Chapter 10: The New World
Jane Bates leaned on her daughters' shoulder, sobbing as she did so. She had just lost her husband of 20 years, he was forced by several security guards to remain in the ship, he was surely dead by now...
She looked up, teary eyed, at the slowly rippling black ocean in-front of her. The waters' surface was dotted with several lifeboats, but the majority of people she was sharing the ocean with were clinging to wreckage and astray furniture. Some were dead, their lifeless corpses slowly sinking to the ocean floor, others were screaming and flailing in the freezing cold. In the distance, the great, unsinkable ship was slowly turning on it's side and falling beneath the surface of the Atlantic, as it sank, it let out a deep and almighty rumble. The sound had an air of finality to it.
Jane looked away from the horrific scene in-front of her, as she refused leaning on her daughter's shoulder, she looked over at the other girl in the boat. She was no more then 26 years old, with dark brown hair that fell onto her face, and was lying on the wooden surface of the boat. Jane had been too busy wallowing in her own emotional pain previously to really notice her, but she knew she had fallen into a deep sleep not long ago.
The screams of the dying and widowed were broken by a strange, alien, wheezing-and-groaning sound that was unlike anything Jane had heard before. It was accompanied by unearthly gusts if wind that blew her hair in all directions and dried the salty tears that clung to her face. Jane, the young man she was sharing the lifeboat with and her daughter all looked intriguingly at the direction it seemed to be coming from.
A large piece of now-rusted metal had fallen off the ship's hull during the collision, now it was footing next to their lifeboat. The sound and accompanying breeze was coming from that direction.
Jane, the young man and Jane's daughter all watched in shock as a strange, blue box materialised in-front of them, literally out of thin air.
At first it looked a ghostly, translucent apparition, but then it solidified and became a whole object. Jane jumped as the door opened, before watching as a strange, bow-tie-and-Victorian-overcoat wearing young man walked out of the box. He stood on the metal tentatively before crossing over to the rickety wooden lifeboat. He knelt down and placed one hand on the sleeping girl's cheek, before wrapping his arms around her waist and shoulders and carefully picking her up. He carried her out of the lifeboat, across the floating metal and into the box. As he did this, he barely glanced at the boats' remaining occupants.
The three of them watched in bewilderment as the man went to close the door to the box, before suddenly opening it again. He stuck his slightly bruised head out of the door and looked around at the scene that was unfolding all around him with a grave look on his face. Before carefully stepping out onto the metal once more and reaching a hand out to Jane, her daughter and the young, tuxedo-wearing, man.
He made a slight gesture with his outstretched hand to all of them, before saying, in a reassuring voice. "Come with me."
After the the standard 'it's bigger on the inside' and 'what the hell is this?' Comments got out of the way the Doctor landed the TARDIS and opened the doors, explaining to his new passengers as he did so. "Outside those doors is a new world, a new land, a land of opportunity... Some people died today chasing the dream, you've cornered it and now it's your turn to live it."
He gestured towards the opened doors as he walked slowly backwards towards them, before turning around on the spot and flinging them open fully, exclaiming loudly as he did so. "Ladies and gentleman, I present to you: New York! The one and only!" The trio slowly walked past him and out of the opened doors.
The Doctor wished them luck with their new lives "So, good luck, get a well-paying job and, whatever you do, don't resort to working in he sewers in about..." He checked his watched before continuing "...18 years time, you might run into strange things down there." He shook hands with the man and hugged the women before closing the doors and walking back to the console.
When he got to the hexagonal configuration of control panels, he began flicking switches, pulling levers and checking readings as the time rotor rose and fell in a rhythm.
Once the ship had entered the gentle sphere of non-existence that was the time vortex, the Doctor relinquished control of the TARDIS and began simply leaning on the console as he mulled things over. He thought about the rifts in space Gillenti had mentioned, what were they? How had they come to be? What did he mean when he said he could hear 'familiar voices' through them? Could they have some connection to the Collector's? It was an intriguing mystery indeed, and the Doctor did love a mystery, that was partially the reason he had invited Clara to travel with him.
The last time he had encountered cracks in time, they had followed him throughout his travels, he actually hoped they would do the same this time.
He looked over at Clara, she was lying on the leather seat, she appeared to still be sound asleep. But the most important thing was, she was okay, no harm and come to her.
He was grateful for that but unfortunately the same couldn't be said for himself. He was covered in sore points and bruises and several areas were still bleeding. And his clothes still hadn't completely dried after the royal soaking they had received in the third-class security office. He walked over and knelt down to Clara's position, her dress was torn and damp in some places but other then that she was in much better shape then the Doctor.
He then ducked off to the TARDIS's kitchen, before returning with a stool, a plate of delicious Jammie Dodgers and two mugs of warm tea. He placed the stool next to her, followed by the plate of Jammie Dodgers. He then placed one of the mugs of tea on the stool, keeping one for himself, slowly sipping it as he checked readings on the monitor.
His concentration on the readings was broken by Clara's voice. She spoke softly "Thank-you."
He turned around on the spot, replying in the process. "For what?"
"Saving me, and saving them..."
The Doctor tried to make sense of what she said. "Wait... What? Were you?" He stuttered and stammered as he spoke.
Clara nodded her head while she replied "Yep, I was awake. That was a very nice thing you did there, although it wasn't unexpected."
She flung the blanket off herself and stood up, walking closer to him as she continued. "Because that's what you do, you're the Doctor, you save people." She stood right in-front of him, reaching her hands up to his neck and straightening his damp, sagging bow-tie. He smiled at her, she smiled back, before pulling him into a passionate hug that seemed to last forever.
Clara rested her yea son his shoulder while he wrapped his arms around her waist, closing his eyes and allowing the moment to soak in.
When they finally broke apart, Clara spoke again. "Well, it's good to see you got the TARDIS back. Even though I'm still not convinced she likes me..."
The Doctor waved a dismissive hand at her. "Oh, don't be silly of course she likes you. You do, don't you dear?" His the during that sentence as one of affection. He gently rubbed his hand on the metallic surface of the console during it.
Clara kept going with the questions. "So, what'll happen to those people you saved?"
Leaning on the console, the Doctor replied. "They'll continue on with their lives. They'll laugh, work, cry, smile, frown... They'll live. And they'll never forget, they'll tell the story of how they survived and the sacrifices their friends and family made to their children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Because, although you can't change history in major ways sometimes you can... Cheat. Sometimes, by changing history in subtle ways you do something major." He finished with a smile and began pressing buttons on the console once more. As he did this, he asked "So, where to next?"
Clara swallowed her current mouthful of Jammie Dodger with the aid of a sip of tea before replying. "Oh, I don't know... Ask the book?"
"Worked before, it'll work again." The Doctor pulled one lever before enthusiastically running up the stairs.
He was, however stopped by Clara. "Doctor? What happened to the Collectors? Where are they now?"
The Doctor turned around and answered. "When I was on-board their ship I had a bit of a fiddle with their FTL drive en-route to the TARDIS. That particular band of them can no longer enter Earth space because of me." He then turned around and picked up '101 Places to See', flicking through the pages with interest.
Clara, meanwhile took another sip of the tea before placing the mug down on the stool and glancing at the TARDIS monitor, it was showing an image of what appeared to a glowing, crack-like fissure. This image, for some reason, gave Clara a slight headache, she rubbed her eyes as her body protested "Ugh..."
Noticing this, the Doctor looked up from the book and asking her in a caring tone. "Is everything alright?"
Clara looked up at him, replying. "Yeah, it's just... What I did while you were talking to Gillenti... I-I can't... Remember, what I did."
This worried the Doctor deeply, he looked down at her with a grave look on her face. Her tied-up brown hair was falling onto her face, she looked like she had seen something ghastly but, as she had said, she couldn't remember what she had seen...
Who was Clara? He really didn't know, he liked her, whoever she was. She was smart and brave and funny and beautiful but... But he had met her before and she had died twice, how was that possible? And now she couldn't remember exactly what she had done after she took the Sonic Screwdriver and ran with it.
There was only one thing the Doctor was certain about, and that was the fact that this mystery was going to be a very complicated one...
So, there you have it, folks, the final chapter of 'A Night To Remember'. When I started this story just a few weeks ago I never anticipated it would be this popular. Thanks to everyone who favourited, followed and, of course, reviewed! Thanks to you and your continued support 'Mad-Man In a Box' has become 'Mad-Mad In a Box Productions' with a logo and an Instagram account and everything! It's also thanks to you that I'll be continuing this series of adventures over the next few months. The Collectors and their storyline will continue to appear over the course of the next two stores, which will then be followed by a big, epic season finale! So, once again, thanks for reading and I'll see you next time in story #2, which is titled 'Next Stop: Everywhere!' You can stay updated by following my Instagram account at 'mad_man_in_a_box_productions' or by following me as an author on this very site!