Doctor 12 ¾ was walking toward the TARDIS, absentmindedly, yet enthusiastically, singing "row, row, row your boat" when he saw his reflection in a sign advertising the book "A Long Story" by Missy Masters, published by Bad Wolf & Assoc. LLC. He didn't notice that.
What he did notice was a particularly long eyebrow hair. He stared into the reflective portion of the sign - did that curiously familiar face on the cover of the book just move? No, trick of the light - he returned to the hair, which he had now pinched and fully extended an inch from the brow.
"Shall I pluck you?" he said aloud to the hair. He paused. "It would hurt!" he answered the hair's unheard remark. He smoothed the hair down gently and continued toward the TARDIS "about three blocks away" he mumbled.
He was just about to sing 'gently down the stream' as if there had never been a pause to chat with his eyebrow, when he passed a certain bench with an ad for 'Hoodwinked' plastered across the back with two little girls sitting on it.
"Knock, knock" the first girl said.
Oh, The Doctor's favorite genre. He slowed to listen.
"Who's there" the second girl shot back.
No reply. The Doctor stopped and turned around to see that their ride had arrived, just then, leaving him with a bit of a lost feeling. "Now I'll never know who's there" he mumbled. He continued on toward the TARDIS and noticed that it seemed to be taking longer to get there than he expected.
Just then, out of the corner of his eye, two boys ran up to him, rather excited and out of breath, and said "can you help us" in unison.
"What do you need?" the doctor didn't know what to expect.
"We need help with a joke," they said again in perfect unison and then smiled a peculiar smile at each other.
The Doctor, visibly relieved smiled a little and said "how can I help?"
They simultaneously said "Say knock, knock".
The coincidence did not go unnoticed as The Doctor said "knock, knock".
The boys grinned and said "Who's there?" They stared blankly at The Doctor for a moment and then busted out laughing and ran away, leaving the doctor feeling a bit lost as he realized the joke was on him.
"And not just any joke" he thought. "A knock, knock joke" he mumbled as he bumped into the TARDIS. "Oh, there you are, lovely" he kissed the door. But as he opened the door he thought of Doctor 10 and mumbled "time is all wibbly, wobbly today".
The Doctor was intent on telling Clara...no, River...where is River…"24 year nights, now that's a good night's sleep" he mumbled...no...Clara…'not dead' Clara...right, he needed to tell 'not dead' Clara about all this knock, knock business. "Clar…"
And there she was, not dead at all. As he was about to relate the strangeness of his morning, Clara excitedly said "oh good, you're back, just in time as always, I have a good one for you, I can't believe I've missed it," she made it all one sentence. "Knock, knock," she stared up at him with childlike anticipation.
With widened eyes, and almost on instinct, The Doctor replied "who's there?", but as he said it, it felt to him more like wwwhhhoooooooo'sssss thththththteeeeerrrrrrrrre?"
'Not dead' Clara must not have noticed because she shot back "Doctor" with a big grin.
"Oh, my favorite" he thought, but as he was about to say 'Doctor Who' an old woman appeared next to him (she looked very surprised) and touched him on the forehead and said "sleep" in a strange voice.
Doctor 12 ¾ began to fall, and as he was falling he was also morphing through his previous 11 ¾ incarnations. His lives were flashing before him.
Simultaneously, the old woman and the still morphing Doctor appeared in a place that looked like the Utah salt flats, far from any comfortable planets with 24 year nights, but River was there, and in a perfect position to catch the falling Doctor's head in her lap. She was sitting on a red and white checkered blanket in front of a rather large picnic basket.
By the time The Doctor's head fell into River's lap, his descent had slowed to almost floating, and then he was still, bushy eyebrows in tact, breathing, but lying still with his eyes closed.
River, accustomed to oddnesses of all sorts, assessed the situation, and said to the old woman, who appeared to be in charge, "is he alright?"
The old woman replied "he's sleeping."
"That's rare" River stroked his brow. "When are we? I don't remember this."
"2016" the old woman replied. "And The Doctor hasn't properly 'slept' in quite some time" she said, "not since he entered this dream on Earth...back in the 60s. He's currently delirious."
"He claims to sleep" River was thinking out loud, "there was a time, at his 10th regeneration…" she began.
The old woman interrupted her "that wasn't the right kind of sleep. Actually, it isn't really sleep at all...more like when your computer goes to sleep. He is in need of upgrades. The last time he attempt to upgrade his 'brain imploded'. It was his own nightmare that caused it. Unbelievable!" she was shaking her head. "The bigger they are, indeed."
The old woman said "you are different" as she bent down and looked into River's eyes, a bit like a doctor looks into your eyes during a physical, lifting her chin just a little to peer inside to the retina - no, into her soul. River could feel herself being scanned. "You need to upgrade, as well, Sweetie," the old woman said. "Born of woman," she was still staring at River.
Visibly shaken, River demanded "who are you? What is this? What's going on? What do you mean 'I'm different'?"
"Well," the old woman replied with a smile "that really IS a long story."
Long Story, Short Version
River, now extremely annoyed, demanded again "Who are you? The short version!"
"The Granny" she emphasised 'The', as in The Doctor. The old woman smiled as she recalled when The Doctor and River gave her that title. They had come to her in an attempt to change a timeline without getting their Father involved. Once they called her The Granny, she was in.
But then another voice came out of the old woman, more timid, almost shy. "I'm just Granny" she smiled and waved, "no 'The'" she made the little quote marks motion with her hands.
River, still annoyed said "what's that supposed to mean?"
The Granny responded "I'm not the enemy, Sweetie. In a while, the two of you" she motioned to The Doctor "are going to venture into The Quiet to motivate me to help you. You'll call me The Granny and I'll laugh and yada, yada here we are. I've returned you to the point in the timeline you're trying to save, where action must be taken to avoid those things you came to me for. You've got quite a lot of fixing to do, then we'll make the time loop with the tele, then it's up to Granny from there."
"So what you're saying" River was attempting to understand, "is that The Doctor and I come to you, in the future, and ask you to put us here?"
"Correct" The Granny waited for River to continue.
"And the reason we are at this specific moment is because we must move forward from here in a different way than the other line" River was thinking it through as she said it, "which is going to include changing the past of the current timeline?"
"Yes" The Granny said, "but vitally, the near future timeline."
"What happens in that line?" The way she asked it made it seem like she knew she might not get an answer.
"Best not to conjure the negative things, especially when you don't want them to happen" The Granny cautioned, "but if it is allowed to happen, there will be no 'hard way' to pursue. The decision will be made to reset the Solar System to 165 million years ago."
River didn't seem to completely understand, but she nodded. She understood spoilers of many kinds, and she gathered that 'reset' meant reset the timeline of Earth to 165 million years ago.
Then The Granny pointed to herself and said "this Granny here is helping me contact you. After all, just like The Doctor can't be born of woman because it takes too long, I couldn't risk it for similar reasons, so Granny here helped me out by lending her dreaming mind for this little meeting. She is an average human and one of the requirements put on The Doctor and your brother, by your Father, when they started this crazy plan was that the children had to be able to understand what's going on and willfully accept the tasks we are asking them to perform. Granny, here, was able to make sense of all the dreams and figure out how to sift through all the voices she heard in her head, mask the nonessentials and recognize and ignore the evil ones. She also understands how to,motivate the masses." It was Granny who grinned, looking down.
"She'll stay here with Clara" The Granny said "to watch you sleep when I leave. No need to tempt fate any longer. She'll be my eyes in case of trouble."
Then River asked "who are you? What are you? Where are you going when you leave her here?" she was getting more demanding, and then, almost as an afterthought, "and what if I don't want to sleep?"
"What am I?" The Granny repeated the question. "I am 'room without walls containing Universe'.
"Who am I?" she pondered "my name is unpronounceable...I am The Silence. My name is Silence itself.
"Where am I going?" she repeated again. "I will return to The Quiet and comfort Earth until you complete this task. We will be watching you and we will continue to guide you with thoughts.
"But first" it happened so fast River couldn't stop it. The Granny touched her forehead and said "sleep."
It was Clara who appeared from nowhere, seated next to River, in a perfect position to catch River's head in her lap. The Doctor and River looked quite peaceful. Clara looked a little surprised, but like River was used to oddnesses of all sorts. She paid attention.
"I'm leaving" The Granny's voice was still coming from the old woman's body. "She'll explain everything when I'm gone," she said, pointing to herself.
With that, the old woman's body shook a bit and Granny's little voice said "she's gone now."
Tea With Clara
Clara and Granny sat quietly for a moment and finally Clara, not knowing what to say, broke the silence. "It's not very hot" she noted, "for a desert, I mean." The weather is always a safe topic, right? Clara was thinking.
Granny considered it and then said "I don't think we're really here. I'm pretty sure I'm dreaming. I've been having very odd dreams for a couple of months now. But this has never happened before." Granny seemed quite proud as she said it. "But I can't seem to remember why we're here...I need to do that."
Clara put a hand to her temple, recalling the brain sucking spider crabs that induced dream states. Was she still dreaming? There never was a scar. Was this more of the Long Story?
Clara had had such a strange life with The Doctor. And actually, she wasn't sure where she had been before she appeared here in the desert with this old woman she had never seen before and The Doctor and River apparently asleep. As she caught River's head in her lap, it seemed like a perfectly natural thing to do. This was all quite dreamish.
"Is anything real?" Clara was saying it to herself.
"The pain is real enough" Granny answered matter-of-factly. "If you have a body, the dreams are real."
"But if it's a dream," Clara responded "then how can it be real?"
"I'm pretty sure I understand all this" Granny began. "I heard about it in a story once, shall I tell you?"
Clara nodded but as Granny was about to begin her story Clara poured Granny a cup of tea from a copper teapot that wasn't there a moment before into a cup that Granny wasn't holding before, then Clara poured her own cup and offered half and half to Granny from a miniature porcelain pitcher. Granny let Clara pour a creamy swirl into her gold rimmed cup, and watched as she did the same to her own steaming cup of rich black tea.
"One lump or two" Clara asked.
"Two, thanks" Granny smiled and held out her cup and ~~BOOM~~she was wide awake in the dream, "the second dream" she thought. As she came to the full realization of who Clara really was and where she would be going after The Doctor and River finished upgrading she also realized that Stan was there, invisible as usual, listening to them as they spoke.
Granny realized this was her test. The first part was the hardest, she had to wake up in the dreams, and here she was, awake! Now she just had to prove to the invisible 'powers that be' that she could understand the meaning of life and humanity's purpose, and that she could see a way to motivate the masses into proper behavior, even if they didn't seem spiritually old enough for the tasks as hand. She knew this stuff backwards and forwards.
This would normally be great news for Granny, who was getting tired of Earth being a mess. However, the idea that she was only a couple of little stories away from being finished had the opposite effect, so of course she got all flustered. What had begun as a nice little story in a dreamworld, had now become an exam that Granny had trained for for over 30 years. She knew how to explain it plain and simple with just a few of stories, but as she stared at Clara her mind went blank.
Then she took a deep breath and thought of Stan and waited a moment for that first line to come to her.
Clara dropped the two cubes of sugar into Granny's cup.
"That physical realm that I usually walk around in is a real place, but it's part of a set up, a truce that started with the Big Bang.
"Before the Big Bang it was a gigantic horrible mess. That's a really, really long story and most of it was war. By the end of that pre-existence era - a more cartoonish, much more spirit driven era - everybody except Mom was fighting in the Unwinnable War.
"Then Stan stopped fighting, so Dad stopped fighting, but their armies kept fighting." Her eyes widened as she began to get into the story herself. "The very souls of the warriors had been taken over by evil spirits and they continued to fight for imaginary reasons.
"Anyway" Granny got back on track, "the guys in charge, The First Family and The Generals, made a plan to stop the war and enable everyone to eventually have a happy ending, even the minion warriors, who were really just youngsters when you understand them right.
"A big part of that solution was the creation of sleep. They didn't sleep before the Big Bang. They also divided the physical universe from the spiritual universe, but enabled people with bodies to leave those bodies when they are physically asleep and visit the spiritual realm in order to insure communication amongst the spirits.
"They called the solution 'Gallifrey', a system enabling separation. Gallifrey answered the need 'this place isn't capable of comfortably containing both of us'. The participants were experiencing discord, and didn't yet understand how to change their frequency to enable peaceful coexistence.
"They created the physical universe like those Matrioshka nesting dolls. The Universe is the Big Doll, then the Galaxies, Stars, Planets, and then finally the little tiny dolls inside are us," Granny grinned. "Time stretches longer, the smaller you go.
"The planet herself has a spirit, but inside the planets are those spiritual youngsters from the pre-existence who don't play well with others. They are detained inside of planets in a sleep state. A plan was devised to give them billions of years to grow up.
"When our sun gets old, he will begin to grow and burn off the physical planets, enabling the changed spiritual beings to be born.
"When Gallifrey was being planned, the rule was that everyone must have a happy ending, even if they had to sleep for billions of years before they got to realize it. The sleep would be comfortable.
"In the case of humanity, we are carbon based life forms and we were not even possible until a couple of billion years ago. Part of our 'happy ending' includes living as many lifetimes as we need before we venture into large heavenly bodies and super long lifetimes in heavenly bodies...lifetimes that last billions of years for stars and trillions of years for galaxies.
"Well, in the case of the minions and some very large evil spirits, they were detained inside of planets, pretty much against their will. They were put to sleep, and forced to change before they would be acceptable in any bodies at all.
"Because our minions and evil spirits woke up early, humanity is swimming in a sort of negatively charged, spiritual soup. But the worst thing is, stars found out that the gigantic negative emotions that are supposed to be asleep at the core of our world could be used like power sources for evil...they are using the negatively charged soup like spiritual fuel, and it's torturing the poor emotional creatures...they are so scared. We swim in their fear and pain. It affects us like microwaves affect food.
"Some of the evil spirits would like the Universe destroyed so they can be free again...free to wreak havoc and fight wars...and create pain" Granny said, then she leaned over toward Clara and put her hand up by her mouth, "they're insane" Granny whispered. "But some of the spirits just want to go back to sleep. Perfect, blissful sleep. In the the BIG dream. Love."
Clara was left with a blank look on her face.
"It's actually a great plan when it works" Granny seemed very familiar with this story, "but when the trapped spirits wake up early, and the planet has people living on it, they target the people and create general chaos...like gremlins" Granny was remembering as she said it, "have you seen the movie?"
"Yes, I do know it" said Clara. "Gizmo, right? And don't get him wet or feed him after dark?"
"Midnight," Granny corrected and smiled. "Well, it's sort of like Earth's gremlins are awake, only our solution to this problem isn't to kill the gremlins," then she leaned closer to Clara and whispered "humans are kill crazy right now, it's part of the infection.
"But anyway, the sad part is Stan. He's kind of like Gizmo for our planet. Actually, he's really our guard. He's the nice one who guards the gates of hell and shouts for help if the minions wake up. He's really quite kind...a poet.
"Stan usually sleeps with the minions, but he got waked up early, 165 million years ago, when Earth got hit by a gigantic asteroid...the one that killed all the dinosaurs."
Clara nodded and sipped, completely intrigued.
"So he called The Doctor for help, like he's supposed to do if he gets woken up early. It's even in The Bible," Granny's eyes got big as she said it "right at the beginning of Job.
"Anyway" Granny continued, "there was Stan, surrounded by awakening minions and evil spirits, and all the disembodied souls of the dinosaurs...and they were all still so young, just babies" Granny was making a sad face.
"Wait" Clara stopped her and repeated "the disembodied souls of the dinosaurs?"
"Yeah" Granny squinted her eyes in thought, "see, it's supposed to work like this" she began her story within a story, "a meteorite hits the atmosphere of a fertile planet, like Earth, and the tiny baby spirit who just lost their heavenly body forever, is now fluttering around like a little fairy spirit being" Granny was fluttering her fingers around like little butterflies.
"That spirit can bond with physical parts of Earth, thereby learning about Earth from the cellular level. First plants, then animals and finally, human immune cells who have gotten to know their planet from the ground up" she was moving her hands up like steps on a ladder. "Plato called it the long way with suffering" she added.
"Human's serve two major functions. Physically, we are immune cells, charged with doing hundreds of millions of tasks to keep everything in the Universe healthy.
"Spiritually, we are paired with minions to help them grow and learn how to make proper decisions. It takes billions of years for their transformation to be complete. The animal kingdom is their world. It's their portion of the truce that would have eventually enabled them to transform. They will be born when the Sun burns Earth. Until then, they are future good guys in training.
"So when the asteroid hit and woke up Stan and the minions and killed all the bodies of the developing young meteorite souls, who were just beginning their physical evolution toward human immune cells, it was a crazy mess in Earth's spiritual realm." Granny looked around and wondered if that's where this meeting was taking place.
"Stan was surrounded by billions of screaming babies. He called for help, but remember, there's the time differential."
Clara got a questioning look on her face "time differential?"
"Yeah" Granny sidetracked to explain "you've heard that thing about one year for God is like 1000 years for humans?"
Clara nodded, said "yes" then settled back with her tea for the answer. The tea was still steaming and quite hot and both cups remained filled, just below the gold rim, perfectly filled.
"Anyway" Granny continued "think about it. If one day is 1000 years, then 12 hours is 500 years. And 6 hours is 250 years. So 3 hours is 125 years, making 1 hour for God a little over 40 years for a human. Keep going and you'll see that one of our human days, to us, is only a quarter of a second to God.
Clara's eyebrows raised.
"Now that's just the first jump, from human to Earth. There is a similar differential from planet to star. Every year, Earth circle the Sun. The trees suck up nutrients, push forth leaves and fruit and seeds, and then drops everything and begins again...suck, push, stop...suck, push, stop...thump, thump, rest...thump, thump, rest. Like a heartbeat. And look at the letters in the name Earth...H, E, A, R, T.
"So a full rotation around the Sun, one of her 'days' - is like a heartbeat to the Sun, a mere second.
"So there's got to be a similar differential from solar to galactic, where The Doctor's heavenly body resides.
"So there poor Stan was, trapped with billions of screaming babies, half of them made of 'snakes and snails and puppy dog tails', and the other half all 'sugar and spice and everything nice', but currently all very scared and screaming and impossible to control. And while it seemed quite timely to The Doctor, who is rather instantly drawn to situations, there was the time differential.
"See" Granny explained it well "if there weren't any little humans on Earth, The Doctor would have responded quite promptly. But the human factor messed up the automatic calculation, because he was being drawn to Earth, not a specific human. Long story short" Granny smiled at the phrase "The Doctor arrived late.
"It would have been very, very easy to reset the asteroid hit to simply miss Earth. The Doctor could have done that whenever he arrived.
"But something happened during the wait. Stan began to bond with all the babies. He learned to comfort them (he called it taming them at first), and he began to care for them and nurture them and eventually to truly love them all.
'Stan's supposed to be like a sort of babysitter, but one who gets to sleep the whole time of the transformation of the minions. He is supposed to only have to wake up in case of emergencies, in which case The Doctor just comes and resets the timeline and Stan goes back to sleep.
"So at first, when he was surrounded by screaming babies, he was angry and cursed the very plan itself. But later, time with the babies helped him realize that having time is a great thing, especially in this realm. Stan began to value the time and use it for his own personal growth. Remind me to tell you about Stan and the Rat someday" Granny smiled.
"Anyway" Granny got back on track "by the time The Doctor finally arrived, Stan was no longer willing to go along with the easy method. If he let The Doctor reset the timeline, he would lose 165 million years of bonding with his babies. By the time The Doctor arrived they were excellent spiritual youngsters, due to the thoughtful guidance of Stan over the eons. To reset the timeline would be like killing 7 billion kindergarteners.
"So when The Doctor arrived, Stan requested that The Doctor help him save the children, who were now infected by the evil, and being tortured by minions. They called the Universal Mind (the BIG dreamer) into the discussion. The Universal Mind dreamed that He was born of woman on Earth. He said 'love one another' then left. They all agreed that while it might be difficult, it was worth the try.
"Now, if we can get these billions of young souls, in various aged human bodies, to do the right things, then there's hope for our ailing world. If not, then The Doctor will go back in time, stop the asteroid from ever hitting Earth, and none of the last 165 million years will ever have happened.
"And here we are now" Granny shrugged her shoulders and tilted her head "in the midst of the possible solution." Granny became lost in dreamish melancholy thought.
"I thought you said Stan was fighting with Dad?" Clara questioned after thinking the story over.
"Don't ask about that, please." Granny said at first. It wasn't a pleasant subject. But then she remembered where she was and what she was doing, but most importantly who she was talking to and who else might be listening. "Wait...okay."
Granny sat up straight to tell another story. "Dad...God...wasn't always a perfect lovable guy, like He is now.
"Stan is His first born son...the prodigal. He was a complete accident, and Dad didn't even know He had a son. They weren't the same. Dad came from The Silence. Stan came from Dad and The Silence. Stan was the original surprise.
"Then there was this long, long, long era" Granny was thinking. "You could call it the era of The Ball. The Ball was a complicated situation. Stan fell in love with Her, but She literally didn't know he existed. But he was there and he was forced to watch what Dad did to Her, before Dad knew She was alive.
"It was a torturous time. There was no communication and it was full of emotional waves that you might call The Misunderstanding, The Anguish, The Sadness, The Hatred and The Hunger...beings like that became gained a sentiency of sorts. I just call them the evil spirits.
"Well" Granny was still thinking, "Stan didn't want Dad's crimes against Mom, The Ball, to go unpunished. He tried to defend her, even though She didn't want anyone to fight.
"That started the Unwinnable War" Granny said, "and that's why Stan didn't mind taking the job of planet guard. By the time the truce was devised, he just wanted to sleep. It sounded fantastic!
"And it was until he woke up early. And then after he learned to control us, there were some wonderful human experiences on Earth.
"But then it got real bad. The evil spirits infected the stars and they took over the world, and the babier humans. They use our r-complex against us. When we get stressed, it's like handing our reptilian brain the keys to the body. And the r-complex doesn't know the difference between 'stress at work' and 'stress of dying in the snow' and it always defaults to dying just in case...then we start doing kooky stress based things like gathering, and filling all our fat cells and making one new one, and hitting each other. All these things are related to the different ways animals react to the stress of winter. They gather, fill fat cells and the big cats attack.
"The r-complex is also responsible for humanity's perception filter" Granny covered her eyes when she said it. "People that are stressed to the point of death aren't given the ability to be empathetic to others, so the atrocities being committed around the world go unchecked as we continue to stress out over everything from 401Ks to wrinkles.
"Nobody understands this r-complex behavior except the star people and the evil spirits. They know how to make us feel like we're going to die if we don't do it. Another unnecessary pair of shoes, a doughnut, a black eye for the wife...they know all about what makes us run around in circles.
"In a somewhat similar way, when Earth got stressed by the asteroid hit, Stan was awakened and He was in charge of the solution.
"First Stan called The Doctor, like he's supposed to. But the Doctor had to get Dad involved because there was such a big mess.
"When Stan went to Dad for help to save the time line, he got to know the real Dad...the Dad that freely admits that mistakes were made and He made them Himself and hurt others when He did so. He met the Dad that came to help His firstborn son despite their horrific pasts. He met the Dad that explained how hard saving this timeline would be because He understood just how evil the evil is, but that He would be there to help, every step of the way.
"They actually worked it all out. Stan saw Dad from an all new perspective, and he understood Dad and what a difficult time He must have had in the earliest eras, before He knew what He was. He learned to love Dad, and Dad loved him right back. They faced the challenge of saving Earth together.
"Gallifrey offers a painful choice to the star children, trapped here on Earth, preferring to rule on Earth, rather than serve in Heaven. If they return to their star bodies, by the grace of God, leaving the meek to inherit Earth, then they will not be erased. If they wait until the planet is destroyed, they must return to their bodies through the Sun, and part of the process includes erasure. It's called the eternal sphincter of pain. It's not really eternal, but I think it might feel that way to a star who's getting erased.
"Meteorite spirits like me are much teenier. We swim through the Sun like a guppy swims through the ocean. With no body, there is no pain. It's a like a big hug from our Sun Daddy.
"But if you have a body in heaven and you've got yourself trapped here, and then you make Dad destroy the planet, then that's your only way home. Yikes!" Granny's eyes got big.
"They don't really want to be bad" Granny said this with compassion. "They're asleep like everyone else.
"They're just asleep being evil on purpose in their dream. Their relative spiritual age is teenager. They got trapped here without really knowing what they were getting themselves into. They were trying to help, so that's a good thing.
"They got sucked in by absolute power because they're so much smarter than us and they're swimming in evil.
"But they've forgotten they're not invisible down here. They think nobody's watching, but really, everybody's watching." She leaned over and whispered "heaven is kind of boring, I think.
"Anyway" Granny continued, "God and everyone else is watching their every move. Their human brain is constantly uploaded as proof of what they're feeling and thinking as they're doing everything.
"They've forgotten their Angelic Natures. They are the true warriors for God. They are so totally defeated by evil right now, that it has become their way out with dignity.
"Way out with dignity?" Clara questioned.
"Yeah" Granny explained. "Everybody needs a way out of this current mess with dignity. All the religions might want to feel embarrassed about not having seen it before. Their way out with dignity is that they weren't supposed to figure it out before. They were supposed to dogmatically save the notes that they were guarding so they could be properly decoded in the future.
"The stars that are trapped here have a different way out with dignity. Once they find out they're asleep, and pretending to hide in the closet of the nursery, 'shooting up' on human-form, the laughing stocks of their peers, embarrassment to themselves, their planet wives, their immune system children, THEN we give them a chance to prove what they're really made of.
"Remember, these guys invented magic paper.
"Magic paper?" Clara questioned again.
"Yeah" Granny explained. "Money...magic paper. People provide all manner of amazing things for the paper. If we were smart, we would believe in ourselves, change the color of the paper, put a picture of Earth on it, and change the game we're playing from Monopoly to Life. If we don't give the stars any of our new money, maybe they'll go home and leave us alone...but they need to fix their messes first.
"If they don't, and they continue to allow this horror show to continue, then Earth is on the chopping block" Granny pulled her finger across her neck and stuck her tongue out of the side of her mouth.
"Which is why The Doctor would just reset the timeline to before it ever happened and we would never exist," Granny finished. She seemed to be happy to be done with that story - not very pleasant. But in the end, Granny only wanted the current time line to succeed if humanity could rise to the challenges that would quickly face them, both for the human race and for the planet herself. She hated that children were slaves on her planet. She couldn't figure out how anyone could be okay with that. Then she remembered, they're all asleep.
"How do you fit into all of this?" Clara asked, switching the subject after a long pause. A fair question given the current circumstances.
"Well," Granny focused but seemed to be thinking aloud "nothing like this has ever happened before, but I did just solve the puzzle, then I started having very vivid dreams."
"Puzzle" Clara perked right up. "What puzzle is that?"
"I've been trying to figure out what went wrong on Earth, especially with all the religions, and also how to fix everything. It took a long time to figure out, but I recently did," Granny seemed proud.
"Really" Clara was digesting all of that "how long did that take?"
"34 years" Granny said.
Clara stifled a surprised laugh. "Oh, that is a long time."
"It's a big puzzle" is what Granny said, but she was thinking "34 years isn't even a drop in the bucket to you, Impossible Girl."
"I could never properly understand the religious extremists who blow themselves up to kill other people, and say it's for God" Granny continued, "but then I figured it out."
"What exactly did you figure out?" Clara asked with raised eyebrows. She really wanted to understand this one herself.
Granny thought for a long time and finally said "I have to tell you another story, okay?"
Clara nodded and wrapped her fingers around the smooth cup.
"You've heard that thing before, that we are made in God's image, right?" Granny asked.
Clara nodded again, mid sip.
"Notice that we are spiritual beings in a physical body" Granny was entering storytelling mode as she began. "We are full of complex organs and systems that are all interconnected, and way down deep inside, keeping everything healthy, is our immune system, right?"
Clara nodded, eyes wide, she was transfixed already. This was a puzzle and Granny was solving it right before her eyes.
"Well" Granny continued, "our Universe is a spiritual being in a physical body, full of complex organs and systems that are all interconnected, and way down deep inside, is us. We are the little tiny smart things that can affect physical changes to our surroundings. Humanity is the immune system for the physical universe. All humanoids should be working together for the overall health of the hosts.
"But on Earth, the evil spirited minion youngsters woke up early and they are infecting the immune system. Earth has AIDS."
Clara stopped sipping. She was going to talk, but then she stopped herself, retrieved a really big chocolate chip cookie from the really big picnic basket, and began to eat it as she motioned for Granny to continue.
"Ever since the asteroid hit and woke everyone up, the Sun and the Earth have been working with us in the spiritual realm. They are sort of the father and mother of the spiritual portions of humanity and they don't come to Earth anymore, they help us from the spirit realm.
"Hey" Granny interrupted her own story, this time wondering aloud "we really could be there right now…" then she got totally lost in thought.
Clara interrupted her thoughts again, "the Sun and Earth have been doing what?"
"Oh," Granny partially snapped out of it and repeated with exactly the same inflection "the Sun and the Earth have been doing what?" then finally, "Oh, yes, the Sun and the Earth have spirits. When things are good, they can be 'born of woman' and live a human lifetime to guide the human race.
"Sometimes when something goes wrong, like an asteroid hits a planet and wakes up the sleeping minions, then Stan wakes up and asks for help.
"Because The Doctor was late and there started to be so much suffering on Earth" Granny leaned over and whispered "the evil spirits woke up, as well" then she continued talking "there was so much suffering on Earth, some neighboring Stars came to Earth to try and help their friend, our Sun.
"When a star takes a human body, born of woman, they can use it better than the rest of us. It's sort of like a teenager" she stopped and thought it over for a second "actually, it's exactly like a teenager going into the nursery. Of course they can use the toys better than the little ones. They are older by nature, not by nurture.
"Anyway, that's what happened here. The Solar Race came to Earth to help us, and at first they really did - a golden age - but then they got infected by evil spirits and Earth got quarantined.
"So now these super smart spirits in human bodies are herding the babier humans and, well" Granny waved her arms around "that's how you end up with this mess."
Clara thought for a long time. "Wait a minute" she remembered. "What does all this have to do with extremists?" She had returned to the original question.
"Oh, yeah" Granny remembered, "so throughout all this craziness, the Sun kept getting born of women. He was working in conjunction with Stan to leave messages throughout history to help guide the children to their own safety. He left huge amounts of writing, about many different things that the immune system has to understand to do the job correctly. He literally built religions around each set of notes, so they became scriptures and would last until now.
"Lots of times, those religions and scriptures would seem to be against each other, and I couldn't figure out why" Granny was squinting.
"I've always wondered about that myself" Clara said, then sipped more tea, the cookie was gone.
"Well," Clara could tell Granny was beginning another story "they actually mixed up Heaven and Earth a long time ago. They read a book that said the law in heaven is 'for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction'."
"Oh," Clara said, "I know, third law, Newton, right?"
"Right" Granny grinned. She liked Clara - excellent listener. But they mistakenly mixed that up with the code of human conduct and invented Karma."
"Oh, no!" Clara could see it. "What you do comes back to you. That is like the law of heavenly motion...equal and opposite...back atcha!"
"It got worse" Granny continued. "After a while, it became 'an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, thus sayeth the Lord'!" Granny's eyes got wide, "a battle cry."
"So Jesus was born of woman. He came to judge if we were worth saving. He told humanity, 'you have heard it said and eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, but I say turn the other cheek', and he said 'love thine enemy, love God, love thy neighbor as thy self' Granny had obviously stated this list before, "and they accused Him of trying to change the law.
"But He wasn't. The law remains 'for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction'," Granny continued. "He was trying to fix the code of human conduct, which should be love one another, with no exceptions whatsoever…" Granny was drifting a bit, "and they dare to fight in His name...everyone's asleep" she mumbled, now deep in thought.
"Go back to the part about the Sun now" Clara instructed.
Granny snapped out of it, and noted that Clara was guiding her test. That would be the next logical step in the stories. She felt this was going well.
"Ok then," Granny sat up straight, "The Sun has been being born of woman, and living lifetimes on Earth, over and over again. When the Sun takes a body, it should be a wonderful thing. He is such a wonderful man to have here when he is healthy. He leads us and guides us.
"He always leaves himself notes for the future, either scriptures or stories.
"For example, back when the basalt layer of the planet was more molten, there were some bad volcanic eruptions. The Sun came and taught them how to build cyclopean pressure releasing holes, far from the volcano itself, to release the pressure. As long as the holes were kept clean, the volcano didn't erupt. But if they got clogged, and volcanic action began, then a team was sent to unclog the cyclopean holes, at great risk to the team. Sometimes the team would chicken out and become pirates instead of sacrificing their lives to the volcanos. Then the volcanos would blow."
"That makes perfect sense" Clara was following right along.
"But then the evil spirits got stronger and stronger and used all forms of trickery to confuse everything. So whenever the Sun would plant a religion to save information, or if the Sun needed to correct a situation, the evil spirits would target the people trying with all of their hearts to help God.
"Look at the gay community, for example" Granny said. "Some people actually believe God doesn't like gay people, and they've got it all tied up to ancient scripture, which is tainted by the way, and it's just not true."
Clara never believed it either, but wanted so much for Granny to continue.
"Something did happen" Granny's face looked sad "that besmirched the reputation of the entire population of gays. There used to be a gay community in Greece. They were part of a group of quarantined stars that wanted to save knowledge. In the beginning, before they fell completely asleep, they didn't want to create human children because that would bind them to Earth. So they chose homosexuality to answer their urges," Granny blushed a little.
"But then they began to groom the next generation to be gay. That's the sin!" Granny was adamant. "It's the exact same sin that homophobes are sinning right now! You can't groom sexuality. It's personal. God wants what's natural for each individual person" Granny was pounding her fist into her hand. "The evil spirits are laughing their asses off" Granny leaned over and whispered.
"And that's what the evil spirits were doing to the religions that the Sun was planting here?" Clara asked.
"Exactly" Granny smiled. "But in the case of religious extremists who were willing to be suicide attackers, well, I just couldn't figure out why they ever thought God would want that - ever?!" Granny shrugged.
"Then I did." Granny was thinking again.
Clara could see the wheels turning, and almost stayed quiet, but curiosity got the better of her. "Why?" she blurted out.
Granny raised her eyebrows and repeated "Why?"
"The suicide bombers?" Clara coached the story.
"Oh, right," Granny remembered. "They are acting like good immune cells, only they've been programmed with the wrong targets.
"The evil spirits have used generations of war and discord to create the spirit of contention that exists within the world's religions today. Part of their scriptures, left by the Sun himself, explain that the health of the Hosts is primary and the Hosts must be protected at all cost, which, by the way" Granny had a thoughtful look, "is absolutely correct.
"It might be laudable, willing to die for God and all, but they aren't supposed to be reliving - refighting - the Unwinnable War as a means of motivating proper behavior from the masses. They just need to explain it right" Granny got sad again, "but they don't understand, and they don't listen to women...which I am one of.
"Anyway" Granny finished up, "they were told a big lie about being rewarded with a life in heaven with lots of wives for doing those horrible things.
"The truth about that is, that if you earn life as a star by reincarnating a bunch of times until you're ready to have a heavenly body, then your 'wives' are planets, not humans.
"The spirit of discord that haunts all of the religions isn't stronger than Stan or The Doctor or Dad or The Silence. There is the easy way out...erasure" Granny stated matter of factly. "But in the end, it's all really just music. Stan can turn discord into harmony by changing keys himself. It's all about change.
"Our planet could be such a wonderful place if everybody was willing to change the way they think, just a bit, to fit in with the other guys around them. That's what America is, after all" Granny's eyebrows went up. "Just a bunch of throwaways, oddballs, criminals and dreamers joining together to with a religious freedom clause. Only they were basically told to 'ignore God and prosper'.
"If the entire world joined together and embraced the differences in their neighbors' religions, they would soon see that the Sun had been leaving a gigantic puzzle all along, with each religion holding a little piece. They all point to what went wrong on Earth, how to fix it and how to establish the proper code of human conduct on Earth.
"Zoroaster told us the harsh truth that demons had been awakened on our planet.
"Lord Buddha, said 'oops, something went terribly wrong here. Don't believe anything you hear, read or are told is truth. If it's not good for one and all, it's not good' and then he said 'be good and love one another'.
"Jesus and John the Baptist, John was the reincarnation of Elijah ya know," Granny interrupted herself "anyway" she continued, "Jesus and John left a bunch of encoded scriptures that nobody's looking at properly yet.
"Muhammad left the scriptures that contain information on the proper treatment of our Heavenly Hosts' bodies.
"Joseph Smith and Charles Russell left the proper template for the family and the community to reach out to one another and help one another, and the religions that sprang from them have been deeply infected by the evil spirits.
"The Sun's last trip here was a complete disaster" Granny was waving her arms around. "It resulted in Dianetics and Scientology. The evil spirits got to the Sun's forming brain with knitting needles before he was ever born of woman.
"They were all targets of the evil spirits from the get go, but the evil got stronger and stronger and they were infected...how could it be helped?" Granny seemed to be asking herself, and began to drift for a moment.
"How do you know all these stories?" Clara interrupted.
"I hear a voice" Granny said matter-of-factly. Then she offered "I know I look old, but my spirit is really young, like most of the humans on Earth. This is our nursery. Our spirits are maybe 4 or 5, some of the older meteorite spirits from when the dinosaurs died might be the equivalent of 6 year olds."
"The Doctor and River are teenagers" Granny said it like it was a fact.
"What do you mean" Clara questioned, "you know about The Doctor and River?"
"They're galaxies." Again, she said it like it was a fact. "This guy" she pointed to The Doctor, still sleeping in River's lap "is Earth's galaxy - the Milky Way. He is The Doctor for this Galaxy. River is The Doctor for Andromeda, but one day they will be joined, and they're like best friends anyway, so she got herself born of woman in his galaxy to come help him, even though she arrived in all the dreams and it was going to be hard.
"See, the bigger they are, the harder they fall ASLEEP!" Granny pounded her fist into her hand when she said 'asleep'.
"So when a galaxy arrives on a planet to help out, they don't usually get born of women because that would take way too long. It wouldn't be effective.
"So they come to their planets in a magic body made from their minds and from the energy at the center of the galaxy - the black hole. Their magic body is called a TAWDIS, which stands for Temporal Ambulance With Distress Initiated Synchrometer."
Clara gave a little *bonk* to her own head and said "no wonder we were always off course...it's distress initiated...we always arrived to trouble...of course" she was thinking it through.
"And because the TAWDIS is the physical body of the Galaxy, when it arrives to a planet, which is designed to cause sleep, it's the TAWDIS itself that is asleep."
"Distress Initiated and asleep" she continued to think it through. Then she said it slowly, "TAWDIS. TAW, TAR, TAW, TAR." Then she laughed out loud and refocused on Granny who was smiling broadly.
"Distress Initiated…" Clara's voice inflected, she was looking for Granny to finish it.
"Synchrometer" Granny said.
"TAWDIS" Clara said it slowly with a big grin.
"Anyway," Granny remembered she was telling The Doctor's story, "like the stars that are here who have living star bodies in heaven, The Doctor has a living body in heaven...a really big one" Granny's eyes widened "the whole galaxy...and The Doctor is in charge of general health for the whole place. He's stable for 23 trillion years, and he's in charge of all that time.
"He will always hear the Ood Song until it finally ends, just as he will always hear Earth crying for her children...and the cries of each and every child, woman and man, begging for God to save them from their current fate, until they are saved, or until their timeline is purged.
"He feels us all, with genuine compassion" Granny continued. "And so does Stan - a Time Lord, as well - and so do the Sun and the Earth...we're all connected. Remember, like those nesting dolls. We're the tiny dolls on the inside of them all. If you hurt us, it's like voodoo dolls to our Heavenly Hosts.
"But wait a minute" Clara stopped her. "How do you know about the Ood? Did the voice in your head tell you about them?"
"After I finished the puzzle of what went wrong and how to fix it, I dreamed some very odd dreams" Granny began "then I wrote them down, I've been doing it for weeks. These dreams are all the things that The Doctor did to Earth with his dreaming.
"See, he creates things when he dreams them. So let's say he's dreaming, and he thinks, 'it couldn't possibly be a Dalek', well, of course, he just thought of a Dalek, so it's a Dalek. And Earth gets attacked by dream Daleks, throwbacks from the pre-existence, stored in The Doctor's Random Excess Memory.
"This has never happened, where I woke up inside of the dreams, but here we are" Granny was thinking it through. "I'm pretty sure when they wake up" Granny motioned to The Doctor and River "that they will be awake in the dreams like they should always have been.
"If that's correct, then they will go back and fix all the dreamish stuff they did, like Daleks, and like leaving Ursula in a brick. Then they will turn all these things into a television show, so I will see it and know what to do next," Granny's eyes got big and she smiled and said "I get to be in a time loop!"
"Wait, what?" Clara tipped her head and put down her tea. "Do next for what?" she wanted clarification.
"We have to save the world" Granny had said those words so many times, but this time she really felt like it was going to happen.
"When The Doctor arrived on Earth, he was automatically asleep. The evil spirits saw him coming and made sure he ate some meat, which is kind of like a sleeping pill for the spirit, so he never woke up, not even in his own part of the dream.
"If the stories I've been writing down all these weeks are real, then Earth must have had a terrible time with all of that nightmarish stuff going on…" Granny paused. "No wonder The Silence came and took her to The Quiet." Granny was saying it to herself, an epiphany, right before Clara's eyes.
"So anyway" Granny returned to the point "once they wake up, they have to go back and fix everything, then they will make the show and there will be a world sing along, followed by the freeing of the slaves, followed by a world clean up, followed by changing the school template to the Finnish method, followed by the planning and rebuilding of our world in a sustainable, poverty free way, with ultimate attention being paid to our Heavenly Hosts, and with compassion being extended to the individual level, with each human being treated as if they are a voodoo doll to the Heavenly Hosts.
"Right now, the fact that we are voodoo dolls to the Heavenly Hosts is about to get our timeline destroyed. Humans are youngster. The Universe can't stand it when children are plagued by unnecessary suffering."
"Neither can The Doctor" Clara was thinking as she said "You actually make sense of all this? How can you tell what's real and what's a dream?" Clara asked.
"It's not like that" Granny explained. "My body is asleep right now. It's all a dream, which in a way makes it all real. Which pretty much makes The Doctor and River like Supermen or wizards or something magical like that. Only our wizard was so confused in the dreams that he thought his magic wand was a sonic screwdriver."
"Ooohhh" Clara said "so it IS a magic wand." She struggled for a brief moment to understand why she knew it was a magic wand "used to transfer TARDIS...I mean TAWDIS" she grinned "used to transfer TAWDIS thought generated phenomena to another physical entity."
Granny noticed that Clara seemed to be quoting a manual and wondered if Clara would figure it out before her eventual fate occured.
But Clara had a more pressing question "you think a television show will save the world?" she said.
"Well, sort of" Granny began. "I will already wake up in a world with no Daleks, because that's part of my timeline...the timeline they are going to save. So as long as there's a television show called Doctor Who, then I'll know things are going as The Doctor and Stan and Sun and Earth and The Universe and The Silence have all sanctioned.
"The show will be full of all the stuff from the timeline that will be changed, but in the end, just like right now in this place in 2016, The Doctor and River will be awake in the dreams. They will have learned to keep a low profile, so the only traces of their existences will be old myths and legends about witches and wizards, the ones we all want to believe, but never see any clear evidence of" Granny was drifting.
"Anyway" Granny said, "I look forward to seeing what happens when they wake up." Granny smiled down at the sleeping super heros.
"Yeah, so do I" Clara was full of questions for The Doctor herself. Then she ventured to ask "where do I fit into all of this?"
Granny didn't meet Clara's questioning eyes. She continued to look down and said "Well, actually...remember...we're all of us dreaming...have body, will dream...it's a law" Granny was not so skillfully avoiding the answer, and then she was saved. The Doctor stirred.
At first he seemed to be mumbling in his sleep, but then his eyes began to blink open and the mumbling took form…"while other tasks require relatively no preparation" he fixed his stare on Granny and continued as if they'd been chatting the whole while, "for example" he stood up and pretended to brush himself off a bit, Granny's eyes widened as he stood well within her personal space "we can start cleaning up the entire planet. She's a m…"
The Doctor stopped mid-sentence. He stared at Granny, whose eyes got even wider. He looked around, then came back to Granny. "Great job!" he exclaimed. "This is your dream. I'm awake in it...and in Father's...and in Stan's."
He grabbed Granny and gave her a deep long hug and said "Thank you."
"You're welcome" Granny smiled as she pulled away from The Doctor and pushed him toward Clara.
"She needs the hug" Granny said to him. "She's still asleep, after all, Doctor" Granny said 'asleep' all drawn out.
He seemed to understand as he approached Clara, sitting there with River's head on her lap. Granny took Clara's place as River continued to sleep.
The Doctor reached down and helped his Impossible 'not dead' Girl to her feet. He pulled her close and held her tight. She wasn't quite sure why she was crying, but it felt so good to let her tears fall, so she did.
"I love ya, darlin" Doctor 12 ¾ said.
But as he lifted her chin to smile at her, it was Doctor 11 who said "and so do I, my Impossible Girl. She threw her arms around his neck and he twirled her around three times before plopping her back down.
Then ~POP~ it was back to Doctor 12 ¾, grinning like a school boy.
"Wow, did you see that?!" The Doctor asked no one in particular.
"Of course they saw it" it was River waking up. "How could they miss it. You're the show!" she was smiling up at him. "It's part of our upgrades. We can instantly morph into whatever's required.
River snapped her fingers and she was a Silurian. Another snap and she was back to River.
Doctor 11 kissed Clara tenderly on the forehead and then turned and swept River to her feet and into his arms with all of his pomp and said "Mi amore!"
River gave him a blank stare and said "we need to focus." But then her face softened into a smile and she kissed him on the cheek and said "we have a lot of catching up to do before…"
"Doctor 11 stopped her right there by placing his right index finger against her lips. "Ssh, ssh, ssh...right...study, practice, save the world…" he had been rolling his eyes and waggling his head around, but that did it.
Actually saying the words 'save the world' did it. He stared deeply into River's eyes. He was remembering - remembering everything. He pressed his head at the temples and squeezed his eyes shut in pain.
River, newly upgraded herself, understood what was happening. She held him up as he almost collapsed under the crushing blow of billions of anguished humans, literally suffering inside of him. He felt the voodoo dolls.
Doctor 11 sat down into a fold out chair that wasn't there the moment before. It simply appeared because he needed it. He nodded approvingly as he recovered his bearings.
He looked at the chair, felt the metal it was made from, contemplated it. He lifted one eyebrow and he was sitting on a park bench. He patted the seat next to him, motioning for River to sit with him.
As she sat down he said "wow!" He was coming to terms with his new reality and his purpose for being on Earth...for actually BEING! "Health" he said it out loud, but realized they had both been thinking it at the exact same moment, then, simultaneously, they realized they could communicate telepathically.
"We're galaxies" they both said together, out loud.
"Then they smiled as they began to think "and we were wandering through four dreams, like Peabody and Sherman on…"
All at once, fully out loud, Doctor 12 ¾ was yelling "no, I'm Mr. Peabody" then, more sternly "we're inside my body...my body...Peabody...get it...I should know."
River calmly thought to him "you're ill. I'm here to help you because you got trapped in four dreams and you're my best friend. Of course I'm going to help you, but let's be real…"I'm Mr. Peabody" she said out loud with a smile.
Clara and Granny, who were continuing to watch the show, realized they must be thinking to each other.
Doctor 12 ¾ looked a bit downtrodden as he morphed into Doctor 11, who said "you're right...I am Sherman." Then, having said that, it was Doctor 10 sitting next to River on the bench made from his thoughts. "You are right, River. I need your help."
"I'm here, Sweetie" she smiled her tenderest smile as she pulled his head down to her shoulder. Then she leaned them back together in a cushioned recliner...that used to be a bench. River smiled as she caressed the arm of the chair created from her thoughts. Then she began to chuckle.
"TARDIS" she said it, accentuating the R. They both began to giggle.
"I'm as bad as Jackson Lake" Doctor 10 began. "Of course it's Distress Initiated" he bonked his own head. "No wonder I never ended up where I was go…"
They both sat up straight, with the wide eyes of epiphany. Doctor 10 said "I AM Jackson Lake" while River simultaneously said "you ARE the balloonman" and they broke into wonderful laughter and fell back into the cushiony recliner.
"Gallifrey!" The Doctor was so sure he had destroyed it, then reclaimed it. He pondered the very essence of Random Excess Memory - sleep...dreams.
"I remember that little room, the place with no time" he could see it clearly now, in his mind. The First Family and The Generals, he remembered staring through the force field made by their minds as they discussed the reconstruction of the Universe.
He sensed the agony without - outside of the bubble they were hiding in. His big brother was his best friend, and he was out there. First he closed the hatch of the force field with his good half, while simultaneously overpowering his own bad half to give them enough time to ignite Gallifrey, the system of galaxies designed to enable happy endings for everyone.
A holographic image of the planned Big Bang hovered over the conference table, made by their minds - Gallifrey.
The Doctor was steeping in memories from the pre-existence. He didn't want to leave Stan out there with the minions, any more than Stan wanted to be there. But Stan knew exactly what he was doing when he stayed outside. He was looking forward to the new invention - sleep. What some might consider a sacrifice was actually an easy decision when it came down to it.
Stan couldn't imagine wanting to rub elbows with most of the Family. He would miss 'his favorite brat', though, but what he did would save the brat along with the rest of them.
That's what The Doctor remembered about his big brother. He enabled it all. As he closed the hatch Stan smiled at his little brother and shouted 'allons-y', to which he always replied 'geronimo'.
"Geronimo" Doctor 10 mumbled to himself, in deep thought.
And then, out of nowhere, "whoo, whoo, whooooo!" came from behind them all.
"The Big Bad Wolf" The Doctor yelled and smiled as he spun around to see his best friend, looking exactly like Doctor 9.
"That's right" Doctor 10 said, tapping his own head several times as he remembered. "That's how I escaped when The Insanes nabbed me" he shivered all over. "I was completely knocked out for the 90s and half the zeros."
Doctor 10 spun around to explain to River, Clara and Granny who weren't quite sure what was happening yet. "I had to erase myself and make myself look like him so I was able to escape from some rather nasty spirits. I was supposed to fully upgrade 10 years ago, and it just never happened," he thought about all the times his attempts were interrupted.
"Here to help, Baby Bruva" the look alike smiled. "Finally awake then - fantastic! Well then, what's next" he paused and turned "Granny?" he said enthusiastically.
Granny instinctively said "present" at abruptly being called.
"That's what I like" the look alike grinned, "latent backup programming. They did that to you as a child" he said to Granny. "Not so much anymore" he said to no one in particular.
Granny was examining the look alike. She wanted this to be her invisible friend, the one always available for long talks after midnight. Her favorite poet who just loved to dictate the perfect first line of a poem into her brain, and then withhold it from her if she didn't rush for a pen to write it down. Was this him - the voice in her head?
"Stan?" she finally queried.
"Granny" he said with great joy. Then he hugged her and kissed her on the forehead. "You've been paying close attention then?" he addressed her like a teacher addresses a young student.
"Yes" Granny smiled. "Awake in the third dream now, right?"
"Perfect" Stan smiled, and then turned his attention to The Doctor and River. "Thank you." He was genuinely grateful to them for coming to help.
"I remember now" River said. "It all seemed so real."
"It was real" Stan reminded her. "You and The Doctor" he saluted when he said The Doctor "really were average looking humanoids, measuring your age by trips around a star, making nonsensical rules for yourselves and others...one face at a time...fixed time lines...places you can't go, and people you can't see. It's all rubbish. Of course you can visit your own mother and father, Stan was looking at River.
Stan snapped his fingers and Amy and Rory appeared, looking older, but smiling and wondering at their current state of oddness. "Say hello, then" Stan said to them.
"Hello" they smiled and waved. River hugged them both. The Doctor eyed them quizzically as he realized he could visit any of his past friends, any time he or they wanted, and it wasn't going to be anything but fantastic.
"I'll be by soon then" The Doctor said, as they disappeared as quickly as they had arrived.
"I can't believe you never woke up inside the dream. You continued to get innocent baby souls involved because they were the only ones you could trust anymore" Stan was pointing at Granny, who sat up with a childlike smile "while totally ignoring all of my signals.
"Granny" Stan said, "please list the dreams."
"The Big Bad Wolf dream is you" Granny smiled at Stan. "You keep everything in check, but it's getting really bad inside the dream. Evil spirits are winning. You kept trying to wake up The Doctor and River inside of your dream.
"The Long Story is Dad. If He wakes up, we all dissolve!" her eyes got wide. "Dad remembers everything and He's always awake in the dreams. He vibrates a cord - love. Trying to overpower that cord and fight against Dad's love would be like trying to hear a pin drop at a rock concert.
"And I'm dreaming the solution to the question The Doctor and River asked The Silence; what went wrong on Earth, and how do we fix it?" Granny said. A man with the face of The Master popped into the scene for a fraction of a second to wink at Stan. Granny passed.
Granny continued uninterrupted, she never saw a thing. "I explained the whole thing to Clara.
At that Stan spun around quickly "yes, Clara, Clara, Clara" he said as he peered into her eyes. "How ever did you get into that Dalek's head just in the nick of time? Impossible Clara, born of woman with aid of leaf.
"I love it when the four dreams would converge and coalesce and make absolutely no sense at all, and you all kept right on going" he was walking his fingers around in front of their faces.
"Where do you fit into all of this?" Stan kept staring at Clara, then he moved completely into her personal space, then he sniffed her.
Clara's eyes widened as she remembered asking Granny that question. "But you weren't there when…"
Stan cut her off "I know everything worth knowing in these dreams. I've been awake in them for millions of years, Miss Impossible. I'm supposed to be in charge here, but the stars have done some real damage. Things have gotten way out of hand.
"The minions saw him coming" he was pointing at The Doctor but continued to stare into Clara's eyes, "and neither one of you could have prevented it because this place is made for sleep. You automatically arrive here asleep.
"Under perfect circumstances," Stan continued with enthusiasm "it's difficult to find your bearing in another person's dream. But when the minions are awake and the stars are supporting The Insanes, it's going to be nightmarish.
"I tried to help you, but you kept twisting everything I did" Stan snapped his fingers, and he was the Dream Lord who forced Amy to choose. "I tweeted like a bird because you thought that might do it," you could tell they were brothers. "You had me tweeting my ars off."
He snapped his fingers again and he was The Master. He blew The Doctor a kiss. "I gave you THIS face - His face! - nothing."
Then he snapped again as he said "I've recently investigated my feminine side" and it was Missy blowing the kiss this time. "I kissed you on the mouth, Sleeping Beauty, but you wouldn't wake up.
With a final snap, he was Stan again, staring into Clara's eyes. "How do you think you fit into my dream, Clara?"
"I'm the backup sentient interface for the TAWDIS." She knew it. She woke up in the dream. And as she did, she realized that she would need to 'sleep' to upgrade herself.
"Nice work" Stan smiled at her. "Thank you for all your help."
They turned to look at The Doctor - Doctor 12 ¾. He had a look of realization on his face. "Making me the primary sentient interface for the TAWDIS."
"Bravo" Stan was tapping his nose and pointing at The Doctor, like in charades.
Clara approached The Doctor, visibly shaken. She seemed to be digesting what could only be the truth. "I was trying to talk to you for such a long time, but you couldn't hear me" she said to him.
Then The Doctor touched her forehead and said "sleep". He absorbed her as she returned to the TAWDIS for much needed upgrades and he looked forward to hearing her lilting voice in the TAWDIS anytime he needed assistance or just company, and he knew she would need hugs from time to time, and he vowed to never ignore this self-love again.
Stan, The Doctor and River remained in the dream awhile longer and instructed Granny on what to do. River, who entered the galaxy through a 'crack', and was born of woman, will grow old slowly and eventually die, but at that point, she will return to Andromeda and her own TAWDIS.
They are clever enough to stay way out of the picture now a days. And when the TAWDIS does arrive, it is, sadly, no longer a blue police box from 1963. The TAWDIS now functions properly, and is completely invisible, so you never know where it is. And should The Doctor, the sentient interface of our galactic consciousness, ever wander from that TAWDIS door, a mere snap of his fingers brings that door to him. (He actually just thinks the door back, he snaps for the show of it!)
The TAWDIS is more amazing than most will ever know. It could easily facilitate The Rapture, but that would mean Earth would die. We can't let that happen. We need to learn to love one another. It all starts with a song. Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star. Just sing!
Granny felt herself floating as she pretended to write the words in her journal. Then she felt her toes wiggling in the soft blanket. She stretched and remembered.
"That was a good one" she said to herself as she grabbed the dream journal to make the notes. She hurried to scribble down enough of the important points so she would be able to put it all together in the morning. Then she visited the loo and fell back asleep.
A few hours later, as she was editing her dream journal over a cup of coffee, her grandson burst into her room.
"Granny, remember that show I keep telling you to watch on Netflix?" he was agitated.
"Hmm?" Granny was still reading.
"Granny!" he yelled a bit.
"What?!" she was all there now.
"That show I keep telling you to watch on Netflix - Doctor Who" he began. "It's going off the air on February 1st, so if you want to watch it, you better start now.
An amazing chill ran up Granny' spine and the hairs on the back of her neck stood up. Her heart was beating faster as she said "how long have you been watching this?" He was 10 years old now.
"I've been watching Doctor 11 for a couple of months" he was tapping his chin and looking up. "I never went back to the beginning of the new ones and started with Doctor 9. There are a bunch of old ones, but they're black and white and they stopped. Then they made the new ones" he explained. "Maybe you and me could marathon through them before February 1st" he was asking Granny with hope in his eyes.
"That sounds like a great idea" Granny said. She got her dream journal and made some popped corn.
"She turned on Netflix and took a look at the titles of the episodes, and looked at the pictures for each one. This was really happening. They really made the show.
Granny knew what she had to do. After they finished watching 8 seasons of Doctor Who, Granny wrote the story that she hoped would finish her part in all of this.
She sent the story to several people, and eventually, it got around.
And then it happened. The world sang together. Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. And from there, everything changed. Earth was saved.
"Thank you" Granny said out loud, as she concentrated on The Doctor. She knew he could feel her saying it.
'You're welcome!" he smiled. "Merry Christmas, Granny!"