Thursday, April 30, 2015

Fear of a Black President

When you think the pandering to the far right Tea Party crowd of the Republican Party couldn't get any worse than this and this, here comes this tidbit of info.  Texas Governor Greg Abbott directed the Texas State Guard to be deployed and monitor a U.S. military training exercise. This sounds like one of those situations where, for example, the Chinese navy goes in the ocean near Japan to practice navy stuff and the Japanese sends out some boats to make everybody plays nice. This is understandable. There is tension between these two countries over disputed territories. Last time I looked, Texas and the United States of America are not two separate countries. Although maybe they should  be if Gov. Abbott is going to be a douche bag about it.  

"I have no idea what he's thinking," White House spokesman Josh Earnest told a news conference. Well, maybe this can offer a clue. Gov. Abbott said, "It is important that Texans know their safety, constitutional rights, private property rights and civil liberties will not be infringed."

The far right sees the Obama administration as trying to force its will, strip citizens of their arms and impose federal control over states. There have always been "black helicopter" paranoids thinking the Federal government is out to get them. But now some of these nut cases are in power and can lend credence to these crackpot ideas. And it's a paranoia directed not so much at the government as a whole and more towards one person, Pres. Obama.  

Every time I think the depths of the right's hatred and suspicions of the President cannot go any lower, they go lower still. And after that...

Ted Cruz: Obama To Blame For Baltimore Riots Because He 'Inflamed' Racial Tensions

...still lower.  

Click here for yesterday's blog post on the Baltimore riots. Now I hate to take up for Ted Cruz but he is right on one point: Obama has inflamed racial tensions, just not among black people. No, it's the right wing nut cases that form the base of Ted Cruz's supporters who are all in a tizzy because Obama has the temerity to...well, exist. 

How dare he do that?  

_________________________________

I haven't seen anyone blame Obama for the disaster in Nepal but I'm sure someone will try. (Maybe Pat Robertson?) 

But on a very serious note, the death toll continues to mount in Nepal in the aftermath of Saturday's earthquake. Meanwhile tens of thousands of people remain without shelter, food, water or medicine.  This is the link to Monday's post or you can click direct to this link for info on legitimate agencies that can help.   

In the meantime, be good to one another.  

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Someone Had Better Be Prepared For Rage

Anger.  It's one of those basic emotional states that we're taught early on that we must keep on a short leash. 
  • You must control your anger. 
  • Anger is something you need to resist. 
  • What good does it do getting angry? 
  • Anger leads to despair and defeat. 
  • Don't give in to anger.  
There is, I suppose, good reason to maintain a tight rein on our anger. It's the emotion that can be outwardly and inwardly destructive. Anger is born from an instinctive reaction, not a reasoned response. Anger reflects chaos and anarchy, of devastation and ruin. 

Yet sometimes we need to be angry. Anger is real and when it gets fed by a litany of real and perceived slights, offenses and hurts, there comes a point that anger exceeds our abilities to hold it in. But we tried to hold it in, hold it down. People in a polite and ordered society cannot express themselves through anger, can they? 

Think about what's going on in Baltimore right now. What good has come from the violence, vandalism and looting that has come from the riots that erupted on Monday? What reasonable objective can be accomplished through such displays of rage? The wholesale violence is against the self interests of those who have had their raged stoked.  

But think about this: another word for "angry" is "mad". That's "mad" as in "madness". Therein lies the problem. Anger is madness. There is no rational plan and no rational outcome. Sometimes, as Howard Beale told his viewers in the film Network, you just have to get angry and you have to demonstrate that anger. Beale urged his viewers to throw open their windows and yell to the top of their lungs, "I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore!" 

To be fair, a lot of the rioting can be placed at the feet of thugs* who look to profit from the outrage. Their actions are beyond appalling and do nothing but undermine what I think is a very real problem of badly deteriorating relations between the police and people of color. 

*I loved the story of the thug who was taken down by his own mother, berating him mercilessly for his criminal behavior. 

But take away the thugs and there's still a lot of anger to be addressed. And it's not always possible that anger is going to kept contained. At some point, anger swings to mad which means madness and then....Whoosh! 

Sometimes we have more than we can handle. Sometimes we have to stand more than we should have to stand for. There's a point when the best of us can just give in to madness because, simply put, we're mad as hell and we're not going to take it anymore.

And when that happens, logic is useless, reason has no power. When anger becomes mad, someone had better be prepared for rage

Everyone, try to be extra good to one another. 
______________________________

The closing line "someone had better be prepared for rage" is from perhaps my favorite poem, Once by the Pacific by Robert Frost. Here's a blog post about that from just 1 day shy of two years ago.   

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Batman Vs. Superman

Monday, April 27, 2015

Disaster In Nepal

I'm still trying to wrap my thoughts around the magnitude of the death and destruction in the aftermath of the Nepal earthquake

An earthquake struck Saturday (4/25/2015) at a 7.8 magnitudeAs of Monday (4/27/2015), the death toll is at 3,800 people with another 7,100 among the injured.  That's nearly 11,000 people dead or injured and there's no doubt these numbers will rise before the final count is assessed.  "At the moment, all the death count reports are coming from Kathmandu Valley. Sadly, I fear that this is only the beginning," Oxfam's Nepal Director Cecilia Keizer said in a statement.

Meanwhile there is widespread destruction of houses and other building with men, women and children numbering in the hundreds of thousands left with shelter, food, water and medicine. 

If you're looking ways to offer help to the people of Nepal, click the link to this article which provides information on how to donate to relief efforts through the International Red Cross, the American Red Cross, World Vision, UNICEF and other reputable agencies.  

It's disasters like these that really point out how fragile life can be on this planet and how very important it is to help each other. Everyday we see so much energy used up in useless battles over political and religious ideology, over arbitrary lines dividing us by race, gender and other things that get in the way of what's really important. And what's really important is that we need to make the best of this world and the brief lives we live upon it. And when this world throws at us the worst in disaster and tragedy, we can stand strong together, across lines and boundaries, and help each other. 

More so than ever, please be good to one another. And please keep the people of Nepal in your thoughts and prayers.   

Man, I Feel Like a Woman (?)

I've been following the story of Bruce Jenner coming out as transgender with a changing perspective, from distant bemusement to more serious introspection.  

On one hand, it just seems weird. I mean, the concept of men who see themselves as women has been one of those things that lurk about the edges of our culture. Men dressing as women is seen as a lark, to be played for laughs, like "Some Like It Hot" or "Bosom Buddies". Or those "pageants" that schools or churches will have to raise money for charity. Oh, look at the poor school principal or the church pastor having to do a song in a dress and tights; that is so funny! 

Or its a form of deviancy indulged in by men hanging out in bars and nightclubs off the beaten path from regular society. 

On the other hand, what if it's not just a joke? What if its not just a deviancy? And that's what Bruce Jenner's revelation has forced a lot of people to confront. 

 "For all intents and purposes, I am a woman," Bruce Jenner said in his interview with Diane Sawyer on Friday night. "People look at me differently. They see you as this macho male, but my heart and my soul and everything that I do in life it is part of me, that female side is part of me. That's who I am."

The matter of fact nature that Bruce approaches this topic is a bit disconcerting. Here is a man who calmly expresses that he feels more like a woman than a man. Suddenly the concept of gender identity moves from farce to truth, from strange to...well, a bit less strange.  

I'm a guy and I'm straight. I'm attracted to women. Yet I've never been a guy's guy. I tend to find myself in the company of women more than men. I actually feel more comfortable with women than men. While I have the tendency of most men to look at life as a zero sum equation with a logical conclusion, I also have a tendency to factor in emotional considerations as well. Of course this is playing into broad stereotypes of male and female behavior that are not always evidenced across the board. Yet my own observations of male and female behavior have witnessed a tendency towards those general directions for men and women. 

I used to joke about being a lesbian trapped in a man's body. The basis of that was the idea of being attracted to women while having the "misfortune" of being a decidedly less than trendy straight male. I stopped making that joke when I realized that this could actually be a thing for some people. You know, some people like Bruce Jenner. 

While identifying as a woman, Jenner said he is "sexually attracted to women." Which really throws a monkey wrench in a lot of our preconceptions of what it means to be a man or a woman. For a lot of people, it's a black or white thing, a matter of biology: one has a penis and one has a vagina. The truth that Bruce Jenner is leading us to come to terms with is that its more than a matter of the physical parts we possess. It's more of a state of mind, of how we think. 

No, I am not wrapping up this blog post with a dramatic revelation that I see myself as a woman. No, I'm too lazy to deal with all this body hair. But I think the lesson that I can take from this, that all of us can take from this, is that we are some much more than a binary choice between Column A or Column B. Yeah, it can make the world a more confusing place perhaps.But it makes things a bit more interesting. And better yet, it makes things a bit more true to who we really are.  

Everyone, be good to one another.  

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Doctor Who - The Crucible of Eternity - Episode Four


Hi there and welcome to another episode of my Doctor Who fan fiction, The Crucible of Eternity. The timing of these installments have been a bit...erratic, to say the least so thank you for your patience. 

OK, let's take care of few things. First, the disclaimer! 
























Next up, links to previous installments. 




Finally just a reminder that I write these in script format. If I did these in a formal prose structure, this story would take even longer. Anyway, I hope the format for this fan fiction isn't too weird to follow. 

So enough is enough of that. Let's get started! 


The Crucible of Eternity   
by David Long 
Episode Four  

_____________________________

Scene opens: Jagged lightning breaks up the night sky as sheets of torrential rain pours down, driven by a howling wind. Limned by the flashing lightning are a pair of horses harnessed to a wagon. The horses whinny nervously and buck against the frightening power of the storm. On the back of the wagon is a large object covered by a tarp. Three figures are moving quickly about, hunched over in rain slickers as they avoid the horses and begin to withdraw the tarp. The object is revealed: the TARDIS, lying on its side. 

Cut to black. Then we hear voices.  

Jack (VO): Doc. Tor.

The Doctor (VO): I'm here, Jack! 

Scene shift: early evening, the horizon burns with red and gold as the sun sets.  Gathered outside the around the oak tree is the Doctor, the Master, Clara and Danny. Standing in front of them is Jack Harkness who had been rendered into a zombie state after the Master "killed" him. 

Jack: Bout. Damn. Time. 

The Doctor, the Master, Clara and Danny: What?! 

Jack: Hold. On. Think I can...

Clara: Doctor, what's going on?

The Doctor continues scanning around Jack with his sonic screwdriver. 

The Doctor: A transmission... but from where? Definitely temporal fluctuations in the...

Jack: OK, got it, Doc! 

For the first time in a long time, we see the twinkle in the eye of the Jack Harkness. 

The Doctor: Jack Harkness! What happened? 

Jack takes a look at the Doctor. 

Jack: I could ask the same thing about you! Wow, this regeneration didn't go well at all, huh? 

Jack sees the Master and frowns. 

Jack: What's she doing here? She tried to kill me! 

The Master: No hard feelings, Jack. 

Jack sees Clara and smiles again. 

Jack: Clara Oswald! So good to see you again!*

*Jack and Clara met in my fan fiction from 2013, The Nemesis Who Stole Time. For more info, see the end of today's post.  

Clara: Good to see you, you know, back to your old self. 

Jack: Clara, you look lovelier every time I see you. 

Clara blushes. 

Danny: Ahem! 

Clara: Oh. Oh! Jack this is...this is...uh..

Danny: Danny. 

Clara: Danny Pink, my...my...

Danny: Fiance'. 

Clara: Right, fiance'. I was going to say that.

Jack: A real pleasure to meet you, Danny. Clara's a lucky girl. You're a pretty good looking guy! 

Danny reflexively smiles. 

Danny: Really? Thanks! Wait! What? 

The Doctor: Not now, Jack! 

Jack: I'm just saying hello.

The Doctor: We don't have time for the way you say hello.
  
Jack: Right! I don't know how long I can hold on to this connection.

The Doctor: Where are you? 

Jack: I'm in the Master's Nethersphere, where my consciousness went when she killed me before. 

The Master: Again, no hard feelings, okay? 

The Doctor: She's explained the Nethersphere to me. It's a Time Lord data matrix. 

Jack: I thought it might be Gallifreyan tech. 

The Master: Where is the Nethersphere now, Jack? 

Jack: Where are you? Is this Earth? 

The Doctor: Uh, yes. The year 1887. 

Then Jack stands still, silent. 

The Doctor: Jack? 

Jack: Sorry. Losing the connection. As far as I can tell, the Nethersphere shifted to another dimension, as a safety measure, I think.

The Master slaps her forehead. 

The Master: Idiot! That's why my TARDIS disappeared! It was main wired into the Nethersphere. When the Earth was about to explode, my TARDIS's "MAD" system activated, shunting it and the Nethersphere elsewhere! That's why we couldn't find my TARDIS before, Doctor! 

Jack: I was finally able to hack a database that provided a great deal of information, including the connection of the uploaded consciousness to the body. So I've been working to reach back out to my body and...

Jack is silent. 

The Doctor: Jack! 

The Master: The connection is fading. 

Clara: Jack! 

Jack: Sorry. No time to lose. Doc, when Earth died, there was a major upload into the Nethersphere. About 2, maybe 3 billion...

Jack falls silent again. 

The Master: No, it can't be. 

Clara: Upload? Doctor, is it possible...?

The Master: But it's not possible! 

The Doctor: Hush! Jack?

Jack stirs to life again.

Jack: System straining. Nethersphere is dying. 

The Master: The Nethersphere wasn't designed to download that many minds at one time! 

Jack: Doc. Earth's last chance. To survive. Time is running...

Jack is silent again. 

Clara: Jack! 

The Master: Jack? 

Danny: What's...what's going on? 

Jack's eyes are open wide and unblinking. 

Jack: Ugh. 

The Doctor scans around Jack with the sonic. 

The Doctor: Blast it! The temporal distortion is gone! The connection...

The Doctor lowers the sonic, his expression is crestfallen. 

The Doctor: The connection is broken. 

Clara walks up to Jack and touches his arm. 

Clara: Jack? 

Jack: ...ugh. 

Jack shuffles off away from the oak tree towards the barn. In the evening shadows, everyone stands silent, unsure what to say. Well, except the Master. 

The Master: Well, that was an interesting...

The Doctor, Clara and Danny: Shut up! 

The Master: I...I see. Well, then....I'll just....go....

The Master turns and makes her way towards the farmhouse. 

Clara turns to Danny. 

Clara: Danny, I need a moment with the Doctor...if you don't mind? 

Danny: Sure, no problem. 

Danny leans in and gives Clara quick kiss on the cheek. 

Then he too turns and walks away. 

Clara steps closer to the Doctor and takes his arm. The Doctor looks down at Clara, vaguely uncomfortable with the contact but he doesn't pull away. The last flickers of sunset slowly sink on the horizon. Illumination comes from the windows of the farmhouse behind them and the canopy of stars above them with a full moon rising on the opposite horizon. 

Clara: So, Doctor, what's the plan? 

The Doctor: Plan? Who says I have a plan? 

Clara: You're the Doctor. The Doctor always has a plan. 

The Doctor: I have a hope, Clara. 

Clara: Hope. Hope is good. 

The Doctor: Yeah. I would prefer a plan. 

Clara: You know, Danny thinks that if our children's children's children can act to stop the Master's Cybermen from destroying the Earth...

The Doctor shakes his head. 

The Doctor: No, Clara, the temporal paradoxes of such a plan would...

Clara: It's not a plan, Doctor. It's a hope. 

The Doctor: Hope. Hope is good. 

Clara: Yeah. Doctor, the minds on the Nethersphere, could we...

The Doctor: I'm not sure. Maybe it could mean the salvation of humankind if we could somehow....but I'm not sure.

Clara: We can hope. 

The Doctor: We can hope.  

Clara release her grasp on the Doctor's arm and steps in front of him. 

Clara: Doctor, I need to ask a favor. 

Scene change: morning on the homestead. An wide and expansive blue sky rests over the golden plains of the prairie. And by the oak tree stands the Doctor in his black suit and white button collared shirt. The TARDIS has been wheeled out from the barn and is behind the Doctor.  The Master in her best Mary Poppins outfit is at the Doctor's side. Zombie Jack stands off to the other side. In front of the Doctor are Clara and Danny, both very nicely dressed.  

The Doctor: Since the days of the first wooden vessels, all ship masters have had one happy privilege. That of uniting two people in the bonds of matrimony. We are gathered here today with you, Danny Rupert Pink...

Reaction shot of Danny who grimaces on hearing the name Rupert. 

The Doctor: And you, Clara Eleanor Oswald, as you begin your journey as husband and wife. As our witnesses are a time lost zombie 

Zombie Jack: Ugh. 

The Doctor: And an evil villainess who destroyed the Earth...

The Master: Oh, when are you going to let that go?

The Doctor: We're going to do this a bit differently but, perhaps, most appropriately. 

The Doctor turns to Clara as Clara faces Danny. 

The Doctor: Clara, repeat after me. 'All my love and all my devotion...'

Clara: All my love and all my devotion. 

The Doctor: 'Now and forever more...'

Clara: Now and forevermore.

The Doctor: 'To you I consent and gladly give.' 

Clara: To you I consent and gladly give.

The Doctor turns to Clara as Clara faces Danny. 

The Doctor: P.E., do you agree to all that same stuff?

Clara: Doctor! 

The Doctor: All right, all right. Danny, repeat after me. 'All my love and all my devotion...'

Danny: All my love and all my devotion. 

The Doctor: 'Now and forever more...'

Danny: Now and forevermore.

The Doctor: 'To you I consent and gladly give.'

Danny: To you I consent and gladly give.

The Doctor: I now pronounce you husband and wife. 

Danny and Clara stand there staring at each other, smiling. 

The Doctor waves his arms. 

The Doctor: Go on! Go! The kissing thing! Go do that! 

Danny and Clara passionately embrace and kiss. 

The Master steps close to the Doctor and clutches at his arm. He most definitely does not look happy about that. 

The Master: Oh, I do so love weddings! My last wedding was such a joy! 

The Doctor: I think Lucy Saxton would really be repulsed if she saw you now. 

The Master: I don't know. I can be very persuasive when...

Jack: Doc! 

Danny and Clara stop kissing. They along with the Doctor and the Master turn towards Jack who is once more out of his zombie stupor. 

The Doctor: Jack! 

Jack: Can't...talk long. Nethersphere...system failing....

The Master: No! Not my precious Nethersphere? 

The Doctor (to the Master): Hush! 

The Doctor (to Jack): Jack, the reversion circuit is nearly complete. But we're going to need power! 

Jack: Power...failing here, Doc. 

The Doctor: No, I need power here! The Master says you can access historical data! I need some crucial information. 

Jack: What...information? 

The Doctor: A weather report! 

Abrupt scene change: the beautiful peaceful blue sky is replaced by one churning with dark clouds and sparks of lightning as thunder rumbles over the prairie.  A graphic appears. 

FOUR MONTHS LATER

Against the coming storm we see Jack pushing the TARDIS into place on the back of a wagon while the Doctor runs about the wagon frantically covering the box with a tarp.  The Master is holding the reigns, attempting to steady the anxious horses attached to the wagon. 

The Master: Doctor! We've got to get moving if we're going to get the TARDIS to right coordinates on time! 

The Doctor: Thank you for the extremely unhelpful reminder, Missy!  We should've had the TARDIS in place before now! 

The Master: Jack gave us bad info on this storm! 

Jack (back in zombie mode): Ugh. 

The Doctor: Meteorological data prior to the mid 20th century was not entirely complete! But nothing to be done but get the TARDIS moving now! 

Suddenly, over the roar of the approaching storm, a shout. 

Danny (voice): DOCTOR! 

The Doctor turns and sees Danny standing outside the farmhouse. He looks frantic. 

The Doctor: Not now! We've got to go! 

Danny: IT'S CLARA!  

The Doctor stops moving. 

The Doctor (whispers): Clara. 

Immediately, the Doctor runs towards the farmhouse. 

The Master: Doctor, no! We don't have....! 

The Doctor ignores her as he runs up to the farmhouse and to Danny. 

The Doctor: Clara? 

Danny: It's time, Doctor. 

The Doctor: What?! 

The Doctor pushes past Danny into the house. 

Scene change: Clara is sitting in a chair, clutching her very pregnant belly and breathing hard. 

The Doctor rushes to her and kneels by her side as he retrieves his sonic screwdriver and scans Clara. 

The Doctor: Clara, what's going on?

Clara: I'm in labor. 

The Doctor: You're not in labor. 

Clara: Yes, I'm in labor! 

The Doctor: You can't be in labor! You're not due for two weeks! I did the calculations myself. 

Clara: Doctor, I'm a bit new at this but I think I know when I'M IN LABOR! 

The Doctor checks the readings on his screwdriver. 

The Doctor: Clara, you're in labor. 

Clara: Well, DUH, Sherlock!  

The Doctor: Really, there's no need to be cranky with...

Clara: There is EVERY need to be cranky right now! 

Danny: Doctor! You've got to do something! 

The Doctor: Me? I've got to get the TARDIS re-charged! This is the only chance! Didn't they train you for this...

The Doctor points at the gasping Clara.

The Doctor: ...in soldier school? 

Danny: Well....yeah...sort of. 

The Doctor: What? 

Danny: They tried. I, er, sort of kept...passing out?

Clara: What?!

Suddenly, the Master is at the door, looking frantic. 

The Master: Doctor, if we don't go right now, we'll miss our chance and your TARDIS stays dead forever! 

The Doctor looks around at Clara, Danny and the Master. For a moment, his expression is one of confusion. But only for a moment. Then his expression become one of firm resolve. 

The Doctor: Then there's only one thing I can do.   

Quick scene change: jagged lightning breaks up the night sky as sheets of torrential rain pours down, driven by a howling wind.  This is where we came in as three figures move about the wagon, pulling back the TARDIS which is lying on its side. 

A burst of lightning reveals one of the three people as Danny Pink. 

Danny shouts above the roar of the storm. 

Danny: The horses aren't going to go any further! We've got to put down here! Jack?!

Jack Harkness shambles through the pouring rain towards Danny. 

Jack: Ugh. 

Danny gestures wildly to make his meaning know to the zombie-like Jack. 

Danny: We need to get the TARDIS off the wagon!!

Jack grunts and moves to the other side of the blue box as he and Danny struggle to slide the TARDIS off of the wagon. A third figure stands apart, looking up into the tumult in the heavens above. 

Danny: I know it might be beneath a Time Lord but we could use a little help here. 

The figure turns and in the flare of another lightning bolt, we see that it's the Master.

The Master: I think I prefer "Time Lady", if you don't mind! I'm a bit of an old fashioned girl! I'm sure you big strong men can handle this just fine! 

Danny: Listen up, Missy! We might be in the 1880's but I'm a 21st century guy! Now I'm telling you to get over here and push! NOW! 

The Master looks indignant. 

The Master: And Mr. Pink strikes the first blow against chivalry! 

She approaches the TARDIS on Danny's side as the three of them push on the TARDIS, sliding it off the wagon. With a loud THUNK, the bottom edge of the box strikes the ground. 

Danny: OK, team! Let's gets this damn box upright! 

Grunting and groaning, the three get the TARDIS upright. 
Jack looks up into the torrential rain pouring down on his face.

Jack: Ugh! 

Danny: I know! This storm's only gonna get worse! 

The Master: It better get worse or this isn't going to work! 

The Master puts a key to the lock and the TARDIS doors open. The Master followed by Danny and Jack go inside. 

Scene shift: interior of the TARDIS console room. There is only the barest glimmer of dull illumination with flashes of lightning seen through the TARDIS doorway. 

Danny: OK, Miss Master, get to work! 

The Master: Hey, who made you the boss around here?

Danny scowls at the Master. 

The Master: Oh. Right.  

The Master withdraws a small metal object from a bag and approaches the console. 

Danny gestures to Jack. 

Danny: Jack! We need to get that cable down now. 

Jack: Ugh! 

Danny and Jack go to a corner of the console room and pick up a large coil of metallic cable, taking it over to the console. The Master takes one end of the cable. 

The Master: Thank you! 

The Master hooks the cable to the metal object and then inserts the object into the TARDIS console. 

The Master: And that takes care of this end! Boys? 

Danny retrieves a mechanism that looks like an antennae and begins to attach it to the other end of the cable. 

Danny: Don't know why I'm here! I need to be home with my wife! 

The Master: Oh, Danny, Danny, Danny! You are such a broken record!

Danny snaps the device in place on the end of the cable. 

Danny: Maybe I am! But excuse me for caring about another person! I'm sure you wouldn't know about anything like that. 

The Master: Mister Pink, you wound me! You surely do! 

Danny: Jack! 

Danny and Jack begin pulling the heavy cable across the floor towards the TARDIS entrance.  

The Master: This whole mess started because....well, because I missed...I missed my friend. 

The Master sniffs and dobs at her nose with a handkerchief. 

Danny: Stuff it! Sentimentality doesn't suit you. Now focus! 

Danny and Jack stand at the doorway of the TARDIS, the cable in their hands. The Master stands by them.  

Danny: We only get one chance to get this right! 

Jack: Ugh! 

The Master: This storm's at its peak level of power! On my mark! Five...

Danny and Jack pick up the cable with the device on the end. 

The Master: Four...three...

Danny: C'mon, Jack! I hope you understand me! Ready...

The Master: Two...

Danny: Set...

The Master: ONE! 

Danny: GO! 

Danny and Jack hurl the cable outside the TARDIS doors, the antennae device on the end arcing out in the storm tossed night, trailing the cable behind it. In a split second, the biggest, brightest, most powerful bolt of lightning yet strikes and hits the antennae. Dazzling white hot energy flows back along the cable. 

Danny: Jack! Down! 

Danny shoves Jack down and away from the pulsing energy while the Master throws herself in the opposite direction. The energy crackles along the cable into the TARDIS console where it connects with the other device the Master had affixed to the other end of the cable. 

Danny holds up his hands, trying to shield himself from the blinding light. 

Danny: What's happening? Is it working? 

The Master's face beams with a wide smile. 

The Master: Just watch, Mister Pink! Just you watch! 

Tendrils of glowing white energy extend all over the TARDIS console room and with each touch of this energy, the TARDIS becomes alive. Lights come on, dull and scarred metal becomes bright and shiny, the time rotor begins to turn. The TARDIS is once more alive! 

Jack: Ugh! 

Danny: Wow!

The Master:  The Doctor and I, we make a pretty good team. It's a pity...

Suddenly the Master withdraws her disintegration device, turns and aims it at Danny. 

The Master: We make much better enemies! 

Danny: What the hell? You double crossing-

The Master: Now, now, Mister Pink! Language! Oh, you hurt me so! Why? 

Danny: You're crazy, a total psycho...

The Master: Oh and you keep hurting me! What will ease my pain? I know. 

The Master takes a moment as a wicked grin crosses her lips. 

The Master: Say something nice. 

Scene change: the prairie homestead where our cast have been staying since landing in 1880's America. Here, the storm is a dull distant rumble with a gentle flickering of light across the horizon. In the dimly lit house, the Doctor looks out a window at the distant storm. Near the house, the Doctor can make out the outline of the giant oak tree. 

Behind the Doctor, we hear a murmuring voice. It's Clara, lying in bed. 

Clara (weakly): Doctor? 

The Doctor: I'm here, Clara. 

Clara: How...how is...

The Doctor: She's fine. 

Clara: She? 

The Doctor steps closer to Clara's bed and into the light and we see he's been holding a sleeping baby all along. 

The Doctor: It's a girl. You have a daughter. 

The Doctor gently places the baby in Clara's arms. The baby's tiny fists clench in her sleep. 

Clara: Oh...oh my God! She's....so beautiful. 

A tear runs down Clara's cheek as she gently kisses the baby's head. 

Clara: Welcome to the family, Ellie Pink. 

The Doctor: Ellie? 

Clara: After my mom. Oh, I wish she was here to see this. 

The Doctor: She would be proud of you. I know...

The Doctor steps towards the bed and gently rubs Clara's head. 

The Doctor: I know I'm proud of you. 

Clara's eyes grow wide with joy and tears. 

Clara: Oh Doctor...

The Doctor: No, no, no, no, no! Not the thing with the eyes! Really, stop that! Stop...

Suddenly the scene is interrupted by a noise. 

VWORP! VWORP! VWORP! 

Clara: Oh my God! The TARDIS! 

The Doctor turns towards the noise. 

The Doctor: Clara! Stay here! 

Clara: Trust me, I'm not moving anywhere right now. You, go! 

The Doctor: Right! 

Scene change: exterior of the farmhouse. The storms along the horizon are mere flickers of distant fading lighting on the far off horizon. Above the farm, the night sky is clear with a canopy of stars. The Doctor runs out of the farmhouse as the TARDIS completes materializing. The Doctor stops short as the TARDIS door opens and bright yellow light spills out. Standing in the doorway is Danny Pink.

Danny: Doctor! 

The Doctor: P.E.! 

Danny: Clara! How's Clara? 

The Doctor: She's fine! And so's the baby. 

Danny: The baby! 

The Doctor: Clara's resting with little Rupert now. 

Danny: She...what? Rupert? No! She promised she....

Danny runs off to the farmhouse. 

Danny: CLARA!

The Doctor shakes his head and smiles. 

The Doctor: I do so enjoy winding him up.

The Doctor steps into the TARDIS. 

Scene shift: TARDIS interior, all glowing and rejuvenated. Standing at the console is the Master; she's holding her right hand with her left. In the background, Zombie Jack stands quietly.  

The Doctor: Hello, Missy! Thanks for bringing the TARDIS back. 

The Doctor steps up to the controls while the Master stares coldly at the Doctor. 

The Master: You. Are. Despicable.  

The Doctor manipulates the controls but does not look up at the Master.

The Doctor: Oh really. I have no idea what you're talking about. 

The Master: You know! 

Scene change: flashback to earlier. The Master is holding her disintegrating device on Danny. 

Danny: What the hell? You double crossing-

The Master: Now, now, Mister Pink! Language! Oh, you hurt me so! Why? 

Danny: You're crazy, a total psycho...

The Master: Oh and you keep hurting me! What will ease my pain? I know. 

The Master takes a moment as a wicked grin crosses her lips. 

The Master: Say something nice. 

Danny then smiles. 

Danny: You can be so stone cold stupid. 

The Master: Well, I didn't see that coming. You know what? Enough of these games. Goodbye, Mr. Pink! 

The Master presses a switch on the device but instead of energy shooting forth, electrical sparks dance around the Master's arm. She cries out in pain. She stumbles backward as the device falls from her hand. Danny calmly takes a few steps forward and retrieves the Master's device from the floor. 

Danny: And that's something else you didn't see coming.  The Doctor and I knew you would try something stupid. So he whammied this thing with something he called "reversing the polarity" so it wouldn't work.

Danny aims the device at Master. 

Danny: Well, not for you anyway.   

The Master: Uh oh! 

Danny: Take me back to my wife. NOW! 

Scene change: back to the present. The Doctor is still working the controls of the TARDIS. The Master is still indignant. 

The Master: All the unmitigated gall, to distrust me like that! After all we've been through! 

Jack (voice from off screen): Doc! 

The Doctor and the Master head over to where Jack is shaking off his zombie state again. 

The Doctor: Jack! 

Jack: Doctor, I'm...I'm sorry. 

The Doctor: Sorry? What...? 

Jack: The Nethersphere. The cascade failure is....heaven is dying. 

The Master: No! 

The Doctor: Hold on, Jack! 

The Doctor rushes back to the TARDIS console. 

Jack: Can't...hold on. Nethersphere holding less than a billion minds now. Decay....accelerating...

The Doctor slams down the main lever and the time rotors whirl into motion.

The Doctor: Not if I can help it! 

Scene change: interior of the farm house. Clara is sitting up in bed as Danny gently cradles the baby in his arms. Clara and Danny hear the distinctive sound of the TARDIS: VWORP! VWORP! VWORP! 

Danny anxiously glances towards the window but Clara has eyes only for Danny and Ellie. She leans forward and touches Danny's arm. Danny turns back towards Clara. 

Scene change: exterior of the farm house. We see Clara, Danny and the baby framed in the lighted window as out front of the house by the oak tree, the TARDIS vanishes.  

The Doctor frantically works the controls. 

The Doctor: Need to open up the Helmic regulators! 

The Master rushes to the console. 

The Master: Are you mad? We just got this TARDIS working again! 

Jack: Doc, the database of minds in the Nethersphere...damn it, it's down to 700 million! 

The Master: You're going to destroy it again! 

The Doctor yells at the Master. 

The Doctor: Then shut up and help me! 

The Master exhales in exasperation but approaches the controls. 

The Master: Fine! I suppose you need a temporal differential vector coordinate.  

The Doctor: Vector 0 7 X Delta G 4! And hurry! 

Jack: It's less than 45 million, Doc! 

The Doctor: Blast it, Jack! Do something! 

Jack: I'm just part of the program! I've only been able to get so much control here! 

The Master: Doctor, inputting a level 7 compensation factor! 

The Doctor: Better make it a 9! 

Jack: 3 million. 

The Master: 9?! The TARDIS will blow itself apart! 

The Doctor: The last human minds of Earth are dying! 

Jack: 950,000!

The Doctor: They're the last hope humanity has left! 

The Master: No!

Jack: 230,000! 

The Doctor: It's the only chance to save the future! 

The Master: No, it isn't! 

Jack: 78,000!

The Master: You know what the answer really is! 

Jack: Doc! 

The Master: The Crucible of Eternity! You know what it is! 

The Doctor: No! There has to be another way! 

The Master: No, there isn't! And you've ALWAYS known that! 

Jack: Doc, the whole thing is.....

Suddenly there is a explosion of light from the TARDIS console. 

Scene change: the interior of an ominous chamber. We recognize it from the episode "Dark Water" as the 3W Corporation. The TARDIS materializes. The door opens and the Doctor rushes out followed by the Master and Jack Harkness. 

The Doctor: We made it! Jack, we...

We hear a voice, the voice of Missy echoing through the darkening chamber. 

Missy voice: Our apologies to our valued customers. Currently 3W Corporation is experiencing technical difficulties and is unable to process your loved one at this time. Please try again later. 3W Corporation: for the rest of your life. Message repeat: Our apologies to our valued customers...

The Doctor holds out his sonic screwdriver. One quick trilling noise and the message ends. 

The Master: Now, why did you do that? I do so love the sound of my own voice! 

Jack: Doc.

The chamber continues to get darker. 

The Doctor: Which way to the matrix controls? Time is....

Jack: Time has run out. 

The Doctor turns to Jack. 

The Doctor: No! I'm here! NOW! I can fix this! 

Jack: Sorry, Doc. Cascade failure is nearly complete. 

The Doctor: Nearly? How many minds are left?

Jack: Just one. Mine. 

The Doctor's face is ashen, crestfallen. 

The Doctor: No. 

The Master: Well, at least,let's save you. 

Jack: Oh, that's something, coming from you. 

The Doctor: I hate to admit it but she's got a point. We have your body here. We can download your consciousness back into your body permanently. 

Jack: Yeah, you'd think. But no. 

The Doctor: Why not, Jack? 

Jack: The pattern....is too degraded. I'm not really sure if this is me talking...or just an echo....

The Doctor: I won't give up on you, Jack! I can...

Jack: Doctor....

Jack slowly, stiffly raises his hand to his forehead for a salute. 

Jack: It has been...an honor...to....to....

Jack's arm falls to his side, his eyes go blank. He has returned to his zombie state. 

The Doctor (whispers): Jack?  

The Master: He's gone. I'm...sorry. 

The Doctor slowly walks away from where Jack stands. 

The Master: Whatever gave Jack his immortality is still keeping his body alive but his mind...

The Master stops as she looks about her. All the lights of her empire of death are off now. Meanwhile, the Doctor paces slowly, his fists clenched in rage. And then he throws back his head and screams. 

The Doctor: NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!! 

The darkened halls of 3W echo with the last of his shout of rage.

The Master: Doctor...

The Doctor: No. 

The Master: Doctor, you need...

The Doctor turns on the Master in anger. 

The Doctor: Don't talk to me! You understand? You have nothing to say to me! NOTHING! 

Suddenly we see that the darkness is not quite as dark as it was. There's a glow coming from around a corner. Not saying a word, the Doctor moves towards it. 

The Master follows. 

The Master: Doctor, that light? What...?  

The Doctor: Shut up! 

The Doctor followed by the Master turn a corner. Imbedded in a stone wall is a crack, a jagged crack that glows with an unearthly golden light. 

The Doctor (whispers): Of course. What else? 

The Master: Doctor, do you know what that else? 

The Doctor withdraws his sonic screwdriver and tentatively approaches the crack. 

The Doctor: Yes, I do. 

The Master: What...?

The Doctor scans the crack with the sonic.

The Doctor: Gateway to hell. 

The Master: Oh. So then what...?

The Doctor: Shush! There something....some kind of noise...coming through. 

The Doctor holds the sonic screwdriver next to his ear and he adjust the settings. 

The Doctor: Oh no. 

The Master: Oh no? What's oh no? What are you hearing?

The Doctor has an expression of total and utter hopelessness and fear. 

The Doctor: A message. 

The Master: A message? What's the message. 

The Doctor: One word. 

Our view zooms in on the bright light blazing forth from the crack in the wall and we hear whispers, barely distinguishable at first but getting clearer and clearer. 


Exterminate!
Exterminate!
Exterminate!
Exterminate! 

----to be continued-----


_____________________________


Next time...

  • The moment in time known as the Crucible of Eternity is revealed. 
  • The Doctor has to make a choice that will break both his hearts. 
  • And yes, Daleks. 


Episode Five of The Crucible of Eternity  

______________________________

Earlier in today's episode, I referenced a prior meeting between Clara Oswald and Jack Harkness in a fan fiction I posted in 2013. If you're interested, here are links to those installments. 


Part Seven 
Part Ten
Part Twelve

Part Thirteen


Jerry Lewis, Comic Book Character

This weekend, Jerry Lewis passed away at the age of 91. In his latter years, Jerry became known more for being cantankerous and ill tempered...