Space in Dimension Relative and Time was the fifth story of the Doctor Who: The Eleventh Doctor comic story series. It was the last published in 2014 and the first with the complete TARDIS crew of the series' first year. It was notable for an unusual narrative structure with almost every next page representing the regression of the narrative backward rather than progression forward. It saw the Eleventh Doctor meeting his older self and using ARC as his doppelgänger. The story also featured the first death of John Jones.
The Doctor is the only one who realises that the flow of time in the vortex has been disrupted, but can he uncover the cosmic culprit and put causality back on the right track — before Alice and her fellow TARDIS travellers are de-aged right out of existence?
The Eleventh Doctor and Alice Obiefune dangle their feet in open space sitting within the TARDIS' door. Alice mourns the death of John Jones. She proposes to go back and avert it. The Doctor replies that it is not possible, that life always moves forward.
The Doctor's figure is being sucked out through the open door of the TARDIS. He is barely holding by the TARDIS control console with one hand. At the same time, a massive protective suite is near the console seemingly unperturbed by the decompression. The Doctor's figure moans in the manner characteristic of ARC and manages to pull down a lever. The door begin to close. "ARC is alive," announces the faux Doctor. An inner door opens, and the real Doctor appears at the top of the stairs with Alice, a broken geranium pot lying behind them on the floor. Alice is happy that ARC succeeded and they are out of the Time Vortex. She apologises for hitting the Doctor on the head to save his life. But the Doctor feels that something is wrong. He demands an explanation from ARC, who still looks like him. ARC is confused.
A black vortex is being sucked out of the TARDIS through the open door. The faux Doctor is barely holding by the console. Through a pothole in the inner door Alice watches the TARDIS control room while the Doctor lies on the floor near the broken geranium pot. Alice sees that ARC has been successful in venting the black hole out into space. She shouts that ARC should hit the lever to shut the door. The Doctor comes to and realises that time is running backwards in incremental jumps. As he asks Alice why she knocked him out, he feels another jump back approaching.
A massive figure explodes in the control room all around the faux Doctor. ARC is proud that the deception worked: the figure thought it was absorbing the Doctor, but it was ARC, who just looked like the Doctor, and it proved too much. The splash from the explosion reached all the way to the empty massive protective suit. But ARC does not celebrate for long as the black box of the intruder combines with TARDIS engines and creates a black hole. Alice shouts through the pothole in the inner door that ARC should hit the lever to vent the black hole out into space. Meanwhile the Doctor lies on the floor near the broken geranium pot and realises that he is the only one aware that they are running backwards through time. In fact, in forward time he is unconscious, but is having a secondary "backwards" consciousness. He starts experiencing strange distortions.
In front of the inner door pothole, Alice hits the Doctor on the head with the geranium pot, lamenting that the intruder already killed Jones and she needs to at least save the Doctor. To Alice's surprise, the Doctor is not knocked out and, in fact, happy that the distortions ceased. He is, however, apprehensive about the fate of the geranium, which he was going to call Dave. He explains to Alice that he is using his secondary backwards consciousness, a peculiar Time Lord feature. He needs her help. If the time continues running backwards, it will destroy everything. In addition, in the console room a Nimon, dressed only in a loincloth, is sucking energy from the ARC, thinking it is the Doctor. As if that were not enough, the Nimon has a black hole bomb.
In the corridor, Alice stands over a still steaming pile of ash holding the pot with Dave and urges ARC to turn into the Doctor. The Doctor registers another jump back and figures that they happen at regular short intervals. The ARC turns into the Doctor and explains that he should go to the control room as the Doctor may not survive the black hole temporal forces there. ARC is ready to sacrifice himself just like Jones. As Alice is preparing to hit the Doctor on the head with Dave, he wags a finger at her without even looking. The two copies of the Doctor and Alice crowd around the inner door pothole looking into the control room. There the Nimon in his protective suit is feeding the combined knowledge of the whole of Datastore 8 from the black box to create a black hole in order to destroy the TARDIS and the Nimon homeworld. The Doctor, however, is wondering who is making time go backwards.
In the corridor, ARC and Alice stare at the pile of ash, all that remains of Jones. He just sacrificed his life to save Alice. The Doctor realises they jumped again, for the sixth time. They see the Nimon in the protective suit with his black box heading towards the control room. The Doctor is wondering if he can change things using the fact that he's conscious about the reverse timeline. Testing, he kicks the ashes, which did not happen before. Appalled, Alice slaps him, confirming the success of his test: things can be changed.
In the corridor, standing in the protective suit in front of his black box, the Nimon prepares to suck the energy from Alice to punish her for interfering with his plans. Jones jumps in between them just in time and is turned into the pile of ash. The Doctor appears with ARC and praises Jones' sacrifice.
Alice is running along a TARDIS corridor carrying the black box and bumps right into the Nimon in his protective suit. He knocks her out. Instead of helping Alice, the Doctor grabs the black box and makes a run for it to try and see if the black box is making the time go back.
But after the next jump, the Doctor is running along a different corridor and his hands are empty again. Alice tells the Doctor that the Nimon just got his black box back from Jones, that ARC is going to attack him and she is planning to try and steal the black box. But knowing how it will turn out, the Doctor is more concerned with getting to the control room to get something he needs. The TARDIS is starting to feel the strain.
After the next jump, the physical distortions briefly elongate the Doctor's fingers and a corridor ceiling begins to crumble. The Doctor realises that they are speeding up in the Time Vortex and that these jumps will soon lead to a catastrophe. The Doctor sees Jones sitting on the floor crying. He cowardly dropped the black box and ran at the sight of the Nimon. The Doctor assures Jones he would reclaim himself soon. Feeling the next jump approaching, the Doctor takes the position for sprinting. He will only have a limited time to reach the control room after the jump.
With the jump, the Doctor starts sprinting along corridors. Meeting the Nimon in the protective suit carrying his black box, the Doctor just runs clean past him. Finally, he sees the door to the control room. It is closing, and he cries out asking to hold it.
Another jump, and the Doctor runs face first into the door. He sees the pot with Dave standing nearby. The Doctor notices a slug crawling on Dave and stealing its nutrients. That gives him an idea. He also realises that this jump brought him right into the control room.
Now everyone is on the floor of the control room. ARC is wrestling the Nimon who left his protective suit standing nearby. Alice tells Jones to run away with the black box he is holding. While they are arguing where he should run, the Doctor quickly scans the box with his sonic screwdriver to confirm it has nothing to do with the time reversal. With ARC barely able to hold the Nimon and before the next jump, the Doctor crawls under the console and searches for something hidden under it. The Nimon brags about murdering the entire population of Datastore 8 and plans to visit the same fate upon his own race.
The TARDIS escapes the burning atmosphere of Datastore 8. The Doctor, Alice, Jones, and the Nimon in the protective suit stand in the control room watching on the screen how the whole planet explodes. The Doctor presses a button on a vortex manipulator
The TARDIS is on the surface of Datastore 8, which is beginning to crumble. The Doctor accuses the Nimon of turning up in his temporal armour, which is what his protective suit is, and persuading this highly advanced civilisation of being a god and then sucking all their resources, knowledge and energy dry, all in order to prepare his black hole-creating box to the annihilation of the Nimons. Nimon called the TARDIS to the planet to use the TARDIS engines as an oven to bake the black hole bomb. By the end of this tirade the surface is in flames and the TARDIS crew pleads with the Doctor to dematerialise.
The annoyed Alice is waiting for Jones to vacate the bathroom while he takes forever glamming himself up. The Doctor appears with the vortex manipulator and Dave. ARC rushes in to share the news, but the Doctor already knows. There is a distress call from the dying planet Datastore 8, the lone survivor from which requires saving. The Doctor comes to the conclusion that this is the start and the TARDIS is going to explode and activates the vortex manipulator.
His worst suspicions confirmed, the determined Doctor presses a button on the vortex manipulator. The TARDIS explodes.
This time the Doctor moved forward five leaps. Everyone, including himself from five leaps ago, are in the control room. ARC is wrestling the Nimon. Jones is holding the black box. The older copy of the Doctor tells the Nimon that ARC contains all his top secret knowledge and energy provoking the Nimon to absorb him immediately. Exactly as happened several leaps ago, when the Nimon was absorbing ARC thinking it was the Doctor, this proves too much for the Nimon and he begins exploding. The Doctor activates the vortex manipulator again.
Counteracting the jump back, the manipulator brings the older copy of the Doctor a jump forward, and he can see how the Nimon explodes and praise ARC for playing his part. The younger Doctor guesses that, begin a temporal anomaly, the vortex manipulator is about the only thing that would not disappear after a jump back. He also presumes that now the older Doctor is going to use the Nimon's temporal armour to go outside the TARDIS to find the cause of the time reversal. Alice and Jones can only watch the two Doctors compliment each other on their extreme cleverness.
The Doctor in the temporal armour gets out of the TARDIS and finds a slug-like creature clinging to the outer shell of the TARDIS, which is mid-flight through the Time Vortex. He recognises a Time Vortex leech from ancient Gallifreyan songs. The Doctor moves the leech from the TARDIS to the black box, which contains enough quantum data to serve as a kind of a surf board for the leech to start its journey backwards. Free of the leech, the TARDIS returns back to normal.
When the Nimon descends on Datastore 8 in his temporal armour, the Doctor and the TARDIS crew are waiting for him and tell him to hop it. Datastore 8 is under the Doctor's protection from now on.
- The Doctor mentions coming fourth in a Time Lord Academy Sprint Championship 900 years ago.
- The Doctor states he likes the speed and svelte of a younger incarnation, unlike his first and third incarnations.
- The Doctor has a geranium named Dave. He notices a slug crawling over it.
- The Nimon wants to destroy the Nimon homeworld.
- With the time in the TARDIS running backwards, the Doctor says "wimey... timey..." instead of timey wimey.
- The Doctor can play a violin.
- Jones mentions 'ernia.
- The Nimon thinks that the Doctor has revealed his Achilles heel.
- The time in this story regularly jumps backwards. This effect is also reflected in the format of the story:
- for the first time, pages of the comic are numbered, but the numbers go down;
- "The end." is on the first page while "The beginning" is on the last page;
- the title of the story is the full name of TARDIS, "Time and Relative Dimension in Space", read backward word-by-word;
- the publisher's summary included with the electronic edition starts with a sentence written in the same backward way, "!REVERSE IN GOING IS TARDIS THE INSIDE TIME THAT REALISES DOCTOR THE WHEN STRIKES TERROR"
- This is the only story within the first year of Doctor Who: The Eleventh Doctor to be completely standalone, making no reference to the SERVEYOUinc arc.
- This story features three copies of the Eleventh Doctor, although all three never gather in one place. At some point, two copies of the Doctor from different points in his timeline meet. In addition, ARC transforms into an exact visual copy of the Doctor.
- The corridors of the TARDIS are repeatedly compared to a maze, which is a very appropriate setting for a Minotaur-like Nimon to chase his victims.
Original print details
to be added
- Alice mentions that her mother died recently. (COMIC: After Life)
- After Jones is disintegrated by the Nimon, the Doctor says, "Well done, mate." He would say these same words after the destruction of Handles on Trenzalore. (TV: The Time of the Doctor)
- The Doctor refers to the use of a vortex manipulator as being like a drug addiction. (TV: The Big Bang)
- The Doctor declares the planet and people of Datastore 8 are under his protection. He has and will make similar statements about Earth and Trenzalore. (TV: The Christmas Invasion, The Eleventh Hour, The Time of the Doctor, Flatline)
- When two copies of the Doctor meet, they are quite impressed with and keep complimenting each other. A similar dynamics occurs when two copies of Amy Pond meet. (TV: Time)
- The Fourth Doctor encountered a space amoeba that also caused time reversal inside the TARDIS, that time including the Doctor himself. (COMIC: Timeslip)