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Vortex Butterflies was the fourth story of the third year of Doctor Who: The Tenth Doctor comic story series, published in 2017.


Part 1

The day after the incident with the Red Jade General, the Tenth Doctor, Gabby Gonzalez, Cindy Wu, and Noobis are checking the ruins of the General's palace, to make sure he is truly destroyed and couldn't have escaped. Despite the fact that something is bothering the Doctor, there are no signs the General survived.

Cindy's clones, after being given names by the original Cindy, say farewell to Gabby, before departing. Gabby walks away from the group, crying, with Cindy following her. The Doctor is worried, but gets distracted by the TARDIS making strange noises.

Cindy tries to comfort Gabby by coming up with a name for the one clone she didn't name, but her calm demeanor upsets Gabby. Gabby can't get the image of a clone who died out of her head, because it could've been the original Cindy who died. Neither Gabby nor Cindy can regenerate like the Doctor can. To Gabby, every life is precious, including Cindy's clones.

The two hear the TARDIS making noise. Gabby can tell that the TARDIS is unhappy. The two head back to the TARDIS, where Noobis tells them that the Doctor has detected an anomaly that's affecting the TARDIS. Cindy takes a moment to look back outside and say goodbye to her clones, before stepping back in. The TARDIS dematerialises as the clones continue on their journey.

The Doctor reveals that the fortress was clear, but that the TARDIS has somehow gotten a case of the hiccups. The TARDIS gathers up energy for maintenance purposes, but right now, is absorbing some minor Vortex Oscillations. As far as the Doctor is concerned, it's nothing to worry about right now, but is something to keep an eye on.

Time passes, with the Doctor and his companions having adventures, including a visit to the planet Aramuko, where Noobis decides to stay for a while. Gabby is affected by that particular trip, because she's started having a strange, recurring dream.

Sometime after this, the Doctor lands the TARDIS in a house he owns at Willesden, in the year 2009. He's decided to leave Gabby and Cindy here to get some time to relax. Gabby isn't fooled. She knows something is wrong, especially since the TARDIS is still acting strange, and the Doctor is purposely leaving them behind so he can investigate. She's worried that the Doctor will end up needing them. The Doctor reassures her, asking her to trust him. He heads back into the TARDIS and departs.

He lands on a desolate planet and exits the TARDIS, calling out for whoever sent him a message to come here. Walking a short distance, he sees another version of his TARDIS and is greeted by the Twelfth Doctor. The Tenth Doctor knows his future self wouldn't have set up this meeting unless it was serious and knows it has to do with the strange anomalies. He realises the Twelfth Doctor is going to tell him that the anomalies are emanating from his own TARDIS. Since the Twelfth Doctor is here, the Tenth Doctor knows he'll find the solution. However, according to the Twelfth Doctor, he won't like that solution.

The Tenth Doctor points out that giving him a warning is pointless, as he won't remember this encounter, but the Twelfth Doctor reveals that there are enough reinforced temporal echoes around this event to help the Tenth Doctor retain certain helpful impressions.

Going over to a rock wall, the Twelfth Doctor draws Gallifreyan symbols on it with a piece of chalk. He talks to the Tenth Doctor about Rogue Vortex Artifacts and how dangerous they are. He also comments on Gabby and Cindy, Gabby in particular, causing the Tenth Doctor to realise something. Before the Tenth Doctor departs, the Twelfth Doctor gives him the piece of chalk, saying it might help him remember more of this encounter than he would've normally been able to.

Back on Earth, Gabby and Cindy look at the supplies the Doctor had left for them to use. Gabby is worried that a rift is forming between her and the Doctor, because she got too close to him, and thus he's pushing her away. Cindy tries to reassure Gabby, but Gabby ends the conversation, because she can sense someone is at the door. Cindy goes to investigate, but the power suddenly goes out. Going back to Gabby, Cindy is horrified to see that Gabby is surrounded by a strange aura and glowing butterflies.

Part 2

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Part 3

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Part 4

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  • When bringing up previous companions, Gabby mentions Turlough, Izzy, Fitz, Liv, Rose, and Donna. This is one of the few times that a licensed work has referenced characters from the TV series, Doctor Who Magazine comic strip, BBC Books and Big Finish Productions in one sequence.
    Vortex Butterflies Drawings

    The Twelfth Doctor's chalk drawings.

  • While most of the items the Twelfth Doctor writes on the rock wall in chalk are Circular Gallifreyan characters (these markings later appear on the Doctor's TARDIS while he is asleep and in Gabby's sketchbook after her dream), he also draws something that looks very much like imagery from the 1970-73 version of the Doctor Who opening credits. Gabby's powers are often illustrated via duplications of this sequence, and the Doctor later sees an image of the 1963-66 titles outside the TARDIS in empty space.


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