Today is the 4th (yes, FOURTH!) installment of my fan fiction featuring the 12th Doctor, weeks before Steven Moffat's own debut story featuring the new Doctor played by Peter Capaldi. How can I write a 12th Doctor story before actually seeing the 12th Doctor in action? Talent? Skill? Imagination? Cleverness?
Yeah, I have no idea either.
If you are so inclined, here are the links to...
And now, the disclaimer....
And now, the larch!
And now, Episode Four.
Time of the Dominion
Announcer: The Empress Rani has declared another day of joy, peace and harmony.
As our view widens, we see the TV screen is mounted in a pub. The pub appears normal: there’s a bartender, people at the bar, others in booths. But as the announcer continues to talk from the TV screen, we pan over these various people and notice that they are just…there. Not sad, not happy, barely speaking, not engaged with each other.
Announcer: The Empress is pleased that we have another day of no war, no disease, no famine. Life is wonderful thanks to the benevolence of our Empress.
We pan out from the pub while the announcer from the TV can continue to be heard as a voiceover. Out on the street, there are various people milling about with a sort of listlessness. It’s a beautiful day with blue sky and a bright shining sun but no one seems to care.
Announcer (VO): As we look down the centuries, we are happy to report that time has been good to the people of Earth. And our Empress assures us that this is the way for other life beyond our world.
As our view of the street widens, we notice tufts of grey begin to pass across the clear sky, like smoke or clouds or fog. And then we notice someone fades from view.
Announcer (VO): So that’s the news for another day. Life is good. Life is at peace.
And then another fades out. And another and another.
Announcer (VO): So thanks to the Empress and Long Live the Dominion.
And as more and more people pop out of sight, the grey fog begins to dominate the blue sky.
Scene change: Clara Oswald and Meridian (“Meri”) Scott are in the office of the Head Master of the Coal Hill School where Clara and Meri are employed as teachers. On the Head Master’s desk is the canister that contains the head of the Master. Liquid bubbles as the head bobs gently, eyes closed.
Clara glances down at the floor and reacts.
Clara: Uh oh! Is that…?
Clara bends down and picks up the Doctor’s sonic screwdriver.
Clara: The Doctor’s sonic screwdriver? So he’s been here! But he wouldn’t have just dropped this on the floor unless…
Meri: Clara? What is it?
Clara: The Doctor, the one person who can figure out what’s going on is missing. And…
Clara looks forlornly at the screwdriver in her hand.
Clara: And I have a bad feeling he may be in danger!
Meri (upset): He’s in danger? Never mind this…this Doctor person you keeping going on about, Clara! What about us?
Meri: Either something strange is going on or I’m gone simply mad! Given that I’m in an office with a head in a jar, I’m thinking…mad! Quite bonkers!
Meri: And I’m getting out of here!
Meri strides quickly and purposefully toward the door that leads from the Head Master’s office to his assistant’s outer office. Clara begins to follow.
Clara: Meri, wait!
Just as the two women cross the threshold into the outer office, they both stop short and let out a shriek. Over by the far wall near the entrance to the assistant’s office is a field of swirling grey, like fog if fog were angry.
Clara: Oh my God!
Meri: What the hell is THAT?
Clara: I…I don’t know but…
Meri: It’s getting closer!
Clara: Get back!
Meri: You think?
The two stumble back into the Head Master’s office as Clara closes the door.
Meri: OK, OK, OK! So I’ve gone mad and there is fog trying to eat us! I don’t think the door is going to stop it, Clara!
Clara: I imagine not but…
Clara moves over to the window and pulls back the curtain.
Our view shifts to the outside as we see the playground. Kids are playing, not only oblivious to their shifting appearances but also the swirling fog that inches closer and obliterates all from sight.
Clara: This is so the opposite of good!
Meri: The children…everything…is still shifting, changing!
Clara: And at a faster pace as that…fog stuff keeps getting closer.
Meri: And we’re still the only ones who can see it!
Clara grimly pulls the curtains close.
Meri: I think, Clara, that…it’s still out there.
Clara: Yeah, out of sight is not out of mind. But whatever’s going on with time, with that fog, those are all questions.
Clara turns sharply and walks over to the desk with the head in the canister.
Clara: What I need right now…
Clara looks intently at the head, eyes closed, gently bobbing in the slightly bubbling fluid.
Clara: Are answers.
Meri (incredulous): What? From that….that head…thing?
Clara is examining the canister.
Clara: Well, you have to admit, it’s the oddest thing in this room. Now is there some kind of control mechanism? Oh why can’t there be a nice red button to push?
Meri: Clara, how…how are you doing this? I mean, how are you not…freaked out by all this?
Clara glances up at Meri for a moment.
Clara: Oh, trust me, I’m freaked out plenty. Oh there better be plenty of cocktails when this over.
Clara goes back to looking over the canister.
Clara: No buttons? No switches? Oh bugger, what would the Doctor do?
Clara makes a face, straightens up.
Clara does not respond as she brings her fist down sharply upon the top of the canister. Suddenly the burbling fluid begins to bubble a little more and the head’s mouth begins to move but only slightly. Clara steps away from the canister.
Meri (jumping back): Whoa! What’s….
A barely audible noise comes from the Master’s head.
The Master: Heh eh her er.
Clara leans in closer to the canister.
The Master (slightly louder): Heht eht herder.
Meri: I…I think he…he’s saying, “Hit it harder.”
The Master (a bit more pronounced): Hit it harder.
Clara starts to raise her fist over the top of the canister. Meri holds an arm up in caution.
Meri: Clara, wait! Is this is a good idea?
Clara (shrugging): Probably not.
Clara brings her fist down upon the top of the canister again, harder this time.
The Master’s head begins to scream.
The Master: AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!
Clara and Meri both jump back with startled shrieks.
Meri: What the hell…?
The Rani (VO): And so the dominion came to pass. Life was reborn and more. Time itself was reborn. In me! Existence remade with destruction no more but creation abundant! Death no more but life, beautiful and all encompassing life!
At the top of a hill, we see the Rani, standing in resplendent robes that flow in the gentle breeze.
The Rani (smiling with satisfaction): And so the dominion came to pass! I came to pass! I am dominion over all time! And it. Is. Good!
A voice, dark but familiar come from behind the Rani.
Voice: It is.. a lie!
The Rani turns in irritation towards the voice. As our view widens we see a hooded figured clothed in a black robe with red and white trim.
The Rani: You dare question my accomplishment, the reality of what I’ve done.
The hooded figure advances and draws back his hood. We see the face of the Doctor.
The Doctor: The reality of what you’ve done… is not this!
The Rani dramatically gestures about her.
The Rani: This? This is LIFE, Doctor! The high council of the Time Lords could not conceive of this! All they could consider was the Final Sanction, the end of all things!
The Doctor: Rani…
The Rani: Even you, Doctor, the great physician of the universe, even you could not heal the wounds of the Time War, instead assuming the burden of…mercy? All those souls, crying out in fiery oblivion! Only I could conceive of victory…through life. I am the dominion, Doctor. I am time incarnate!
The Doctor: You… are dying. We both are, even now.
Slowly wisps of grey clouds beginning spreading across the blue sky, the yellow sun dimming as shadows fall about the Doctor and the Rani. A mist of grey fog begins swirling around the ground in a circle about them.
The Rani notices this growing greyness and darkness with concern and worry.
The Rani: No! What is this? What trickery is this, Doctor?
The Doctor: I’m sorry, Rani but the only trickery here is your own delusion!
The Rani’s face contorts with rage as she screams and extends her arm.
The Rani: NO! I am the DOMINION! I am TIME INCARNATE! And you will be gone!
Energy like fire leaps from the Rani’s fingertips and the Doctor vanishes in a blaze of light.
The Rani stands tall as she admires her handiwork with a sly smile.
The Rani: At last, I have destroyed the Doctor!
Then the smile fades away.
The Rani: I have… destroyed… the Doctor.
The Rani looks about her as the grey darkness continues to stretch across the sky, block the sun and curl about her on the ground.
The Rani looks frightened.
The Rani: What…have I done?
Clara: He’s still screaming!
Meri: Do something!
Clara: Like what?
Meri: I don’t know! Hit it again?
The Master: AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!
Clara: Hit it again? What good will that do?
Meri: I don’t know! Just…just do it!
The Master: AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!
Clara cautiously approaches the canister and raps it once more on the top with her fist.
The Master: Whoa! Ooh boy!
Clara: Are..are you…?
The Master (flinching his face): Uh, sorry about that. I get stuck sometimes.
The Master’s eyes dart back and forth.
The Master: OK, you’re new. I think.
Meri: Who…who are you?
The Master: I am…the Master.
Meri: You mean, like, the Head Master of the school?
The Master: No, as in….wait a minute…
Then the Master begins to laugh.
Clara: What so funny?
The Master: I just GOT that! I am the head of the Master in the Head Master’s office! Why did I not get that before? That’s quite amusing!
Meri: What are you doing…here? In that tube?
Clara: Up to no good probably.
Meri: What? Do you know…?
Clara: No, not the face. But the name? Yes, I’ve heard of the Master.
The Master: Ah, you must be a companion of the Doctor.
Clara: Clara Oswald. And speaking of which…
Clara leans in close to the canister, her expression stern as she looks the Master right in the eyes.
Clara: Where is the Doctor?
The Master’s head bobbles in the fluid as his eyes dart about.
The Master: They’re not here, I take it?
The Master: The Doctor and my….my…
The Master closes his eyes tightly, his brow furrowed. Then he reopens his eyes.
The Master: My…my assistant, Ms. Needham. I have no idea where they’ve gone.
Clara: And what about time?
The Master: Time?
Clara: Yes, time! Everything is distorting, people and things shifting in time. And now everything is…fading.
The Master’s expression is one of confusion and worry.
The Master: Fading?
The Master: The dominion!
Clara: The time of the dominion?
The Master: Yes. How dare Ms. Needham start without…without….without…
The Master clinches his eyes very tightly shut as if in pain. With his eyes still shut and through clenched teeth, the Master speaks.
The Master: Clara! My thoughts….are not….my own.
Clara (concerned): What? What are you….?
The Master: I am starting to…remember. I remember…
The Master’s eyes fly open wide.
The Master: I remember dying!
Scene change: The Master lying in the 10th Doctor’s arms. The Master is clutching his stomach where he’s just been shot by his wife Lucy who’s standing in the background.
10th Doctor: C’mon! It’s just a bullet wound! You can regenerate!
The Master (grimacing): No! I refuse!
The Master (VO): I remember darkness…
The screen is completely black which is then shattered by blinding white light.
The Master (VO): …and light.
From the white light we see the Master’s body being reformed. The Master is laughing maniacally.
The Master: I am the Master! And I am reborn!
The Master (VO): And I remember treachery.
Lucy Saxton hurls a vial into the swirling vortex of light.
Lucy (shouting): I’m sending you back to hell!
The Master (screaming): NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!
Scene change: back to the present. The Master keeps twisting his face as if in a great deal of pain.
The Master: Then darkness again before I…found myself….here. Like this.
Clara: How did…how did you get like this?
The Master: I don’t…I don’t know. My memories…even now…are difficult to…recall. Like fading echoes or poor copies. I…have once again…been used, it seems.
The Master: Ms. Needham is…more than she appears. She is…the Rani!
Clara: The Rani?
The Master: Yes! She’s a Time Lord!
Suddenly, the wall behind Meri and Clara adjoining the outer office begins to fade to gray as the swirling angry fog begins to eat its way into the Head Master’s office.
Meri: Oh my God! Clara!
Clara turns back to the canister.
Clara: This woman, this… Rani! You said she’s a Time Lord!
The Master: Yes.
Clara: Does she have a TARDIS?
The Master: She…I suppose she might. I mean, to bring down the dominion…
Clara looks around the room as the swirling fog continues to compress the circle around the office.
Clara: Whatever is going on, we are the center of it, like the eye of a hurricane.
Meri: Where are you going with this?
Clara: It stands to reason that…that the Rani’s TARDIS must be here.
Meri: What? Invisible?
The Master: Pick me up!
The Master: Pick me up, girl! We don’t have time! I need to see more of the room!!
Clara picks up the canister with the glass side facing her chest.
The Master: The other way! The other way!
Clara turns the canister around.
The Master: There! That bookcase!
Meri: A bookcase? How is a bookcase going to help us?
Clara with the Master’s head canister in hand and Meri rush up to glass doors of the bookcase. Meri pulls on the handle.
Meri: Locked! Hold on!
Meri grabs a bust from the desk top and smashes it into the glass but the glass doesn’t shatter.
Meri: What the…?
Clara: It’s a TARDIS! It’s indestructible!
Meri: Right! I forgot!
Clara: What? You forgot?
Meri: Forgot what?
Clara: You said you forgot the TARDIS was indestructible. How…?
The Master: Ladies, I don’t know what this is about but NOW is not the time!
Meri: So getting into this bookcase is… is going to save us…from that?
Meri gestures towards the swirling fog which is getting closer.
The Master: Yes! Well, maybe!
Meri: That’s not comforting at all.
The Master: Clara! You have a key to the TARDIS?
Clara: To the Doctor’s TARDIS, yes!
The Master: The Rani’s TARDIS has a functioning chameleon circuit! You can tap into that.
Clara hands the Master’s head canister to Meri.
Clara retrieves her key.
The Master: Put the key into the lock of the cabinet.
Clara directs the key to the lock but the key won’t fit.
Clara: The key doesn’t fit!
The Master: Clara, close your eyes!
The Master: Close your eyes!
Clara: I don’t trust you!
The Master: What am I going to do, bite you? You’ve got to do this!
Clara: OK, OK!
Meri stands there looking frightened as the Master speaks from the canister in her hands. Clara’s eyes are closed as she presses the end of her TARDIS key against the lock of bookcase cabinet.
The Master: Now, you must shut out everything. Concentrate on your hand. The key in your hand. The key against the lock. The lock to the TARDIS. In your mind’s eye, see the TARDIS, your TARDIS.
The Master: Shhh! Clara, concentrate. Your hand…
Clara (quietly to herself): My hand.
The Master: Your key.
Clara: My key.
The Master: Against the lock.
Clara: Against the lock.
The Master: Of your TARDIS.
Clara: Of my TARDIS.
Suddenly the glass door of the cabinet fades to the blue wooden Police Box shell of the Doctor’s TARDIS, the key slips into the lock and turns. The door opens.
The Master: Hurry! Hurry! Inside!
Meri: I’m going! I’m going!
Meri rushes in carrying the Master’s head and is quickly followed by Clara.
Scene change: the interior of the Rani’s TARDIS. Meri, holding the Master’s head canister, looks about her in awe.
Meri: It…it’s bigger…
Clara and Meri speak at the same time.
Clara: …on the inside, I know…
Meri: …than I remembered.
Clara takes the canister away from Meri.
The Master: Hey! What…?
Clara places the canister down on the console.
Clara: Wait here!
The Master: Like I have a choice…
Clara leads Meri away by the elbow.
Clara: What do you mean it’s bigger than you remembered?
Meri: What? I didn’t say that. I said it was bigger….
Meri pauses. Then she looks at Clara with fear in her eyes.
Meri: I said “remembered”.
Meri begins to sob.
Meri: Wh…what’s wrong…with me? Why are…?
Clara takes Meri in her arms and holds her.
Clara: Shhhh! It’s OK. This whole…time out of whack thing…it’s probably…I don’t know but…
From behind Clara and Meri, we hear the Master’s voice.
The Master: Ladies, I hate to break up…whatever is more important than the end of time but you might want to see this.
Clara and Meri return to the console and look in the direction the Master’s canister is facing.
Clara (in a panic): Oh my God! Doctor!!!
Clara rushes down to the area of the TARDIS console room where the Rani had her apparatus set up. The Rani is in her black leather outfit, face down on the floor. The Doctor is lying still on the table he’s strapped to.
She rushes up to the Doctor. She lays her head on his chest in one spot.
Meri is carrying the Master’s head down to this area.
Clara: Oh no.
She lays her head on another spot of the Doctor’s chest.
Clara (really distressed): Oh no!
She begins to frantically undo the straps.
Meri: What is it?
Clara (frantic): The Doctor. I think he’s dead. Neither of his hearts are beating. Meri, check on the other one, the Rani.
Clara begins to administer CPR to the Doctor.
Meri sets the canister down and approaches the still form of the Rani. Meri rolls her over on her back and jumps back with a shriek.
Our view shifts to the Rani’s face. Her eyes are open but are filled with a swirling grey fog.
The Master: Let me see!
Meri shakily picks up the Master’s head so he can see the Rani’s face.
The Master: Well, it didn’t work. There’s a surprise.
Meri: What? What didn’t work?
The Master: The dominion. The concept of time as a living being. The Rani thought she could become the dominion and, well, rule everything. Good goal, that. The execution, though, was fraught with too many variables.
Meri: Is she…dead?
The Master: Don’t know. Could be. Never saw a living being try to become the incarnate embodiment of time itself before.
Clara: Damn it, no!
Meri with the Master turns towards Clara who is slumped over the still form of the Doctor, sobbing.
Clara: No! Not after all…
The Master looks from the canister in Meri’s hands at the Doctor.
The Master: The Doctor…dead? How.. disappointing. I’d hope I would be the one to kill him.
Meri (snapping): Shut the hell up! Don’t make me throw your sniveling little head across this room!
Meri slams the canister down on a table.
The Master: Ouch! Not so hard!
Meri moves over to Clara’s side and puts her arm around her shoulder as Clara continues to cry.
Meri: Clara…I’m sorry. I don’t know….I don’t know what to…
Suddenly, the Doctor’s eyes open wide, flaring like a madman’s. Both women jump back with startled shrieks.
The Master: What? What’s going on? I can’t see! Someone give me a hand. I mean, literally!
Meri: Shut up, you! Clara…
Clara: Dear God, Doctor! Doctor?
The two women tentatively approach the Doctor who is still lying there still and unmoving, his eyes open wide and unblinking. Then as the two come even closer, the Doctor’s arm abruptly reaches out and grabs Meri’s arm.
The Doctor turns his head and speaks with a coarse whisper.
The Doctor: Meridian Scott!
Both Clara and Meri are speechless as we focus on the Doctor’s face, his eyes still wide and quite mad looking as he stares intently at Meri.
The Doctor (whispers): Listen!
----to be concluded----
In our next episode:
- The Rani has a secret!
- So does the Doctor!
- The Dominion is out of control and time itself is doomed!
- Can Meridian Scott save the day?
All of this comes to head in next week's 5th and final episode of...
TIME OF THE DOMINION
Be good to one another.
I'm So Glad My Suffering Amuses You