TONTINE

Part 15

Epilogue

Out at the end of time the last of the Time Lords stood in a perfect circle of thirteen. At the centre of the circle the Matrix Orb hovered, at its heart a burning, crackling, spark of light.

The President allowed himself a sidewards glance to his immediate left. There stood the Elder, impassively focused on the sphere. The President's eyes then moved around the group clockwise, taking in the others in turn.

The Clown, the Dandy, the Bohemian, the Sportsman, the Harlequin, the Comedian, the Poet, the Northerner, the Geek, the Youngster... he paused when he reached the figure at his immediate right hand. The President permitted himself a wry smile. He supposed that he must think of him as 'the Winner', now.

"The Tontine is over, brother. Yours is the right," said the President, the thirteenth Doctor.

The twelfth took a deep breath and stepped forward a pace. Almost immediately all the other figures began to flutter and fade. Entropy caressed them with its dead hand and they crumbled to dust.

Only the twelfth Doctor remained, alone at the end of the universe.

With trembling hands, he reached for the orb.

.

Universes come; Universes go.

They inflate from a single moment. A Big Bang. Event One. Hydrogen Inrush.

Like anything else they have their time before dying; shrinking back to nothing. And the cycle repeats. Over and over. Universe after Universe.

But the process is delicate. There are Guardians. Entrusted with a secret. The Spark of Infinity. No one knows who or what created the Spark. Such knowledge is not for the likes of us.

In this Universe the Guardians were called Lords of Time.

As always, the Universe collapsed, its constituent atoms and molecules falling in on themselves until they formed a singularity, no larger than the full-stop at the end of this sentence. No one can say how long this took. Time had no meaning any more.

Deep in this incredible density, just before the greatest explosion of all time (since the last one), the milli-fractional remnant of the Guardian known as the Doctor, amazingly, managed to articulate a single thought:

LET THERE BE LIGHT

And there was light...

THE END