“Waste no more time arguing what a good man should be. Be one.”
07700 900 461: Take a look at your phone and confirm who you’re talking to.
MCGILLOP: But that’s not possible; I was just – -
07700 900 461: You were just talking to me, I know. I’m a time traveller: you figure it out. I need you to send the Gallifrey Falls painting to the Black Archive. Understood?
MCGILLOP: Understood, sir… But why would I take it there?
GALLIFREY. THE LAST DAY OF THE TIME WAR.
The War Council of Gallifrey deliberates their next move, as the Daleks focus their attack on the capital city. The Sky Trenches are holding, but for how much longer?
There’s a breach in the Time Vaults, the Omega Arsenal, where just one weapon remained: The Moment. “The final work of the ancients of Gallifrey,” the General explains. “A weapon so powerful, its operating system became sentient. According to legend, it developed a conscience.”
“And we’ve never used it?” Androgar asks.
“How do you use a weapon of ultimate mass destruction when it can stand in judgement on you?” the General explains “There’s only one man who would even try.”
The Moment has gone.
Time Lords of Gallifrey; Daleks of Skaro. I serve notice on you all. Too long I have stayed my hand. No more. Today, you leave me no choice. Today, this war will end. No more.
The War Doctor walks for miles, far away from the TARDIS, The Moment slung over his shoulder in a bag. He eventually gets to his intended location: a barn in the middle of nowhere, where he shall make his stand. There, a Bad Wolf appears. The Moment’s conscience. “I chose this face and form especially for you,” the somehow-familiar stranger says. “It’s from your past – or possibly your future. I always get those two mixed up… I think I’m called Rose Tyler.” She reconsiders: “No, no – in this form, I’m called Bad Wolf.”
She warns that if he does this, his punishment is to survive – and one day, he shall count the number of children on Gallifrey the day it burns. “Do you want to see what that will turn you into?” The air rips apart above them, a tear in space-time. “I’m opening windows on your future, “The Moment says.”A tangle in time through the days to come; to the man today will make you.”
And then a fez falls through the tear.
The Tenth Doctor rushes through a glade on a horse… with Queen Elisabeth I. They settle down for a picnic and a quick proposal of marriage (which the Queen graciously accepts), and then the Doctor announces that she’s actually a shape-shifting alien called a Zygon.
It takes him a few moments, but he twigs that the Queen is, in fact, the Queen, and it’s the horse that is a Zygon. “I’m going to be King…” the Doctor realises, and the pair run.
The two get separated, however, and when the Doctor finds the Queen again – there are two of her. Before he can figure out which is the Zygon, a rip in time appears above them.
First, a fez falls through… and then the Eleventh Doctor!
“Hello, ladies!” the bow-tie-wearing alien addresses the Queens. The two Doctors argue and the Tenth explains that one Queen is a Zygon.
“Elizabeth, whichever one of you is the real one, turn and run in the opposite direction to the other one,” he says, and – after a kiss or two – they run.
Clara’s voice echoes through the tear in time: “Who are you talking to?”
“Myself,” the two Doctors yell, grinning.
“Can you come back through?” Kate Stewart asks.
“Physical passage may not be possible in both directions,” the Eleventh Doctor explains. “Hang on! Fez incoming!” And he throws it through the rip.
It doesn’t arrive in the Under Gallery; instead, a new owner (or the same owner, perhaps) returns it, as the War Doctor jumps through the time tunnel. He initially doesn’t believe these two youngsters are him, but after a display of their sonic screwdrivers, they finally convince him.
“Which of you is the Doctor?” asks Bentham, one of the Queen’s guards suddenly enters the clearing, followed by his peers. “The Queen of England is bewitched; I would have the Doctor’s head.”
One of the Queens returns and instructs her men to arrest the three Doctors and lock them in the Tower of London – which seems to rather please the Eleventh Doctor…
The three Time Lords are shoved into a cell, and the Eleventh Doctor immediately gets to work, carving numerals into a stone column. “In theory,” the War Doctor says, looking at the jail door, “I can trigger an isolated shift among the molecules, and the door should disintegrate.”
“We’d have to calculate the exact harmonic resonance of the entire structure down to a sub-atomic level,” the Tenth Doctor counters. “Even the sonic would take years.”
Unbeknownst to Doctors Ten and Eleven, the War Doctor is haunted by The Moment. “Ask them,” she tells him. “Ask them what you need to know.”
He asks them if they ever counted how any children there were on Gallifrey the day it burnt. “I have absolutely no idea,” the Eleventh Doctor insists.
“2.47 billion,” the Tenth says, and is appalled that, in 400 years’ time, he would’ve apparently forgotten.
“They’re you,” The Moment says to the War Doctor. “They’re what you become if you destroy Gallifrey: the man who regrets… and the man who forgets.”
And then she tells him about the sonic screwdriver. It’s the same software, but in a different case. By scanning the door now and planting the calculation as a permanent subroutine in the sonic, the result should be computed by the time the Eleventh Doctor is in this cell. 400 years in 4 seconds. They can open the door.
And it does open. Clara bursts through. It wasn’t locked.
The Black Archive will self-destruct in less than five minutes and the Tower is TARDIS-proof. The Doctor can’t land to stop the countdown. Until he thinks about the Stasis Cubes: Time Lord art, a frozen instant in time. Following a quick wedding, the three of them (plus Clara) hide in Gallifrey Falls, the 3D painting of Arcadia on the last day of the Time War.
Thanks to a phone call to McGillop, Gallifrey Falls is placed in the Black Archive, and the Doctors, alongside Clara, climb out. They’re confronted with two Kates, two Osgoods and two McGillops. Humans and Zygons – but which is which?
The countdown is keyed to Kate’s voiceprint, but with one halting it, and the other countermanding it, they’re at a stalemate.
“You’re about to murder millions of people,” the War Doctor warns.
“To save billions,” Kate retorts. “How many times have you made that calculation?”
“Once,” the Tenth Doctor says.
“And because I got it wrong,” the Eleventh Doctor takes up,” I’m going to make you get it right… So for the next few hours, until we decide to let you out -”
“- no one in this room will be able to remember if they’re human –”
“- or Zygon.”
They activate the memory filters in the Black Archive, and both sides, their agendas now unknown, cancel the detonation, and are forced to negotiate the most perfect treaty of all.
Peace in our time.
While negotiations go on, Clara introduces herself to the War Doctor. She tells him that her Doctor always talks about the day he wiped out the Time Lords to stop the war.
“You wouldn’t,” she says. “Because you haven’t done it yet. It’s still in your future… He regrets it. I see it in his eyes every day. He’d do anything to change it.”
“How many worlds has his regret saved, do you think?” he asks. “How did you know?”
“Your eyes: you’re so much younger.”
“Then, all things considered… It’s time I grew up.” He then tells The Moment that he’s ready, and disappears.
Back in the barn, The Moment has opened up, a big red button at its heart. “Those men… Extraordinary,” the War Doctor says.
“They’re you,” The Moment assures him.
“No. They were the Doctor.”
“You’re the Doctor too.”
“No. Great mean are forged in fire. It is the privilege of lesser men to light the flame – whatever the cost.”
Two TARDISes appear behind him and out step Doctors Ten and Eleven, followed by Clara.
“You were the Doctor on the day it wasn’t possible to get it right,” the Eleventh Doctor tells him.
“But this time – ” the Tenth Doctor says, putting his hand over the War Doctor’s.
” – You don’t have to do it alone.” The Eleventh Doctor joins hands with them, all three now resting on the red button.
But The Moment has one more thing in store for them: Gallifrey ripples around them, a projection of the children screaming and crying. They stand at the heart of Arcadia, the war raging around them.
A long time ago, the Doctor made a promise, taking up the name ‘Doctor’:
Never cruel or cowardly.
Never give up. Never give in.
Back in the barn – and the Doctor has changed his mind.
The Moment closes, the red button vanishing.
“There’s still a billion billion Daleks up there, attacking,” the War Doctor says.
But there’s something those Daleks don’t know: this time, there are three of them. And they all have the same thought…
Clara: So what are we doing? What’s the plan?
War Doctor: The Dalek fleets are surrounding Gallifrey, firing on it constantly.
Tenth Doctor: The Sky Trench is holding – but what if the whole planet just disappeared?
Clara: Tiny bit of an ask.
Tenth Doctor: The Daleks would be firing on each other. They’d destroy themselves in their own crossfire.
War Doctor: Gallifrey would be gone, the Daleks would be destroyed, and it would look to the rest of the universe as if they’d annihilated each other.
Clara: But where would Gallifrey be?
Tenth Doctor: Frozen. Frozen in an instant of time, safe and hidden away.
Eleventh Doctor: Exactly -
War Doctor: – Like a painting!
The War Council of Gallifrey gets a message from the Doctor: GALLIFREY STANDS.
Projections from three TARDISes come through: the three Doctors, explaining their plan. They propose flying their TARDISes into Gallifrey’s lower atmosphere, positioned at equidistant intervals, and freezing the planet and all its inhabitants in a single moment of time – held in a parallel pocket universe.
“The alternative is burning,” the Eleventh Doctor explains.
“And I’ve seen that.”
“And I never want to see it again.”
The calculations would take hundreds of years – but don’t worry, the Doctor started a long time ago.
The First Doctor: “Calling the War Council on Gallifrey: this is the Doctor.”
TARDISes materialise all around the planet, projections from all twelve Doctors appear around the Council.
No – all thirteen!
The Daleks increase their fire. But the Doctor is ready.
“Oh, for God’s sake. Gallifrey stands!”
Gallifrey disappears and a huge explosion echoes across the universe, the Daleks obliterated.
THE UNDER GALLERY, 2013.
The three Doctors look at Gallifrey Falls as they sip tea, Clara sitting behind them admiring the sight of three TARDISes lined up next to one another.
No one knows how the painting got to Earth, and the title certainly isn’t very encouraging. Furthermore, the time streams are out of sync, so the War Doctor won’t remember that he tried to save Gallifrey, not destroy it. “But for now,” he concludes, “for this moment, I am the Doctor again. Thank you.”
He heads back into his TARDIS and it dematerialises. Inside, his hands start prickling with light, his cells on fire. “Suppose it makes sense – wearing a bit thin,” he says, the glow spreading across his face. “I hope the ears are a bit less conspicuous this time…”
And he regenerates!
Back in the Under Gallery, the Tenth Doctor goes to leave, but asks his successor where it is they’re heading, seen as he won’t retain the memories either. “I saw Trenzalore, where we’re buried,” the Eleventh Doctor tells him. “We die in battle among millions.”
Giving Clara a kiss, the Tenth Doctor heads to his TARDIS, but turns back, just for a second and says: “Trenzalore. We need a new destination because… I don’t want to go.”
And his TARDIS, too, dematerialises.
Clara goes to leave the Doctor alone with his thoughts, but then remembers: “Oh, by the way, there was an old man looking for you. I think he was the curator.” She goes.
“I could be a curator,” the Doctor mutters. “I’d be great at curating. I’d be The Great Curator. I could retire and do that. I could retire and be the curator of this place.”
“You know, I really think you might.”
He turns to see the Curator, an old man with ancient eyes and sparkling intelligence.
“I never forget a face,” the Doctor says in wonder.
“I know you don’t, and in years to come, you might find yourself revisiting a few, but just the old favourites, eh?”
A smile passes between them.
The Curator focuses his attention on the painting, the painting with two names. But no. “That’s where everybody’s wrong,” the Curator explains – because hindsight is a wonderful thing. “It’s all one title: Gallifrey Falls No More.”
It seems that what the Doctor did worked. Gallifrey is still out there, frozen. “Is that what I’m supposed to do now; go looking for Gallifrey?” the Doctor asks.
He gets an enigmatic answer, of course, from the enigmatic man. “Who knows? Who – knows?” And the Curator leaves.
Clara sometimes asks me if I dream.
‘Of course I dream,’ I tell her. Everybody dreams. ‘But what do you dream about?’ she’ll ask. ‘The same thing everybody dreams about,’ I tell her: ‘I dream about where I’m going.’ She always laughs at that: ‘But you’re not going anywhere, you’re just wandering about.’
That’s not true. Not anymore. I have a new destination. My journey is the same as yours; the same as anyone’s. It’s taken me so many years, so many lifetimes, but at last I know where I’m going. Where I’ve always been going…
Home, the long way round.
NEXT TIME: “ELEVEN’S HOUR IS OVER NOW; THE CLOCK IS STRIKING TWELVE’S.”