Bambera burst in with a machine gun. “Freeze! Everyone stand nice and easy.”
“Listen, Winifred. We've got to be somewhere urgently, so please get out of the way.”
“You're all under arrest. You and your freaky friends.”
“Who are you calling freaky?” Ace demanded.
Lilith’s hand drifted toward her blaster, but the Doctor stilled her arm. “I can sort this out,” he insisted. “Look, if I can just explain.”
Another group of knights came in. “Kill them!” the leader ordered. “Kill them now!”
Lilith swore in Gallifreyan.
“I'm an armed military officer. You are under arrest. Lay your weapons down and put your hands in the air!” Bambera ordered.
“Winifred, this is not the way,” the Doctor insisted.
“Put the guns down!”
The Doctor knocked her gun down with his umbrella and walked up to the knight in charge. “Listen, now that we're all here, let me introduce myself. I am the Doctor and this is—”
Bambera fired a shot that bounced off the knight's armor. The knight laughed and raised his visor.
“Mordred,” the knight they had found growled.
“Ancelyn,” Mordred sneered. “Fitting that you should die amongst peasants.”
“Look again, Mordred.” Ancelyn glanced at the Doctor.
The Doctor stepped forward. “Do you recognize me?”
“Merlin!” Mordred gasped.
“Not again,” Ace groaned.
“Better get used to it,” Lilith muttered. “Something tells me these two aren’t the only ones who call him that.”
“You were bound,” Mordred protested. “My mother sealed you into the ice caves for all eternity.”
“I am the master of time. I cannot be bound so easily,” the Doctor said, sharply.
“Master of lies.”
Ancelyn stepped forward. “Beware your tongue, Mordred. Have you so easily forgotten Baden, hmm? The way he cast down your mother with his mighty arts.”
“Yes, remember Baden and my mighty arts. Do you think I would use mere trickery against someone as formidable as you? Go, before I unleash a terrible something on you.”
‘You bullshitting this, aren’t you?’ Lilith accused.
‘It sounds quite impressive to me.’
‘No wonder you have such a big head in the future.’
“Go, Mordred, while you still live,” Ancelyn warned.
“There will be a reckoning, Ancelyn,” Mordred growled. “I have sworn it. As for you, Merlin, my mother has waited twelve centuries to face you. You will bow down before her this time.”
Mordred and his knights left through a hole blown in the wall.
“Who was he?” Ace asked.
“That was Mordred, and his mother is Morgaine, a mighty sorceress,” the Doctor said.
“You know these guys then?”
He shook his head. “Never met them before.” The Doctor led them back out to the hotel grounds. “Brigadier Bambera, if we're going to work together, you've got to stop shooting at everything that moves.”
The Doctor, Ace, Lilith, and Shou walked on. Bambera stopped Ancelyn, who had taken off the chain mail to reveal a padded jacket. “Not you. I want to talk to you.”
“I am Ancelyn ap Gwalchmai, Knight General of the Britons,” Ancelyn said. “I do not talk to peasants.”
Bambera grabbed him. “You'll talk to me.” The two of them started fighting.
“Professor!” Ace exclaimed.
“Oh, ignore them. They're just establishing their credentials,” the Doctor said, dismissively.
“They've got a funny way of doing it.”
“Don't worry about them.”
“What should we worry about?” Shou asked.
“I hate having to deal with magic,” Lilith grumbled. “It reminds me too much of the story Aunt Martha tells about running into witches with Shakespeare. This is the one adventure I didn’t want to show up during. The one where everything goes all space-age Camelot.”
That night, the Doctor locked everyone inside the inn. He looked out the window. “No one's to go outside.”
“Why not?” Pat questioned.
“There are things out there in the dark you wouldn't want to meet.”
Something knocked against the wall. “What was that?”
Bambera brought Ancelyn in from the grounds, handcuffed. “Come on, move it, will you. Get in. Brigadier Bambera.”
“What happened to you?” the Doctor asked Ancelyn.
“She vanquished me, and I threw myself on her mercy.”
“As of now, I'm in charge. Everyone remain calm. We'll soon have everything under control,” Bambera announced.
“I don’t think so,” Lilith said.
The Doctor looked at her curiously and she nodded toward the scabbard on the wall. It was moving.
“What's that noise?” Warmsly wondered.
The scabbard flew across the room and stuck point first into the upright timber by Warmsly. Glasses fell off the shelves behind the bar.
“Which way does that wall face?” the Doctor demanded.
“North, towards the lake,” Pat told him.
Lilith snorted. “The lake. Figures.”
More glasses fell and the lights flickered. “Another storm. Just what we need.” Bambera said.
“Stay where you are,” the Doctor told her.
“An earthquake?” Warmsly guessed.
Ace and Shou ran in. “Doctor!”
“What's going on, Doctor?” Bambera demanded.
“I don't know,” he said, darkly, “but I've got some nasty suspicions.” The Doctor ripped the scabbard from the post.
“An earthquake? In England?”
“No.” Lilith ground her teeth, shaking slightly. “Someone is tearing a hole in the fabric of time and space.”
“She is coming,” Ancelyn said.
“What are you talking about? Who's coming?” asked Bambera.
“You can feel it?” Ace asked Lilith.
“Lilith and I are uniquely sensitive. Argh! Gah!” The Doctor fell to his knees, still clutching the scabbard for dear life.
Lilith knelt next to him, gripping his arm. “Dad!”
The Doctor spoke through gritted teeth. “I hear you.”
“What’s wrong?” Ace questioned.
“Someone’s trying to talk to him telepathically. Whoever they are, they’re doing it wrong,” Lilith growled.
“I cannot allow your interference,” the Doctor hissed.
All the lights went out and everybody screamed.
The next morning, the Doctor collected Ancelyn's sword and Bambera's beret from the grounds and tiptoed through the bar where the two were sleeping, resting against each other. Putting them on the bar, he picked up an empty chips bag.
Lilith stopped him with a wink before he could inflate it. She held up her phone, which had a countdown on it.
Three seconds later, an alarm started blaring. Bambera and Ancelyn leapt to their feet, ready for action.
“Good morning,” the Doctor and Lilith chorused, cheerily.
Later, Warmsly led Lilith, the Doctor, and Ace to the dig site by the UNIT convoy. “And you excavated all this yourself?”
“Labor of love, really,” Warmsly said, modestly.
“Impressive,” Lilith complimented.
“And I did have some help from Shou Yuing.”
“And where did you find the scabbard?” the Doctor asked.
Warmsly pointed to a wooden T in the ground. “By that marker.”
“How long did it take?” Ace wondered.
“Oh, about ten years so far.”
“Archeology is a precise and delicate skill. History has to be eased out of the earth one painstaking layer at a time.”
“I still think ten years is a bit of a long time.” Ace squatted in a trench and used a brush to remove some soil from carved stones. “What's this?”
Warmsly knelt next to her. “Ah, now that's a bit of a mystery. No one's been able to decipher the carving.”
Lilith frowned at it over Ace’s shoulder. “Is that Circular Gallifreyan?”
“It says, ‘Dig Hole Here’,” the Doctor said.
“Extraordinary.” Warmsly looked up at him. “What does it say that in?”
“My handwriting,” he answered. “Ace, we need a hole.”
Ace pulled out a canister of Nitro-9 from her jacket pocket. “Right. How long?”
“Er, sixty seconds should be long enough.”
“Long enough for what?” Warmsly questioned.
The Doctor led Warmsly and Lilith away as Ace set the timer. “Nothing to worry about. My young friend's something of an expert.”
“What, in archeology?”
“Explosives,” Lilith corrected.
Ace ran up to them. “Down!” They dove into another trench as the Nitro-9 exploded.
“Ace?” the Doctor coughed.
“I think the timer needs work,” she admitted.
“One of these days we're going to have a nice long talk about acceptable safety standards.”
Lilith spat dirt out of her mouth. “That was so cool.”
They went back over and Ace peered into the massive hole she had made. “What's down there?”
“Don't ask me. I've only been excavating this site for ten years,” Warmsly grumbled.
“With a bit of luck, a tunnel,” the Doctor said.
“A dark, mysterious one?”
“Leading to unknown dangers?”
Lilith grinned. “My kind of tunnel.” The three of them dropped down the side of the pit.
“Oh, wicked!” Ace exclaimed.
“Peter; Ace, Lilith, and I are going to investigate this tunnel,” the Doctor called up. “You stay here and guard it. Don't let anyone come in here.”
“What am I supposed to do, lecture them on archeology?”
Lilith wrinkled her nose as they started down the tunnel. “Archeologists.”
“What’s your problem with them?” Ace asked.
“I’m a time traveler. I point and laugh at archeologists,” she sniffed.
“It's damp,” Ace noted.
The Doctor shrugged. “Well, we are under the lake.”
“And this wall's made of concrete,” Lilith added and dust fell through a crack in the top of the tunnel.
“Hmm.” The Doctor inspected the dust. “It's gone soft with age. This was built in the eighth century.”
Ace furrowed her eyebrows. “But they didn't have concrete in those days.”
“No, they didn't.”
The tunnel sealed behind them. “Doctor?” Ace said.
“Don't worry, Ace. It's only a trap.”
“Only a trap.” Lilith rolled her eyes. “Let’s continue down the dark and ominous tunnel, shall we?”
They did until they came to a sort of cavern. Ace sat in a giant carved fish’s mouth. An entrance of some sort, but it had a metal door across it.
“Ancelyn's people must have built this tunnel,” the Doctor mused.
“Looks fishy to me,” Ace joked.
“This is no place for humor.”
Lilith cracked a smile. “I don’t know. Cheesy humor tends defuses the tension.”
“Professor? Where does Ancelyn come from?” asked Ace.
“Another dimension,” he answered. “Sideways in time from another universe.”
Lilith shuddered; Ace raised an eyebrow at her. “Only been to another universe once,” Lilith explained. “Cybermen and death, no fun there.”
“The question is how do we get through here?”
“No coded pattern?” Ace asked.
“No hidden switches,” the Doctor confirmed.
“Well, how are we going to get through the door, then?”
The Doctor studied the door. “Open up. It's me.” It opened.
“Somehow, I was expecting that to happen.” Lilith sighed.
“I refuse to ask how you did that.” Ace paused. “How did you do that?”
“Well, it came to me that it wasn't Ancelyn's people who built this tunnel. It was Merlin.”
Ace frowned. “But everyone thinks that you're Merlin.”
“Exactly. Door keyed to my voice pattern. Just the sort of thing I would do.”
“Are you Merlin?” she asked.
“No. But I could be, in the future. That is, my personal future. Which could be the past.”
“Right.” She looked at Lilith. “Did you get that?”
Lilith waved her hand, dismissively. “It’s a bit—”
“Wibbly-wobbly?” the Doctor offered with a smirk.
The Time Lady shrugged. “I was going to say timey-wimey, but that works too.” She followed the Doctor beyond the door. He led the way up a spiral staircase.
“This is a spaceship?” Ace wondered.
“More than that,” the Doctor said. “It's a craft for travelling between dimensions.”
“Seen one spaceship you've seen them all.”
“Don't be so cynical, Ace.”
They reached the main chamber in the center was a large stone altar with a sword sticking out of it. Someone was lying next to it.
“Holy hell,” Lilith breathed.
“Impressive,” the Doctor admitted.
“That's Arthur, King of the Britons, isn't it?” Ace was referring to the man by the altar.
“The legendary Arthur, yes. From another dimension, where the man was closer to the myth. But what is he doing here?” the Doctor wondered.
“Not a lot,” Ace said. “Is he in suspended animation?”
She held her hands over the body. “In eternal sleep until England's greatest need.”
“Ace, don't touch that,” the Doctor instructed.
“Oh, it's all right, Professor. It's not like I'm King of the Britons, is it?” Ace pulled the sword from the stone and fell backwards.
Lilith caught her before she could hit her head. “I really hope you haven't disturbed anything.”
“It disturbed me!”
“Well then, I really hope you haven't disturbed anything else!”
“Like that,” the Doctor said. “I think I saw something over there.” A green thing with a snake's head glided into the room. “Ace, I think it's time for plan B.”
Lilith and Ace ran to the door. “There's no way out!”
“Now is not the time to panic!” the Doctor said. The energy snake knocked him across the room.
“Doctor!” Ace yelled.
“Can we panic now?” Lilith demanded, helping him up.
“It's some sort of automated defense system, isn't it?” Ace guessed.
“Yes. When I say run, run!” The snake hit the Doctor again, this time knocking Lilith back too.
Ace ran to what looked like an escape hatch. “Doctor, it's a dead end!” The door closed, trapping her inside. Lilith ran her hands around the wall, looking for some sort of trigger to open the door.
“Hang on, Ace!” the Doctor yelled. “I'm coming!”
Water flooded into the escape hatch. Ace was screaming for the Doctor and hammering on the door. The water was up to her chin. The snake hit the Doctor again, knocking him out.