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 VANSELL, 900, Doctor Who, Anthony Keetch/artwork
 Posted: Aug 18 2014, 08:05 AM
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be careful what you say, or you'll give yourself away

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    FULL NAME Celestial Intervention Agency Chief Coordinator Lord Vansellostophossius of the House of Goldbirch
    AGE Nearly 900 (at time of death)
    FANDOM Doctor Who (novel and audio spinoffs)
    MEMBER GROUP NPCed/temped Time Lord (very temped, this one - I'm only having him for one planned thread, then I'm putting him back in the toybox for someone else to enjoy.)
    VOICE CLAIM Anthony Keetch (not face-claim)
    Physical Description: Some might call Vansell poorly-grown in appearance - uncommonly short in stature, perhaps five foot, with a slight, rather scrawny build. His face has a pale, rather sickly-looking complexion, and he wears his mousy-brown hair long and scraped back into a ponytail in the style of the CIA Recorders of his Academy years. One distinguishing feature is a rather large nose, which earned him the nickname of "Nosebung" at the Academy. His eyes, clear and green, are keen and darting, and capable of imparting a sincerity that can lend weight to even the most barefaced of lies; a talent assisted by the calm, placating quality of his smooth voice.

    Not since his decades as a field agent has Vansell needed to dress in off-world garments. Typically, he wears the uniform of the Celestial Intervention Agency - a white and black tunic robe, white boots and occasionally a white skullcap for formal occasions. He will often have a time-ring around one wrist...and he will always be armed, whether it's apparent or not.

    Vansell's whole demeanour speaks of a man near-unrivalled in the ability to avoid attention. His gait is tense, every movement quick and furtive; he can keep to the shadows or pass unnoticed in plain sight.

    Personality: It was recognized from an early age that Vansellostophossius was ideal Celestial Intervention Agency material. He is no prodigy, but he possesses a sharp mind; that, combined with his academic dedication and focus make him intellectually formidable, enough to be ahead of most of his classmates at the Academy. His innate talent for lying, presenting a façade and cover story, and blending in, have been honed and near-perfected by his training with the CIA - if only he had a little more interest in the "less-developed" civilizations such as Earth.

    Vansell has always been the quiet one among his peers, tending to hang back and observe, rarely directly approaching anybody. To some, he might seem at first to be shy and reserved; in actual fact, he simply appreciates that true power doesn't come in the form of direct confrontation and loud aggression. He can pick fights and initiate conflict if he wants to - which he often does, being far from squeamish when it comes to violence - only, chances are, neither involved party will be aware that it is Vansell's fight. He is a puppetmaster, sitting behind the screen of bureaucracy and offical sanction and pulling the strings. Despite his CIA training, academic ability and manipulative talents, when it comes to direct action, Vansell lacks a good deal of subtlety; and his greed for others' knowledge and secrets has been worked to his enemies' advantage more than once.

    Above all else, though, Vansell's driving force is his allegience to Gallifrey. He is fiercely loyal to his oath of office as Coordinator, and there is virtually nothing he will stop at for what he perceives to be the betterment of his planet and its people. This absolute dedication can draw out of him a rarely-seen selfless bravery; for Gallifrey, for the Web of Time, for Romana, he would willingly sacrifice himself, seeking no glory or accolade in the process.

    History: Coming from a House with one of the lowest social statuses, and with the unimpressive appearance and common name to show for it, Vansell wasn't set up for success from the start. He learned quickly how to hold his own, though, manipulating his bigger, stronger and less-intelligent peers to pick his fights for him using their most closely-guarded secrets - there was very little anyone could conceal from him. Before long, he came to the attention of the CIA, who make it their business to have the first pickings of most things. He was taken by the Agency and put through a series of tests - nothing too strenuous, he thought; and then, against all the odds and through no small amount of dedication and sheer determination, got himself initiated into the Time Lord Academy in the Prydonian Chapter.

    With the promise of a career in the Agency, the prospect of bettering his humble beginnings, and his sights already set on the top, Vansell immersed himself in his studies. Gradually, as he proved himself worthy, his contacts in the Agency imparted details to him of his first objective and he began to subtly and deliberately integrate himself with the growing social group of a young fellow Aspirant by the name of Theta Sigma. With his academic and technical aptitude, he had no difficulty in being accepted into the circle of the Deca, as they called themselves; although unlike the effortless genius of the likes of Ushas, he had to work possibly more than any of them.

    Just as the Agency had predicted, Theta Sigma - now calling himself "the Doctor" - eventually overstepped the line, appropriating a TARDIS and setting off with two fellow Deca members, Millennia and Rallon, in search of the realm of the legendary Toymakers. It broke every rule of the Academy and a good many laws of Time Lord society, not to mention the idiotic recklessness of the expedition. When it inevitably ended in tragedy and the Doctor returned to Gallifrey and the welcoming committee of Chancellory Guards who had detected the disturbance in the Matrix and the missing TARDIS, Vansell wasted no time in telling the whole story to his superiors.

    The Doctor was disgraced, the Deca broken and divided, and Vansell began his career and formal training as a field agent for the CIA. Over the forthcoming centuries, he worked his way up through the ranks, keeping a lay eye on matters throughout the Agency - or as much as it is ever possible to within the covert organization. Details filtered down to him of some of the exploits of his old classmates...Mortimus, interfering on a backwater planet out in Mutter's Spiral... Koschei, considered dangerous enough to plant a spy agent to monitor him...Magnus, wreaking havoc with temporal displacement on a scale that warranted the direct action of the CIA themselves...and the Doctor, of course, cropping up wherever there was trouble.

    As he moved higher in the Agency, he began to push for more direct action. The Time Lords - and the Agency in particular - had so much power, and yet, they repeatedly failed to use it to protect even their own, even with the Agency's more...accommodating...view on the "non-interference" policy. One of the first actions he took when he eventually attained the position of Coordinator was to attempt to prevent the evolution of the Daleks - he had the Doctor redirected to Skaro and dispatched an Agent to inform him of his mission.

    Of course, the Doctor failed in his mission and the Daleks survived - albeit with their history diverted by a paltry few thousand years or so. And with the High Council unwilling to endorse further interference, it was time for the balance of power to be shifted. The opportunity came a century or so later, when Gallifrey found itself under the interim rule of High Chancellor Flavia - a travesty in itself, seeing as she had never been formally elected. Vansell selected a suitable replacement, and under pressure from the High Council and CIA, Flavia was ousted and a formerly-unknown Time Lord by the name of Niroc elected in her place.

    Niroc was weak and incompetent, but at least he was biddable, too stupid to realize that the advice and hints he was receiving from the CIA were in fact very precise instructions, which he followed to the letter.

    It wasn't to last for long, though. Even under the CIA's close observation, Niroc still managed to allow some shocking breaches of Gallifreyan security, including the theft of scientific secrets from the Matrix, no less. At least he was willing to sanction the magnotron obliteration of the thieves' base - and the response when that recurring nuisance the Doctor not only stumbled upon the near-destroyed planet, but somehow managed to allow the Nestene Consciousness to escape Time Lord justice through his interference.

    Vansell took it upon himself to contact Gallifrey's most infamous son, the Master, with a proposal. The Master would act as prosecutor in a formally-sanctioned trial of his old nemesis, in exchange for full access to the Matrix and the chance to humiliate and destroy the Doctor - a chance which he didn't pass up. However, while the Master was preparing evidence in the Matrix, something occurred which neither could have foreseen: the discovery of a being deep in the heart of the Doctor's data-store - a shayde, a corrupted regeneration made solid and given independent existence. Vansell was completely taken with the creature, and dismissed the Master, instead making arrangements to have the shayde educated in legal proceedings.

    It was soon evident that he had underestimated just how independent the shayde - or the Valeyard, as it had begun to call itself - was; although a formidable prosecutor, it double-crossed the High Council and CIA, resulting in disaster. Fortunately, it was a simple matter to have Niroc shoulder the blame - the dispensable puppet President was deposed and shamed, and the CIA's hands were clean. Even the Doctor never realized who had been the architect behind his Trial.

    When Lady Romanadvoratrelundar of the House of Heartshaven took over as the next President on her return from E-Space, Vansell was sceptical and suspicious. He was expecting her to bear all the marks of the Doctor's tedious array of "companions", and so when she inexplicably vanished just a short while into her first term, he didn't immediately concern himself with looking for her. Oh, they investigated, certainly - after all, the Time Lords could hardly be seen to turn a blind eye to the disappearance of a temporally significant planet like Etra Prime - but it wasn't until the summit of the rising temporal powers twenty years later that matters began to develop. Romana reappeared, as did - unfortunately - the Doctor, and his old enemies the Daleks.

    It wasn't the smoothest first impression of his leadership skills to the newly-reinstated Lady President; and over the subsequent centuries that they worked together as President and Coordinator, he would come to make a number of such mistakes - mistakes for which he was ashamed, and did his utmost to atone for. He was well aware that the President didn't like him, but that was nothing new - no-one had ever liked him. It came with the job. Still, he had a duty to do, and he continued to abide by his oath of loyalty to Gallifrey. He made no secret of his disapproval of Romana's association with the Doctor; trouble continued to follow in that Time Lord's wake, everything from genetically-engineered vampires beneath the Capitol, to a pan-dimensional war between the Eternals, which threatened the integrity of the whole multiverse.

    He wasn't sure when he first came across rumours of the origins of the old Zagreus nursery rhyme, and the involvement of the great founder of Time Lord society, Rassilon. Some of the younger, more adventurous students at the Academy had unearthed the old and mostly-ridiculed theories of "antitime", and at first, Vansell was inclined to dismiss it out of hand. But when the Doctor, in his Eighth incarnation, foolishly broke the Laws of Time to save a human girl from death, the catastrophic consequences that Vansell and his agents observed unfolding across the whole of the Web of Time defied all other explanation. And with the promise of Rassilon potentially still existing on some plane of reality...well, it warranted investigating.

    Working alongside Romana, with whom he had reached a state of what he supposed might be mutual respect, he removed the Doctor and his companion from time and brought the Doctor to a newly-constructed CIA time station to show him the consequences of what he had done. With the reluctant cooperation of the Doctor, under promise that his companion would not be harmed, they piloted the time station through the breach in time - through her - and...

    Well, after that, it all becomes a little hazy. He remembers awakening, head throbbing, to a slap from Romana...Romana - he remembers standing alongside her, seeing her blue eyes widen in wonder as they beheld a magnificent underground cathedral-like TARDIS console...his head is aching...and now they are turning and walking away from her, why?...a casket - of course, the casket - Rassilon's casket - they will revive the great Time Lord himself back on Gallifrey...something's not right, the Doctor's voice pleading for reason is a muffled murmur as though heard underwater, through a torrent of static that fills his head, fills his eyes, fills his voice...

    ...and slowly, so slowly, lucidity is returning. Romana is there - he's walking with her down the corridors of the time station towards the reactor core, accompanied by two revenants - Neverpeople.

    And he remembers everything.

    My Lady, he tells her, I will serve you until the stars decay and the cosmos is naught but a dying ember in eternity's fire.

    It's strange, he thinks, as he takes his position across the engine room behind the shutter while the two Neverpeople are mesmerized by the raw time energy of the reactor core, but he never used to have a way with words before Romana.

    The idea is simple; the execution doesn't go according to plan. The shutter on his side of the engine room, which is supposed to shield him from the reactor core, is jammed. For a moment, he panics - they need to open the Zybanium shields to expose the Neverpeople to the reactor core in order to escape to the Matrix chamber, and without the shutter, he is unprotected. And then, just as quickly, he accepts.

    Romana won't be able to disable the transduction barriers from the Matrix chamber. She won't be able to stop the time station, she won't be able to send warning, she won't be able to do anything to prevent the antitime from reaching Gallifrey. But in the Matrix, isolated from time and reality, she will be safe.

    He's lived a short life by Time Lord standards, still only on his first incarnation. He's scared, so scared - but there isn't time - and he can't keep the tremor from his voice as he locks eyes with Romana across the engine room.

    I do this...gladly.
    Vansell was a powerful telepath in his own right. Centuries of solid hard work and rigorous CIA training had seen him hone his abilities to a formidable level; and he would be a fair match for most of the Time Lords present in the room. Not that it would ever have done to have boasted about his skill - it was always safer to be underestimated.

    Even so, he was no match for the power of the Coronet of Rassilon, and his desperate attempt at resistance was swept aside as easily as if he had been little more than an insect barring the way for the Master's hand. Serene calm replaced fear and anger as the psychic blanket was drawn across his mind, numbing his senses. The voices of the Doctor, the Lady President, Drax, even that stranger in the armour - what did they say his name was? - were numbed, distant...and ringing through it all with a crystal clarity, his command.

    "Why don't you admit all the times you've betrayed the people of Gallifrey's trust using the excuse of 'For her best interests'? All the secrets and lies you've had to tell the Lord President and the High Council just to keep Gallifrey's...No. The CIA's own public image intact?"

    He drew a breath, his mouth opened - and then closed again abruptly, soundlessly, as no words came forth. Rooted to the spot, his green eyes became glazed and unfocused, pupils constricted, and one hand moved slowly to his head.

    If there was one thing more powerful than his telepathic abilities, it was the strength of his convictions. Above anything else, his loyalty to Gallifrey held him true to his oath of office. There were secrets and lies, of course - that was all part of the job description, really - but that was a necessity. Everything he did, his raison d'être, he firmly believed was in Gallifrey's best interests, and the suggestion that he had betrayed his planet...

    Gradually, his mind was beginning to reject the command as impossible. There was nothing to tell.
    ALIAS Aietraaaaa!
    EXPERIENCE Er...a while?
    CONTACT PM, something else...carrier pigeon?
    TIME ZONE *sings* A-o-te-a-roooaaa!

This post has been edited by FLOATING NPC: Aug 18 2014, 08:25 AM
 Posted: Aug 18 2014, 08:08 AM
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Gene Hunt - "A Textbook Case" (with Sam Tyler)

This post has been edited by FLOATING NPC: Aug 18 2014, 08:09 AM
 Posted: Aug 19 2014, 08:48 PM
Fact: Space Does Not Exist
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You are making me want a carrier pigeon. Your Vansell is fantastic, my dear! Feel free to add him to your playbook.
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