The False God And The Lonely God.

Count Iblis scanned his surroundings. He had finally managed to work out the location of Earth, the planet that the Colonial Remnant were so desperately seeking. What he saw pleased him no end.

It was quite apparent that, even though its technology was rapidly evolving, the Earth was in many ways behind the Colonials and, thus, behind the Cylons. In addition, unlike the Colonies, this planet was split up into competing nation-states which tended to distrust each other. Indeed, there had been at least two global wars fought on this world, and the second one had ended in the use of nuclear weapons. And there were nations that even today maintained large nuclear arsenals and were primed to use them at a moment's notice.

Of course, there were humans who were working towards a long-term goal of universal peace and possible planetary unity, but Iblis knew that the darker emotions, such as fear, greed and hate, were much stronger than hope, and that those emotions made it easier to manipulate humans. It would be easy, and amusing, to manipulate the humans of this planet into destroying themselves, either by a nuclear holocaust or by the slower method of climate change. In any case, he intended to destroy this world and thus present the Colonial Remnant with a barren, dead planet.

So it was very much a surprise when he heard a strange voice say, "Not so fast."

He turned in the voice's direction, and saw a somewhat eccentrically dressed young human male leaning against a pole. Or what looked like a human male. He was wearing a tweed jacket over a cream-coloured shirt and sported a bow tie. His trousers were dark, and his hair was styled so that the fringe fell into his eyes.

But what disturbed Iblis was that the young male was looking directly at him, as if he could quite clearly see him. And, when Iblis reached out with his senses, he found that the young male was very strongly shielded, far more so than any of Iblis' own race.

The young male reached into his jacket. "Now that we've determined that I can see you, how about we reveal your true form?" He pulled out what appeared to be some kind of pen flashlight, but instead of a lens it had a small green globe on the end. He pointed it Iblis' direction, and a high-pitched humming came from it.

The young man pocked the device. "Much better." He looked Iblis over. "Vortex, but you're an ugly one."

Iblis looked at his hands. To his surprise he saw that his hands no longer resembled smooth, human flesh, but were much more in keeping with his true form.

He looked at the stranger and drew himself up straight. "Do you know who I am?"

"Indeed I do. You have many names, but that's all right, because so do I. You currently call yourself Count Iblis, but you're also known as Diablois, Mephistopheles, Lucifer and a whole lot of other names. Although I wonder if the Beast that I encountered in the Satan Pit is aware you're masquerading as it? Be amusing to find out. In any case, you're a member of that race that terms itself the 'Seraphs' or 'Beings of Light', which I always thought was even more pompous than what my people called ourselves."

"So you know who and what I am? Then know, foolish being, that I could crush you in an instant!"

The young being laughed. "I don't think so. You see, the good thing about a sonic screwdriver is that it does all sorts of things. Apart from wood, that is. Have to get around to fixing that."

The young male grew deadly serious. His entire demeanor became very cold, very ancient, very alien. Iblis suddenly felt as though he was standing in front of an advancing storm front, one that was so powerful it could sweep entire races away. "But one of the things it can do, and has done, is neutralise the technology that gives you and yours your 'godly powers'." He waived a hand. "Oh, don't worry: we can't be seen, courtesy of a little device I whipped up. Combines the effects of a localised time lock, to which I have the only key, and a perception filter, which my ship is projecting around us."

Iblis glared at the young male. Deciding that enough was enough, he decided to blast this insignificant-looking creature in front of him. He tried... and nothing happened.

"Like I said, I've neutralised your 'godly powers'. Easy enough to do, if one knows how to do it."

Iblis looked at the young being. "Who, and what are you?"

The young being fixed him with those cold, cold eyes. Behind them burned a rage that was just barely suppressed. "Better still, you should ask yourself: Is this planet protected? You'll be able to answer that: I've left you access to the Time Stream unimpeded. So go ahead, look: and see that yes, it is protected."

Tentatively, Iblis looked into the Time Stream surrounding the Earth, and flinched at what he saw. This planet had been attacked time and time again by various alien races, including some that even his own race steered clear of, such as the Daleks, and the Cybermen, whom he had based the Cylons on.

The young male spoke again. "Now, since this planet is evidently still here, ask yourself this: What happened to them?"

Iblis looked into the Time Stream and saw the answer. He saw different faces, ranging from an old white haired male to a young male and several in between. But he also got from the Time Stream the impression that they all belonged to the same being, a being so powerful that even the Daleks, not to mention his own race, were afraid of him. And, as the being in front of Iblis had said, known by many names. Names that all invoked a virtually unstoppable power. Names the very mention of which could cause vast armies and fleets to turn and run.

The Last Time Lord. The Destroyer of Worlds. The Oncoming Storm.

The Lonely God.

A sick certainty settled on Iblis. He looked at the young male.

The young male was smiling, but the smile never reached his eyes. And the rage that was reflected in those cold eyes still burned and was focussed directly on Iblis.

The Lonely God spoke, and Iblis, for the first time in a very long while, felt fear enter his soul. "Hello. I'm the Doctor.

"And you've just come to the wrong planet."