Doctor Who: Waiting for Evil to Show
By Karen Dunn
I like your ship.
No, no, there's no need to panic, I'm not going to hurt you. Please. Put the weapon down - it won't affect me anyway. I just want to....
See? Now you've made a mess of that control panel. Primitive technology really can't cope with being shot at. Let me repair it for you. There. I mended your life support system, too. It was about to fail.
You're welcome, Mr...?
Terril? That's a nice name.
Oh, I see...a name to strike fear into the hearts of your enemies. Well, that's nice.
No, there's no point in telling you my name. Evil is on His way and I'll soon be dead - but I have a tale to tell, if you'd care to listen.
No? Well, I’ll tell it anyway.
My people were born when the universe was young. We learned to walk among the stars whilst the stars themselves were still forming; and we jump-started life into more planets than you could count.
I remember Earth. No, seriously, I do. Tiny little rock of a planet about to break its orbit and plummet into the sun - which would have been such a shame considering how interesting you turned out to be. We nudged it back into place and watched it bloom. It was easy; like guiding an infant away from a hot stove and then amusing him until he forgets the stove is there.
So many species'. If you'll forgive my rudeness, humans barely registered as a tickle on our consciousness but you were still important and we protected you until you learned not to play by the stove any more.
No, I'm not bragging; how can I make you understand? You are nothing to us. Less than nothing. It takes an effort of will to even register your presence. I doubt you could comprehend how far ahead of you we are - and yet you are the one sitting with me at the end.
Yes, I know I didn’t exactly give you a choice, but you’ll thank me in the end…
All right, I won’t count on it…
He’ll be here soon. It’s almost time.
What? Oh, that’s very kind of you but we can’t ‘deal with Him’ - this has to happen, we’ve always known it would.
You see that star out there? Well, no, you’re right, you could hardly miss it. My planet orbits that star and my people learned to breath and walk and fly in its nourishing light.
We built mighty cities and unravelled life’s secrets as it watched over us. We created masterpieces of music and art and literature that will never be matched no matter how many civilisations come and go. And when we ventured out into the universe that star was a beacon in the dark, guiding us home.
You’re right - there are no planets there. Not yet. It hasn’t formed yet. And it never will once He gets here.
No, I can assure you I am not ‘off my head’. I do love your language. It fascinates me and I regret that my death will prevent me studying your colloquialisms further.
It won’t be long now.
Ah, Mr Terril, you are the perfect host and I appreciate your efforts but no matter how ‘shit hot’ your security systems, your delightful ship will not be able to save me.
He will arrive and then I will die.
Or, to be more accurate, I will never have existed.
I take it you have heard of the Time Lords? Yes, it was sad, wasn’t it? Well, my people made them look like children.
We indulged their forays into the time vortex because we knew they showed it the respect it demanded. For millennia upon millennia we watched them grow and learn. They were one of the few species’ we never felt the need to guide - they were doing wonderfully on their own.
No, they were not gods, nor did they wish to be. And their passing is all the more tragic because we had hoped to leave the time lines in their care once we were gone.
Well, of course they need caring for! Without guidance and guardianship the vortex is at risk from any unscrupulous race which happens to stumble upon the secret of time travel.
I fear for history once He arrives because there will be no one left to act as watchmen. My race will die before it is even born because of Him and you and I will be the only witnesses.
That’s a very good question, Mr Terril, well done - but I’m afraid you will never understand the answer. No, I’m not treating you like an idiot. You really shouldn’t slam your fist onto that control panel when you’re angry - there are some very delicate circuits in there.
We have always known that He will cause our destruction. We have monitored His deeds and tracked His progress since the day He was born and, were it not for the fact that He is our death, we would consider Him to be a good man.
It’s not really His fault and I know He would be horrified to learn that an entire civilisation despises Him as the personification of evil, but the reason He killed us is beneath contempt and beyond understanding.
His grief is not an acceptable excuse. A novice would know to make basic temporal checks before doing what He did, but His thoughts were turned inwards and His selfishness condemned us to oblivion.
We were unable to stop Him from doing what He does because Time has already told us that He will do it.
And Time is everything we are. If we were to attempt to stop Him, Time itself would unravel.
And that would be a bad thing.
I told you you wouldn’t understand…
No, I am not as heartless as I appear; I have merely accepted the inevitable. Tell me, do you have a family, Mr Terrill? A daughter? How nice. How would you feel if you knew she was going to die and there was not one single thing you could do to stop it?
Exactly. That’s how my people have felt every day of our lives.
No, it’s no way to live at all. But we did it because we had to and when I was born I was tasked with returning to this point and bearing witness to the end of days.
Yes, I suppose it does suck. But at least I will be able to look evil in the eye and understand why.
There’s a little light flashing on your keyboard. It’s very pretty. Oh, a proximity alert. I’ve always found it extremely sweet that your people rely on technology to tell you what your eyes are more than capable of seeing, if you would only look out of the window once in a while.
You swear far too much, Mr Terril. Surely it’s easier to ask ‘What’s that?’ without inserting those other words.
Yes, it is a very odd reading.
No, I don’t think you’ve seen anything like it before.
Because that’s a TARDIS.
Yes, He’s a Time Lord. Did I not mention? The last of the Time Lords - or so He would believe. The most evil being to have walked the corridors of Time.
Yes, it does look like a tatty old box, doesn’t it. But the legends are true - you could lose yourself for months in its cloisters and passageways.
Look at the star. Look at what He’s doing.
It’s dying, Mr Terril. You’re watching something no one else will ever see. He’s killing us before your eyes.
You need to set the engines to full now. You may have to get out of the blast range rather quickly.
No, I have to stay here. It would make no difference if you did ‘get me out of here so fast my arse catches fire’. But thank you for the thought.
This is the end, Mr Terril, thank you for staying with me, for acting as my witness.
Don’t hate Him for what He’s doing, my friend - grief has made fools of much lesser men.
He’s burning up a sun to say goodbye - and now I’m dead.