I'm Dave-El and today I'm posting another installment of my Doctor Who fan fiction, The Crucible of Eternity. Before today's episode click on the following links:
Prelude to Episode Two
Now let's do the disclaimer thing.
And we are good to go!
Hang on! The ride gets even weirder today!*
*And I literally mean "ride". You'll see what I mean.
The Crucible of Eternity
Scene opens: the American West. A flat prairie gives way to a stand of trees and out cropping of rocks and boulders. Out in the distance, we see a figure riding a horse very quickly. Some distance behind him but gain fast is a swirl of dust as we see two more horses and two riders. It’s hard to make out details of the riders from this perspective.
Scene shift: We are a lot closer to the first rider, a man with a scruffy beard and worn clothes. He has the look of an outlaw on the run as he urges his horse forward. Behind we see the dust cloud that’s gaining on him.
The rider guides his horse into a canyon littered with boulders and brush. He jumps off the horse and doubles back, slinking carefully behind the rocks and weeds. He’s drawn his gun. He moves carefully to ambush the riders who are following him. But as he looks around a large boulder, there’s no one there. The pursuing riders have vanished.
Before our outlaw can fully register what’s going on, he hears this: "Ahem!" A woman gently clearing her throat. The outlaw turns and facing him with a rifle is the Master, in her female form of Missy.
The Master: Well, well, well! Jeremiah Clanton, wanted for robbery and murder. Probably also jaywalking.
Clanton: What? You’re a woman!
The Master: Yeah, I know. Takes some getting used to, you know?
Although looking down the barrel of a rifle aimed right at him, Clanton is starting to feel a bit more confident.
Clanton: Ain’t no woman gonna bring down Jeremiah Clanton, missy!
Suddenly the Master fires a shot from the rifle which blasts Clanton’s pistol from his hand as he cries out in pain.
The Master: First of all, we are not on a first name basis, Mr. Clanton. Do not address me as Missy.
Clanton (clutching his hand in pain): You’re crazy, woman!
The Master’s face contorts as if her feelings are hurt and she might cry.
The Master: Oh, Mr. Clanton, there is no call for being mean to me. Calling me crazy, I should be offended.
Then the Master’s expression brightens.
The Master: Except I am crazy. Well, facts are facts, Mr. Clanton. Even I can’t argue with that.
The Master raises her rifle and aims it at Clanton’s head, a wicked smile on her face.
The Master: Mr. Clanton, say something nice.
The Master: Say. Something. Nice.
Clanton: Go to hell!
The Master shrugs.
The Master: I guess that’ll do.
Just as the Master pulls the trigger, there’s a high pitch trilling noise and the rifle does not fire. The Master and Clanton turn towards the source of the sound, a tall, lanky figure dressed in black with a battered brown cowboy hat and a matching poncho. It’s the Doctor and in his hand is his sonic screwdriver.
The Doctor: No killing, not on my watch!
The Master: Spoilsport!
Clanton makes a quick grab for his gun but the Doctor aims his sonic at Clanton’s weapon. When Clanton attempts to fire the gun, nothing happens.
Clanton: What the hell…?
The Doctor: A simple excitation of the bullets, a trick I learned from the Sontarans.
Clanton angrily toss the gun aside.
Clanton: I don’t need no gun against a woman and a scrawny old man!
Clanton charges at the Doctor who nimbly steps aside and applies a sharp karate chop to the back of Clanton’s neck. With one blow, Clanton drop unconscious to the ground.
The Doctor turns towards the Master who looks petulantly at him.
The Master: You know, the wanted poster did say dead OR alive.
The Doctor gives the sonic screwdriver a twirl and replaces it in his jacket pocket. He tips his cowboy hat back a bit.
The Doctor: You ride with me, you follow my rules. Now come on.
The Master (mocking tone): "You ride with me, you follow my rules. Nyah!" Really, Doctor, you’re buying into this cowboy nonsense way too much.
The Doctor and the Master stand to either side of the unconscious Jeremiah Clanton. Each taking an arm, they drag him across the rocks and brush towards where their horses are.
The Master: So how much is the bounty on this dumb slab of meat?
The Doctor: $5,000.00
The Master: Wow.
The Doctor: Yeah.
A moment of silence as they continue to drag Clanton. Then…
The Master: Is that a lot?
The Doctor: I have no idea.
Our view pulls back from the Doctor, the Master and their unconscious quarry, as we see more of the wide open tableau of the American West.
The Doctor: But we need the funding to continue our experiments and get the TARDIS working again.
The Master: I hope so.
Our view pulls back even further. And then we hear the Master shout.
The Master: I MISS WI-FI!
Scene change, quick cut: an axe cutting into a log. We pull out and we see Danny Pink who is cutting firewood. Danny is standing under a large oak tree while the prairie grass behind him sways in the wind. He brings the axe down again and we hear a "grrr" sound. Danny turns to see Zombie Jack standing there.
Danny: Hi, Jack.
Zombie Jack: Grrrr.
Danny wipes his brow with a handkerchief.
Danny: Pretty hot weather we're having today, huh?
Zombie Jack: Grrr.
Danny: Yeah, right.
Danny gestures to a pile of firewood.
Danny: OK, I guess you can take some of that firewood down to the house.
Zombie Jack: Grrr.
Zombie Jack stiffly reaches down and picks up several pieces of firewood and slowly shambles towards the house.
Danny: So he's not quite ready for maths yet.
Danny looks towards the house and see Clara on the front porch. She's wearing a long 19th century dress. Her pregnancy is beginning to show. Danny smiles broadly and waves at her. Clara gives a slight smile back and turns back into the house. Danny's smile fades; he's worried about Clara. And then, resolutely he turns to chopping more firewood,
Scene change: interior of the house. Modestly furnished as one would expect to find a prairie home in the American West, circa the 1880's. Clara walks through the house slowly, her hand on her belly. She bites the corner of her lip and it looks like she might cry.
Scene change, quick cut: the Earth shattering as glowing red lava explodes through the quaking ground. The TARDIS is caught in the middle of this catastrophe, tossed about like flotsam on a turbulent sea.
Scene change: inside the TARDIS. The Doctor, the Master, Clara, Danny and Zombie Jack. Clara is in Danny's arms sobbing while the Master pulls herself unsteadily to her feet, rubbing her jaw where Clara had just decked her. Zombie Jack is standing in a corner, blank eyed and unaware. The Doctor is frantically working the controls of the TARDIS.
Danny (to the Doctor): You said the TARDIS is dead. So...
The Doctor: Good point, P.E. Right now, this box... is just a box. But I have one chance. One slim chance but time is running out!
The Master looks puzzled for a second, then her expression is of one of dawning realization as she smiles at the Doctor.
The Master: Oh, Doctor! What a terribly ruthless strategy! I am impressed!
The Doctor: Shut up!
Clara looks up from Danny's shoulder towards the Doctor and the Master.
Clara: What...what are you doing?
The Doctor: Now, now! I must focus! Timing has to be absolutely perfect!
Danny: The Doctor's doing what every good general does when the odds are against him.
The Master: Oh, dear! There's only 1 power source strong enough to jump start this old TARDIS but it won't exist for another...
The Doctor (through clenched teeth): Five seconds!
The Master: Four!
Clara: Wait! You're going...
The Master: Three!
Clara: Doctor, there...
The Master: Two!
Danny holds Clara back.
The Master and the Doctor: ONE!
The Doctor slams down a lever.
Scene change: back outside where there is nothing but fire and destruction where, with a sudden loud roar, the destructive energy of planet Earth's death fills our entire perspective. Out of the blinding light tumbles the TARDIS and we hear a familiar sound.
VWORP! VWORP! VWORP!
The TARDIS vanishes as ribbons of fire and hunks of rock hurtle past.
Scene change: close up on Clara's eyes. She blinks back a tear, then straightens herself and with a look of resolve, she walks towards the back of the house.
Scene change: Clara steps off the back porch and walks towards a barn. Chickens scatter off in different directions. We follow Clara as she opens the barn down and inside, we see the TARDIS. Over to the side are tables filled with the clutter of science at work: tubes and wires in a mish-mash of future tech made from 19th century materials. Clara approaches the TARDIS and gently rests her hand on its surface.
Scene change: Danny and the Doctor facing each other angrily.
Danny: We've got to make it work HERE!
The Doctor: And I'm saying that's not workable plan, P.E.!
Our view widens as we see the TARDIS on a hillside at dawn. Beyond we see the expanse of the American West. Gathered by the TARDIS are the Doctor, the Master, Clara, Danny and Zombie Jack. Clara looks stressed, the Master looks amused and Zombie Jack is just shuffling about, occasionally bumping into a tree. Meanwhile the Doctor and Danny are in a stand off.
Danny: We need to deal with the here and now!
The Doctor: Oh, let me tell you about the here and now, sonny! You're in 19th century America! There's a lot of places that won't let you in the front door, let alone live in domestic bliss with a woman of a different color!
Danny: I'm well aware of history, Doctor...
The Doctor: And Clara! Let's not forget that she's with child! Do you really appreciate the state of medical science in this era?
Danny: Then shut up, sir, march us back in that box and take us the hell away from here!
The Doctor stands silent for a moment, then turns away.
Danny: Oh the great Time Lord and his magic box! Except the magic's all gone, isn't it?
The Doctor turns back to face Danny and points towards the TARDIS.
The Doctor: Using the energy from Earth's destruction to save us may have fused every circuit and cell in the TARDIS but I will get her flying again!
Clara: In time.
The Doctor looks at Clara.
Clara: But how much time?
The Doctor looks crestfallen at Clara.
Clara: Now Doctor, maybe medicine is not what I'm used to in the 21st century but women were having babies in caves thousands of years ago. I'm sure I can manage.
The Doctor: But...
The Doctor stops talking as she turns towards Danny.
Clara: But Danny, the Doctor does have a point about...us...and this era. I don't know how...
Danny: We'll keep a low profile, I don't know, whatever it takes, because, for some reason Clara Oswald, I love you more than anything. And I'll do anything for you. And our child.
Clara: Oh Danny...
Clara and Danny embrace and kiss. The Master rolls her eyes.
The Master: Oh spare me this tripe from a romance novel.
The Doctor, Clara AND Danny: Shut up!
The Master: Fine, fine, fine. Whatevs.
The Doctor's anger flares back up, this time directed at the Master.
The Doctor: Listen here, Master...or Missy...or whatever you call yourself! This is on you! A whole planet dead! Billions of people...dead! And it's ALL on you! And perhaps I need to do what I should've done centuries ago.
The Doctor whips out his sonic screwdriver and aims it squarely at the Master's forehead. The Master barely contains a laugh.
The Master: Ha! Really! You're threatening me...with your little toy?
The Doctor: Have ever heard... of stripping a screw? A screwdriver in the head of a screw turning a bit... too tightly.
The Master's expression immediately changes to one of worry.
The Master: Uh, Doctor, perhaps we can...?
The Doctor: Discuss this? No! There's nothing to discuss!
Clara looks at these events with concern and fear.
The Doctor stares sternly at the Master, his hand firmly grasping the screwdriver aimed directly at the Master's head.
The Doctor: Just be grateful...old friend...
The Doctor's arm lowers, the screwdriver no longer aimed at the Master.
The Master exhales.
The Doctor: That I...need you.
The Doctor turns abruptly towards Danny and Clara.
The Doctor: P.E., you're right. Arrangements need to be made. We are going to be here awhile. Perhaps...for the rest of your lives. I'm sorry, Clara.
Clara (nodding): It's all right, Doctor.
The Doctor pulls out his psychic paper.
The Doctor: Perhaps I can use the psychic paper to help secure us a homestead, a home for you and Danny and...
Zombie Jack walks into a tree.
The Doctor: And Jack. And as for you...
The Doctor turns back towards the Master.
The Doctor: ...Missy, I have a plan that might....just might fix the TARDIS. But we're going to need....I can't believe I'm saying this...money.
The Master claps her hands with glee.
The Master: Oh my giddy aunt! We're going to rob a bank!
The Doctor: We're going to earn it.
The Master's glee is replaced by a glum expression.
The Master: Oh. Work. Yay.
Danny (VO): Well, that work is done!
Scene change: We're back in the barn with Clara and the TARDIS as Danny walks in. Clara turns towards him.
Clara: You know, you're just as sexy chopping wood as you are teaching geometry.
Danny: Oh, talk like that will...get you everywhere. But I'm not feeling very sexy. God, I need a bath. You know what I want right now? A sauna!
Clara: Oh God yes!
Danny: How's the baby?
Clara: I think I felt Ellie move a little today.
Danny: Or Dave if it's a boy.
Clara: You know, if it's a boy, we could...
Danny: I told you: Rupert is off limits!
Clara: OK, fine! So we name our child after one of my parents.
Clara: This time.
Danny (smiling): This time? There's going to be a next time?
Clara looks sad, then turns away from Danny to look at the TARDIS.
Clara: What do we think we're doing, Danny?
Clara: Next time, Danny. We both know what "next time" will eventually lead to.
Danny: Clara, we can't think about that.
Clara turning back to face Danny, snapping.
Clara: I can't stop thinking about it! We're bringing children into a world that's going to blow apart under their feet!
Clara: And the Doctor...
Clara looks back to the TARDIS.
Clara: The Doctor can't make this better.
Danny: But maybe... we can.
Clara looks at Danny with sad eyes.
Clara: What? What can we do? How can we make this better?
Danny: Look, I don't know from time travel but maybe... what if we pass along... information that our... I don't know, our great-great-great grandchildren can use to, maybe, stop the Master before she unleashes those Cybermen on the planet. Huh?
Clara starts walking slowly towards Danny.
Clara: I'm sure if the Doctor were here, he would punch all sorts of holes in that plan.
Danny: Well, it's kind of stupid, I guess.
Clara (with a slight laugh): No, it's a lot stupid.
Danny: Gee, thanks a lot...
Clara is standing right in front of Danny.
Clara: But the Doctor isn't here.
Clara pulls Danny close and they kiss passionately. Then Clara pulls away slightly.
Clara (whispers): C'mon, Mr. Pink, we have a world to save.
Our view pulls out of the barn and out past the backyard of the farmhouse. Sunset streaks the sky with red and gold as a gentle breeze caresses the prairie grass the leaves on the old oak tree. Here we see Zombie Jack standing, vacantly staring out into the distance. He's making an odd sound.
Zombie Jack: Duh...duh...duh...duh...duh...
Zombie Jack falls silent for a second. And then...
Zombie Jack: Doc..tor.
Scene change: further out from the homestead, we see the Doctor and the Master on horseback riding towards home.
The Master: Oh dear, oh dear, these commutes are killing my back!
The Doctor says nothing.
The Master: Horses don't come with shock absorbers, you know? Hey, there's another way to make money! We'll invent the horse shock absorber!
The Doctor continues to say nothing.
The Master: What say you be a dear, Doctor, and give me a massage when we get back to the house?
The Doctor persists in saying nothing.
The Master: Oh, come ON! Really? What does it take to get a response from you?
The Doctor (to his horse): Whoa.
The horse comes to a stop, then the Doctor turns towards the Master who has also stopped her horse.
The Master: Uh oh. Something I said?
The Doctor: Your insane prattle is not amusing. And I have enough material to build a base reversion cell that will restore my TARDIS. And that means I don't need you. So have a care that I don't scramble your brains here and now!
The Master looks uncharacteristically serious.
The Master: You... mean it, don't you? You would kill me. Execute me!
The Doctor: Because of you, the Earth dies in 130 years! Billions of people died and you don't realize the worst of it do you? Because the death doesn't stop there! It ripples out up the time line until it wipes out the 4th Great and Bountiful Human Empire! Humanity spread across the stars, defeating Daleks and Cybermen so that planets beyond number could prosper and humans would achieve... what they were always meant to achieve. And it's all gone. It's your fault and you are my responsibility.
The Master actually for once doesn't saying anything, just sits on her horse quietly in the gathering dusk.
The Doctor: Yes, I believe I have no choice but to see you pay for that.
The Doctor turns his horse back towards the journey home and begins to trot away. The Master waits a moment. and then she puts her horse in motion to catch up to the Doctor.
The Master: Doctor? Have you ever heard of...the Crucible of Eternity?
The Doctor says nothing as the two continue to ride.
The Master: Fine, don't say anything but please listen! I gave Clara Oswald to the number to reach you in the TARDIS when you first met.
The Doctor stops his horse and the Master stops hers as well.
The Doctor: You..what?
The Master: I also placed the ad that brought you two back together after your regeneration.
The Doctor: Why? And why are you telling me now?
The Master: Because I... was manipulating events to bring you to a certain time and place. But you didn't show. All my planning, all my schemes and you had the temerity to not show up and stop me! So...okay, I went a little crazy and unleashed my Cyberman army...
The Doctor: Oh no. This is beneath even you! Are you saying it's my fault the Earth was destroyed because I didn't stop you from destroying it?
The Master: What I'm saying is I made pretty damn sure you and Miss Oswald would be in my Nethershere in November 2014. But you didn't show and so a month later, I...I...
Then the Master stops talking and looks out over the prairie.
The Doctor: You mentioned the Crucible of Eternity.
The Master: Yes.
The Doctor: More than just a fixed moment in time but such an absolute certainty that any change to it can shatter the flow of time irreparably.
The Master: That's the one.
The Doctor: So the Earth exploding in December 2014 resulted in the total shredding of nearly 200,000 years of human history and influence.
The Master: No, Doctor, the Crucible of Eternity is whatever kept you from being on Earth the month before.
Before the Doctor can react to that, a strangled cry is heard across the prairie.
Voice: DOC! TOR!
The Doctor: What the...?
The Master: It came from the house!
The Doctor and the Master immediately put their horses in motion as they gallop across the grassy plain towards the farm house. Quickly exiting the farmhouse from the other direction is Clara and Danny.
The Doctor: Clara! What's going on?
Danny: It's from over here.
Danny gestures towards the oak tree where Zombie Jack is standing. The Doctor and the Master quickly dismount and follow Clara and Danny to where Jack is standing.
Clara: Jack? Jack are you...?
The Doctor withdraws his sonic screwdriver and begins scanning around Jack.
The Doctor: This is... incredible. I'm picking up...this can't be!
Clara: What is it, Doctor?
The Doctor lowers the screwdriver and looks at Jack.
The Doctor: A transmission.
Then Jack opens his mouth.
Zombie Jack: Doc. Tor.
The Doctor moves closer.
The Doctor: Yes, Jack, I'm here!
Zombie Jack: Bout. Damn. Time.
The Doctor, Master, Clara and Danny: What?!
------to be continued-------
A message from the dead?
Is Earth on a collision course with a fatal destiny?
The fate of a world and a universe hangs in the balance.
Next week in Episode Four
The Crucible of Eternity