Doctor Who: Faith in the Future

by Mark Phippen

There's a woman standing at the window of the complex, and she's looking out over the city. Her eyes are wide, and she's thinking 'This is what the future should be like, how I always dreamed it would be. Not the crumbling, decaying corpse of a city I've seen.'

She is thinking of the ruined London she has not long left behind, more decrepit and dilapidated than in her time, two hundred years before. She is thinking of how it compares to the metropolis below her, all shiny glass skyscrapers, broken up with green and verdant parks dotted around the city.

She is also thinking about me.

You might be wondering how I know this, being simply the narrator, but you see, that'd be because I'm a god. We gods tend to know these things. It comes in very handy.

There's only one man whose destiny is his own on this world, and... ah, here he is now, what perfect timing. I'll describe him for you, that might help, but I'm sure you know who he is.

A deceptively old looking, white haired man, with eyes that sparkle like a child's. His dark jacket and chequered trousers look antiquated, and give him an air of stuffiness, yet his impish sense of humour enders him to his companions. He shuffles around, as if every step a strain, yet he's full of boundless energy, which bursts out in flurries of activity that belie his true nature. He's carrying a walking stick, but that's just so he can wave it at people who argue with him. A man of contradictions. He is known as the Doctor.

The Doctor is walking over to Barbara, laying his hand on her shoulder. 'They're ready for you,' he says. 'Are you sure I can't talk you out of this my dear?'

She's shaking her head. 'The people need to be told; it's their right to know. If what Ian...'

'Chetterton thinks he is doing the right thing, I know,' the Doctor interrupts, 'but he's spent so much time with the rebels, he can't see things any other way'

'What do you have faith in Miss Wright, hmm? What is it that stops you from giving up?'

Barbara doesn't answer at first, but continues to look out over the panoramic view of the city below. The city that looks so different from her own.

'I have faith in Ian, that he'll always be there to look after me,' she turns to the Doctor, 'and I have faith in you, that you'll get me home one day.'

The Doctor smiles at her. 'I will get you home, one day, yes one day. I'm glad that you believe in me. But you see, not everyone has got something to believe it.'

Barbara nods. 'And faith in a higher being is, for some, the only faith they have.'

'Exactly', the Doctor's eyes are twinkling, he can see he's winning her over. 'If we take that away by exposing this 'god', then what else do they have? What will it mean to the people who have devoted their lives to the church, and those who depend upon it for support? Do we have the right to take away the only good thing in their lives?'

Barbara is shaking her head. 'No, no we don't. Oh Doctor, I've been so stupid.'

'You thought you were doing the right thing'. The Doctor turns and looks at me, towering above him, his face set in a frown. 'This abomination should never have been built. But it was, and there's nothing we can do about it.'

'Couldn't we...' Barbara trails off.

'Go back and change history? You know we can't do that. The history of this planet is as important as that of Earth. The Aztecs, Paris, this creature; the rules are the same.'

At that moment a man comes running into the room. His name is Ian. I expect you were wondering where he was.

'The press are here, and waiting for us'

'I'm not going out there'

'But we've got to. Since the rebellion was crushed, we are the only ones who know the truth. We can prove it to them.'

'But what if they don't want proof. What if they are quite happy with things as they are?'

That's the spirit!

'But the rebellion...'

'Was but a handful of men', the Doctor puts in, 'Do you really believe they speak for everyone?'

Ian seems to notice the Doctor for the first time. 'I might have known you would resurface now. Where have you been all this time?'

'I've been doing a little digging of my own, trying to get a broader perspective, see the whole picture.'

'And now you just happen to turn up in time to change Barbara's mind about the press conference?'

Barbara moves forward, placing herself between her two friends. 'It's not like that, Ian. The Doctor only made me see what I've known all along, that we don't have the right to tell people what they should believe in.'

'But what they believe is wrong'

'But they still believe in it.'

I can see from Ian's slumped shoulders, previously puffed up with indignation, that Barbara is getting through to him. If I had any kind of mouth, I'd be struggling to cover up a smirk. That's what people tend to do in these situations, I have observed.

Ian protests for a little while longer, but it's obvious that the air has gone from his argument. It's obvious that he hasn't even considered the wider implications of his actions.

'So what do we do about the press conference?' he asked.

'I suppose we'd better slip away quietly via an alternative route. I'm sure in the absence of some real news they'll find something to make up.'

Ian nods, and Barbara takes him by the arm as they follow the Doctor from the room.

The three time travellers leave the complex through a servant's entrance. I watch them with the security cameras that serve as my eyes as they mingle with the waiters, and try to avoid the ferocious head-chef as they head for the freezer compartment next to the kitchens, wherein lies their blue box. The one that still refuses to talk to me.

I could stop them, of course, but I want them to go. They've been enough trouble already. I mean, how's a computer meant to take over the world, with those busybodies around?

Now if you'll just excuse me, I've got a few prayers to attend to, a holy war to stir up (nothing like a good holy war to increase attendance at church, I find), and a few deaths to arrange. It's a busy life, being a megalomaniac, you know.

© 2000 Mark Phippen