Chapter 1: Sleazy Deals

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The best describing phrase for Clara Oswald would be, 'she gets what she wants, no matter what the cost.' That, in itself, was a dangerous mindset to have, but dangerous never dissuaded the young woman as she took her seat across an influential figure she had quite the experience with, Lady Me, or at least her old name, Ashildir. Lady Me, she was a bit of a mixed bag in terms of emotions, as she was a seasoned time traveler, just like Clara, but Lady Me was less of a rebellious spirit. Clara had come in contact with the other time traveler many times during her adventures, but they stuck to acquaintances.

"Lady Me, I didn't think I'd see you for awhile." Clara greeted, glancing to the side as she spoke. She saw a young man, looking down at his feet, looking to be wearing 21st century clothing. Lady Me often came alone to anything, much preferring to do things by herself, so seeing him was an oddity. Before she could even question it, Lady Me addressed her back.

"Miss Oswald, I didn't think you would require my services so soon, especially after your ship went to...quite the lengths last we met." Lady Me responded with hospitality, but it was quite strained. "And on a time like this. I'm quite busy, you know. I have to be back to 21st century Earth for him." She pointed to the young man to the side.

"And what did he do?" Clara inquired and the young man did his best not to say a word, shuffling from side to side.

"Committed murder." Lady Me offered as an exclamation. This seemed to stir something in the young man, as he took a step forward. Clara noted how young he really was, as his eyes didn't hold any malice. He couldn't have killed anyone, he'd never hurt a fly. She had seen being who had killed others and that was not how they looked; terrified and most certainly not perplexed.

"I didn't kill him!" The young man suddenly proclaimed, "Lady Me, you know I didn't and I can't die, Jen is going to be without a father for our child and I-," a glare from Lady Me silenced the young man. He went back to his original spot and looked away. Clara couldn't help but feel a twinge of guilt towards the young man. Clara grew up without a mother, so she could just imagine what this young man's child would go through with a single parent.

"Anyway, I assume you have my credits?" Lady Me requested of Clara, unhinged by the sudden outburst of her prisoner. Clara dug into her bag and took out several stacks of credits, to which she had been saving for quite sometime from doing many different jobs. Some were strange and others were human in nature, like a barmaid or a governess. Lady Me looked at the stacks and frowned. Clara looked at Lady Me's frown. She never frowned, her lips were usually pursed.

"That isn't what we promised." Clara stared at Lady Me, confused.

"You had told me fifty thousand credits in the call." Clara said calmly, "For the vortex manipulator that can be used ten times."

"No, I had told you a hundred thousand." Lady Me responded, "Did you not hear properly?"

"That's not fair, Lady Me."

"Vortex manipulators are hard to come by, Miss Oswald. I had thought you were aware of this."

"Yeah, sure, but a hundred thousand? That's highway robbery." Clara said, crossing her arms. She had expected something like this to happen, as Lady Me was never really fair sometimes. Unfortunately, she wasn't prepared enough to be able to counter it. If she had to double her earnings, she'd have to work for another several years, something she just was sick of.

"You either have my other fifty thousand or there's no deal." Lady Me responded, lips pursed. Clara had to think fast. She had to collect ship parts from other parts of the universe and a vortex manipulator would make it much easier. She had to act. She looked to the young man in the corner. Perhaps she could...?

"What are you punishing him with?" Clara asked Lady Me, pointing a thumb to the young man. Lady Me raised an eyebrow.

"Chronolock. I have promised the White Raven something and because he broke the rules, I am using him as a catalyst." Lady Me explained, "Now, what does he have to do with your lack of fifty thousand credits?" A Chronolock. She had only heard of one person having a chronolock, with the time counting down, but at least, they lived. She could probably get herself out of it. That's what she did after all.

"I'll take his punishment." Lady Me raised an eyebrow, "Please, Lady Me, I need the vortex manipulator. I've been stuck here for who knows how long." Clara said, "Besides, he's about to have a family."

"You want to take his punishment? A Chronolock?" Lady Me said,

"Yes. Just let me have the vortex manipulator." Clara was practically begging, but she noticed that Lady Me seemed to be mulling over the idea.

"Miss...Clara, is it? Don't do this. I don't think you should." The young man said, shaking his head.

"You're going to die if I don't help you. I seriously think you need to reevaluate your options here." Clara said, laughing softly, "What's your name?"

"Rigsy." He responded.

"You could build a legacy, Rigsy, if you continue to live. I've risked my life before. I can probably get myself out of it." Clara smiled softly. She turned back to Lady Me, who seemed to have made her decision already.

"Alright, I approve of this. Stupid as it is." Clara smiled, but she knew there was more. "However, you must return to Trap Street before your time is up."

"Trap Street?"

"I am the mayor of that street."

"A mayor? Last I heard you were something quite more than that. You're downgrading, aren't you?"

"Hardly. This street is special, but I don't have the time to explain it." Lady Me motioned for Rigsy to come forward. "Turn around." Rigsy did as he was told, revealing a four digit number in white ink. 2001. Clara brought her hand onto the number, to which white gas seemed to seep off the number until it wasn't there anymore and went to her neck. She touched her neck and felt a slight burning.

"That's it then?" Clara asked.

"Twenty hours for you to do what you wish with this. Might want to stray away from birds though, they don't like people with the White Raven's touch." Lady Me tossed the vortex manipulator to Clara. She caught it clumsily and looked to where Rigsy and Lady Me once stood, to which they disappeared. Clara looked to the worn out vortex manipulator, the clunky thing. Ten uses, twenty hours.

Did she really just take the deal? She didn't have a plan. No plan, but she was Clara Oswald. She'd figure something out, she had to. 

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