𝟘𝟚𝟙 ▹ 𝕋𝕙𝕖 𝕃𝕒𝕤𝕥 𝕠𝕗 𝕥𝕙𝕖 𝕋𝕚𝕞𝕖 𝕃𝕠𝕣𝕕𝕤 (ℙ𝕒𝕣𝕥 𝟛)
JACK AND THE GUARDS find three spheres guarding the TARDIS, so they start shooting at them. The rest are hurtling back down from higher in the sky towards the Valiant.
“Can’t get in,” a guard protests. “We’d get slaughtered.”
“Yeah,” Jack agrees. “Happens to me a lot.”
Jack goes into the TARDIS alone and empties his machine gun clip at the paradox machine. At the quarry, the ground shakes as the Doctor and the Master struggle for the Vortex Manipulator. They disappear together and arrive back on the Valiant. The spheres disappear and the ship shakes. Papers are flying everywhere. Martha gets thrown into the Doctor’s arms.
“Everyone get down!” the Doctor orders. “Time is reversing!”
The Master is hanging onto some railings. Francine sees a pistol on the floor, but Violet somehow beats the older woman to it. Meanwhile, the Winds of Time are creating havoc and panic on the ground, until, finally the people, the rockets and the statues disappear. Calm returns and a red bus drives around Piccadilly Circus.
Everyone on the Valiant stands on shaky legs except for Violet, who is clutching the pistol to her stomach, out of reach from the older dark-skinned woman. The Humans are all still feeling the aftershocks of having time re-written in front of their very eyes, but all Violet feels is unbelievably sick. It’s like her stomach is going to attempt to force itself out through her mouth, and that’s not something she particularly wants to see again.
“The paradox is broken. We’ve reverted back, one year and one day. Two minutes past eight in the morning.” A voice on the radio sounds and the Doctor allows a small smile. “Just after the President was killed, but just before the spheres arrived. Everything back to normal. Planet Earth restored. None of it happened. The rockets, the terror. It never was.”
“What about the spheres?” Martha asks.
“Trapped at the end of the universe.”
“But I can remember it,” Francine says.
“We’re at the eye of the storm. The only ones who’ll ever know.” The Doctor finally realises the new face on board. “Oh, hello. You must be Mister Jones. We haven’t actually met.”
The Master runs for the door just as Jack is coming in.
“Whoa, big fella!” Jack says, dragging the brunet back into the room of vengeful people. “You don’t want to miss the party. Cuffs. So, what do we do with this one?”
The Jones family throw a number of suggestions at the man, but they’re all about killing the Master. Violet clambers to her feet, everyone too focused on the Master to realise that she’s the one with the gun in this situation
“No, that’s not the solution,” the Doctor says, shaking his head.
Violet steps forward on shaking legs and points the pistol at the being who has haunted her dreams for centuries. “You killed everyone I have ever loved in one way or another, and you’ve killed me too. What reason do I have not to shoot you, you murderous bastard?!”
“Go on,” the Master goads. “Do it.”
“Violet,” the Doctor calls softly, but she barely responds. “You’re better than this.”
“No, I’m really not. You’ve seen only a little of what I’ve been through, and hardly the worst of it. I am a killer, but not without reason, and hardly a man or woman or alien dead or alive or to be born could ever say the same.”
“No. The only safe place for him is the TARDIS.”
“You mean you’re just going to keep me?” the Master asks in disgust. “I’d rather your pet halfling shoot me.”
Violet shoots the Master before Lucy has the chance, leaving the woman in red shocked and with a clean conscience. The Doctor catches the Master as he staggers back, and Violet lowers the gun, staring at the dying man with a blank expression, feeling absolutely nothing. Jack hurries over to Violet and takes the pistol from her, shoving it into the pocket of his pants.
“Always the women,” the Master laughs.
“I didn’t think she’d do it,” the Doctor apologises.
“Dying in your arms. Happy now?”
“You’re not dying. Don’t be stupid. It’s only a bullet. Just Regenerate.”
“One little bullet. Come on.”
“I guess you don’t know me so well. I refuse.”
“Regenerate. Just Regenerate. Please. Please! Just Regenerate. Come on.”
“And spend the rest of my life imprisoned with you?”
“You’ve got to. Come on. It can’t end like this. You and me, all the things we’ve done. Axons. Remember the Axons? And the Daleks. We’re the only two left. There’s no one else. Regenerate!”
Violet recoils further into the warmth of Jack’s arms at the Doctor’s words, and even he has a rather annoyed expression on his face at the words.
“How about that? I win,” the Master cheers weakly with a smile. “Will it stop, Doctor? The drumming. Will it stop?”
The Master dies and the Doctor cries out in anguish. What doesn’t feel like too much later, but at dark, the Doctor lights the Master’s funeral pyre then walks away, brushing past where Violet still clings to Jack for physical and emotional support.
A few hours later, the four time travellers are back at Roald Dahl Plass, and it’s like nothing happened. In the reality of the humans around them, nothing did happen, but, for a handful, a year and a day happened, and it was a living hell. Right now, four of them are leaning against a metal railing, Violet finally having enough strength to stand on her own, and having had more of the 51st Century medicine to straighten her mind out.
“Time was, every single one of these people knew your name,” Martha muses, looking around at them. “Now they’ve all forgotten you.”
“Good,” the Doctor replies.
“Back to work,” Jack says with a sigh, giving Violet a soft kiss. “I’m going to miss you, little love. Come visit me some time.”
Violet smiles and slips a perfectly good Vortex Manipulator into Jack’s trenchcoat pocket with a wink. “Going to miss you too, Jacky Boy. We’ll see each other soon though, as well as everyone else.”
“I really don’t mind, though,” the Doctor continues. “Come with me and Violet.”
“I had plenty of time to think that past year - the year that never was - and I kept thinking about that team of mine.”
“Ianto,” Violet coughs.
Jack laughs and gives her a cheeky look. “Like you said, Doctor, responsibility.”
“Defending the Earth,” the Doctor declares. “Can’t argue with that.”
The Doctor takes Jack’s hand and exposes the Vortex Manipulator on his wrist.
“Hey, I need that,” Jack groans for a second, before he realises just what Violet gave him.
“I can’t have you walking around with a time travelling teleport. You could go anywhere, twice. The second time to apologise.” The Doctor sonics the manipulator.
“And what about me? Can you fix that? Will I ever be able to die?”
“Nothing I can do. You’re an impossible thing, Jack.”
“Been called that before.” He hops down from where they’re standing. “Sir. Ma’am. But I keep wondering. What about ageing? Because I can’t die but I keep getting older. The odd little grey hair, you know? What happens if I live for a million years?”
“I really don’t know.”
“Okay, vanity. Sorry. Yeah, can’t help it. Used to be a poster boy when I was a kid living on the Boeshane Peninsula. Tiny little place. I was the first one ever to be signed up for the Time Agency. They were so proud of me. The Face of Boe, they called me. Hmm. I’ll see you.” Jack head off towards Torchwood’s secret entrance.
“No,” the Doctor breathes in disbelief.
“It can’t be,” Martha agrees.
“No. Definitely not. No. No.”
“Oh, but it is,” Violet laughs.
Not too much later, they’re outside Francine’s home. The Doctor watches Francine, Martha, Clive and Tish inside the house from across the street where the TARDIS is parked, then goes inside the blue box to Violet. His spare hand is now attached to the base of the console.
“Doctor, I’m sorry,” Violet murmurs, twisting and pulling her fingers. “I know I should have put the gun down, but, after all that he’s done, I couldn’t.”
The Doctor smiles warmly at the other remaining member of his race. “It’s alright, Violet.”
“That woman, Lucy, she would have shot him if I hadn’t of. She didn’t deserve to have been forced to stay by that monster’s side for years, and then have his blood on her hands.”
Martha slips inside the TARDIS before the Doctor can respond.
“Right then, off we go. The open road. There is a burst of starfire right now over the coast of Meta Sigmafolio. Oh, the sky is like oil on water. Fancy a look?” The Doctor scurries around the console, spouting ideas when both females know it’s not going to happen. “Or back in time. We could, I don’t know, Charles the Second? Henry the Eighth. I know. What about Agatha Christie? I’d love to meet Agatha Christie. I bet she’s brilliant. Okay.”
“I just can’t.”
He slows to a stop and stares at Martha. “Yeah.”
“Spent all these years training to be a doctor. Now I’ve got people to look after. They saw half the planet slaughtered and they’re devastated. I can’t leave them.”
“Of course not. Thank you. Martha Jones, you saved the world.”
“Yes, I did. I spent a lot of time with you two thinking I was third best, but you know what? I am good. You going to be alright?”
“Always. Yeah. I’ve got Violet to keep me company.”
“Right then. Bye.” Martha leaves, then goes back inside, making Violet grin. “Because the thing is, it’s like my friend Vicky. She lived with this bloke, student housing, there were five of them all packed in, and this bloke was called Sean. And she loved him. She did. She completely adored him. Spent all day long talking about him.”
“Is this going anywhere?” the Doctor asks, giving Violet a confused look when she facepalms.
“Yes, because he never looked at her twice. I mean, he liked her, but that was it. And she wasted years pining after him. Years of her life. Because while he was around, she never looked at anyone else. And I told her, I always said to her, time and time again, I said, get out. So this is me, getting out.” She throws her mobile phone to him. “Keep that, because I’m not having you disappear. If that rings, when that rings, you’d better come running. Got it?”
“I’ll see you again, mister.” Martha smiles. “See you, Violet.”
Martha leaves and the TARDIS dematerialises.