21 Dec 2015

Doctor Who: Darkpaths

From 2012-14 I wrote and uploaded 24 stories and 6 specials of a fan-fiction series called "Doctor Who: Darkpaths". The series followed a future incarnation of the Doctor, portrayed by Richard O'Brien, who travelled with his companions, Caroline and Danny, and later, Alice, Tylaya and Maxus.

The series explored the relationships between the companions and the Doctor as well as their pasts and events that led up to the birth of this new incarnation, featuring flashbacks and numerous ongoing arcs.

Darkpaths finished in December 2014, but now you can read the whole lot again (or for the first time if you've only just discovered the series). On the right-hand side of the blog is an index which lists each of the 24 stories, plus any specials, in order.

Contained in each stories page are links to the individual chapters as well as a link to the complete story as a PDF file, which can be downloaded from my Dropbox.

So please sit back, relax and enjoy Doctor Who: Darkpaths. And once you've finished, perhaps you'd like to follow the continuation starring James McAvoy as the new Doctor in "Doctor Who: Resurrection".









25 Dec 2014

The End of Darkpaths: (SPOILERS!)

So, that's it. The end has arrived for Darkpaths. A series that I started thinking of years ago, and finally started properly in May 2012. Just over two and a half years later, I've finally completed the series. It feels as though I have achieved something that I wanted to do way back in 2003 when I first envisioned the series. I got part-way through it last time, but it all felt a bit directionless and it felt like the story wasn't as coherent. With Darkpaths I feel that I had a very clear beginning, middle and an end. It also it feels sad that the characters are now gone and I will never be revisiting them again.



In March 2015 the follow-up series will begin. It will be called Doctor Who: Resurrection and will feature James McAvoy as the next incarnation of the Doctor. It is set in the same universe, but an unspecified amount of time has taken place between the Doctor's regeneration and McAvoy's era. It is a natural continuation to Darkpaths, but very few of the events in that series will be references. In a way it is a "soft reboot".
I think I needed to do a "soft reboot" of the series. Darkpaths was very laden in its own continuity and I needed to wrap that up and start afresh with Resurrection. I want to attract new (and maybe different readers), and I knew that anyone new coming into the series with, say, "Before the Dawn" and "Family" may have been completely lost. And Darkpaths is about the Doctor going on a dark path of his own - heading towards his death. So when he finally reaches the end and survives it's like he has been resurrected. That's why McAvoy had to have his own series. It was a resurrection and something fresh and new.

There will be fewer stories in the next series. I have no idea how many yet, but the whole series kicks off in March 2015. I'm also taking my time to write as well. During series 3 of Darkpaths I really pressured myself to get the stories written, and as such I didn't always enjoy the writing. Resurrection is something new and I want it to be about quality, not quantity.

As far as what to expect with Resurrection: what we won't see are characters such as Caroline, the Apparites, Aleena or Jayne. They are all gone. Done and dusted. We will never, ever see those characters again, and we will never ever revisit Thornsby ever again. Thornsby was very much the Darkpath-Doctor's terrain, like the Powell Estate (with Rose Tyler) was very much the 9th and 10th Doctor's terrain. We never see the 12th Doctor revisit the Powell Estate.

What we will link to, however, will be the Master. He is out there somewhere with a new face. We may see Reikon, Caleb and Celestia again as that was kind of my introduction to aspects of the next series. Celestia told the Doctor something that the Master told her, and that will be explored in Resurrection. There will also be no previous Doctor's. Darkpaths was very heavy on old faces. I was conscious of that as it was the 50th anniversary and wanted to do my bit. But we won't see any previous Doctor's now. Resurrection is all about looking to the future and what is to come.

When I started Darkpaths I avoided Gallifrey and made some references to the Time War. The 50th anniversary episode was a game-changer which altered the status quo. At that point I made more references to Gallifrey. It's pretty obvious that at some point in the future Gallifrey will return. The nature of it's return is a mystery for now and what happens after that is a mystery.

What we have to remember is that Darkpaths and Resurrection is set far, far in the Doctor's personal future. So the standpoint we take now is that Gallifrey is already back, but there is a reason for why the Doctor can't return. It's what happened in the many years after it returned, that has stopped the Doctor from going back. Whether this is explored...well, I can't say yet. I keep things quiet so I can play around when we learn more from the TV show.

Not everything always played out how I wanted them to during Darkpaths, and often there were big changes to the ongoing storyline. Originally Danny would have died in "Lockdown" and been resurrected by the Apparites in "Call of the Spirits". In the end I liked Danny so much that I wove in the story about it being his brother, and Danny lived to fight another day. I liked the relationship between Danny and Caroline too much. Being friends that loved each other, but not quite wanting to make anything official.

Another massive changed to the ongoing story was the fact that the Doctor should have died and regenerated at the end of Series 2. The Master and him would have been trapped in the collapsing dimension and then the Doctor would have gone missing, presumed dead.
We then would have seen the Doctor - having absorbed the Master's body (!) - regenerated into Henry Ian Cusick. Series 3 would have then continued with the Doctor now looking like Henry Ian Cusick, with the same stories that we did see in Series 3, but with a new Doctor who was battling against the dark side left in him by the Master. I even went as far as to design the cover for "Village of the Daleks" with Henry Ian Cusick as the Doctor.

As I got towards the end of Series 2 I realised that it wasn't really going to work, so instead changed
everything around. That's why Series 3 feels a little different and disjointed. Originally I envisioned the series as novel-length stories, and Series 3 then fell into a pattern of shorter stories and structured more like the TV series. That's why there's a new companion and set-up in Series 3. It was meant to be a "soft reboot" of sorts. It's also why the Doctor's impending death takes a while to get there. Towards the end of Series 3 (and definitely by the time we got to "Before the Dawn") I began to re-weave in the Thornsby stuff to finish off the story line so we could start afresh with the next series.

With regards to the future, I struggled for some time on what to do as I was having a hard time leaving the characters behind. I had two options - either we went for the soft reboot like we are doing and had everything shiny and new, or we continued with Darkpaths Series 4 and built on already established mythology.

Had we continued we would have seen the Doctor regenerate and end up being cared for by Danny and Caroline. Caroline would have then found herself thrown back in time to be back with William Fieldgate and the spin-off series "The Thornsby Chronicles" would have begun, with Danny and co. trying to find a way to get her home. Thornsby would have continued to feature with the Doctor finding a cult of former Ancestors who had started to misuse their powers. The Doctor also would have began to travel with Millie, who was introduced in "Before the Dawn". I've still left hints of her being a companion, which obviously has never happened. The Doctor and Millie would have left Thornsby and gone to the future where they would have encountered Millie's twin - Lizzy - who was mentioned in "Before the Dawn". Lizzy would have been a nasty piece of work and would have caused all sorts of issues for the Doctor and Millie.

I didn't run with this, though, as, like I said before, I really decided it was best for a fresh start and to tie up the loose threads. So I shelved the idea of "The Thornsby Chronicles" and scrapped all the other plans and rebooted.

I will miss the characters though. I liked Caroline. On reflection she started off rather moody and she was put through the wringer a bit. But I liked her relationship with Danny. Aleena was good in her first story, but I felt she lost some of her spark during the other appearances. Ivy was enjoyable and I really liked how she had gone from a normal, Victorian girl, to a time-hopping, space-faring friend of the Doctors. Incidentally Ivy was originally going to die in "The Lives of the Doctor" to draw a line under the Izzard-Doctor.

I feel a little bad for Alice because she never shone as much as she should have. I had a few ideas for her. I never intended on "killing" her off, but then added it as a twist with Tylaya taking her body. When I wrote it I intended for Alice to be dead forever, but then I toyed with the idea of Alice still being around. By the time she came back her story was over. She maybe would have continued with McAvoy, should Series 4 of Darkpaths have been made, but in the end I decided I'd screwed her up that much that I had to write her out.

The stories that didn't work for me where "Eye of the Jungle", which was too long, "The First Eleven" which was too repetitive, "Fall of the Eye", which kind of fell apart for me, "The Trees of Cologne", which never felt as epic as I wanted it to feel and "War of the Machines". They weren't bad stories, but I didn't "feel" them when I wrote them. My favourite stories were "The Ghosts of Winter", "Lock Down", "The Story of the Ancestors", "Reflections", "Before the Dawn" and my absolute favourite and most enjoyable to write, "Lost in Time".

What can we expect from Resurrection? Well, the McAvoy Doctor is very energetic and youthful. He
embraces life and enjoys the world around him. He's eager to move on and not hang around. His brush with death has made him more mindful of enjoying life and grabbing it by both horns. When we meet him he's travelling with a girl called Lilly Galloway ("played" by Evanna Lynch). They've been together for a while and the relationship and history between them is very much kept a secret until later in the series (no romance though!)
He then meets our new companion called Holly Dangerfield ("played" by Felicity Jones). Holly is an adventurous young woman and an ex-librarian. She purposely travels with the Doctor rather than tagging along for a different reason. He doesn't want her there, but she stows away and she also tries to work out who Lilly is. She's fun and intelligent and definitely enjoys travel in space and time.

We also have the Master coming back with his new-found powers, and a new face...

We have stories involving zombies, we have a return of the Mondasian Cybermen, we have the Doctor and co having to lead normal lives to track down an alien. We also have the return of the Master and a big, big finale involving Lilly.



So, that's it. It's been a lot of fun! This blog will be staying online, but the new series will start across on it's own blog which is located here:

http://drwhoresurrection.blogspot.co.uk/

Merry Christmas everyone, and here's to the future!

21 Dec 2014

The Lives of the Doctor (Part 3 - Darkpaths)

“Explain it to me, please,” said Millie.

Caroline cleared her throat. “This is the best version I can work out. The beginners guide, I guess. Some time in the future, a woman called Jayne discovered an abandoned TARDIS. She took it to her scientist friends, who took it for a spin and crashed in the past in my home town, Thornsby. There was an accident and some of them were trapped inside the TARDIS, whilst Jayne and her team were stuck outside the TARDIS, exposed to the time energy from under the console thing. Over the centuries the inside of the TARDIS altered and changed until it became an unrecognisable dimension. The people inside were twisted into freaky ghost things that every now and then broke into our world. The scientists - who had now become known as the Ancestors - fought against the ghosty things. Eventually the Doctor, me and Danny turned up -”

Danny gave a wave.

“- and the Doctor was able to collapse the dimensions until they were no more. The Ancestors tried to live a normal life in Thornsby, hiding their powers.”

“Okay,” said Alice. “But how does the Nest thing come into it?”

“Well,” said Aleena, “if what the Master said is true, then it’s possible that the dimensions of the TARDIS weren’t destroyed at all, that they simply re-expanded back out, like cling film does when you scrunch it up. The dimensions continued to exist outside our own.”

“But this Nest place has always been in Gallifrey’s myths and legends,” said Danny.

“You can’t keep thinking of it in normal terms,” said Aleena. “The dimensions expanded backwards and forwards throughout time, like a pancake mix spreading across a frying pan.”

“I could do with some pancakes now,” said Millie.

“The dimensions remodelled themselves again. TARDISes are psychic, remember? A world was built up and created and the Swytch must be evolved versions of the Apparites. They’ve multiplied and throughout time must have broken through to Gallifrey to harvest the regeneration energy, which they need to survive.”

“Then who is Helenia?” said Maxus.

“I don’t care,” said Ivy. “All I know is that I want the Master dead.”




The Doctor opened his eyes. It was cold and it was damp. It was also very dark and as he sat up he had to squint to see anything.

“Everybody in one piece?” came the Masters voice.

“Yes,” replied Alice.

“Doctor?”

“I’m fine,” said the Doctor, getting to his feet and swaying slightly. “I’m just fine.”

They heard a voice up ahead. “Welcome. Welcome,” said the woman. “It’s about time you two turned up. Oh,” said the old woman, Helenia, “you three.”

“Believe me,” said Alice, “I didn’t volunteer for this ride.”

The Master drew his gun again and aimed it at Helenia. “Hello at last.”

“What are you doing?”

“Taking control, woman,” smiled the Master.

“I don’t understand.”

“He conned us all,” said the Doctor, deadpan. “We all saw it coming.”

“Oh, you misjudge me, Doctor,” said the Master. “I was telling the truth when I said I wanted to help you. I do want to help you.”

“By killing my friends?”

“By doing what I said I would do. Freeing your regeneration energy. I want you and I to stand face to face again like the strong Time Lords we once were.”

“Hmmm,” said the Doctor, arching his eyebrows.

The Master turned back to Helenia. “Take me to the Source.”

“I beg your pardon?” said Helenia.

“The Source. The Heart of the Nest.” The Master waved his gun. “What would have been the Heart of the TARDIS.”

“I’d do what he says if I were you, Miss Helenia,” said the Doctor. “He’s already killed one of my friends.”




She sat at the end of the long, oak table, the suns streaming in through the tall, stained glass window. It cast a colourful pattern across her face. She remained still and silent, a tear threatening to form in the corner of her eye, but never quite making it out of the duct and down her face.

She finally breathed in and closed her eyes. She had no way out of this. Not after what he had told her. What the Master had told her.

Now she was faced with an impossible choice. If she helped the ones she had locked in the dungeon below the castle, she’d maybe save her husband and son, but if she did that, then…she couldn’t even think about it.

So she just sat there and waited. Waited for some help from somewhere.




The cul-de-sac was very familiar. The Doctor hadn’t been here before exactly, but he had seen it in his visions. It felt strange that he was now standing in the middle of the road looking at each of the houses.

“This is just one small part of the Nest. Our little town,” smiled Helenia. “But it’s the most important part.”

“Because this is where the Source is located,” said the Master, nodding.

“It’s also, my dear chap, a place which we guard.”

The Master, the Doctor and Alice span around and came face to face with a tall man in a green, velvet jacket and white, bouffant hair. He had a long, pointed nose and smiled back at them.

“You,” said the Doctor.

“I trust you’re my future,” said the man.

“Is he-?” started Alice.

“He most certainly is the Doctor,” said the Master, admiration in his voice at his old adversary. “Well, the energy of his third incarnation at least.”

“Careful,” hissed the Doctor.

“Oh, don’t worry, old boy. I’m quite aware of what I am. Just like the rest of us.”

“The rest of you?”

The Third Doctor nodded towards the other houses. One by one more people began to emerge. The one in the leather jacket, the one with the scarf, the very first, the grumpy Scottish one…they were all there.

Millie watched on aghast as dozens of versions of the Doctor emerged from different houses. She lost count of how many there were. Certainly more than twenty.

“All that’s missing is number eight. I believe he made it out of the Nest and back to the real world.”

“And soon expired,” said the Master.

“This is unbelievable,” said the Doctor.

“And worrying for a certain bloke stood next to you,” said the Northern sounding one, nodding towards the Master.

“And why would I be worried?” smirked the Master.

“Oh come on,” said the Twelfth, “what did you expect when you got here? You brought one Doctor in and got a whole army of us.”

The Doctor smiled.

“But you’re not real. You’re just energy.”

“Energy that can recharge the real Doctor faster than you could get to the Source,” said the one with the scarf.

“Oh, he’s worried now, fellas,” said the one in tweed.

“You fools,” laughed the Master. “I brought him here so he could help himself.”

“It’s true, actually,” said the Doctor.

“Then let’s get to it, my boy,” said his first incarnation.

“If I let you lot dissolve into your energy forms, who is going to protect the Source from the Swytch.”

Helenia shook her head. “The Swytch are a minor problem now. They live on the outskirts of the town. They rarely come in. They daren’t go up against the Doctors.”

Before they could say anything else, the Master had grabbed Alice and was racing towards the white-brick house that belonged to Helenia.

“Stop him then!” said the Sixth Doctor.

“Wait!” came a voice from across the road.

The Doctor turned to see someone he thought was long gone. Someone he never thought he’d ever see again. Reikon emerged from one of the houses, pushing a wheelchair containing his nephew, Caleb.

“I don’t believe it,” said the Doctor, lost for words.

“You can’t go after him,” said Reikon. He looked at the Doctor.

And then with a big laugh the two men embraced in a warm hug.

“It’s good to see you again,” said Reikon.

“You too, brother,” smiled the Doctor. “It’s been too long.”

“Hello uncle,” said Caleb glumly. “I hope you’ve been enjoying your travels.”

The Doctor crouched down until he was face to face with his scarred nephew. He frowned and looked at him sadly. “I would have taken you, Caleb,” said the Doctor. “I would have.”

Caleb smiled. His face hurt and he stopped.

“I need to stop the Master,” said the Doctor, suddenly coming to his senses.

“You can’t. You’re too weak,” said Reikon. “You’ll never be able to stop him.”

Reikon was right. The Doctor had been taken his pills nearly every hour now and he had even discarded his walking stick, but he knew that if he came face to face with the Master, he’d never best him.

“That’s why you have to let us help,” said the Doctor wearing the cricket jumper.

“You’re like a re-chargeable battery,” said the Doctor who he had been previously, his white suit gleaming in the afternoon sun. “You just need to be brought to life again. We can do it.”

“I don’t know,” said the Doctor.

A scream came from the vicinity of the house.

“We don’t have time to have doubts,” said Helenia. “You need to do what is right. You need to let them help you.”




Inside the house Alice had been tied to a post near the front door. She was trying to struggle out of the bonds, but the Master had tied the rope too tight.

The Master, meanwhile, was in the kitchen and underneath one of the cupboards. He smiled as he saw what he wanted. Inside the cupboard was darkness. It looked bigger on the inside than out and the Master reached in. Deep inside the cupboard was a glass column containing blue, glowing crystals.

“What the hell are you even hoping to get out of this?” said Alice, still struggling but to no avail.

“Freedom,” smiled the Master. “Freedom to get back to what I used to be.”

“Good Beatles song,” smiled Alice.

The Master narrowed his eyes as he placed his hands on the glass column. “This is the source. It’s the one thing that keeps the Nest here. Without it the dimensions would collapse just like they did when this place used to be in its former incarnation.”

“How’s it going to help you?” said Alice, feeling one of her hands slip out from the ropes.

“It’ll help because if I break it, I will take the power of this place. It will regenerate my body.”

“A big risk though,” said Alice. “It might kill you.”

“I’m dying anyway,” said the Master.

Alice had a thought. “Why don’t you find some of your past regeneration energy and recharge yourself?”

“Because this actual body is failing. The Doctor just needs a boost. And this body is not my original body.”

Alice nodded and then slipped out her other hand. She was free. “So what happens when you…erm…absorb the power?”

“I regenerate. This place becomes a part of me for now and for ever.”

“Fair enough,” said Alice. She was about to turn and run, but the Master had already extracted the glass cylinder and was staring at it longingly. She wasn’t sure what the Doctor was up to, but she knew that someone had to stop him right now.




The Doctor stood in the centre of the cul-de-sac, his face sad. In front of him were the two dozen or so versions of himself. They had all taken a hold of each others hands and looked on at the Doctor with pride in their eyes.

His first incarnation spoke up. “Do you know, my boy, I’m really rather proud of you.”

“What do you mean?” said the Doctor.

“Proud that you came all the way into this world to save Reikon and Caleb. You should be commended.”

“Thank you,” said the Doctor.

There was another scream from the house and the smashing of glass. The Doctor turned around as blue light emanated through the windows.

“No,” said Helenia, “he’s done it. He’s found the Source. It’s already too late.”

The sky turned dark and thunder clouds began to roll in. The whole town fell under a dark, blue light and it began to rain.

“What’s happening?” said Caleb.

“This place,” said Helenia, “is collapsing.”

“It’s collapsed before,” said the Doctor. “It’ll survive.”

“Not if the Master’s consumed the power. It will simply regenerate him and he’ll go on regenerating forever. He’ll become indestructible.”

“Doctor, you have to do this now!” said Reikon with a yell.

The Doctor turned to face his past incarnations. They had already started to glow. Golden flickers glittered throughout their bodies as they began to break down into their regenerative parts. Soon their faces were nothing but glowing golden light.

Helenia, Reikon and Caleb had to shield their eyes.

By now the collection of Doctor’s were now just brightly glowing people. Their arms began to interlink and they began to merge together.

“Go on,” said Helenia, nodding to the Doctor.

The Doctor straightened his tie, readjusted his smiley face badge, threw his walking stick to the ground and confidently marched towards the huge cloud of energy.




Alice had tried. She really had tried, but she had failed. She had launched herself at the Master, but he had thrown her back against the kitchen wall, knocking over a fruit bowl as she fell. He had then thrown the glass cylinder to the floor and allowed the blue light to consume him. Now he stood before her, arms outstretched, his head and hands hidden by blue flames.

His face could just be seen through the fire as he walked towards Alice.

“Stay away!” said Alice. She could feel the heat from the flames.

“STOP!” came a voice.

The Master froze and turned. Alice looked to where the voice had come from.

Standing there was the Doctor, his hands glowing ever so slightly golden. He was the same Doctor, but this time he looked fitter and healthier. He looked alive!

“You’re too late Doctor,” growled the Master. “This place is mine.”

They could hear the sound of small running footsteps from somewhere in the distance.

“I can’t allow you to continue.”

“You have no choice. The Nest will collapse, the power will stay within me. The Swytch will be my army to command.”

The doors burst open and hundreds of the black imp-like creatures poured in to sit around the Master like a pack of loyal, pet dogs.

“You have to stop. Please,” said the Doctor, a little softer.

“It’s too late now,” smiled the Master through the flames. “I have limitless regeneration energy.” He stepped a little closer to the Doctor. “But rest assured you will see me again. When you least expect it.” He clicked his fingers and in a flash of blue he and the Swytch were gone.

The house began to shake.

Helenia and Reikon burst into the front room. Helenia was shaking.

“What happened?” said Reikon.

“He’s gone. He consumed the Source and took the Swytch. I didn’t even see him finish regenerating.”

“We need to get out of this place,” said Alice.

“I can’t leave here,” said Helenia. “It’s my fault the Master took the Source.”

The Doctor took her by her shoulders and looked into her eyes. “But this place will collapse. You’ll die along with the rest of the echoes.”

“They’re already dead,” said Helenia. “I’m sorry, Doctor.”

He frowned. “I don’t even know who you are.”

She smiled and touched his face. “Just another lost soul. You may remember I used to have red hair.”

The Doctor’s eyes widened. “Jayne? Jayne Robson?”

“The very same, albeit a little older. After the dimension collapsed the first time I thought I had died, but I hadn’t. I woke up in darkness, just energy floating in nothingness. It took me a long time to gain my form. I was able to change things. I was finally able to allow myself to grow old. This place grew around me and it became my world. I had to stay and help. I changed my name to Helenia to try and fit in with the other Time Lords that came here. I didn‘t want them to think I was any different.”

The Doctor kissed the top of her head. “Thank you.”

She sighed and sat on the sofa. “This place will always exist throughout time. Always there in nursery rhymes and stories in one way or the other. But today is where it’s final end is.”

“Helenia…Jayne!”

“You have to go now. Get Alice, Caleb and Reikon out of here. The void is still open back in the caves.”

“There should be another way,” said the Doctor as Alice began to guide him towards the door.

“But there isn’t,” said Helenia. “Now get out!”

The Doctor, Reikon and Alice ran out of the house and into the cul-de-sac where Caleb was waiting in his wheelchair.

“What’s going on?” he said, really wanting to get up and run with them,

“No time to explain. We need to go now!”

They made their way through the town as lightning struck down, destroying houses and buildings. The remaining Time Lord echoes were now just pockets of regeneration energy, writhing around on the floor.

The Doctor spotted the door set into a large wall, opened it and they all piled inside, the Doctor pushing Caleb in his chair.

There was a gentle incline into the cave and Caleb’s wheelchair moved along mostly fine.

Finally they reached a ledge with nothing but darkness below.

“What now?” said Alice.

The Doctor looked back. The cave started to shake and collapse in on itself. “We have no choice.”

With one heave the Doctor pushed Caleb’s chair over the edge, kept a hold of it and followed him down, grabbing Alice and Reikon as he fell.

The four of them screamed.




So we were safe. Once again, and for me, the last time. We had all awoken in the courtyard with barely a scratch on us. The Doctor shut down the machine and then used his screwdriver to ignite the crystals, blowing it up.

We found Celestia crying in the hall. The Doctor had taken the dungeon keys from her and then him and I had gone to rescue our friends.





Reikon stood before Celestia. The both of them speechless. It had been so long for them. Celestia didn’t know how to react. She wanted to run and hug her husband and son, but she also felt such utter grief at what had happened to Caleb. And she felt frightened by what the Master had said to her before he left.

“I’m sorry I never listened to either of you,” said Caleb, tears in his eyes.

And then they embraced. Reikon kissed her passionately and then she knelt down to hug her son.

“We’ll get you help, Caleb, now that you’re back. We’ll get you help.”




Ivy




The Doctor hadn’t hung around for long. He had made me say my goodbyes and had taken me into the TARDIS along with Mark’s body. Somehow I knew this was the last time I was going to see him. He dropped me off in Central City and kissed me on the cheek. I asked him why he hadn’t regenerated yet and he told me he was just waiting to say goodbye to us all. That he was holding it back.

It’s funny. When I first met the Doctor, someone I cared about died. And then this final time meeting the Doctor, someone I cared about died.

I watched as he stepped back into the TARDIS. He told me to “Be happy”, and threw me his yellow smiley badge.

And then he closed the doors and the TARDIS disappeared for the last time.





Aleena




I felt sad when I returned to Xanji-For. Not sad because the Doctor was going, but sad because I knew that I’d probably never see him again. When I was in the Lighthouse I’d watched him for so long going about his adventures and having fun, and I had tried to help him when he was dying.

Now there was no need to help him anymore. He had made it. My mission was complete.

He picked a Conjti flower from my garden and handed it to me. I took it with a smile and he tapped me on the nose.

“Keep on watching the skies,” was the last thing he said before he stepped into the TARDIS and disappeared out of my life forever.





Millie




I’ve gotta admit I felt a bit short-changed. When the Master had picked me up I thought I was going to be travelling with the Doctor, you know, after he regenerated. Obviously not. I said goodbye to my great-great-great whatever she is and he just whisked me into the box and took me back to the warehouse in Thornsby.

So, here I am. Another 8 years of this Dalek occupation awaits me. But I am glad it all worked out for the Doctor in the end. I just would have liked to have been there for him. I wanted to travel the universe. I wanted to change my life.





Caroline




So here we are again. I’ve said goodbye to him three times now. Three! But something tells me that this is going to be the last time. After I’d said goodbye to Millie (that’s still too strange to even think about), he escorted myself and Danny into the TARDIS and took us back to Thornsby. Amazingly we didn’t have a detour and landed only a few hours after we’d left.

He told me what Jayne had done and how she had become Helenia. “Something to tell the others,” he smiled.

I told him to be careful. He had changed my entire life around. I watched him again as he backed up into that daft blue box and it disappeared from my garden for the last time.





Danny




You can’t ever have said that life wasn’t complicated after leaving the Doctor, but it was a darn sight more exciting and interesting. A few years ago I was in a well-paid job, but living a very boring, magnolia-coloured life. Each day just like the one before it.

But then I met the Doctor and reunited with Caroline and…well, things are better now. I’m a father figure for little William, I have a great bunch of new, interesting friends, and maybe, just maybe, there might be a future for Caroline and myself. It certainly feels that way when she takes my hand as the Doctor disappears from our life for the last time.

Silently to myself I say thank you.





Alice and Maxus were the last people the Doctor returned home. By now he was struggling to hold back to effects of the regeneration energy, but he quite clearly wanted to wait until he was on his own. To Alice this was almost like he was saying goodbye to this life before starting afresh in the next.

The TARDIS landed next to Alice’s cottage and he walked out with her and Maxus.

“Are you sure you want this, Maxus?” said the Doctor.

He nodded, a sad smile on his face. “I know Alice isn’t Tylaya, but I think we can do some good for each other. We can help each other.”

“It’s very brave of both of you.”

“Thank you for everything, Doc,” said Maxus, shaking his hand and then stepping back to allow Alice to come forward.

Alice looked up at the Doctor. She was shaking, her eyes filled with tears. “I…”

“I’m sorry it didn’t work out for you, Miss Stokes,” said the Doctor.

She nodded. “Me too.” She cleared her throat and looked away from him. “What now?”

“Now? I go back to Mount Cassius and make sure Reikon and the others are okay, and then…well, off we go again. At last.”

“You must be so happy.”

He exhaled deeply. “I’m scared actually.”

“Scared?”

“I thought I was going to die. I had it all straight in my head. It never crossed my mind that I could be saved. And now, here I am. I’m just…scared.”

“Let it happen,” said Alice. She touched him on his chest. “You know in your hearts that there are better days ahead for you.”

He nodded. “So, the school will be after a new caretaker.” He looked at Maxus. “Job lined up already.”

She smiled. “We need a school first.”

They both laughed.

“Time to go,” said the Doctor quietly.

And as he turned to go, Alice felt herself ready to burst into tears. She watched as he closed the police box doors. She waited until the box had faded from view and then turned and flung herself at Maxus, burying her head on his chest.




Reikon and Celestia stood facing the Doctor in the old hall, Caleb sat in his wheelchair. A device had been attached to his face and it looked as though it was slowly healing.

“He’ll always have scars,” said Reikon, noticing the Doctor watching the device do it’s work, “but at least we can try and make him feel better.”

“My own fault,” said Caleb. “My own stupid, stupid fault.”

“Listen,” said Reikon, a concerned look playing on his face, “Celestia told us about what happened to Gallifrey after we disappeared. The Time War and the things that came after it.” He shook his head. “How did you ever make it through?”

“I haven’t finished making it through yet,” smiled the Doctor.

“But you have to go back. She told me about Jacarthia.”

The Doctor shook his head. “The last time I was on Gallifrey, it was…difficult. Jacarthia is something I don’t ever want to think about.”

“Of course,” said Reikon. “I’m sorry.”

He broke into a smile. “Come here you old rogue.”

The two brothers embraced warmly.

The Doctor turned to Caleb. “And who knows, when you’re feeling better I may take you for a spin in the TARDIS.”

Caleb smiled. “Cheers, Unc.”

“Right,” said the Doctor clapping his hands together, “that’s it for me. I need to get out of here.”

Reikon nodded. “Will you be okay?”

“Ah, it’s regeneration,” said the Doctor with a dismissive hand. “I’ve done it loads of times before.”

“Still,” continued Reikon, “please be careful. You never know what you might end up with.”

The Doctor nodded. “Goodbye to you all.”

The Doctor turned and left the hallway. He didn’t want to look back. He knew he didn’t really mean what he said to Caleb. He knew he had to make a clean break. He had to start anew. To start afresh. He straightened his tie one more time and put the key in the lock of the TARDIS.

And then he heard footsteps. It was Celestia.

“I thought we’d said goodbye,” said the Doctor. He hadn’t forgotten that she had locked his friends up.

“I just needed to apologise to you,” she said, “but I had my reasons.”

“Tell me the reasons.”

“The Master is still out there somewhere. If I tell you what he told me…”

“Whisper it to me. I promise I will help you.”

She looked back towards the hall and then back at the Doctor.

And then she leaned in and whispered something in his ear…




The Doctor stood in the TARDIS console room, trying to forget about what Celestia had told him for the time being. He had to focus on the task in hand. He took one more look around the console room. There had been fun times and sad times here, but he would never take any of them back. Never.

He made a mental note that the TARDIS needed a little bit of decorating and then set the ship in motion.

He looked at his hands. They were glowing orange now. He wondered where the Master was. His TARDIS had disappeared from the castle, but that was a battle for another time.

“Well,” he said as he gazed down at his ever-brightening hands, “goodnight everyone.”

And then his face exploded in glowing, golden light. He threw his arms out at either side. This was a feeling he never thought he’d feel again.

He could feel every cell in his body shifting and changing. He could feel his limbs altering every-so-slightly and he could feel his face stretching and changing, the bones beneath the skin cracking and twisting into a new structure.

Then, with a final burst of energy, he completed the change.

He fell to the ground, steadying himself and then slowly lifted his head.

He caught his new reflection in a glass panel on the top of the console. He was younger this time and with a full head of hair. His eyes were bright blue, alert and eager and he had a small amount of facial hair. He smiled and his reflection smiled back at him.

“Good morning,” he said to himself.




He had come to the end of the dark path and the resurrection had begun.




INTRODUCING JAMES McAVOY AS THE DOCTOR



THE END


Darkpaths has come to an end, but a new story will begin in 2015 with James McAvoy as the Doctor. Standby for more info over the coming weeks and months.

14 Dec 2014

The Lives of the Doctor (Part 2 - Reunion)

Reikon turned his bicycle into the leafy cul-de-sac and smiled. He couldn’t remember how long he had been here for, but he felt content. When he first arrived with Caleb he hadn’t been entirely convinced of the need for him to stay, but Helenia had eased him into his new life. She had made him understand that there was no way they were going to get out.

The whole town was surrounded by mountains. It was as if it was set inside some great moon crater, but the sky above was blue, the people more or less oblivious to the life that they used to lead.

The people.

They weren’t real people, of course, they were merely echoes of Time Lord incarnations long gone. Regeneration. Food for the Swytch.

Except something had happened in the Nest. Something miraculous. Helenia had fought against them and convinced the town to rise up against the Swytch. They had succeeded. The Swytch had been banished to the caverns. Every now and again one or two would escape, but Helenia’s people were always there to fight them off.

But the cost of living here was high. The echoes forgot who they were and slipped into a normal way of life. Sometimes they forgot completely.

Helenia had made a decision a long time ago that it was a waste of time trying to make them remember. Even she forgot sometimes, but living so close to the Source had kept her mind focused.

He parked up his bike beside a white-brick house and climbed the steps to the front door. He knocked on the door and Helenia opened up, standing there in a green cardigan, her hair tied back into a bun and wearing face cream.

“Reikon,” she said, with half a smile.

“Can I come in?” said Reikon.

Helenia frowned. “Will a woman never get time off?”

He frowned as she stepped aside and let him in. The room was spacious with a door leading off to the left, which in turn led to other areas of the house. There was a dividing section that led to a small dining area which was connected to an open-plan kitchen. On the cooker a pan of gravy was bubbling.

Reikon sniffed the air. He had sampled Helenia’s cooking before - many had - and he always enjoyed his visits here.

Mostly.

“You’ll have to excuse the face cream,” she said, crossing to the pot and stirring it. “I have to try and look my best now I’m getting old.”

“Is it true?” said Reikon, sitting at the dining table, arms folded.

“Is what true?” said Helenia, refusing to meet his look.

“That you sent one of the Doctors back?”

Helenia continued to stir, but didn’t reply.

“Because you know how dangerous that could be,” he said. “You know that any break through could cause the Swytch to capitalise.”

“Oh, rubbish,” said Helenia. “You know, despite the little community I’ve built up here, I’ve always wanted to help you find a way out.”

“But risking the integrity of this place, just for myself-”

“There’s Caleb to think of too,” said Helenia. “Do not forget him.”

“How could I?” said Reikon, quiet fury behind his eyes. He shook his head. “The point is that you don’t intend to leave this place. You’ve made a community of ghosts here and you need to continue to survive, don’t you?”

“And we will,” she said, tipping a bowl of cut carrots and broccoli into the gravy. “The opening back to your world was such a small opening and that particular echo of the Doctor gladly went back after I’d reminded him of who he was.”

“But what happens when Koschei - sorry, the Master - blows a big whole into the world. What happens then?”

She frowned and sat down at the table opposite him. “You worry me, Reikon. In all the years you’ve been here all you’ve ever wanted to do is get back to Celestia. Now we have that opportunity, you’ve become cautious.”

“That’s because I don’t want to see innocent beings hurt for my sake. You said your own psychic patterns built up this place.”

She nodded. “It was just a dark space when I got here, frightened, scared echoes cowering as the Swytch ate them up one by one.”

“Then if you die, this place will collapse.”

“Maybe,” said Helenia. “That’s why I’ve got to keep young and healthy,” she chuckled, pointing to her face cream. “I used to be a red head you know?”

Reikon shook his head.

“It’ll all be fine, you’ll see.”

“I hope you’re right, Helenia.”




Maxus yawned and threw his arms back. He was sat in an armchair the Doctor had dragged out from the depths of the TARDIS. He still couldn’t face the sofa, but he was definitely in need of some creature comforts.

Alice had been gone for almost an hour now and the Doctor was becoming impatient. In the time she had gone, he’d had three cups of tea, eaten a bag of Dolly Mixtures, started reading three separate books, had an episode where he ended up laid on the sofa clutching his chest, and now he was playing a game of Scrabble against himself.

“This is getting stupid,” said Maxus. “Do you want me to go after her?”

“No,” said the Doctor. “She’ll be back in her own time.”

As if to punctuate the Doctor’s statement, the doors of the TARDIS swung open. Standing there was Alice flanked by Ivy Coldstone, Caroline Fieldgate-Parker and Danny Lennon. He was almost lost for words and simply stared at them in disbelief.

“What…what are you all doing here?”

“They’re here to help, Doctor,” said Alice, leading the group into the TARDIS.

“Ivy came and found us,” said Caroline as she stepped into the TARDIS, looking around in awe. She secretly missed this place.

“That I did,” said Ivy, putting an affectionate arm around Alice. “We know what’s going on with you, Doctor. Alice has told us everything.”

“Everything?” said the Doctor, eyebrows arched.

“Everything,” said Danny. “Believe me, Doc, life is good now.” He turned and smiled at Caroline. “The only thing that could possibly get me back in this crazy box is knowing that we’re going to save you.”

The Doctor shook his head. “I’m gratified with your concern, but-”

Alice put a finger to his lips. “We’ve all been through some good times, but we’ve all been through some crap times.” Her eyes flicked to Maxus. “But the one constant was you. You were always there for us.”

“So,” continued Caroline, “we’re not going anywhere until you’ve at least gone to check out that Nest place.”

The Doctor was about to speak when Ivy held her hand up to him.

“No,” she said. “You have to survive Doctor.” She put her hand on his arm and smiled at him. “We’re all in this together from now on.”

Maxus groaned. “If you lot say ‘One for all and all for one’ I’ll throw up.”

The group laughed together.

“So set the coordinates,” said Danny with a sigh. “Do you know how expensive babysitters are on Christmas day? Even Margot charges on Christmas day.”

The Doctor smiled as he punched in the coordinates the Master had given him. He placed his hand on the lever and looked at each of their faces. The grieving widow, the fiery red-head lost in time, the mentally damaged girl he had promised to show wonders to and the young couple who had for so long been drawn to each other…they were all his friends.

“Thank you,” he said as he pulled the lever.




Helenia had waited for Reikon to go and then had washed her face before making her way out the front door and across the road to another house, this one with a flat roof and brown bricks and a sloping drive. She unlocked the door and went inside.

The room was dark but the shape of a man was sat against the partial daylight coming from the front windows.

“How are you feeling?” said Helania. “I’ve brought you some stew.”

“Not hungry,” said the males voice.

“You have to eat, Caleb,” she said. “You need to keep your strength up.”

“I’m not hungry,” he said again.

“You can’t stay in here forever, you know?”

“I can stay for as long as I like.”

Helenia sighed and crossed to the light switch. The light revealed Caleb, sitting in a wheelchair, half of his face badly burnt but badly healed over as well. The hair on the right side of his head was gone and hadn’t grown back. He turned and snarled at Helenia.

“Oh, do be quiet,” she said, uncovering the bowl of stew and putting it on the small table next to his chair.

“You don’t care,” said Caleb, staring at the stew.

“I do care,” she said, sitting on the sofa next to him, “but you can’t spend the rest of your life crying over what happened.”

“If it wasn’t for me then my father would never be here.”

“And you’d have never have been caught in the blast and melted half your face off.”

“I thought you were supposed to be kind-hearted.”

“I am,” said Helenia, “but you need a bloody good kick up the backside.” She relaxed back into the sofa. “You could always…force a regeneration.”

“I was never granted the power of regeneration. I never got to that stage. And anyway, forced regeneration is a crime.”

“Then you’ll just have to live with it, won’t you? Anyway,” she continued, “you’ll be out of here soon.”

“I’ll believe that when I see it.”

“It’s taken some time, Caleb, but soon you and your father will be out of here. Just you watch.”




The Master stood in the courtyard, the gentle sprinkling of rain soaking his hair and suit-jacket. Celestia appeared in the doorway and eyed him up cautiously. She couldn’t believe what she was seeing. The same device - well, a similar device - that had taken her husband and son away from her was now sitting in the middle of her new home threatening to do it all over again. If, by any chance, the Doctor believed his ridiculous proposition, she’d risk losing him as well.

She’d left Gallifrey before the Time War and hidden here in solitude. The castle had belonged to an old King, but the royal line had died out and the War had irradiated most of the indigenous life forms on the planet.

She had heard about Gallifrey’s supposed destruction and had mourned the loss of her people.

She was even more baffled at what happened to Gallifrey after that, but had vowed never to return there. It was too painful for her.

The Master turned to face her and smiled. “It’s all ready. The figures are correct this time. We have a direct link through to the Nest. Now all I need is the Doctor.”

“You could go in there yourself, you know?” said Celestia, folding her arms.

“Yes,” he said, “but I need my wing man.”

“Wing man?” She was confused.

He chuckled. “It’s an Earth expression.”

“I should stop you, you know.”

He sighed and threw his hands in the air. “But why would you, Celestia? Why?”

“Because you don’t know what you might unleash on us.”

He crossed over to her and put his hands on her shoulders. “There really is nothing to worry about.”

And then the sound came. The relative quietness of the courtyard was changed with the wheezing and groaning sound of the ancient time machine materialising.

The Master turned and smiled as the blue box appeared at the other end of the courtyard.

“He’s arrived.”




EXTRACT FROM LOG # 43322/F




The Swytch. A mythical creature from the Ancient days of Gallifrey. It is said that when a Time Lord regenerates, the Swytch appear and siphon off the regeneration energy, storing it away in another dimension which historians have come to name the Nest.

But where do the Swytch come from? This is not known. Some say they come from the beginning of time. Some say they come from the end of time. Some say they come from before time itself. Some say that the Nest was created at a single point in time and spread itself backwards and forwards throughout reality. There are no clear answers, but what is known is that they are linked to Gallifrey itself.





The Doctor sat at one end of the dining table. At the other sat the Master, his hands outstretched. Along one side sat Celestia, Millie, Dennington and Aleena. Along the other side sat Maxus, Alice, Caroline, Danny and Ivy.

Nobody said a word.

Probably because of what was placed in the middle of the table.

Something that the Doctor found very disconcerting.

It was the slowly decaying “corpse” of his Eighth incarnation. Of course it wasn’t his real Eighth incarnation, merely the echo of his regeneration, but it still felt disturbing to see it.

“Well?” said the Master.

“I believe you,” said the Doctor.

“Thank you,” he smiled.

“How could I not?”

“That’s not all,” said Millie, enthusiastically. “Show him the other thing.”

“All in good time, Miss Fieldgate-Parker,” said the Master.

Caroline flinched at the name. It felt strange to hear it. She hadn’t yet had a chance to get acquainted with her descendent, but she looked across the table at her and smiled. She looked similar to her, but more impish. It warmed her heart to know her sense of adventure lived on in her descendants.

“What other thing?” said the Doctor.

“Mr Dennington?”

Dennington got up off the table and left the room. A few moments later he returned with a small, baby-sized bundle wrapped in a blanket.

“It seems that this also came through with the echo,” said the Master.

“I found it earlier on washed up on the beach.”

Dennington pulled aside the blanket and lying there was a small, black imp-like creature. It had a jagged, pointed face with no nose, but a row of sharp teeth. It had a small tale and sharp claws on it’s hands and feet. It’s eyes white and blank.

“So, that’s one of the Swytch, is it?” said Maxus.

“Indeed,” said the Master. “It must have fallen through when Helenia sent out the package.”

“Fascinating,” said the Doctor, getting up and leaning in to examine it.

Caroline felt a sting across the top of her head. She rubbed her temples. She had every right to be feeling off. A few hours ago she had been sat enjoying Christmas dinner and now she was sat on an alien planet with a decomposing corpse and a dead alien. Oh, how she missed those days, she thought sarcastically.

“It must have died when it hit the ground,” said Ivy. “Poor little bugger.”

The Master chuckled. “Oh, my dear Miss Coldstone, what are you talking about?”

“The Swytchy thing.”

“But it’s not dead,” he said, bemused.

“What!?” said the Doctor as everyone jumped to their feet.

“Merely sedated,” smiled the Master as he patted the creatures leg.

“For goodness sake will you stop playing with them,” said Celestia through gritted teeth.

“You really are a dick, you know,” said Alice with a frown.

“Oh, Miss Stokes,” said the Master, in a mocking voice to suggest he was hurt by her words, “I’m doing this all for your friend the Doctor.”

“Look,” said Maxus, rubbing the bridge of his nose, “the sooner we get this machine fired up, the sooner we can save the Doctor.”

“Quinn,” said the Doctor, taking another look at the creature, “your eagerness warms my hearts, but I don’t even know if this will work yet.”

“It will,” said the Master. “I promise you that it will.”

Caroline winced in pain and closed her eyes.

“You alright?” said Alice.

“I’ve just got a bit of a headache coming on,” she said.

“Maybe you should go back to the TARDIS,” said Danny, rubbing her arm.

“No, no,” said Caroline, “we’re in this together, remember?”

Aleena smiled from across the table. When she had met Caroline she had been a broken woman, mourning the loss of the life she could have had with a man 100 years before her time, but now she seemed a lot more focused on life and goals.

“Just one thing,” said the Doctor. “As happy as I am to see my old friends, and as happy as I am to know that Mr Dennington isn’t dead, why are they here?”

“To prove to you that I am genuine. I saved Mr Dennington for you, Aleena was always supposed to help you, and the girl can be your new companion.”

The Doctor nodded. “You have some interesting designs on my future life.”

“When you regenerate-”

If I regenerate.”

When you regenerate, it’ll all be brand new and we can start all over again.”

“What about Alice? Perhaps I’ll want to carry on travelling with her.”

Alice looked uncomfortable. “No,” she said simply.

The Doctor frowned.

“Not that I didn’t enjoy it to begin with,” she said, “but I’ve been through enough for one lifetime. It’s time for me to get back to teaching. Time for me to get out of your crazy world.”

Caroline looked at her sadly. Did nobody ever go into a life with the Doctor and come out better for it? She was thankful that she had.




The Doctor and the Master had spent the next few hours tinkering with a device in the courtyard that looked scarily like the one Caleb had built back on Gallifrey.

It worried the Doctor.

The Master had noticed the worry in the Doctor’s eyes and had chuckled to himself.

“Am I missing something?” said the Doctor, as he used his screwdriver to fix down a panel at the base of the device.

“Something glaringly obvious, actually,” said the Master with a smile.

“Well don’t keep me in suspense.”

He looked at him, thought for a moment and then shook his head. “Not yet.”

“Look,” said the Doctor, throwing his screwdriver to the ground and looking up at his old enemy, “I’m tired of playing games.”

“Calm down, calm down. A lot of the answers to this thing may come better once we get into the Nest.”

“No,” said the Doctor. He sat cross-legged on the floor, “I refuse to work anymore with you until I get a few points clear.”

The Master sighed and sat down on the floor opposite him. “Go on then. Have your own way?”

“You know more about the Nest then anyone else, don’t you?”

He smiled. “Yes.”

“Then what?”

“You’ve been to the Nest before. Not too long ago, in fact.”

“When?”

They were distracted when Caroline and Millie wandered into the courtyard, the both of them looked a little uncomfortable and were almost helping each other to walk.

“Are you okay?” said the Doctor, getting to his feet and crossing over to the two females.

“We’ve both been getting a headache,” said Millie.

“And it’s bloody painful,” said Caroline, rubbing above her eyes.

“I wonder if it’s because you two have come into contact with each other,” said the Doctor.

“Makes sense,” said the Master. “Like feedback from microphones and speakers if you put them too close to each other.”

“But I’ve been with people with my own power before,” said Caroline. “Like Margot and my parents.”

“So it must be something else,” said the Master. It sounded like a hint, the smirk on his face infuriating the Doctor.

“What?” said the Doctor, rounding on the Master.

“Think,” said the Master, pointing to his temple.

The Doctor looked from the Master, to Caroline and Millie, and then to the device in front of him. He looked quizzically at the Master.

The Master smiled. “This machine has been running on low power for the last few hours. It’s tapping into the Nest even though it’s not made an opening yet.”

The Doctor could feel the truth unfolding in his head faster and faster. “Caroline and Millie are having a reaction to the slight power coming from the Nest.”

“Yes,” nodded the Master.

His eyes flitted from side to side as he slowly began to work it out; the cogs in his brain turning faster and faster.

“What have we got to do with the Nest?” said Caroline.

The Doctor’s eyes widened. It had clicked.

“You got it?” laughed the Master.

“It can’t be,” said the Doctor. “No. We need to shut this down now.”

“We can’t shut it down. We need to continue.”

“What is it, Doctor?” said Millie; the two woman finding themselves being left behind.

The Doctor looked to the Master and then back to the woman. He grabbed his cane and then guided them out of the courtyard, the Master’s chuckle echoing against the stone walls. Once they were in the corridor and out of his way he stopped and looked down at them both.

“Spit it out,” said Caroline, her headache making her irritable.

“The Nest, Miss Parker, is the same dimension you gained your powers from. The Apparites. The broken, collapsed, twisted TARDIS.”

“What?” spat Caroline. “You’ve gotta be joking? How is that even possible.”

“I don’t know for certain.”

“You collapsed the place,” said Caroline, shaking her head. “It was gone. The box was destroyed.”

The Master appeared in the corridor. “Did you ever wonder, Doctor, why I broke in and rescued you and why I made a quick escape without killing you first?”

The Doctor didn’t know what to say.

“Believe it or not, when Reikon and Caleb disappeared, I studied the readings. I was fascinated in the concept of the Nest. A place of unlimited regeneration energy.” He pulled a leaf from a crack between the bricks in the wall and turned it over and over in his fingers. “After I stole your TARDIS I noticed the readings and it clicked at once. The Apparites dimension and the Nest were one and the same, albeit at different stages in their existence.”

“No,” said the Doctor shaking his head.

“You know it to be true. Connect the dots.”

“But why? Why become so obsessed at finding it.”

“As I said: unlimited regeneration energy.”

“But you have a new body. You’re alive! Why would you need to find the Nest to regenerate.”

His face turned dark. “Because of this.” He started itching at his face. “Because this body is weak. It’s a proto-form, remember? It’s not designed for long term use.” He grabbed his cheek and pulled.

Millie stifled a scream and Caroline tried not to throw up as the skin came away from the side of the Master’s face, exposing damaged muscle below it.

“You’re dying again,” said the Doctor, nodding slowly.

“Very observant of you. Always dying. Never living. Never just being able to have one body and live my life. That’s my story.”

The Doctor laughed. “That’s because you’re forever trying to find ways to survive. The amount of lives you used up was unbelievable. You should have just let go.”

“Says the man who has been given more chances that anyone else.”

The Doctor narrowed his eyes.

“What’s that?” said Millie, looking up at the ceiling, her eyes narrowed.

“What?” said the Doctor, eyes still transfixed on the Master.

“That sound,” said Millie. “Can’t you hear it?”

“Yes,” said Caroline, nodding, “it’s like some kind of vibration. Humming.”

The Master smiled.

There was a flash of blue light which momentarily illuminated everyone in the corridor and then a loud thrashing of energy from back in the courtyard.

The Master darted back down the corridor and skidded into the courtyard. The device was active, a column of blue-white energy shooting into the air. About 50 feet up a void had opened. It looked like someone had punctured a hole in the sky.

“The Nest,” said the Doctor grimly.

By now Celestia, Alice, Maxus, Dennington, Ivy, Danny and Aleena had arrived in the courtyard.

Celestia crossed over to the Master and grabbed his arm. “Stop this madness, Koschei. Stop it before you hurt these people.”

The Master grabbed Celestia by the wrist. “You will do as I say, Celestia.”

“I will not,” she said, slapping him on his exposed chin.

He snarled and pulled her in closer. “You will do whatever I say or suffer the consequences.”

She frowned. “What do you mean?”

“I’ll tell you,” he chuckled darkly.

And he whispered in her ear.

Celestia’s eyes went white as she backed away from him, her mouth wide open in shock.

“What did he say, Celestia?” said the Doctor.

“You utter one word, woman, and you know what will happen. Do you understand?”

She nodded slowly.

“Excellent,” smiled the Master. He went inside his blazer pocket and drew and gun, aiming it at the group.

“You can’t shoot us all,” said Danny.

“Oh, how I wish for a more sophisticated weapon. I only need to shoot one of you.”

He aimed and pulled the trigger. The shot rang out around the courtyard. Aleena screamed and all heads turned to see Mark Dennington stagger back, a bloody-red hole on the front of his jacket.

He fell to the floor and was immediately surrounded by the others.

“Why?!” said the Doctor. “You saved him.”

“I saved him,” said the Master, “so I could show you how genuine I was. So I could show you that I am in control of everything here. And so you know how serious I am when I say that I will get what I want.”

“You animal!” growled Ivy, getting to her feet.

The Master aimed his gun again and Alice grabbed her, pulling her back.

“I will kill again, Doctor,” he said. “I promise you that. Unless you do exactly as I say.”

The Doctor looked to his horrified group of friends. He had brought most of them into this. He couldn’t let them die. Dennington would be the first.

“What do you want me to do?” said the Doctor.

“Doctor, you can’t listen to him,” said Maxus.

“I can’t let you die, either, Quinn,” said the Doctor. He turned back to the Master. “Tell me.”

“You’ll come with me into the Nest.”

The Doctor nodded.

“Excellent.” He smiled and then turned to Celestia. “And you, my lady, will lock this rabble away. If you even try to help them to escape, you know what will happen.”

Celestia was pale and nodded her obedience.

“Doctor…” said Alice.

“It’s okay, Miss Stokes,” he smiled. “At least I got you back.”

She smiled sadly, tears in her eyes.

“We’ll see you again,” said Caroline.

The Master looked to the group and then walked to them, grabbing Alice by the arm.

“No!” said the Doctor.

“She comes with us as insurance, Doctor. If you try to double-cross me, she dies.”

“I’m fine. I’m fine,” said Alice calmly to Caroline as she was dragged towards the blue light.

“Step inside,” said the Master to the Doctor.

The Doctor took Alice’s hand and then stepped up onto the base of the device and then into the blue beam. The beam flared as the Doctor and Alice disappeared, their particles disassembled and shot into the void through the beam.

The Master turned back to the others. “TTFN.” And then he followed the Doctor and Alice into the beam.

Ivy crouched over the dying Mark Dennington, blood splattered on his jacket, his hand reaching up to touch her face.

“I’m sorry,” she said. “I’m so sorry.”

“Julia,” was all Dennington could manage.

And then he slipped away. Into the arms of his long lost wife again.



Next time: Time has finally run out for the Doctor in the concluding part, and the final ever episode, of Darkpaths. Coming Sunday 21st December 2014.

6 Dec 2014

The Lives of the Doctor (Part 1 - Christmas)

Before the Beginning




The Doctor stepped out of the TARDIS and locked the door. It had been snowing and had peppered the pavements with a fine layer of dust. He held out his tongue and let a flake land on it. The flake melted on his tongue and he frowned. It tasted odd. It tasted alien.

He frowned, patted the TARDIS and then turned to walk away down the street.

“Well, Thornsby,” he said, “I’ve never been here before so let’s see what you have to offer me.”




Before the End




December 25th, 2012




It’s simple. I just walk into the pub, sit and have a drink and wait for him. How hard can it be?

Bloody hard, that’s how hard.

He takes me to the roughest pub in this backwater town, bungs a couple of Christmas songs on the jukebox, and says he’ll be back in twenty minutes.

I don’t even know where he’s going!

So, I walked into the pub with him, got a few looks (why’s she going out with a man his age!), and sat down. “Lonely This Christmas” came on the jukebox. He did a little jig to it, laughed, tapped my nose and then slid out of the door like he was really getting into the Christmas spirit.

The thing is, you need to experience the run-up to Christmas to actually get into the spirit. For the last few months I’ve been a disembodied thing floating around his TARDIS, getting angry and frightening the poor buggers who got me into that situation.

Then one of them dies and I just hop back in like I was never gone.

God, “Rock and Roll Christmas” by Gary Glitter is now on. A few punters are complaining to the barman about getting it turned off.

This bloke has now come over to me. He’s unshaven and has a tooth missing. His breath stinks of whiskey and I can barely understand a word he’s saying.

That’s it! He’s gone too far. Nobody puts their hands there! One leap up and I’m on the table. I give him a karate kick to his chops and he goes down like a sack of potatoes. I’ve definitely found a use for those muscles that Tylaya had built up for me.

I can hear a group of blokes cheering. They want me to continue laying into the guy. Not a chance in hell. I’m outta here. Need to find the Doctor quickly!

I make my escape just as “Mr Hanky the Christmas Poo” starts up…





Caroline sighed and then smiled as she popped the final plate into the dishwasher.

It had been a long, long day. But a wonderful, beautiful day. It had been the best Christmas she had experienced in a long time, and she wasn’t really ready for it to be over.

Three months ago, she and Danny had gathered up enough of their savings and had rented a little house in a quiet little close in the west part of Thornsby.

Danny had gotten a job with an advertising company in Yarathorpe, and Caroline had quit her job at Hypersave to become a full-time stay-at-home Mum.

Being a mum to four-month old William wasn’t her only job, however. She had taken to writing children’s books about a mysterious alien known as Professor Time, who travelled around in his mysterious red telephone box. Well, she thought, she couldn’t’t exactly use the true details for fear of someone at UNIT or Torchwood stopping them from being published.

Now she was just waiting for the first story, “Professor Time and the Battle Dogs”, to come back from the publishers. All in all, things had taken a turn for the better in her life. She was enjoying life.

Steve bustled into the kitchen, already pulling his coat on and wrapping his scarf around his neck.

“Oh, are you going?” said Caroline, closing up the dishwasher.

“Got to,” smiled Steve. “Mum and Dad are gonna be waiting for me. It took me forever to convince them to let me miss their Christmas dinner.”

Caroline smiled. Somewhere, deep down, there were still feelings for this man, but they had faded now. He was still little Will’s father, and she’d always love him because of that, but the two of them were moving on. Had moved on.

“I’ve kissed Will good night,” said Steve, a hint of sadness in his voice.

“You know you can come over whenever you want,” said Caroline, smiling warmly at him.

“Caroline,” said Steve, his brown eyes and smile making her remember the first time they met, “I still haven’t gotten over you. It’s going to take some time. You and I…well, we went through a lot in such a short space of time.”

“I know,” said Caroline. “I wish it was different.”

“But it’s okay,” smiled Steve. “Our main priority is to make sure William has the best life he can have, and you and Danny - and me - can give that to him.”

Caroline smiled and then gave him a kiss on the cheek. “Thank you.”

“You’re welcome,” he said, smiling again. “Merry Christmas.”

“Merry Christmas,” said Caroline, as she watched him make his way out of the kitchen, say his goodbyes to her guests and then head out into the snow beyond.

She made her way back to the living room. Sat around the table, laughing and joking, each with a different beverage were the oddest collection of people you could meet.

On the surface they looked normal enough, but each one had a story to tell.

There was Danny, a lager in hand, now wearing a pair of glasses, who had just finished telling a joke. Then there was Margot and Ben, the two survivors from the Ancestors. They had gotten a flat in the Victoria Mills complex and had gotten part-time jobs, via Caroline, at Hypersave. They weren’t intending on staying there forever, of course, just earning enough to get them back on their feet.

And then there was Catherine and Tony Parker, Caroline’s adopted parents. Tony had recovered from his heart attack and was doing well, and little William had been the one to bring the family back together. There were still underlying regrets between Caroline and her parents, but they had gotten over the worst. They were building bridges finally.

And finally there was Thomas and Rebecca - Caroline’s real parents. They had opted to stay in Thornsby, firstly to assist Caroline in her powers, and secondly to be friends to Ben and Margot, as well as Lilly and Father Ainslie and the rest of the people who had been deposited in this time. Tom and Rebecca had set up a home for the refugee’s, and were helping them to reintegrate back into the world.

Caroline pulled up a chair and sat down.

“So,” said Tom, taking a sip of brandy, “I see Steve’s left.”

“Tom,” said Rebecca, her eyes flashing him a warning.

Caroline smiled. She never knew what to call her real parents. Initially she had wanted to call them Mum and Dad, and had tried it, but the two of them looked younger than her. So she had opted to call them their actual names.

“Tom,” said Caroline, “he is William’s father, but it’s difficult for him. You’ve gotta understand.”

“Hmm,” said Tom, a cheeky smile on his face, “I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt.”

“You listen to your father,” said Tony, breaking into a big belly laugh.

“God,” said Tom, “I remember when you looked as young as us,” he said to Tony.

“Cheeky!” said Cath, slapping Tom on the arm.

Everybody laughed.

Only Margot looked a bit glum. “I remember one Christmas,” she said, a sad smile playing on her face, “must have been, ooh, back in 1963, Jayne came back to the crypt with our Christmas dinner - sandwiches.”

Ben nodded, smiling at the memory.

“We never had a lot back then. We were always trying to keep an eye on the Apparites. We never had time to make money and go out there and have a good time.”

“Work, work, work,” said Ben. “Even when I was being a vicar I never got paid for it!”

“The point,” said Margot, sipping on her mineral water, “is that even back in those days, even when it was a nightmare and we were working 24 hours a day, seven days a week, Jayne still made sure we had some sort of Christmas.”

Tom and Rebecca smiled.

“She always looked after us,” said Ben.

“To Jayne,” said Caroline, raising her recently made cup of tea.

“To Jayne!” chorused the group, each raising their glasses.




Some time passed. Caroline checked on the sleeping William and, when everyone was gathered around the tree, unwrapping their presents, she made her way back to the kitchen.

It was then that she spotted the man in the garden. Standing amongst the snow, watching from the fence at the back. He wore a long, black coat, blue shirt with a black tie, and a yellow smiley-face badge pinned to his lapel. It was the Doctor.

She took a quick look back at the living room, made sure nobody was watching, and then quickly unlocked the back door.

She slowly walked up the garden path, her feet crunching in the snow. Shivering, she stood in front of the Doctor.

He was leaning on an ornate walking stick and had a black scarf tied around him.

He smiled sadly. “Proper snow this time?”

Caroline nodded. “None of your alien stuff. This is the real deal.”

He smiled.

She flung her arms around him. “I didn’t think I’d ever see you again.” She broke away from him. “What happened? Are you okay?”

The Doctor smiled again. “I just wanted to come and see you one last time.”

“One last time?” Caroline frowned. “You mean…?”

The Doctor nodded slowly. “It’s pretty much the end now.”

Caroline put her hand to her mouth, her eyes flooding with tears.

“Don’t be sad, Caroline,” he said, taking her hands. “I’ve lived my life to the full. I’ve been travelling again.”

“On your own?”

“No,” he said. “I met a young woman - a teacher actually. Alice her name is. She’s from a little in your future.”

“And she understands what’s happening to you?”

He nodded. “She knows.”

“Is she having a good time?” said Caroline.

“She’s having the trip of a lifetime,” said the Doctor. “She’s just in the pub down the road now. Said I’d be back soon.”

“And there really is no way-?”

He cut her off. “I met someone who said they had found a way to save me,” said the Doctor, a dark look playing across his face.

“Then do it,” said Caroline.

“No,” said the Doctor, shaking his head. “The cost would be too high. I’m not willing to go that far to save myself.”

Caroline sighed. “You’re a stubborn git, you know?”

He smiled. “I know.” He nodded towards the house. “Having a party, are we?”

“Kind of. I got the rest of them round for dinner. Everyone’s getting on well. Margot and Ben have a flat and jobs, Tom and Rebecca are caring for the refugee’s. Steve’s - well - Steve’s just Steve. Mum and Dad have made up with me.”

“And you?”

“I’m good. William’s healthy.”

“Any problems with your powers?”

“Had a little accident a couple of months back,” she said sheepishly. “Burnt the shed down. But Tom and Rebecca are helping me. I’ll have it under control soon.”

The Doctor smiled. “Good.” He looked at her curiously. “You know, if you ever got those powers under control, I might be able to take you back to William. William Fieldgate, that is. We never really did find out what happened to him. As long as you were safe with your powers, you could have a life with him. It wouldn’t disrupt the web of time-”

“No,” said Caroline quickly.

“No?”

“No,” she said again. “I’ve thought long and hard about William, and I’ve spent a long time trying to get over him. I’m in a happy place now. William was a wonderful thing that happened to me, but it was just one moment in my life. Something I would never want to spoil. I loved him - still love him - and he loves me.”

“I can find out what happened to him. You never did let me finish reading that bit of info on him.”

Caroline considered for a moment. This was her last chance to really find out. “No,” she said. “As long as he was happy, that’s all I needed to know.”

The Doctor pulled out a tablet from his coat pocket, checked the info on it and then smiled. “He was happy. It says it here in black and white. He led a happy, healthy life.”

She smiled. “I’m glad.”

“And how’s Danny Boy?”

“He’s good. You know, we’re kind of together. Well, as together as two best mates can be. I love him. He loves me. But it’s complicated. I think we’re always going to be together.”

“Marriage?” queried the Doctor.

“God, no!” said Caroline. “It’s just not like that with him and I. I guess you could call us…soul mates. God, that sounds cheesy.”

The Doctor laughed. “Take care of him,” said the Doctor. He suddenly clutched at his chest.

Caroline stepped forward to help him, but he motioned for her to stay back.

“Doctor…”

“I’ll be fine,” he said. “I’ve gotta go pick up Alice from the pub. I need to take her home.”

She flung her arms around him again, hugging him tightly. “Thank you again.”

Just then Danny stepped out of the house. He looked at the Doctor and Caroline in shock.

“Hello there,” smiled the Doctor.

Danny gave a slight wave back at him, not really knowing what to think.

“Right,” said the Doctor, opening the back gate. “I’m off.” He smiled at Caroline. “Have a wonderful life, Miss Parker. And Merry Christmas.”

“Get help. Save yourself,” said Caroline, one last desperate attempt to save her friend. And then she smiled. “Merry Christmas.”

And she watched as he stepped into the dark alleyway behind the house, and slowly closed the gate.

“What was that all about?” said Danny, joining her at her side.

“He just came to say goodbye,” she said, sadly.

Danny put his arm around her. “Come on. Let’s go finish Christmas. There’s a bottle of Bailey’s with my name on it.”




So, I’m walking down the street when I spot him down an alleyway standing at a gate. I slip down the alley and wait in the shadows. I can hear him talking to a woman. He’s telling them that I’ve had the trip of a lifetime. What a joke! Okay, so it wasn’t all bad, but I never expected to die! Who ever expects that?

He’s closing the gate now and walking back down the alleyway. That’s when I decide to make my presence known.





“You lied to her,” said Alice.

“What? Alice, what are you doing here? I left you in the pub.”

“Bad move,” she said. “You told that woman I was having the trip of a lifetime.”

“I lied,” he said.

“I know that. Why did you lie?”

The Doctor looked uncomfortable as he marched her out of the alleyway and back onto the main road. “I lied because Caroline was a good friend of mine. I promised that I’d travel and make the most of my life. The last thing I want is her thinking that my last few months have descended into chaos. I didn’t want her to worry.”

“Ha!” laughed Alice.

“I wanted to say goodbye to her.”

“And you glazed over the whole dying thing I see.”

“I beg your pardon?”

“You said the cost would be too high.”

“I didn’t want her getting her hopes up.”

“Oh, get lost, Doctor!” Alice turned and marched away from him, her arms folded. She turned back. “I don’t know why you don’t just deal with this once and for all. You heard what the Master said. There is a way. Get the bloody hell into that Nest and save yourself like you saved me!”




I feel bad as I march away, but the stupid idiot needs some sense knocking into that bald noggin of his. He flits between wanting to live and wanting to die. Right now I don’t care anymore, but he saved me, so I need to save him. I slip on a patch of ice and end up on my arse. I can feel the pain from the already-forming bruise and I scream up into the heavens. I’ve had enough of this. I’m cold. I’m tired. I want to go home.

He’s at my side in an instant and helping me back to my feet. He mumbles something about making sure I’m never hurt again, and then escorts me back to the TARDIS.











One Day Ago




Maxus sat on the end of the bed, his face transfixed to the roundels in front of him. He wasn’t really paying any attention to them, of course. He couldn’t. He just felt so lost. He had no desire to stare at anything really. He sniffed and then closed his eyes. The last few hours had been difficult to say the least. Once he’d gotten over the heartbreak of losing Tylaya, he’d left the Doctor to deal with her body - Alice’s body - and retired to his room. He had no idea what was going on back in the console room, but he sure as hell didn’t want to go back in there and see the place where the love of his life had died.

He heard footsteps coming up the corridor. He prayed it was the Doctor.

It wasn’t.

Alice opened the bedroom door a little and knocked on it.

“Come in,” said Maxus, not really wanting her in here.

She opened the door and smiled sadly at him. Her eyes were red, her skin pale and her lips were sore. She looked a complete mess, but she’d at least had the decency to take off the wedding dress. She was now in jeans and a top, her hair tied back.

She sat on the bed next to him. “I’m sorry.”

Maxus shook his head. “You have nothing to be sorry about, Alice.”

“I wasn’t exactly acting like myself.” She looked around the room. “I still don’t feel right. I feel sick.”

“I’m just glad the TARDIS gave us that one last day together.” He smiled. “She looked so beautiful.”

Alice smiled and then looked at her hand. She handed the wedding ring to him, placing it in his palm and closing his fingers around it. “This isn’t mine to keep. It’s Tylaya’s. It’s yours.”

Maxus nodded. “What will you do now?”

“What will you do now?” said Alice, unsure of her own immediate future.

“Ah, God knows,” said Maxus, turning the ring over and over in his fingers. “I can’t go back to Central City. There’s nothing for me there now.”

“Why don’t you stay on board the TARDIS?”

He shook his head. “Not an option. I can’t be here.”

The door was suddenly flung open and the Doctor burst in, clutching his cane. He looked stern and serious. “You two should get down to the console room now. We have a visitor.”




When they got there the scanner was showing a black telephone box suspended in the vortex right in front of the TARDIS.

“Who put that there?” said Alice, rubbing her forehead.

“An old friend. Or an old enemy. It depends on his mood today.”

The screen flickered to an image of the Master, his beard had been trimmed much neater and his hair tied back into a ponytail. He smiled when he saw the Doctor.

“I was wondering what happened to you after you rescued me from that collapsing dimension.”

The Master nodded. “I’ve been busy.”

“Oh yes? Up to no good as usual?”

“Not at all. I’ve been looking for a way to help you.”

The Doctor burst into a huge belly laugh and almost doubled over. When he finally composed himself he leant on the console and nodded at the Master. “You must be kidding me, yes?”

“No, Doctor. Believe it or not I’m here to help you to live again.”

The Doctor’s face went serious. “And why would you want to help me?”

“Because when I kill you I want it to be on our terms. I want you to go out dying like the strong minded, strong bodied man you really are.”

“I’m not sure if that’s a compliment or not.”

“Then follow me. I understand a woman called Helenia has been trying to make contact with you?” The Master smiled. “I see from the look in your eyes that she has. She’s also made contact with me.”

“I find it hard to believe.”

The Master sighed. “Will you allow me to come aboard?”

The Doctor thought for a moment and then nodded. “Prepare for temporal lock.”

A few seconds later both TARDISes had their doors open and they slowly floated towards each other before locking onto each other via the doorways. The Master stepped across from his TARDIS into the Doctor’s, his hands in his pockets.

“Welcome aboard. Again,” said the Doctor.

“May I?” asked the Master, gesturing the sofa.

Maxus stepped out of the way. He didn’t want to think of that sofa.

“Be my guest,” said the Doctor bluntly.

The Master sat down, arms stretched along either side of the back of the sofa, and then smiled.

“Go on then. Speakers corner is all yours,” said the Doctor, leaning against the console with his arms folded.

“Thank you, my friend.” He cleared his throat. “You’ve heard of the Nest?”

“Yes,” said the Doctor. “The place that my nephew claimed he had located.”

“Yes,” smiled the Master, smugly, “well, I can also tell-”

“- tell me that that is where Helenia is from and that’s what the nursery rhyme is all about,” interrupted the Doctor. “Yes, I know. Legend has it that there is a dimension out there were creatures known as the Swytch siphon off your regeneration energy and take it away to feed on. I know the story.”

The Master looked disappointed.

“I also know that it’s more than likely that you think you’ve found it and you want to get to it, yes?”

“That’s correct,” said the Master.

“And you have an ulterior motive for trying to locate it.”

“Not at all,” said the Master.

“Don’t lie to me.”

The Master lowered his head. “Call it a gesture. A way of thanking you for saving me. For helping me to become the man I am now.”

The Doctor laughed, shaking his head in disbelief.

“I am being honest, Doctor. You shouldn’t have to die. Not without me having some input on it.” He chuckled.

“Doctor,” said Alice, “maybe you should listen to him.”

“Maybe I should throw him off my TARDIS right now,” said the Doctor, marching up to the Master and looking down at him. “And I’d also assume that by going to this Nest I’d be absorbing some of those regeneration energies too like some kind of twisted vampire.”

“It’d help you,” said the Master. “It’d be like putting new batteries in you.”

“It’s too far, Master. Much too far.”

“Is it really?” said Alice. “Because if what you say is true those poor souls out there are just food for these Swytch things.”

“They aren’t souls,” said the Doctor, rounding on Alice. “Even if it were true, it’s just energy. Pure and simple energy.”

“Energy that has a mind of it’s own. Energy that has feelings and a consciousness,” said the Master.

“What do you mean?” queried the Doctor.

“Helenia sent me proof through. Some of your regeneration energy. Your Eighth incarnation. He’s expired now, sadly, but he was there all the same.” The Master scratched his chin and coughed.

The Doctor frowned.

Maxus piped up. “Doctor, you said there were houses there. When you dreamt of the place.”

“The point, Quinn?”

“The point is that these people-”

“They’re not people,” said the Doctor getting more and more exasperated.

“The point is that these people might very well have set up their own community. Or at least someone has.”

The Master nodded. “Helenia has been looking after them. Keeping them safe.”

“Still, the cost is too high. Even if Reikon and Caleb did go to the Nest, they never came back. I’m not willing to sacrifice people to get in there to save myself.”

The Master clapped his hands together and got up from the sofa. “I’ve got the readings from the experiment that your nephew put together that day. I am able to recreate - near enough - the same conditions and break us in.”

“I’m not going with you.”

“Well I am,” said the Master, closing in on him. “And I’ve got some of your friends with me too.”

“Who?”

“Ah, now that would be telling.” He smiled and walked towards the open doors leading to his TARDIS interior. He then stopped and walked back to the console. “I’m typing in coordinates, just in case you change your mind.” He smiled. “Celestia would be very happy to see you.”










One Day Later




Caroline sighed as she locked the front door. It had been a long, but very enjoyable day. The last of her and Danny’s guests had just left and Danny had gone up to put William to bed. She leant against the front door and smiled. Her life, for once, seemed so totally, utterly complete, no matter how weird it had been.

The knock on the door made her jump. She frowned, but wasn’t able to make out the person standing behind the frosted glass.

She unlocked the door quickly wondering if one of them had forgotten their phone or purse or something.

“Hi Caroline,” said the Irish woman with the long, red curls.

“Ivy,” said Caroline in surprise. “Ivy Coldstone!”

“Good to see you again, chick.”

“Who is it?” whispered Danny from up the stairs so as not to wake William.

“I think you better let me in. We need to talk,” said Ivy.




The Doctor returned to the TARDIS to find Alice standing outside the box with her arms folded.

“Why didn’t you let yourself in?” said the Doctor.

“Because you never let Tylaya have a key,” said Alice.

“Of course,” said the Doctor, going in his pocket and flicking her a key. “Here you go.”

“I don’t want it,” said Alice, letting it fall to the floor.

“What?” He unlocked the door and picked up the other key from the floor. “Why not?”

“Because you might as well take me back to Little Pebbleford now,” she said as she followed him inside. “You’re obviously not going to help yourself. You’ll be dead soon.”

“Jesus!” said Maxus, appearing at the interior door. “Are you two still on about this?”

“Maxus, did you enjoy your snooze?” said the Doctor.

He nodded. “Cleared my head a little, thanks.”

“Have you made a decision on where you want me to take you?”

Maxus shook his head. “I’ll tag along for now. If you two stop arguing, that is.”

“Try and make him see some sense,” said Alice.

“Look,” said the Doctor, sitting himself down on the sofa, “I don’t want to die. I want to live, but I’m not about to go flying into some mythical dimension on the off-chance that it exists and become some greedy vampire at the same time.”

“Right,” said Alice, nodding. “Reality check time. Stay here.”

“I beg your pardon?”

“Maxus, keep him here. Don’t let him follow me.”

“Right you are,” said Maxus.

Alice frowned at the Doctor and then opened the doors, making her way back outside.




“More tea?” said Caroline, noticing that Ivy had drained her cup.

“None for me, ta,” she smiled.

Caroline nodded and then turned to look at Danny who just shrugged. The both of them had met Ivy Coldstone a long time ago on the jungle planet Theen. She had been a previous travelling companion to the Doctor and she had seemed pleasant enough, but now she was sitting here in their front room, it made Caroline realise that maybe their previous life as time travellers wasn’t completely finished.

It made Caroline’s blood run cold to think about it.

“So, how’s it going for you guys then? Getting married yet?”

“No,” said Danny and Caroline in horrified unison.

“Ah, come on,” said Ivy, “you two are made for each other.”

Caroline blushed whilst Danny looked away awkwardly.

“Maybe we should get down to why you’re here,” said Caroline. “I mean, no offence or anything, but it’s been a while since we had anything to do with the Doctor. We’re trying to lead normal lives now.”

Ivy laughed. “I tried that once.”

“Well it’s working so far,” said Danny.

“Easy, Danny Boy,” smiled Ivy. “It won’t take up much of your time.” She put her mug on the coffee table next to her and crossed her legs. “I’m looking for the Doctor actually, and my readings say he was here not too long ago.”

“Yeah he was skulking round the back. He came to say goodbye.”

Ivy nodded. “He’s dying. I know.”

“How did you even get here?” said Danny.

Ivy tapped her wrist. Attached to it was a leather strap with a device on the top. “Vortex manipulator. Allows me to travel through time and space.”

“Nice,” said Danny, trying to get a look at it.

There was a knock on the door. Caroline looked at Danny, confused, and then went to answer. When she opened the door she was surprised to find a young woman with brown hair whom she’d never seen before.

“Are you Caroline?” said the woman.

“Yes.”

“Good,” said the woman. “My name is Alice Stokes.”

“ALICE!” shouted Ivy with glee, and the explanations began.



Next time: Does the Doctor have a choice in the matter? Coming Sunday December 14th 2014.