Today is Sunday which is when I post Doctor Who stuff here on the blog and today is no exception.
Today is the latest chapter in my fan fiction script, Lifetime Companion. Below are the links to previous episodes.
Here is the disclaimer.
And with that, let's move on with...
Scene opens: the side of a green sloping hill with a large oak tree spreading its branches against a blue sky. A brisk wind is blowing, rustling the leaves and waves the branches. We then hear a familiar sound.
And the TARDIS materializes near the oak tree.
We move closer to the TARDIS as the Doctor exits. There's a solemn expression upon his lined face as the breeze tussles the silver curls on his head.
Our view shifts to see what the Doctor sees, that the hill stands guardian over a cemetery, rows upon rows of grey tombstones in lines across the manicured lawn. The Doctor sighs and closes the TARDIS door.
Our view pulls out as we see the Doctor, his black clad form almost reduced to a silhouette against the clear sky as he passes head stone after head stone. Then we see the figure of another man, a shadow against the light of the sun, standing over one of the grave sites. The Doctor approaches this man.
The Doctor: Toby?
Our view moves in closer to the Doctor and we clearly see the man is Toby Parker, much older than we saw him in the last episode.
The Doctor: Jamal said I would...find you here.
The Doctor casts a glance at the tombstone and the name on it tells the tale: Ellie Carmichael Parker.
The Doctor: Toby, I....I'm sorry.
Toby: Ellie... Ellie was so worried about my health all the time. And then the heart attack came... just out of nowhere and...
The Doctor eyes Toby warily, says nothing.
Toby (looking up to the sky): Our children, it was really hard on them. And the grand kids. They loved Ellie. Everyone did.
Toby lowers his head.
Toby: But none more than me.
The Doctor and Toby stand there in silence as the breeze blows by. Then...
Toby: Doctor, I need to ask a-
The Doctor: No.
The Doctor: I can't.
Toby: Can't? Can't...what?
The Doctor: Bring Ellie back.
Toby stares at the Doctor for a moment.
Toby: You arrogant son of a bitch! I wasn't going to ask that!
The Doctor: Oh.
Toby: 64 years, Doctor! Do you not think I have some idea how this works?
The Doctor: Sorry, I...
Toby: No, I don't expect you to bring her back.
Toby pauses a moment.
Toby: But I do want to see here again.
The Doctor: You want to...?
Toby: On a special day from our past, Doctor. I just want to see her on that special day.
The Doctor: And which day is that, Toby?
Toby: The day that changed everything.
Scene change: grey mists of early dawn cover the scene of a London neighborhood as we hear the sound of the TARDIS arriving.
As our view shifts we see the Doctor and Toby have already exited the TARDIS and walking down the street.
The Doctor: And remember, we're here just to observe.
Toby: I know, Doctor. I know!
The Doctor: We cannot interfere.
Toby: I know, I know!
The Doctor: I mean, the slightest disruption of the time line could...
Toby: I know, Doctor. I know, I know, I know...
Scampering past the Doctor and Toby are school kids and our view shifts to see the sign in front of the neighborhood school: Coal Hill.
Scene change: darkness. Then a door is quickly flung open. It's the Doctor and Toby and as our view expands, we see they are in the caretaker's work shop.
Toby: Doctor, what are doing...?
The Doctor: Look, if you want a ring side seat to history, we need to dress appropriately.
The Doctor opens a closet and pulls out a couple of pairs of coveralls and throws one to Toby.
The Doctor: Here! Put this on.
Toby: I don't see why...
The Doctor: We can't just be a couple of old men wondering around the school. I'm sure that may be questioned or frowned upon. We need to look like we belong here.
Quick scene change: the Doctor is now in his coveralls. He puts on a cap for a finishing touch.
The Doctor: OK, now we're ready to go mingle with history. Oh, we should take mops. Oh, the spillages in this place. And the sinister....;
The Doctor notices Toby who is also dressed in his coveralls with a cap on his head. Toby's staring at himself in a mirror.
The Doctor: Puddles. Toby, are you...?
Toby: It's just...strange, Doctor. I thought, when I saw myself in the mirror, I had seen...that man before.
The Doctor: Probably this morning, Toby, when you were shaving. C'mon!
The Doctor and Toby exit the caretaker's work room and proceed down a hallway.
Toby: So we've timed this out right?
The Doctor: Of course, I have. When have I ever let you down?
The Doctor: Rhetorical question, Toby. No, this is the day you asked for, the day you met Ellie.
Toby: Oh, I was so young then. All arms and legs, clumsy as all get out.
The Doctor: As I recall, you had just comported yourself pretty well with a sword against a horde of chemically animated zombies.
Toby: Maybe so but all I could think about was that damn history test and rushing to get there on time because of that busted...
The Doctor and Toby reach the main atrium of the school where students are passing through with no problem. The headmaster is keeping watch with a stern expression on her face.
Toby: Water fountain? Doctor...
The Doctor: I know but be patient. Our earlier selves aren't due to arrive for many more...
From a distance, we hear a familiar sound.
The Doctor: ...seconds? Uh oh.
Toby: Doctor, what's happening? If the water fountain's not broken, I cut right through the main hall and I don't meet...
The Doctor: I know, I know!
Toby: So, what....?
The Doctor and Toby see the Doctor and younger Toby exiting from the TARDIS!
The Doctor: Oh, I can't believe this!
Toby: Doctor, we're getting closer and the water fountain...
The Doctor surreptitiously slips his sonic screwdriver out of his overalls.
The Doctor: Oh, I can't resist a good old fashioned temporal paradox, can I?
The Doctor slyly aims the screwdriver at the water fountain. After a trilling noise from the sonic, the water fountain explodes in geysers of water. School kids begin screaming and shouting. The Headmaster is incensed.
Headmaster: What? No! No, this won't do! Children,settle down immediately! This just won't do!
Toby: What just happened? Doctor, what do we do?
The Doctor lifts up his mop as if presenting a sword.
The Doctor: Have mops, will travel. C'mon, Toby, lets get to caretaking!
The Doctor followed by Toby hurries up and pushes past the gathered kids to the water catastrophe.
The Doctor: Don't worry, ma'am! We'll get this storted!
The Doctor reaches to shut off the valves to the fountain while Toby begins to mop up the water.
Headmaster: Well, you better! We're just at the beginning of the school day and children have tests and...well, this won't do!
Then over the cacophony of kids voices, we hear a specific young boy's voice and older Toby can't help but look up and over in the direction of that voice.
Young Toby (VO): Still, if I cut through the main hall, I just might...uh oh!
Our view shifts as see young Toby followed by the black suited Doctor entering the main hall. While coveralls Doctor and old Toby are surrounded by curious students, the Headmaster stands there with her hands on her hips and a stern expression on her face.
Headmaster: This simply won't do! It just won't!
Toby is startled out of his revelry as he realizes the Headmaster is talking to him.
Old Toby: We're doing what we can, ma'am!
Headmaster: What you can do is not sufficient! This is a major disruption of the school! It just won't do!
Old Toby: Sorry ma'am.
Headmaster: It simply won't do!
Young Toby tries to push on through but the Headmaster stops him.
Headmaster: You can't go this way, Mr. Parker.
Young Toby: But...but my history exam...
Headmaster: This way is not safe!
Young Toby: But....
The glare from the Headmaster's eyes make it plain young Toby will not win this argument. He looks up at black suit Doctor who is grinning.
Young Toby (snappish): Oh shut up!
Anxiously, Young Toby looks down another hall way.
Toby: Maybe if I cut past the science classes.
Young Toby hurries off.
Headmaster: And no running, Mr. Parker.
For a few feet, Young Toby holds himself to a brisk walk then he starts to run.
The Headmaster turns towards black suit Doctor.
Headmaster: Who are you?
Black suit Doctor: Me? Oh, I'm...
Headmaster: Weren't you the caretaker?
Black suit Doctor: Ex-caretaker. I was bounced by the National Association of Caretakers. They took my brush. Oh, look! Time for me to go.
Before the Headmaster can pursue this further, the Doctor makes a quick exit. From the area of the water disaster, coveralls Doctor looks up at the departing black suit Doctor.
As the two men continue to clean up the mess from the exploded water fountain, Old Toby nudges the Doctor.
Old Toby: Doctor, did we just....?
The Doctor: Yep.
The Doctor slaps Toby on the shoulder.
The Doctor: We didn't just witness history. We made it!
Old Toby looks wistfully down the hallway.
Old Toby: Right now, Ellie...
The Doctor: Is calling you an idiot.
The Doctor pokes Toby with the mop.
The Doctor: Now, go.
Old Toby: What?
The Doctor: I've got this under control. Go see what you came to see.
Old Toby: Right.
Old Toby smiles and saunters off down the hall. The Doctor watches him for a moment, allowing a smile to cross his face. He doffs his cap to wipe his brow. Then we hear a voice.
Headmaster (VO): Excuse me...
The Doctor turns and sees the Headmaster, her face reflecting a confused expression.
Headmaster: I thought you said you weren't the caretaker anymore.
The Doctor: Well, obviously I am. John Smith, caretaker. I have a mop. See?
The Doctor holds up his mop.
Headmaster: But...I just saw you... in a black suit.
The Doctor: Ah yes. That... that was my evil twin.
The Doctor: Oh yes, absolutely. Constant problem with caretakers, truth be told.
Headmaster: Evil identical twins....
The Doctor: Identical? No! He has angry eyebrows. Mine are funny!
The Doctor waggles his eyebrows a bit.
At the moment, black suit Doctor staggers in, oblivious to the Headmaster and coveralls Doctor.
Black suit Doctor: Toby!
The black suit Doctor staggers off down the hall where young Toby had run down earlier.
Headmaster: OK, this will not do! I must get to the bottom of this.
Coveralls Doctor sighs.
The Doctor: Oh sure, make this difficult. Excuse me, Miss Headmaster Person.
The Headmaster turns back towards coveralls Doctor who suddenly leans into towards the Headmaster. The Doctor's eyes are wide.
The Doctor: You must listen to me.
Headmaster: I must listen to you?
The Doctor: You must...listen...to me.
Headmaster: I must listen to....you?
The Doctor: You must listen to me.
Headmaster is getting increasingly relaxed.
Headmaster: I must listen...to...you.
The Doctor: Yes, listen to me.
Headmaster: Listen to you.
The Doctor: You need to go to your office, have a cup of tea...
Headmaster: To office...have tea...
The Doctor: Yes, go do that.
Headmaster: Do that.
The Headmaster moves very calmly away from the Doctor down a different hallway.
Headmaster: That will do...quite nicely.
The Doctor scoffs.
The Doctor: Pudding brains.
Scene change: empty class room except occupied by Ellie, young Toby and black suit Doctor.
Ellie: Is he...drunk?
The Doctor: Hey, I'm not as think as you drunk I am!
Young Toby: It's the antidote he took.
The Doctor: Good stuff, too! My compliments to the doctor who made it!
As this conversation proceeds, we our perspective shifts as we move out of the room.
Ellie: Toby, part of me is really curious about who this man is and part of me is thinking I'm better off not knowing.
Young Toby: Yeah, it's kinda complicated and I'm not sure how much I tell because...
The Doctor: I'm a Time Lord from the planet Gallifrey!
Toby: ...it's supposed to be a secret.
We are to the doorway, moving away from this trio. Outside the doorway is old Toby leaning against a wall, smiling, listening to this conversation.
The Doctor (off screen): Your girlfriend is very pretty!
Old Toby shakes his head.
Young Toby (off screen): No, she's not.
Ellie (off screen): I'm what?
Young Toby (off screen): I mean, pretty, of course I mean, yes, she's pretty, I guess, I mean, of course she is if I were to notice something like that which I didn't, I mean, yes, I noticed she was pretty.....
Old Toby (to himself): God, I was so dumb.
Young Toby (off screen): ...but I'm not saying I think she's pretty but objectively well, yeah, duh but that's really not my place to say, I just wanted to make clear that she's my girlfriend...NOT my girlfriend...
Old Toby laughs to himself.
Young Toby (off screen): ...I meant to say NOT my girlfriend. So yes she's pretty, you could say, I'm not saying that, I'm...
Ellie (off screen): Slick save there, buster. Better stop while you're behind.
Old Toby (softly): Even then, Ellie, darling, so smart...
Old Toby closes his eyes and we see...
Young Toby and Ellie sitting at a table, eating chips.
Ellie: So the Doctor has this box....
Young Toby: That's bigger on the inside....
Scene change: the Doctor, Toby with Ellie (slightly older) in the TARDIS.
Ellie (in awe): ...than it is on the outside! Wow! I can't....
Scene change: Toby and Ellie (slightly older), outside in the rain.
Ellie: ...believe you want to end this! I thought we loved each other!
Toby: Ellie, you deserve better, better than I can give. And...
Scene change: crowd of people including Toby's mom Claire applauding Toby and Ellie (older)
Ellie: ...we're getting married!
Ellie (waving her engagement ring on her finger)
Claire: Well, it's about damn time!
Ellie and Toby hug and kiss.
Toby: Oh, Ellie! I'm...
Scene change: Toby and Ellie (older) on the edge of a bed, she's holding his hands.
Toby: Oh my God! We're going to have...
Scene change: Toby cradling a baby, showing it to a little girl. Ellie is in bed looking on.
Toby: ...a baby brother, Katy.
Young Ellie (VO): Mister? Hello?
Scene change: back in the hallway at Coal Hill, Old Toby is startled out of his reverie by young Ellie coming out of the classroom.
Old Toby: Huh? What?
Ellie: Are you OK? You looked...
Old Toby: Ah, just...tired. That's all. Nothing...nothing...
Old Toby looks at young Ellie's face and momentarily sees her as her older self but still kind and caring. Then Old Toby snaps back.
Old Toby: Nothing to worry about.
Ellie: Still, maybe you should see the school nurse or something.
Old Toby: Maybe I will.
Ellie looks at Old Toby a moment.
Old Toby: Is something the matter?
Ellie: Don't I know you...from somewhere?
Old Toby: I don't think so.
Ellie: Hmm! Take care of yourself.
Old Toby: You too.
Ellie turns and walks away.
Old Toby (whispers): You too.
At that moment, a young man pushes past. Old Toby is startled to see...Young Toby 2.
Young Toby 2: Oops! Sorry sir!
Old Toby turns as he watches Young Toby 2 dash into the doorway of the classroom. From outside, Old Toby hears the following.
Young Toby 2 (off screen): Hi!
Young Toby and the Doctor (off screen): What?
Old Toby shakes his head.
Young Toby 2 (off screen): Look, can't talk long...
Young Toby (off screen): Wait, is that me?
Old Toby (to himself): Oh, this is getting too damn confusing.
Old Toby starts to walk up the hallway back to the main hall. Behind him he hears...
Young Toby 2 (off screen): Sorry! Must dash!
Young Toby 2 runs out of the class room. Old Toby turns around and shouts.
Old Toby: Hey, young man!
Young Toby 2 stops.
Old Toby: No running in the halls!
Young Toby 2 pauses a moment and looks at Old Toby a second as if he recognizes....then he shakes his head.
Young Toby 2: Sorry, sir.
Young Toby 2 heads off at very brisk walk in one direction. Old Toby proceeds in the opposite direction, chuckling to himself.
Scene change: exterior of the TARDIS in the back yard of Toby's house.
Scene change: front exterior of Toby's house. The Doctor and Toby are sitting on the front porch, drinking tea. It's a beautiful day with the sun bright in a cloud dappled blue sky. Birds are chirping and across the street, children are playing. The Doctor and Toby sit quietly enjoying the view.
Toby: I imagine you're getting quite bored.
The Doctor: Bored?
Toby: Just sitting here with....all this. Hardly a super nova or a nebula.
The Doctor: No, it's not but in many, many ways, all of this... much more miraculous.
Toby: Doctor... I asked you years ago...many years ago, what would happen to the chronovirus inside of me...when I die.
The Doctor clears his throat, looks vaguely uncomfortable.
Toby: I'm older now, much older now. Maybe I live another year. Or 10. Or who knows, I live past 100. But sooner or later...
The Doctor: Toby...
Toby: Sooner or later, I will need to know the answer to that question.
The Doctor sets down his tea cup, signs and gets out of his chair. He stands at the railing for the front porch and looks out over the serene tableau of domestic life in front of him.
The Doctor: Toby, when the chronovirus enters a human body, it devours that person's future. It eats time. It consumes all the time between a person's present and their inevitable death.
<Flashback to Episode One: the poor hapless police officer who was infected with a chronovirus.>
Toby: Just the dumb luck of the bug that got in me, it got a kid with terminal cancer. I didn't have much of a future for it to consume.
<Flashback to Episode One: 8 year old Toby surrounded by a strange green alien glow, the Doctor, Claire and others about the boy as he lay on the ground.>
The Doctor: Outwardly, you were a healthy 8 year old boy but the cancer was metastasizing very quickly. You were within 2 weeks of that cancer claiming your life. Not enough energy for the chronovirus to fully feed. It would've escaped and found other victims if I hadn't....
The Doctor's head hangs down, as if ashamed.
Toby arises from his chair and stands next to the Doctor.
Toby: If you hadn't locked it inside me.
The Doctor: Yeah.
Toby: But it saved my life!
The Doctor: Completely unintentional. I had... no idea of the side effect keeping the chronovirus in your body would have on your cancer. Shunting it ahead in time out of sync with your body.
Toby: My mom thought I was cured. She was so grateful. Then when she found out the truth...
The Doctor: That you are within 2 weeks of dying of cancer and you have been for the last 64 years.
Toby: Yeah, that was hard for her to accept. I have to confess, that's been hard for me to live with sometimes. Knowing that the cancer is still there.
Toby looks out over the front lawn.
Toby: You know, Doctor, today we made history. My history. And we weren't even trying to. I guess, sometimes we make our futures the same way.
Toby quietly returns to his chair.
Toby: But you still haven't answered my question, Doctor. What happens when I die?
The Doctor: The chronovirus dies with you.
Toby: As simple as that?
The Doctor: As simple as that.
The Doctor still standing and Toby sitting in his chair are silent for a moment.
Toby: You know I don't believe you.
The Doctor turns to face Toby.
Toby: If it was a simple as that, I don't believe you would've made the trip to make sure the lock on this prison was secure for the last 64 days.
The Doctor: Days? You mean years.
Toby: For me, years, yes. For you, days. Last year for me was yesterday for you. And if you didn't want me to figure that out, you should change your shirts more often.
The Doctor laughs.
The Doctor: You're getting too clever in your old age.
Toby: Old age, nothing. I caught wise to that when I was 16. So Doctor, the chronovirus. When I die...
The Doctor fixes his gaze on Toby.
The Doctor: The chronovirus dies.
The Doctor begins to step away.
The Doctor: I best be getting on my way.
Toby rises from his chair.
Toby: Yeah, Katy and Patrick are bringing over the grandkids. To be honest, this house is way too big for me now. But I can't bear to part with it. Too many memories and a lot of room for the kids to play.
The Doctor: One can't dismiss the importance of having enough room. And memories.
Toby stretches out his hand, the Doctor takes it and they shake hands.
Toby: Doctor, I may not always believe you. But I do believe in you.
The Doctor: I believe in you too, Toby.
The Doctor starts to leave down the steps while Toby remains on the porch.
The Doctor: Yeah?
Toby (grinning): See you... tomorrow?
The Doctor pauses and smiles.
The Doctor: Yeah.
Scene change: the Doctor walking around the side of the house to the back yard where the TARDIS is parked. The Doctor enters.
Scene change: interior of the TARDIS. The Doctor closes the door behind him and pauses a moment.
The Doctor: Tomorrow.
The Doctor makes his way to the console. He pulls down the lever and the time rotors begin to turn. Then the Doctor turns his attention to a monitor screen. Along the top part of the screen is a gagged white line with random photos of Toby from age 8 to age 72. The jagged white line is moving left to right and ever downward. The bottom half of the screen is a graph with a red jagged line that also moves downward left to right. The Doctor taps the screen and the two graphs merge. The white line and the red line are converging, meeting at the end.
The Doctor: Of course.
The Doctor turns off the monitor. The Doctor's face is forlorn as it's reflected in the dark monitor screen.
Next Sunday is another Doctor Who post as I present the next installment of Lifetime Companion.
Between now and next Sunday, there's going to be some rather absurd nonsense appearing on this blog.
Remember a month or so back, Beyonce teased a project called Lemonade and then released a new album that defied all expectations and changed how we thought about Beyonce and music itself?
For the last week, I've been teasing my own special blog project and tomorrow, it begins. And it will change the way you think of me and of blogging itself!
Well, not really. But it provides content while I take some time off from the blog.
So here it comes...