The new year had come around and there was much celebration in the Fieldgate household as William and Caroline had announced to the family that they were now together. Caroline had finally left her job at the Black Swan and had gone back to work at the orphanage. As the new month had drawn on she had finally, in her head, come to terms with the fact that she would probably never see the Doctor and Danny again and all the answers to the questions about herself would never be discovered.
She wrote a note for the both of them in the vain hope that one day they’d find it. She didn’t know how, but she thought it’d bring them - and indeed her - some comfort and closure.
“Dear Doctor and Danny,
I hope you are both out there somewhere. I’ve been living in Thornsby for the last seven months. But it’s 1901 - actually, it’s 1902 now - and I’m happy. I want you to know that. I’m happy and I don’t have any regrets about what’s happened. I know that if you’re alive and out there then you’re probably trying to find a way to get back to me. Don’t. At first all I wanted was to get out of here. I made do with what I had in the hope that I’d see you both again, but things have changed. I’ve realised that I’m not going anywhere. This is my life now.
I’ve met a good man. His name is William Fieldgate. I guess it took me a while to really notice him, but he is caring and loving and I know I can be happy with him. I am happy with him. He knows who I am. He knows that I am - was - a time traveller and he knows about you two. We run an orphanage together by the old river. I think it’s a warehouse now - I mean in 2011 - or 2012. Bloody hell, Doctor, you don’t half get me confused with my dates.
Anyway. If you do ever get this and get a chance, I’d like you to go and tell my parents. Tell them that I love them. No matter what we’ve gone through, I never wanted us to fall out. I love them. And tell my friends, Kate and Sarah, that I’ll miss them.
Doctor, you have shown me so many wonders in this universe. You’ve shown me amazing planets and amazing people. Maybe I didn’t always look like I was having fun, but I was. I would love just one more day in that daft old TARDIS, but I wouldn’t give this up for anything now. Thank you. And I hope you and Matthew get your problems sorted out.
Danny, you and I were always destined to be apart. Our friendship was so tight that when something came along and changed it all, I think in my heart I knew that we’d start to drift. For the few months that we were together though, I loved you. I still love you. Maybe not in the way you may hope for, but I love you more than you could imagine. You were always there for me, even when I was being a bitch towards you. I hope you find out what’s wrong with you. I know that thing is still in there, deep inside. You need to get it out. Maybe if you’re in Thornsby one day you’ll look up my relatives. I’m sure William and I will have lots of kids and grand kids and great grand kids as well. They’ve gotta be out there somewhere. Tell them I love them. They won’t bloody understand that, but it’ll make me chuckle anyway.
Well, I’ve got to get back to work. This orphanage won’t run itself you know. Give my regards to the rest of the universe, guys.
All my love,
P.S. Love you both xx
Caroline folded up the letter and then put it in a bottle. She intended to throw it out into the sea. Okay, so it wasn’t going to go into space - which would be ideal - but it was at least going to drift away and maybe one day it would be found.
Later in the day she joined William near the old Corn Exchange and sat with him on a bench, eating a sandwich.
“How are you? Did you write your letter?” asked William.
“I did,” said Caroline sadly. “And it’s made me feel much better.”
“Good,” said William, putting an arm around her. “I hope they get it one day.”
Caroline looked up at the spire of the Corn Exchange building. A few patches of snow had yet to melt, but the day was warming up.
“That’s gone in my time.”
“What? The Corn Exchange? Never! A beautiful building like that?”
“Yep. It’s now a Wilkinson’s super store and a pub called the Parity. Knocked it clean down in the 1960’s.”
William tutted. “Unbelievable.”
“Ah well, at least I get to enjoy it now.”
William turned to look at her, his face serious. “Caroline, you told me there were horrors to come.”
Caroline shuffled uneasily on the bench. “I did.”
“I…I can’t William. I have too much knowledge of the future.”
William looked a little disappointed and turned to face the Corn Exchange again. “I understand.”
Caroline sat in silence for a few seconds, and then spoke. “In 1914 there will be a world war. So many people will die out on the battle fields. So many women will lose their husbands. Children will lose their fathers. Parents will lose their sons.”
|The Corn Exchange, Old Market Place, Thornsby, 1902|
William looked at her.
“And that’s not all. There is another war a few decades after that and other wars across the world. The planet heals, but war never goes away. Never.”
“Are you worried that you’ll lose me?”
“Don’t be daft,” laughed Caroline.
“If this world war comes in 1914, I’ll only be 45. Still young enough to fight.”
“I don’t want to think about it. Not now. Not yet. Let’s just enjoy this time together.”
“I don’t want you to lose a husband as well.”
Caroline turned to William, realising what he had just said.
He smiled at her.
She smiled back and leaned in to kiss him. No matter what was to come, this was what was most important. Right here and now.
In exactly the same spot, 86 years later, the Doctor and Danny were enjoying a sandwich. They sat on a bench, looking at the block of shops that had replaced the Corn Exchange in the 1960’s.
Danny wasn’t exactly sure what to say to the Doctor, every since Christmas day he had realised that the Doctor wasn’t going to budge from his aim to get back to Caroline and put the timeline right. And in that time Danny had grown closer to Lisa.
The Doctor had simply kept his distance from the two of them, instead working on various plans and equipment. But today the Doctor had come up with a new plan. A plan that involved them travelling down to the outskirts of London.
“Right,” said the Doctor, “are we ready then? The train will be here in five minutes.”
“Explain to me exactly why we have to go down to London again?”
“The outskirts of London,” corrected the Doctor.
“Okay, the outskirts of London. Why do we have to go again?”
“Because that’s where, in 1988, UNIT’s headquarters are situated.”
“UNIT being the secret government army thingy that fights aliens?”
“Yes. I worked as their scientific advisor in the 1970’s. My old lab should still be there along with my equipment in storage. My good friend Dr Bishop has what we need, but I’m afraid I’m a little impatient to fly all the way to Boston!”
“So are we going to break in?”
“No. We’re going to use my pass. UNIT will understand.”
Danny sighed. “Okay. And what equipment do we need?”
“It’s just a small item. It’s a stethagem circuit cluster. It’ll help try and draw the TARDIS down, if it’s out there.”
“And if it’s not out there?”
“Well, we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it. It’s like a fishing rod. If the TARDIS bites then all we have to do is reel it in.” The Doctor pulled out a device from his pocket. It looked like a large, thick key. “This is a Hexfall transmitter.”
“And what does it do?”
“It transmits holographic images through space and time. I’m hoping to get it working and transmit a message to Caroline in 1902 and tell her that we’re still trying to get to her.”
“Isn’t this hard for you?”
“Knowing that we’re going to wipe a person out of history? Not just a person, but an entire family history?”
“Of course it’s hard for me,” said the Doctor, getting up and making his way towards the train station.
“Then why do it?”
“Because I have to.”
“You’re scared, aren’t you?” said Danny, trying to keep up.
“You can’t bare for one of us to be stranded because of something you did.”
“I beg your pardon?” said the Doctor, crossing the road near the Yarborough Hotel.
“This has happened to you before, hasn’t it? You’ve lost someone before because of what you’ve done.”
“Don’t be absurd!” laughed the Doctor. “I’m doing this because time has to be put right.”
“You’re telling me you’ve never tinkered before? You’ve never shifted things in time to make things better?”
“It’s not the same.”
“You told Caroline and me that there are fixed points in time. Things that must happen no matter what. But then there are things that can be changed.”
“That’s true,” he said, going through the revolving doors and stepping onto the platform.
“Then what exactly does Caroline staying in 1902 do to harm time on the wider scale?”
“Those children will die.”
Danny sighed. “Don’t think me callous here, but apart from that, what else?”
|Thornsby Station, 1988|
“Well nothing,” said the Doctor, as the woman on the speaker system announced that the train to Doncaster was coming in. They’d have to change and get another train on to London.
“Then why can’t we just pop back and save the children? That way Caroline will still get to live her life and Lisa will live.”
The Doctor shook his head. “No. Danny, Caroline is your friend. Your friend. Aren’t you bothered?”
“Of course I am!” laughed Danny, “but I’m more concerned about Caroline being happy and Lisa being able to carry on existing. Which leads me to think that the only reason you want to go back is because this has happened to you before.”
The train pulled up and the doors opened. The Doctor turned to face Danny. “Okay. Yes, this has happened to me before. Two friends of mine ended up having to live and die years in the past. And I wasn’t able to see them again. I’m selfish. Is that okay?”
Danny watched as the Doctor boarded the train. “I’m sorry.”
“It happened a long, long time ago. Are you coming?” growled the Doctor.
The trip to London was a long and quiet one, but a few hours later the Doctor and Danny were outside an old, Victorian house surrounded by trees and green fields.
The Doctor was greeted by a man in an army uniform and he was escorted inside. They were taken through corridors into an older part of the building when they reached a locked, blue door.
“Thank you,” said the Doctor to the soldier, and the man saluted and walked back up the corridor.
“Perks of being a scientific advisor, I suppose,” said Danny.
“Indeed,” said the Doctor. “A shame old Alistair isn’t here.”
The Doctor pulled out a key and unlocked the door, pushing the doors open. He flicked the light switch but the lights didn’t come on.
“They must have shut down the power to this area. UNIT’s not has homely as it used to be. They’ve started moving into the centre of London again.”
He pulled out a torch from his pocket and shone it around the room until it cast it’s beam on a cupboard underneath a window.
The Doctor and Danny crouched down and began rummaging in the cupboard until the Doctor shouted gleefully.
“Here it is!”
It was a small circuit board with little metal spikes on one side and a small cube on the top.
“Doctor?” said Danny as they shut the cupboard and made for the exit.
“Yes, Danny,” said the Doctor. The two hadn’t spoken much since their discussion back in Thornsby.
“There must be another reason for you wanting to go back to find Caroline.”
The Doctor sighed. “There isn’t.”
“But there must be. You‘re not a selfish person by nature.”
The Doctor stopped and then turned to look at Danny. “Okay. Maybe there is. Caroline has hidden powers. We all know that. Something deep down inside of her. I need to find out what that is. That’s the reason the orphanage burnt down. It may happen again.”
“But we know it doesn’t happen again. We know she lives on until she’s an old woman.”
“That’s not the point though. There’s something about Lisa. I can’t quite pinpoint it, but it seems that whatever Caroline has is passed down from generation to generation. It keeps going on and on.”
“So you’re worried that it could happen again? That Lisa could do something similar?”
“It’s very probable. Or any of Lisa’s descendants could do something like that. The point is we need to stop it before it happens.”
“But that means if we rescue Caroline, she can’t have any more kids.”
“Not until that power is out of her. Not until we can expel whatever’s inside of her. She can’t keep passing it on.”
Danny sighed and then had a thought. “Hang on. Before we met you Caz said she was pregnant and then the baby was gone. What was that about?”
The Doctor rubbed his chin. “I’ve been trying to work that one out for a long time. I’m still not sure. But we’ll get to the bottom of it. Come on!”