- You may wish to consult
time machine (disambiguation)for other, similarly-named pages.
Publisher's summary[edit | edit source]
The scientist and his assistant believe they are making history, little suspecting that the project's completion will threaten the existence of the entire universe. But someone has sensed the danger, and when the mysterious Doctor arrives, Alice is taken on a desperate race from libraries and dreaming spires all the way to the nightmare world of Earth's future.
The monstrous Creevix are coming. They seek control of time itself and are certain that the Doctor is already too late to stop them. But can the key to saving the future lie in the Time Lord's past lives?
Plot[edit | edit source]
November 23, 2013: Alice Watson is late for an appointment at Oxford. In her rush, she bumps into a young man in a bowtie. In a nearby lab, Professor Chivers is at work on his device while he waits for Alice; on his desk sits a smoky, glassy cube—a Time Lord hypercube, though he doesn't know it. The cube has given him, and continues to give, instructions for the construction of the machine—and the voice it uses is Chivers' own. As Alice arrives, she meets the man in the bowtie again, who introduces himself as the Doctor. She thinks he is from Cambridge (or possibly Yale or Osaka), and he plays along, claiming to be from St. Cedd's, class of 1980. She accompanies him to meet Chivers, and see his machine... his time machine.
The Doctor asserts that the machine should not exist. He notes the hypercube, which Alice describes as a communication device. He warns her that the machine is impossible, and should scare her. Chivers joins them; the Doctor says he is here to dismantle the time machine. The Doctor confronts Chivers about his lack of real understanding of how the machine works; Chivers claims he trusts the instructions because they are coming from himself in the future. The Doctor inquires about the hypercube, calling it by name; Chivers says it arrived with the first parts of the machine. Chivers admits the cube represents a time loop, and says he intends to dismantle it himself—once he uses it to send the instructions and parts back to himself. Alice insists it can be duplicated repeatedly as long as every user does the same as Chivers. The Doctor takes the cube, and in response, something begins to materialise. A large, insectoid creature appears by the machine; Alice sees it, but Chivers cannot, because he is inside the causal loop. The creature and its people are the Creevix; the Doctor does not know them, but the creature claims the Doctor cannot stop them, because they are "already here". Five more join the first. Suddenly the creatures vanish.
The Doctor says he sensed something wrong, which drew him here. He invites Alice to come with him. The Creevix reappear behind Chivers, who still can't see them; the Doctor tells Alice to run. Outside, they see more Creevix mixed among the humans in the area. In a nearby library, they descend to the basement, where the creatures continue to hunt them.
Back in the lab, Chivers unwraps the final component of the machine—the Time Core—and its schematics. He starts to install it.
In the Library, the Doctor leads Alice to the TARDIS; despite her lack of knowledge of fiction, she has a suitably impressed reaction to the ship's larger interior. He tells her it is a real time machine, more so than the one in the lab. He plugs the cube into the console and begins trying to track the source of the hypercube's messages—but the cube vanishes. He takes the TARDIS to track it.
Chivers finishes installing the Time Core. He prepares to enter the machine—but one of the Creevix manifests itself to him, forcing him to admit the Doctor and Alice were right. The Creevix tells him one word: "Wait."
The TARDIS gets stuck in the vortex, somehow—something is choking off passage, allowing them to travel only twenty years forward or backward of their starting point. They materialise back in Oxford, in the future, as the cloister bell sounds. In this future, the Creevix have overrun everything, and are visible everywhere. Copies of the time machine are all over the place, and more appear as they watch—the many copies are what has jammed the vortex. Each machine discharges another Creevix. They say they will consume the universe, as it is fractured, which is what allowed them to enter from their own universe. In that universe, they claim to be the masters of Time, and they are aware of the Time Lords. One Creevix takes a strand of Alice's hair; the Doctor says that it is absorbing her potential time, her future. It says that if it did the same to the Doctor, and killed him, the future becomes unclear. The Doctor uses his sonic screwdriver to disorient the creatures, inflaming their sense of time. The Creevix block access to the TARDIS, but the Doctor and Alice take one of the other time machines.
Elsewhere—and elsewhen—a man named Guy Taylor is in a time machine of his own. He works for the Time Agency, and is about to embark on his first mission, to resolve an anomaly in the 20th century. He takes a moment to reflect on his parents, who were early explorers.
In the glove box of Doctor and Alice's machine, they find a photo of a couple, whom the Doctor finds familiar. Alice discusses her own past and her obsession with science and facts, and her father's disappointment in her. The Doctor finds Guy Taylor's Time Agency ID card, and concludes the couple are Taylor's parents. The machine represents a paradox, but the paradox had to start somewhere—in Taylor's time. Also in the glovebox is the hypercube. The Doctor and Alice send the machine back to its point of origin—Guy's future.
In Guy's machine, something is wrong. He sees Alice's reflection in the canopy, with Creevix outside—and then he ceases to exist.
In the other machine, Alice sees Guy, and sees him vanish. A Creevix pulls them from the machine, and they see a devastated world covered in Creevix. It tells them it is the end of their universe. The Creevix demonstrates that it can anticipate their every thought and word. It tells them that they come from another universe, and that they were able to come through because the time machine the Doctor and Alice just used struck Guy's capsule in the vortex, causing Guy to cease to exist, and displacing Guy's version of the capsule into the Creevix universe. This allowed them to force their way into this universe and formulate this plan. Now they have devoured all life in the universe; and they have manipulated the Doctor to that moment in order to retroactively set the plan into motion. All that's left is to send Alice back to Chivers with the cube, so that he can complete his work and start the loop.
Determined to stop them, the Doctor has a realisation and presses the hypercube to his head, whispering to it and implanting messages into it. The leader is amused. It knows what messages the Doctor is whispering and as far as its concerned, with the future and present belonging to them, the messages are futile and are completely irrelevant. Alice tries to buy the Doctor time to complete his messages, but it ultimately seems to be in vain, with the Creevix leader gloating that the Doctor's messages have gone nowhere and changed nothing.
Having accepted his failure, the Doctor gives the hypercube to Alice, asking her to pass on a message to Chivers. He tried to stop the Creevix, but there's nothing more he can do. He whispers his message to her. The Creevix entrap the Doctor, rendering him immobile to witness the death of his universe. They then drag Alice back to the time machine and send her back to 2013.
Upon arriving, she is escorted back to the lab by two Creevix, where Chivers is waiting along with the one from earlier. Feeling all hope is lost, Alice passes on the Doctor's message: How many roads must a man walk down? This has an immediate reaction on Chivers, who remembers something about the Doctor, something he can't believe he'd forgotten. The lead Creevix tells Chivers to get in the time machine, but he strangely hesitates. He suddenly is worried about being lost forever, leaving behind his children and grandchildren. This surprises Alice. As far as she knew, Chivers had no children. The hypercube suddenly springs to life, with the Doctor's voice coming out of it. He warns the two to step away from the Creevix, who are now acting strangely. The Doctor tells them that he's constantly paying attention to things around him and when he was in the lab, he noticed Chivers' old Coal Hill School tie and had realised who he was.
Suddenly, the Doctor walks into the lab, greeting Chivers by his first name: Cedric. He then explains to Alice how he knows Cedric. He had met Cedric back in 1963, when Cedric was friends with Susan Foreman. When the Eleventh Doctor sent his message to the First Doctor, he had also inspired Susan to introduce Cedric to music from Bob Dylan. As Cedric explains, this changed his life. He'd gone to concerts and rallies, during which he met his future wife, Joyce. Cedric had gone on to have children and grandchildren. The Doctor points out a drawing pinned up next to the school tie, a drawing clearly made by a child. Below the drawing is a photo of Cedric with his family. Alice doesn't remember them being there before, because they weren't. The Doctor made this one change to Cedric's life, just so he would hesitate, giving the Doctor time for the rest of his plan to come into play.
The lead Creevix steps forward, challenging the Doctor, and asking him how he, just one man, can stop them. The Doctor points out he isn't just one man, he's eleven men. The Creevix had given the Doctor the idea to talk to himself, and so he had. The messages in the cube were for the Doctor's past incarnations. The leader reiterates that the Doctor's messages weren't sent, but the Doctor points out that they were. When the Doctor stole the cube from the lab, he had plugged it into the TARDIS console. The TARDIS had then realised what needed to be done and had dispersed the messages to where and when they needed to go, while sending the actual cube itself, along with one of the messages, to Tarsus Six, where the Seventh Doctor would eventually find it.
The Doctor tells a story. Once upon a time, there was a boy who ceased to exist, and so the universe ended. The Doctor states this is a rubbish story, and so tells another one. He tells the story of Captain OhOne, who survived the Tarsus Ultra supernova, thanks to the interference of the Seventh Doctor and Ace. It had changed OhOne's perspective, and after being given the hypercube by the Doctor, he had gone home to his wife, Lyric Erskine, who had survived her own harrowing experience years earlier on Death's Deal, thanks to her encounter with the Tenth Doctor and Donna Noble.
At this point, the two other Creevix fall to their knees, weakened by something occurring. The Doctor continues his tale by talking about James McNeil. After his encounter with the Ninth Doctor, Rose Tyler, and Jack Harkness, he went on to become mayor of New Vegas. His time as mayor was a good one, with him kicking off a golden age of tourism. He founded his own Memorial Hotel, Casino, and Wedding Chapel, where people would get married, or have second honeymoons. OhOne and Lyric had their second honeymoon there, as evidenced by the picture the Doctor had retrieved from the time capsule. This honeymoon was where the couple conceived their son, Merrit OhOne, who would be given the hypercube and go on to join the Time Agency, taking on the name Guy Taylor. The Creevix needed Guy Taylor to be erased from existence to enter the universe, but thanks to the Doctor's interference, Guy's existence is ensured.
The Doctor then talks about the incident with the Ovid sphere involving the Fifth Doctor, Tegan Jovanka, Nyssa, and Adric. When the group had returned the sphere to the Ovids, they had been so impressed with Tegan's efforts that they decided to share their psychokinetic technology with humanity, technology which was incorporated into the time capsule. At the Doctor's instructions, Alice removes the kinetic stabilisers from the capsule and gives them to the Doctor.
The Doctor then points out none of this would mean anything if the Creevix had never come here in the first place. This is where the Fourth Doctor and Romana's encounter with the Babblesphere comes into play. After the Fourth Doctor dropped off the Babblesphere at the Stellaris Museum of Artificial Intelligence, the Eleventh Doctor told the copy of the Fourth Doctor inside the Babblesphere to broadcast certain names and certain places, like Chivers, Oxford, Earth, and 2013. The Doctor then points out that the museum uses sub-pulsar transmissions for their advertisements, which is why the broadcast even reached the Creevix. The technology only exists, because of Sophie Topolovic's research on the Quiet Ones, which had been saved, thanks to the Second Doctor, Jamie McCrimmon, and Zoe Heriot. As the Doctor steps over to a nearby filing cabinet, he points out that he couldn't have sent a load of psychic messages without there being some psychic interference, like a particularly huge blockage in 1935. However, that problem was sorted, thanks to some help from the Eighth Doctor and Charlotte Pollard.
Now next to the cabinet, the Doctor reveals why he had chosen this place specifically. Before Cedric and Alice used this room, it had belonged to Professor Reynard, UNIT's geology expert. The cabinet is where Reynard had stored the Tharon stone, after the incident involving the Third Doctor and Mike Yates. Using the kinetic stabilisers, the Doctor lifts the stone from the cabinet and hurls it at the time machine, shattering it into pieces. The pieces all blur and vanish. The Doctor then reveals the final piece of his plan, an Omniparadox that had been retrieved years earlier and stored inside the TARDIS by the Sixth Doctor and Peri Brown. It enables the TARDIS to break free of the Creevix infested future, materialising around the trapped Doctor and bringing him back to 2013, which is why the Doctor is here now.
The Doctor mocks the Creevix for proclaiming themselves to be Masters of Time. All the Doctor really had to do to stop them was rewrite one man's history, and the universe changed around that one alteration. The Doctor pushes the lead Creevix and it falls to the floor. Over where the time machine had been, a black void had formed, and the other two Creevix were crawling towards it. As they reached it, they faded from existence. The Doctor tells Alice to throw the cube into the hole, and she does so, sending it on its journey back in time to eleven months ago, where it, still carrying the Doctor's messages, will arrive with the first pieces of the time machine. Eleven months later, the Doctor will steal the cube and plug it into the TARDIS. The Doctor has overwritten the Creevix's paradox with one of his own.
The Creevix leader, struggling on the ground, tries to proclaim one final time that the Doctor can't stop them, only for a time capsule to appear above it and land on top of it, crushing it to death. The door opens and Guy Taylor steps out. Since the Doctor ensured his existence, and the collision never happened, he has safely arrived at his destination, where he is quite surprised to find a welcoming party. The Doctor greets Guy warmly, to Guy's confusion. Pulling out his anomaly tracker, he notices the claw of the Creevix sticking out from under his capsule. Kneeling down beside it, he watches as it vanishes from existence. Checking his tracker, Guy's surprised to find no anomaly. Everything is fine.
Alice steps forward and asks Guy if he can take her to the future with him. He's going to need to be able to explain what happened and she can provide that information. Both the Doctor and Cedric agree with the idea, with Cedric no longer having any desire to time travel. Guy agrees and the two depart in the machine. The Doctor then grabs a box from a nearby shelf, and looks through the records inside. While he does this, Cedric truly realises this man is the same person he met in 1963, and asks the Doctor about Susan. The Doctor flinches, and gives Cedric some advice, telling him to treasure his friends and family for as long as he can, before they are gone. The Doctor picks a record, and puts it on the player. The Doctor repeats his earlier question: How many roads? For the Doctor, it's eleven so far, and he still has no idea where he is going. But, he has a date with destiny waiting for him outside, his TARDIS. As the music starts playing, Cedric is distracted by the return of the time machine. As he steps towards the machine to greet the returning duo, he turns back to see the Doctor has left. He muses that the Doctor is a man who never stops moving, and hopes the Doctor never will.
Cast[edit | edit source]
Characters[edit | edit source]
References[edit | edit source]
- The Time Agency was set up at some point after the 42nd century. Anomaly trackers are standard issue equipment for them.
- The Doctor mentions Alice in Wonderland, Sherlock Holmes and Back to the Future.
- Chivers had Ian Chesterton as a science teacher.
Notes[edit | edit source]
- Originally scheduled for release on CD in early November 2013, the release was put on hold due to publisher AudioGo going into administration in October 2013. A download copy of the story was released by audiobook sites Audible and iTunes, and later by Big Finish Productions. On 18 November, Big Finish announced that it would be releasing the CD version as well. The packaging for the Big Finish release omits any mention of AudioGO, though a credit for the company is still read by Coleman.
- Despite it being read by Jenna Coleman, this release doesn't feature Clara Oswald. Instead, Coleman plays Alice Watson.
- This story was recorded on 14 June 2013 at The Moat Studios.
- The first name of Police Chief McNeil is James in AUDIO: Night of the Whisper and Joseph in this story.
- The person who introduced Cedric Chivers to the Bob Dylan music was Susan Foreman in AUDIO: Hunters of Earth. However, in this story, the Doctor claimed that his first incarnation was the one who did so. The Doctor was partially telling the truth, as Susan only introduced Cedric to the music because of the message she had received from the Eleventh Doctor. In the message, he had said, "It's blowing in the wind," referring to the Bob Dylan song, Blowin' In The Wind, which is the song that the Doctor had Alice quote lyrics from to Cedric.
- The existence of the Time Lord hypercube is a bootstrap paradox. The cube that the Seventh Doctor gave to OhOne was sent to him by the Eleventh Doctor's TARDIS, which the Eleventh Doctor got from Professor Chivers, who received the cube from Alice Watson, who got it from the Eleventh Doctor, who retrieved the cube from Guy Taylor's time machine, which had been put there by Guy Taylor, who got it from his father, OhOne, who received it from the Seventh Doctor. As such, the cube has no discernible origin.
- Despite the promotional picture presenting the Eleventh Doctor in his post-The Bells of Saint John outfit, in both this story and the other ones in the series he is described as still wearing the tweed jacket he was previously associated with. Whether this story takes place during his time with Amy Pond and Rory Williams (TV: The Eleventh Hour - The Angels Take Manhattan), or during his search for Clara Oswald (WC: The Bells of Saint John: A Prequel) is unknown.
Continuity[edit | edit source]
- The Doctor's plan from throughout the Destiny of the Doctor series is revealed to have been laid out as such:
- He gets Cedric Chivers to remember him by quoting lyrics from a Bob Dylan song, which the First Doctor introduced Chivers to while Chivers was still a student at Coal Hill School. (AUDIO: Hunters of Earth) The Bob Dylan song changed Cedric's life, as he attended concerts, through which he met his wife, Joyce. They would go on to have children, who would have children of their own. As such, Cedric hesitates when the time comes for him to use the time machine, as he thinks of his family, and the potential risk of them losing him. This hesitation allows the Doctor to stop the Creevix.
- An artificial copy of the Fourth Doctor inside the Babblesphere (AUDIO: Babblesphere) sent messages through time influencing the Creevix to seek out Chivers. The messages would not have reached the Creevix, nor the psychic messages the Eleventh Doctor was sending to his former incarnations, however, had the Eighth Doctor and Charley Pollard not cleared up some interference in the form of an alien invasion using the William Tell Overture to invade the Earth in 1935 (AUDIO: Enemy Aliens), nor if the museum that the Babblesphere was stored at hadn't been capable of sending sub-pulsar transmissions, which was only made possible because the Second Doctor saved Sophie Topolovic's research on the Quiet Ones. (AUDIO: Shadow of Death)
- Guy Taylor - the man at the centre of the Creevixs' plan - is the son of OhOne (AUDIO: Shockwave) and Lyric Erskine (AUDIO: Death's Deal), who were saved by Ace McShane and Donna Noble respectively. Lyric and OhOne conceived Guy during their second honeymoon at the Memorial Hotel - which was founded by Joseph McNeil after the Ninth Doctor, Rose Tyler, and Jack Harkness ensured he lived to became mayor of New Vegas. (AUDIO: Night of the Whisper)
- After the Fifth Doctor, Adric, Nyssa, and Tegan Jovanka returned the Ovid sphere to the Ovids, the Ovids were so impressed with the efforts of Tegan in particular that they shared their knowledge of psychokinesis with humanity in the far future. (AUDIO: Smoke and Mirrors) The Doctor uses technology invented using this knowledge to throw a chunk of super-dense therocite - saved from destruction by the Third Doctor and Mike Yates (AUDIO: Vengeance of the Stones) - at Chivers' time machine, destroying it.
- The Doctor's TARDIS is able to break free from the Creevixs' trap because of the omniparadox stored away inside it by the Sixth Doctor and Peri Brown. (AUDIO: Trouble in Paradise)
- The Doctor tells Cedric that he doesn't know where he is going, meaning the Doctor has not yet visited Trenzalore. (TV: The Name of the Doctor)
- The Doctor says he went to St Cedd's College when Alice asks if he was from the University of Cambridge. (AUDIO: Shada)
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Footnotes[edit | edit source]