDIS drew them towards a hovering Dalek battle station, and shot upwards, timing it just right so the energy blasts connected with the station and reduced it to a smouldering heap ablaze in space.
Like kicking open a hornet’s nest, it produced the desired effect, as teems of escaping Daleks swarmed out and surrounded the Battalion, which launched as much of its own against them. A whole war in itself was waged within minutes and both sides became far too preoccupied with one another to concern themselves with two of the thirteen or so similar looking time and space craft that had been the catalyst for their conflict.
“Finish those calculations Odin” the Northern Doctor instructed.
“Odin? I’d have settled for a more common label like ‘old man’, not some lofty comparison of which I am far too undeserving of” The Doctor of War spoke, tinged with self guilt.
“I’m never as old as I think I am, even when I look at it. You and I? We’re timeless, we’re The Doctor again, always have been, always will be”
The Doctor of War carried the heart of The Moment with him, its rhythm substituting for his own; he blessed the Moment that was for showing him exactly the future he needed to see.
The Northern Doctor’s thoughts reached through the recesses of time again.
“Yes, you over there? You did this, or maybe by my telling you, I did this, another constant of time is it can get very complicated. You told me one day I would count all the children, and one day I would see what it would do to me. I won’t retain the memory; all that will remain is the moment before. I need you to be the Moment after, so I can continue to be defined by new things. To grow, to change, to be different people all through my lives, and continue to be defined as the one constant throughout time, its champion”
The Moment Before became in this instance the Moment to Come, and requested further instruction on how to best approach The Doctor before.
“There’s a girl, only just met her really, popped out for a moment or two after I got the summons to preserve Gallifrey…nice lass, blonde hair, tall, sporty, sassy, made a terrible choice in a boyfriend, you’d like her, take her form if you like, give me something to notice, something to look out for on a subconscious level, as I won’t retain the surface memory. If it helps with the nudge, look into her history; don’t be afraid to turn the pages beyond my lifetime…see all the moments that are to come. It’s bound to be fantastic“
The Immediate Moment could feel itself being stripped from the Omega Arsenal, taken into a TARDIS, and taken into the desert wilderness of Gallifrey, towards the homestead of the Doctor of War, perched on a bed of hay, her abductor performing mental gymnastics on how to operate it.
On a day of great decision, the work had begun.
Everything now was of The Moment.