I was in the mood for some multi-Doctor silliness. This bit of fanfic is the result.
This is a work of fan fiction. No copyright infringement is intended.
“What?” said Ten through clenched teeth.
“Oh, this isn’t good,” said Eleven.
“You’ve got to be kidding,” said Twelve, taking in the twelve figures gathered with him on the grassy hilltop. “We’re all here. Same place, same time. Even Not The Doctor over there.”
The Warrior swiveled his head. “Are you referring to me?” he growled. Then, with a haunted look on his face, he added “It’s true. I’m the Doctor—“
“No more!” Nine through Twelve chorused together.
“Well I for one think it’s smashing that we’re all here,” said Thirteen, who had suddenly appeared. “I mean, dangerous and potentially universe-ending, but totally smashing.”
“Now see here, young lady, ” said One. “This matter is extremely serious. It’s no time for feminine frivolity.”
Doctors Two through Twelve whistled silently, shook their heads, and stepped back a couple of paces. After a moment of speechless silence, Thirteen said, “I … I don’t even know where to start with you. Okay, first off — young lady? Seriously? Next to me you’re a babe in arms. I’m thousands of years older than you, so a bit of respect? Or you might find yourself on Skaro without a TARDIS.”
“Skaro?” said One, gripping his lapels. Her words appeared to have had as little impact as rainwater on a duck. “What’s Skaro, then, hmm?”
“Spoilers,” said Eleven as he adjusted his bow tie.
“Look, enough of all that,” said Three. “We need to address the situation. Might I suggest we begin by attempting to reverse the —”
“No!” chorused Four through Thirteen.
Nonplussed, Three glanced at the other Doctors and shrugged his shoulders.
Two retrieved a recorder from his coat pocket and had just put it to his lips when Six snatched it away. “Don’t. Even. Think about it,” said Six.
As he observed Four playing with a yo-yo, Eight cast his eyes outward. The grassy hill upon which he and his other selves stood rose some 50 meters above the surrounding flatlands. And the horizon ….
Nine noticed the same thing. After making eye contact with Eight he said, “Oi! You lot. Care to guess how far it is to the horizon?”
“That must be about seven kilometers,” said Seven.
“Yes,” said Eight. “But have you noticed the gravity? The horizon suggests a small world and yet the gravity suggests a much larger one.”
“Perhaps this is simply a very dense small planet,” said Two.
“The little fellow may be right,” said One, “but I suspect that something else is happening here.”
Two’s eyes widened. “Oh dear,” he said. “Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear.”
“What?” said Three. “Confound it man, just say it.”
“This may not be a planet at all,” said Two. “This might be a pocket universe. Look above us. There’s no sun, so where’s the illumination coming from?”
Eleven turned pale. “I’ve just had a thought.”
“Oh really?” said Twelve. “Well, don’t worry, it’ll die of loneliness in there.”
“Funny,” said Eleven, not smiling. Turning his back on Twelve and addressing the others, he added, “This might not be a pocket universe. This might be a simulation.”
Two’s shoulders slumped. “And here I was having a perfectly splendid nap.”
Five’s eyes widened. “Having a nap you say?” Puff. “Odd.” Puff. “I was napping as well.”
“Look,” said Six, “Why are you always so short of breath?” Shaking his head, he added, “As it happens, the last thing I recall is laying down for a nap.”
It was true of all of them, the Doctors confirmed.
“We really need to put our heads together for this one. Agreed?” Noting the nods from her other selves, Thirteen said, “Contact.”
“Contact,” mirrored the others.
With their thoughts connected, the collected minds of the Doctors reviewed the facts and analyzed countless paths of possibilities, dismissing some, examining others more closely until a thought intruded upon them that was not theirs.
“Oh good, you’re here.”
Releasing themselves from their mental connection, the Doctors gaped at the newcomer. It was a woman, her hair arranged in dreadlocks, dressed in a blue frock coat and waistcoat, kente shirt, with dark trousers and shoes.
Thirteen’s face fell. “Oh no,” she said. The new arrival gave her a wink.
“Do you know this young lady?” queried One. “Is she another one of us?”
“You can just call me … Ruth for now. Thank you all for coming. With your help, I’ll be able to escape this place. We all will.”
“Where are we?” said Ten.
“Who brought us here?” said Eleven.
“And why?” said Twelve.
“The purple man over there was right. We are within a simulated environment. It’s generated by a dying TARDIS trapped within the Vortex. Like a drowning swimmer, it was grabbing for a life buoy, anything to help it. It needed a Time Lord. At last, it detected me, but didn’t have enough energy reserves to transmat me here physically. Instead, it uploaded my consciousness while I slept. The TARDIS created this simulation for me to interact with it. I haven’t been able to help it by myself. Not enough psychic energy. So I suggested that it seek out another Time Lord that I’d met recently.“
At this, Ruth cast her eyes at Thirteen.
“So you are a Time Lord,” said Four.
“That’s not possible,” said Eleven.
“And yet here we all are,” said Ruth with a patient smile. “The thing is, I hadn’t counted on also uploading some of her other selves. So I’m sorry I dragged you away from your sleeping bodies, but when we’ve finished, all of this will seem like an odd dream.”
“Of course, if we fail, if the TARDIS dies while we’re still trapped in this simulation, then we die as well,” said Nine.
“That won’t happen,” said Thirteen. “We won’t let it.”
“The answer seems obvious to me,” said the Warrior. “Set a delayed self-destruct and send our consciousness back to our respective bodies.”
There was silence. “That’s cold,” said Twelve. “Even for you, that’s cold.”
“Is there an alternative?” said the Warrior. “I’d be happy to hear it.”
“We need facts,” said Seven. “How can we access the TARDIS systems?”
“We simply ask,” said Ruth. “Like this.” Looking up and spreading her arms, Ruth said, “TARDIS, please show us your control console.”
A familiar octagonal shape started to appear, but it was blurry, streaked with jagged black and white lines like a CRT display in need of adjustment.
“It can’t stabilize the simulation,” said Ten. “We need to help it. We need to focus all of our concentration on that console.”
The Doctors closed their eyes, faced furrowed with effort, until finally the simulated console solidified on the hilltop.
“Excellent,” said Ruth. “Well done. And now—”
But before she could finish, thirteen Doctors were in a scramble for the console. A shrill whistle from Twelve stopped them in their tracks. “Older and wiser heads, perhaps, eh?” said Twelve, casting a glance at Thirteen.
“Sure,” said Thirteen. “Thanks.” Thirteen and Ruth proceeded to examine the settings and readouts upon the console for several minutes. When they were done, they stopped, made eye contact, and nodded.
“What have you learned?” said One.
“It is possible to save this TARDIS,” said Thirteen. “It needs to regenerate, but can’t. The systems to trigger a regeneration have been damaged. However, with our combined psyches, we could bypass those systems. We just need to pre-program the instructions to first transmit our consciousness back to our bodies.”
“Perfect,” said Five. Puff. “An excellent solution.”
“Are we all agreed?” asked Thirteen. All the Doctors nodded. Glancing at Ruth, Thirteen said, “Good. Now let’s get to work.”
Ruth and Thirteen spent some time programming the TARDIS to return them to themselves just prior prior to regenerating. When it was done, Thirteen addressed the other Doctors.
“Okay, this is the crucial bit. We need to join again and use the console’s telepathic circuit to trigger a regeneration.” Thirteen placed her hands upon the circuit and said, “Contact.”
“Contact,” the others chorused. “Contact,” echoed Ruth.
Opening her eyes, Thirteen sat up. She wasn’t in the simulation any more. It must have worked! Well done us, she thought. She was back in her TARDIS, though the room didn’t look immediately familiar.
Wait a minute. What was this around her neck? A scarf? A very long scarf, in fact. Oh no.
Getting to her feet, the Doctor looked at her reflection in a nearby mirror. She saw a familiar face. Just not the right face. Long curly hair, bright eyes, tweed coat, and, um, she was male again. A female mind in a male body. Well, she wouldn’t be the first. Her eyes opening wide, she realized that meant that he was …. And Yaz was due for a bit of a shock.
Dropping into a chair, she rested her head in her hands and thought, Right. Just another day in the life of the Doctor.