EPISODE FIVE: Treason, Treason, Treason!
Bosworth Field, 1483.
The battle is going badly, damn Stanley and his she-wolf of a wife.
Richard regrets not killing her when he had the chance. This is what he gets for all his mercy, damn it all.
Sweat is pouring into his eyes as he swings his mace, every hit making his arms shake with the impact. He needs to survive this, regroup and come back for Henry, the dog.
His horse has long been taken, stumbled and broken its knees by the sound it made, and leaving Richard on soft soggy ground to brawl his way through. The mist rolls through the trees and everywhere the sounds of fighting echo.
He takes a hit that leaves his whole body aching, the metal of his armor starting to buckle under the stress.
This is going quite badly, all things considered.
Richard regrets, more than ever taking the crown, but what else was he supposed to do? Let Elizabeth and her nest of relatives run roughshod over the country? Let her have all of the sway over her son? When Richard had been named protectorate by Edward himself?
Wasn’t his bloody fault Edward couldn’t ever keep it in his pants long enough to think of consequences, god rest his brother’s soul. Or that George had always resolutely been a fool, and lost his life, land and right to the crown.
Richard hadn’t wanted this circle of metal around his brow but the country, the people of London demanded a responsible ruler, a good stable king after the years of civil war and a hard won peace.
And now as he is continuously beaten by an increasing swarm of enemy soldiers, Richard realizes the price of his duty is going to be nothing less than his life. Still he fights on, teeth grit and arms sore.
He wishes he still had his damned horse.
Richard knows it over when he feels something strike his knee and the leg, not broken just bent crumps in under him and he falls to his knees. Someone kicks his helmet and the stunning effect- a defending ringing in his ears- cannot be ignored. It ripped off his head and the crown goes skittering away, landing just under a thicket of wild roses. Richard snarls, but a war hammer catches him in the shoulder and he is forced back down. Again and again treasonous bastards force Richard into the mud as Henry calmly walks over and picks up the crown to place it on his own head. The snakes turns to smirk at him. It’s over.
There’s shouts and triumph and Richard thinks that he will at least see Anne and his son Edward again, when there’s a sharp pain to the back of his head and the world goes dark.
The violence in which Richard wakes up, sitting straight up and every muscle coiled to fight, is left over from his death. He blinks, stunned into silence at the room he finds himself in.
“I thought you were supposed to be hunchbacked?” Richard twisted to look around. A woman of Moorish looks was staring at him, lips pursed.
“Turn around again, I want to see if your scoliosis made it look like you could have been.”
Richard collected himself quickly. “Who are you? Where am I?” He demanded, raising a hand to his head, where the pain had been. Under his hair he could feel a small raised scar.
“You’re okay, I fixed all of your injuries,” the woman said, sounding very proud of herself. Richard frowned.
“I was hit with something,” he muttered to himself, confusion mounting all the time.
“Yeah I think it was some kind of pick, you should have seen the scar, tiny but it caused more or less immediate brain hemorrhaging.”
“What?” Richard snapped, more and more confused with every word the woman spoke. His head was pounding and he rubbed irritably at his temple.
“Oh well someone stabbed you and you died.” The woman nodded, dark brown hair fluttering around her face.
Richard stared at her, slowly lowering his hand from his head.
She nodded. “You died and I brought you back, just now. It is the year 3000 and you are in North Dakota.
Richard stared at her, not sure who was crazier, him for dreaming such a fantastic thing or her for making such outrageous claims.
That was necromancy, it was against the laws of nature. It was impossible. Richard pushed these basic facts aside to address the bigger issue, that clearly this woman was mad.
“I’m sorry, but none of those words mean anything to me,” Richard told her seriously. The woman sighed.
“At least you didn’t have a panic attack like Robespierre did. Here, do you need help walking?” She addressed him directly, holding her elbow out. Richard ignored her. It would be a damnable day indeed, when Richard was reduced to tottering on another’s arm. He saw the walking stick she had and snorted. Especially if it was from a cripple. That was not who Richard was.
Richard swung his legs down from the cold metal table and stood as rigidly as he could, remembering the way his knee had crumple out from under him.
Much to his surprise it did, and after a few careful steps, Richard felt increasingly confident in his ability to move under his own power.
“Let’s get you some clothes, okay? Then I can take you upstairs.” The woman ordered imperiously. Richard frowned, reading to bristle under her tone. However humility and a sudden fatigue and hunger made him stop. Begrudgingly he nodded, letting her go over to a small square cut out in the wall.
“Cotton shirt, pants and trousers. Mens, size medium.”
Richard gaped, staring as the whole thing flashed with light and then a pile of clothing appeared and the woman plucked them out and handed them over to Richard.
“There’s a bathroom over there for you to change, okay? My name is Doctor Rain Miller, so just shout if you need anything.”
Richard was shoved along and the door clicked behind him.
“Everyone should still be asleep. It’s about five in the morning.” Miller whispered to him as they climbed the staircase out of the lower floor. Richard nodded, not sure how she would have been able to tell, since this place didn’t seem to have any windows.
“You’re English, so you probably want tea right?” She asked, going over to another box in the wall.
“Beer would be preferable.” Richard looked around. Like the rest of this place the room seemed to be made of white marble, with all of the lights close to the ceiling. Despite this, the air was comfortably cool. Miller was staring at him, bemused. Richard glared right back.
She shook her head, her indecently loose hair swaying. “I’m drawing the line at beer for breakfast. Tea it is. You look like an earl grey kind of guy,” she muttered.
Richard sat down in a chair that looked disquieting like crystal. Had the world run out of trees, to make chairs from rocks now?
She placed a small and delicate looking cup in front of him. Richard picked it up and released it again immediately. The cup rattled on the table but didn’t break, merely splashing liquid everywhere.
“Problem?” Miller asked.
“It’s hot.” Richard said, twisting around to stare at her.
“Well yeah, it’s tea.”
“Why would you serve it in a cup made from stone then? Even the common drink from wooden bowls,” Richard snapped.
“Oh shit, I keep forgetting, you’re from before you even had glass and porcelain and stuff. Look just wait a second, it’ll cool down.” Miller instructed. Richard narrowed his eyes slightly.
“You are very vulgar, for a lady.”
“Ha, oh honey you haven’t seen anything yet.” Her tone rankled, and Richard narrowed his eyes. He did not at all appreciate the condescendence this woman spoke to him with.
They both turned at the sound of footsteps.
The man who entered seemed surprised to see them, eyes widening slightly behind the glass circles that covered his eyes.
“I’m apologize, I wasn’t aware anyone else was up.” He said, standing ramrod straight. Richard studied him curiously. Slight build, with an unhealthy look, compounded by the scarring around his mouth. There was a curious lilt to his words, something that Richard couldn’t quite place.
“No it’s alright. Maximilien Robespierre meet Richard, duke of Gloucester and later the King of England.”
The man’s countenance changed immediately. He dropped the stiff pose and adopted a much more defensive one, eyeing Richard with something much like distrust. Richard tried a bow anyway.
“The pleasure is mine, I’m sure.” He said, dryly.
To his mild surprise Robespierre gave him nod, but no bow. Nor did he return the greeting, still eyeing him. They all three stood in silence for a moment.
“Well this is nice and awkward,” She muttered. “Where is Leo when you need him?”
“He was in the,” a hand motion for lost-ness, “ah, lab.”
Robespierre gave her a hopeless and slightly annoyed look. Rain laughed slightly as she limped off.
“I’ll find him. Play nice please.”
Once again silence took the kitchen and they stared at each other. Richard realized that they were wearing the same clothing, the soft cotton garments, and concluded that they must have been brought here in similar circumstances.
He wondered if Robespierre was from the future, his future.
The other man brushed past him on the way to the box, the magical one that dispensed clothes, food, and drink.
“French?” Richard asked aloud, finally connecting the man’s name and his accent.
“Oui,” Robespierre seemed to sneer slightly when he said it, looking distastefully at Richard.
Richard rubbed his temple.
Leonardo started slightly when something touched him. He been absorbed in reading articles, as he had all last night. Spots from the light of screen danced in front of his eyes and he blinked them away.
“Hm? Oh hello Doctor Rain.”
She grinned at him, white teeth all straight and whole.
“Hey Leonardo. I have someone new for you to meet. Come on,” She gestured with her cane.
Leonardo carefully marked where he had been in Grey Anatomy, edition 201, year 2995. The screen went dark and Leonardo marveled for a moment.
He already liked this future very much.
They walked upstairs and into the kitchen. Leonardo immediately noticed that Robespierre had adopted the attitude of an angry cat, looking stiff and hands placed flat on the table, fingers twitching slightly.
He didn’t mean to think the sight was endearing.
There was another new man at the table as well. His height was in-between his and Robespierre’s, perhaps five and half feet, maybe a little over. Brown hair hung around a square and serious looking face. His body looked like the type that was used to fighting, his shoulders broad and one arm clearly trained for heavy weaponry.
“It’s weird, the two of you were actually born in the same year? Technically Leonardo, Richard here is only six months younger than you.” Rain said, by way of introductions. “Richard could represent the end of the medieval ages, and Leonardo, you could be the bright dawn of exploration and the Renaissance.”
Richard frowned. “Excuse me?”
Rain didn’t answer, merely waving her fingers at Leonardo.
“Then I’m sorry sir, I do not recognize your name.” Leonardo bowed from the waist.
Richard rose from his seat and returned the bow. Robespierre made a very quiet sound. Richard shot him a hard look, then relaxed and looked back to Leonardo.
“Nor I yours, sir. I’m Richard, King of England and from the house Plantagenet.”
Leonardo eyebrows climbed up.
Well not as if he wasn’t used to dealing with men of power, between the Church and the Borgia’s and Medici.
“I am Leonardo ser Piedro, da Vinci.”
Richard stared at him blankly even as Robespierre looked up sharply.
“The artist?” he asked.
Leonardo grimaced slightly. “I’d prefer engineer, to be perfectly honest.” At this Robespierre opens his mouth like he was going to protest, however, looking at the stiff way Leonardo held himself, slowly closed it again.
“I still do not recognize your name. Apologies.” Richard sat down again. Leonardo sat on Robespierre’s other side. He was still staring at Leonardo, as if seeing him properly for the first time. Rain was looking at them, amusement all over her face.
“This’ll be interesting, between the three of you.” She sipped her coffee. “You know, Richard, you and Robespierre will have lots to discuss. You can see who has the worse reputation.”
Both men whipped around to stare at her. Leonardo wondered absently, if Rain did this often. If so, he could see why Kamala didn’t stay with them.
“Reputation?” Richard growled. He was spinning the charcoal pencil that Leonardo had replicated earlier. “What exactly, do people say, about my ‘reputation’?”
Robespierre was looking like he had the awful suspicion that he already knew what people had been saying about him for over a thousand years, but he wasn’t going to like it regardless.
“Well, you Richard, are considered a child murdering backstabber, and Robespierre is a blood drinking, king-killing tyrant,” Rain said calmly.
At this both men burst into competing diatribes.
“Tyrant? They asked me to be on the Committee! I couldn’t very well say no-“
“Backstabbing? The only backstabber was Elizabeth and her brood,-“
“Capet’s execution was by voting, may I remind you-“
“Also, who the bloody hell keeps saying that my nephews are dead?” Richard snapped to the room at large.
Leonardo sat in stunned silence, and reminded himself that he was going to need to definitely look up his new company the moment he had a chance.
Rain raised her hands, looking mildly surprised at the outburst.
“Whoa, don’t shoot the messenger. I was just telling you what’s in the history books.”
Richard gave her a withering glance. “My rein hasn’t been written about yet.”
Rain returned the glare. “It definitely has. You, my friend, have some dedicated fans.”
“Some what?” Richard asked.
Robespierre looked at her expectantly. Rain shrugged.
“You have significantly quieter fans.”
Robespierre seemed to be biting his tongue in response to this.
“Excuse me but I still lots of questions about who was calling me a tyrant.” Richard crossed his arms over his chest and scowling. Robespierre scoffed. Richard turned to him. “Something you would like to say, sir?” The words were bitten off coldly, and Robespierre returned them with equal frostiness.
“Well sir, since you do not rule by your people’s permission,”
“-I’d guess it would be your oppressed citizens who called you tyrant.” Robespierre finished neatly, looking smug. Leonardo raised his eyebrows, looking between the two of them. Richard looked furious, hand clenching and unclenching at his side.
“You know, maybe I should not have brought back a revolutionary and King at the same time,” Rain mused aloud, tapping her chin. Leonardo realized she must be doing this on purpose, and frowned slightly.
Was this a sport to her, bear-baiting living and frightened men?
Neither Robespierre nor Richard had realized this however and continued their agitated sniping.
“Revolutionary?” Richard sneered. “Usurper?”
“As if I would want the power your kind wields, taken without any kind of thought to those you rule.” Robespierre bitingly replied, his face twisting.
“My rule bettered people’s lives!” Richard slammed an open palm down on the table, making all of the dishes rattle. The electronic display that Leonardo knew was under jittered. Richard drew his hand back as if burned.
Robespierre didn’t seem to notice.
“I’m sure that’s what you told them anyway, to bend and scrape and adore you. Despite this, you could never truly represent your people, because they didn’t choose you, therefore you represent nothing,” he hissed.
Leonardo stared at him with wide eyes.
The future of France believed that you could pick your leaders?
Richard looked like he was having a similar thought and it did not sit well with him at all.
“And are you who the people picked?” The king asked condescendingly. Robespierre bristled again, lifting his chin up.
“Yes. I am. Or, I was.”
Rain, still observing from her corner, snorted into her coffee cup.
“Pretty sure that’s not how history remembers you,” she muttered.
Robespierre looked away at this. “They call me a dictator, a tyrant?”
“There’s a surprise,” Richard snapped, rolling his eyes.
Robespierre leveled a flat stare at him, and stood up. “The good and virtuous will always have enemies, those who aim to drag them down with calumny, and obscure the truth. However they will always have reason and justice and the belief of the people on their side.” With this shrilly ringing pronouncement, Robespierre turned on his heel and left the room.
Richard stared after him, jaw set.
“Are all Frenchmen absolutely barking, or just the ones I know?” He muttered to room at large.
Rain giggled, but Leonardo tilted his head.
A world where you could choose your leaders. Leonardo could immediately see how this would have been more attractive than being at the whims of the families like the Medici’s, the Borgia’s the Sforza. He could have picked people who would have truly appreciated his mind, rather than just being another pretty court jewel, another curiosity for their constant game of one-upping each other.
“He has a point,” Leonardo said absently. Richard frowned at him. Rain raised her eyebrows.
“You think so? I guess that doesn’t surprise me that you think that.” Rain picked at the piece of lint on her coat. “I mean, you would have been at the bottom of the food chain, Leonardo, since you are a bastard son of some peasants.”
Richard looked at him, eyebrows raised.
Leonardo set his jaw.
“Si. Being able to pick would have been advantageous to my situation,” he said stiffly.
Rain shrugged and smiled. “But it’s not as if you did so poorly for yourself. You died in the King of France’s arms.”
Leonardo shrugged, pulling his sketchbook towards himself.
“It still would have been nice to pick.”
He didn’t miss the way Richard rolled his eyes to the ceiling, jaw set and hand clenched. Rain snorted at them again and sat down in the seat Robespierre had vacated.
“It’s just bizarre to think of you living in a world where democracy hadn’t been the status quo in hundreds of years,” she said, grabbing her tablet and turning it on. Richard watched her, eyes widening slightly when the screen seemed to miraculously go from dark to light. Rain noticed and grinned toothily.
“Here, that’s not all I can do, your highness,” she teased. Her fingers skated over the surface, and within seconds she’d pulled up one of the wiki articles that Leonardo had been studying over the past few days. She handed it over to Richard, who handled the tablet like it was likely to catch fire in his hands. The ex-King read the first line, then did a double take, looking back up at Rain.
“What is a ‘car park’ and why was my body found there?”
When she’d been young, one of Rainbow’s tutors had suggested she would have made a good professor. “If you can keep your temper,” was what they’d said to her. Rain had smirked.
“I won’t need to when I’m working for the Federation. I’ll be so good, they won’t care about my attitude.”
Her tutor had rolled their eyes and told her to get on with her work.
However now, Rain found they had a point. She was having fun.
Teaching Leonardo and Richard at the table about how to work the tablet, and what a car park was and how DNA worked was fun. Rain had the feeling that Leonardo was the only one who was even remotely following it, and that Richard had already written this off a very weird dream, but Rain enjoyed the feeling of flaunting her expertise for them. It was nice.
The expression on Richard’s face when Leonardo showed him how to bring up the holographic globe was priceless.
“That’s where you’re from.” She reached out and touched England, bring the focus in closer to the island. Richard glanced over at her, jaw slightly twisted, before touching it himself. The markers for London, York and Cambridge popped up.
Leonardo grinned and spun the globe from the other side, and Richard jerked back.
“It spins the same way the earth does,” Leonardo explained. Stopping the globe he moved to back to where it had been.
“The earth spins?” Richard asked, half distracted by zooming in tighter and tighter on London.
Leonardo looked over at Rain and winked.
“Si, it rotates, and moves around the Sun.”
Rain bit her lip to stop from laughing. Of course Leonardo would have already read about orbital movements. She could have sworn he was born for the 31st century.
She was distracted from the scathing looking Richard shot a Leonardo by a beep from her tablet. Rain frowned. It was an alert from one of the sensors outside. She snatched the tablet back, causing Leonardo and Richard to break off from their argument.
Rain looked up at Leonardo.
“Looks like we’ll be moving this back to my house. Richard, I’d finish eating if I were you. Leonardo, show him how to use the replicator. I’ll go get Robespierre.” She grabbed her cane and lifted herself to her feet, tucking the tablet into her lab coat pocket. She was gone from the room before either man could ask questions.
A cold sweat had broken out over Rain’s arms and back.
She should have known. She should have expected Zebadiah to start watching the building. Rain cursed under her breath, thinking quickly.
The solution, as far as Rain could see through her adrenaline was to move the entire operation to her house. It was faster than she’d wanted to do, she’d wanted to have a longer adjustment period, make sure no ancient illness reared their bacterial heads.
She bit her lip, dithering in the hallway before setting her jaw. Rain turned on her heel and set off back down to the kitchen to inform the king and renaissance man of her decision.