(Welcome to my episodic crossover fic. This is episode seven, and while you can start reading here, you might want to visit my profile to get the whole story with Episode One: Frozen in Time)
Back to the Doctor
Return to the Future Part 1
The TARDIS was making its familiar computerized wheezing noise as it moved through time and space to their next destination. They had both decided it was a good idea to check out the information the robot had given them, both of them aware it could be a trap. Still, they had to move forward and this was a far more solid lead than abstract destinations written on a 100-year-old letter (depending on your understanding of the space/time continuum).
As Marty contemplated what they would find in the future Hill Valley, there was a beeping noise and the Doctor checked one of the monitors on the consol.
"What's wrong?" Marty was wondering if it was a more promising update on Jennifer.
"Nothing," but the Doctor did look a little concerned. "I just need to send an email."
"A what mail?"
The Doctor smiled. "You know, it's quire refreshing meeting a human teenager who doesn't know what an email is."
"Yeah, I bet it's way more refreshing that meeting a condescending alien," Marty rolled his eyes.
The TARDIS went quiet as it settled at its destination.
"Nous some arrives," the Doctor smiled.
Marty looked down at his jeans and red shirt and remembered the insane fashion he had worn in order to blend in the last time he had travelled to 2015.
"Shouldn't we change?" He looked the Doctor's blue suit over. "I hear two ties are all the rage."
"Don't be silly, we look perfectly reasonable for this time and place. You really do try and find any excuse to play dress-up, don't you?"
"It isn't dress-up," Marty grumbled as the Doctor walked past him to open the TARDIS door. "They're disguises."
The Doctor stepped out into the sunny afternoon and Marty followed, and found himself standing in the city square.
"Hill Valley, 30 years in your future." The Doctor smiled back at Marty, and Marty looked around the town with much the same expression he had on his face when the Doctor had shown him the TARDIS for the first time: unimpressed. But it was more than that; he almost looked… disappointed.
Marty stared at the familiar clock tower and city-square. There was no doubt that this wasn't 1985. The parking lot in front of the clock tower from his time had been reverted into a green park, and the storefronts were mostly different.
"This isn't 2015," Marty eyed the cars driving around the square.
"Of course it is!"
"Well you've been wrong before."
"All right," he walked up to a man who was passing by. "Excuse me sir, do you mind telling my companion here what year it is."
The man narrowed his eyes, wondering if this was some sort of joke. "2015," he quickly replied and kept on walking, not wanting to get dragged into whatever was going on between the two men.
"But…" Marty was at a loss. "Where are the flying cars? The hover-boards? The 3-D movies?"
"Ah, well you're in luck," the Doctor pulled out a black pair of plastic glasses with clear lenses and put them on with a grin on his face. "We've arrived at the tail-end of the 3-D renaissance, as it were."
"Those look like normal glasses."
The Doctor pointed to the frames. "Do normal glasses say 3-D on them?"
"Doc, you don't understand. It's not like the future isn't living up to my expectations, I've been here before – it was one of the times I went to with the Doc. Even Jennifer came here, and this was not the future we saw."
"Hm," the Doctor took off the glasses and put them back into his pocket. "And did something you saw here change anything you did in your time?"
"Well…" Marty didn't even know where to begin. "Sort of."
"Time is a very fragile thing."
"No kidding," Marty looked around some more. This 2015 looked so similar to 1985 that he couldn't help but be disappointed. Stylistically everything was different, cars were smoother and fashion had certainly taken a left turn – though he had to admit that he did pretty much fit in with jeans and a t-shirt.
"It's the butterfly effect."
"You change one small detail and that in turns changes some other small details and so on and so on until – 30 years later – nothing is the same."
"Well it looks like I changed things for the worse and set technology back about 20 years."
"Don't worry, earth will get its hover cars eventually."
"Gee, finally I'm at ease.
"Excellent, then we need to get a move on."
"A move on where?"
"They should have received my email a week ago."
"Who received your what-mail?"
"UNIT. Specifically their director, Martha Jones."
To Be Continued…
(Once again I'm being a little cheeky with the episode title, I was making a little homage to titles like Return of the King and Return of the Jedi – which was also an homage to RotK – and of course I just wanted to play with the title Back to the Future. The chapter title seems obvious, but it's actually the name of the back-lot where Hill Valley was filmed. Seeing that I'm writing this so close to 2015 I had a lot of fun with portraying the future "accurately" and finding a plausible explanation as to why Marty keeps seeing different futures. Really, once you consider that anyone can go to the past and change the course of the future, it's perfectly reasonable that just seeing the future would be enough for Marty to change it in some way – which we already know he does at the end of the third film. It's maybe worth mentioning here, as promised last episode, what's up with the whole Marty loves to dress up bit. While on my little break I hit on the idea that, well, Marty seems to really enjoy getting into period costumes. Watch those movies again, it's not just Doc Brown suggesting he try to fit in, Marty genuinely likes getting into "character." It seemed like a big character trait, because you can't help but conclude that some part of Marty can really only process these events as some sort of game, as though the seriousness of the situations he's in would just snap him like a twig.)