the pearl

Jose Chung's The Lord of Time

Taken from Weekender Magazine, April 13th, 1997:

The Lord of Time
Another incident from FBI Agent Reynard Muldrake
As recounted by Jose Chung


Of the many tales FBI agent Reynard Muldrake told me, none was as strange as the Lord of Time.

Regular readers of mine may find that difficult to believe, citing, naturally, the events I documented in From Outer Space, but with the wide range of paranormal theories that Agent Muldrake believed, ranging from an extraterrestial "black oil" that infiltrated humans through the eyes to a shape-shifting centuries-old creature that fed on human livers, even he admitted that the Lord of Time was the strangest he met.

It took place shortly before Muldrake was joined by his far more sensible and attractive partner, Agent Diana Lesky. At the time, Muldrake spent his days in his basement office in Washington, poring over blurry photocopies of heavily-edited documents, searching for some absolute truth in the midst of papercuts and dust allergies. His work day was spent in near silence, speaking to no one, answering to no one.

So it should come as no surprise that when he first received a call about an English-style police box appearing suddenly on the steps of the Capitol building, he jumped at the chance.


A brief tangent, if you will, on the nature of the police box.

In earlier times, when polite British bobbies strolled the streets, there were large blue boxes in which they could telephone their local station as they patrolled. It also provided a rather effective small jail cell, to hold criminals until such time as a police vehicle was made available.

With the advent of the two-way radio, the police box soon faded away, a bit of British nostalgia, much like afternoon tea and the Empire.

The police box was rectangular in shape, and a rich navy blue. In case you weren't aware of what it was, it had "Police Box" written above the door, just to make certain.

Throughout the centuries, there have been references to a blue rectangular box appearing in various places. In fact, my grandmother, who had been a respectable English schoolnurse until she married a dashing American soldier during the First World War, had in her possession a diary which regularly mentioned a blue box you could travel in.

So the concept of a proper English police box suddenly materializing was not new to the human species. And, of course, anything that was not new to humanity was not new to Agent Muldrake.


It was fortunate, really, that the police box had chosen to appear in Washington DC, and not anywhere considerably further afield -- Agent Muldrake's theories and opinions had become well-known within the FBI, and he would have been unlikely to requisition one of the many black sedans that the FBI held in their garage, much less airfare to some exotic locale.

Instead, he merely needed to run from his office to the Capitol steps to be a part of the action.

If there had been any.

For when Agent Muldrake arrived at those hallowed stairs, there was the blue box in question, firmly set on marble that had seen countless Congressmen and women, but it seemed as though no one had noticed. He stood there, watching people walk around the box, without actually noticing it.

Which made it all the more strange when the door of the police box opened and a man walked out.

And perhaps it was a trick of the light, a trompe l'oeil, or even a hallucination, but as the man walked out, Muldrake glimpsed inside that tiny police box and saw what was, in his own words, "highly improbable".

(As another tangent, one of the many things I have noticed in my many conversations with Agent Muldrake is his strong belief that anything is possible. Up to and including the reincarnation of Babe Ruth joining the Yankees and leading them to an all-time victorious season.

So when he says "highly improbable", keep in mind that, for Agent Reynard Muldrake, very little is considered improbable.)

Although the police box was, at the most, three feet wide and seven feet tall (including the small light at the top), Muldrake was convinced that the inside was much larger, spanning possibly even several rooms. And rather than the dull blue one would expect from such an interior, it was a riot of organic color, oranges and browns and a bright glowing green that defied all logic and reason.

I can hear the critics and naysayers starting to complain. "Nothing could be larger on the inside than on the outside!" you sneer. "And surely such a description comes from the imagination and could never happen in reality! You are a fool, Jose Chung, to believe such lies!"

I remind my many nemeses that, as mentioned in my award-winning book From Outer Space, Agent Muldrake was cursed and blessed with the rare gift of photographic memory, meaning that if he described something to me, that was how he saw it.

So, to Agent Muldrake, the box was bigger on the inside than on the outside, despite all logic to the contrary.

He only had a few seconds to note this fact, as the door was quickly closed and the man noticed him almost immediately. He was the same height as Agent Muldrake, with brown hair and eyes. And despite Muldrake's extensive memory, filled with faces, he could only describe the man as "weasel-y looking".

("Surely," I said to Muldrake during one of our many conversations, "you could come up with a better adjective for his appearance. 'Pointed features', perhaps. 'Rodent-like appearance'. Anything."

Muldrake gave it some thought, then shook his head. "Sorry. He looked like a weasel. In a nice suit."

You can't say I didn't try.)

The man was blue suit, nicely tailored, and a pair of burgundy Converse All-Stars. Muldrake emphasized the footwear, insisting that I include it. I would have assumed that more detail about the suit, or the hair, or even the Mustela nivalis-like countenance of this man emerging from a mysterious blue box would be more important. However, he did insist. Converse All-Stars, the kind that used to be considered basketball shoes before basketball became a multi-million dollar enterprise, in a burgundy color.

"Hello," the man said to Muldrake. "You're Agent Muldrake."

Now, as I mentioned earlier, Agent Reynard Muldrake was, shall we say, open-minded. He could accept a great many things, including an English police box standing on the Capitol Steps, said police box seeming much larger on the inside than it was on the outside, and a strange man walking out of the aforementioned police box.

However, combine all three of those events and the fact that the man automatically knew his name... Well, Agent Muldrake was in excitingly new territory.


Agent Muldrake has insisted that, during this meeting, he was wearing no badge, nametag, or anything else that had his name on it. He also states that the man not only knew his name, but also smugly recounted where he worked, what university he went to, and the fact that he occasionally forgot to feed his fish.

However, when Muldrake asked the man his name, the man replied only with "The Doctor".

And then, even more surprisingly, the man told Muldrake that he was an alien.

Reynard Muldrake has been studying the wide range of extra-terrestrial and UFO phenomena for many years now. He not only knows of the common grey beings in flying saucers, but also of large beast creatures, black triangles, and other such mysteries.

However, most human-looking aliens turn out to be just that -- humans. Seeking attention or psychiatric help, these poor souls tell everyone they encounter about their otherworldliness.

Therefore, Muldrake wasn't surprised when this "Doctor" declared himself an alien. He might have even become a bit cavalier in his responses, suggesting that perhaps the "Doctor" take up a new wardrobe -- one made predominantly out of tin foil.

Damaging the already fragile ego of a mentally disturbed person can cause them to create even larger personas. This is the only explanation Muldrake has for the next thing the "Doctor" said -- that he was not just an alien, but also a time traveler. A "Time Lord", to be precise.


As surprising as this is, there have actually been mentions of Time Lords in the rather large body of paranormal literature that has been collected over the years. There are a few reports about incidents at secret military bases around the country, involving these "Time Lords". Many of these incidents occur during operations that involve the United Kingdom, suggesting that these time-travelers may not be an alien race bent on disrupting human history, but, instead, a product of a British military program spiraling out of control.

When asked what a "Time Lord" was, the Doctor said that he traveled through space and time in his TARDIS -- pointing at the police box as he said this. There is no mention of a TARDIS in any of the literature, but it can be assumed that, in this instance, he was referring to the police box. Which, as you may recall, Agent Muldrake also believed was physically impossible, being larger on the inside than it was on the outside.

Through careful questioning and negotiation, Muldrake obtained an offer to travel in time inside the TARDIS with the Doctor. This would have been a historic event -- not only proof of contact with an alien species, but also proof of time travel -- if not for one thing.

The Doctor refused both proposed trips.

The first was a personal matter for Reynard Muldrake. Ever since the childhood disappearance of his sister, Muldrake has been plagued with conflicting memories of the incident. Was he sleeping at the time? Was he awake? Was he in the room with his sister Sally, or was he in a completely different part of the house? And who took his sister? Who was ultimately responsible for such a terrible act?

Surely a time machine could show him what had happened -- give him the peace of mind he so desperately craved.

The Doctor rejected that request immediately, saying that the universe would collapse. According to the Doctor's rules on time travel, if you looped back onto yourself, there would be the chance of meeting yourself, causing the destruction of all things. Hardly a threat anyone would disagree with -- even if it was a base lie, you wouldn't dare experiment to find out.

But if Muldrake could not have his own personal wounds healed, perhaps he could heal a nation's. Dallas, November 22nd, 1963. Finally, someone would know if it was the grassy knoll or the book depository, if it was the lone gunman or the CIA plot.

The Doctor rejected that almost as quickly as the first, and for the same reasons. This time, however, it was not Agent Muldrake that was likely to run into himself, it was the Doctor. And while a human meeting his previous version of himself was troublesome, a Time Lord meeting a previous version was tantamount to an atomic bomb of time and space.

Muldrake was beginning to lose his patience at his moment. If the Doctor was an alien and was a time-traveler as he stated, surely he would want people such as Agent Muldrake to know about him -- to show that the truth truly was out there. Instead, the man continually made excuses, feeding irrelevant information to Muldrake even as he promised greater things.

Muldrake was about to give up on the man, ready to report him not to the FBI, but to the local police, when, suddenly, the Doctor stopped a man walking down. There was a brief conversation, too low for Agent Muldrake to hear, and the man resignedly handed over a single file.

The Doctor took the file, smiled, and waved Agent Muldrake over. Brief introductions were made, and, before Agent Muldrake knew what had happened, he had been introduced to Senator Ronald Matterson, an influential leader who would become one of Muldrake's major informants and supporters.

As Muldrake talked to the Senator, he heard a strange sound from behind him -- like a collection of old blacksmiths bellows being squeezed down all at once. When he turned, hediscovered that the police box -- the Time Lord's TARDIS -- was gone, leaving behind only a few scraps of swirling paper in a sudden breeze.


And just like that, the Lord of Time was gone. Muldrake has occasionally gone looking for him, tracking down reports of blue boxes and weasel-like men, but there have been no mentions of either of those mysterious elements.

Perhaps, one day, the Lord of Time will return to this planet, bringing with him the mysteries of time travel. Until that day, keep watching the skies.

This Doctor Who/The X-Files story was written by Kate Bolin. If you liked it, there's plenty more at And you can feedback her at