Spoilers follow for Doctor Who: Hell Bent and Doctor Who: Earthshock.
@TomSpilsbury Very moving – but he didn't go to all that trouble for Adric, did he?
— Josie Turner (@JosieTurner20) December 6, 2015
The Cyberman had shot the control panel. Adric could still smell the burning stench through his overly wide nostrils.
“Now I’ll never know if I was right.”
Those were his last words, as the freighter carrying him into the Earth’s prehistoric atmosphere exploded. His last thought was that he really wanted a milkshake.
On the TARDIS, Tegan’s words to the Doctor were bitter and angry. “Well, you could do more than grieve. You could go back.”
Nyssa took her head out of her hands. “Could you?”
The Doctor shook his head. “No.” But Nyssa was arguing. “Surely the Tardis is quite capable of –”
“We can change what happened if we materialise before Adric was killed” emphasised Tegan, she had no time for niceties.
The Doctor raised an eyebrow. “And change your own history?”
As well as killing Adric the exploding vessel had also created a planetary climatic disaster. But it was one that Tegan was rather personally invested in. As it had the effect of killing off the dinosaurs and giving a bunch of small mammals the chance to do rather well out of it all.
Tegan wasn’t standing for this kind of thing. She knew all about the rules of paradox by now. “Look, the freighter could still crash into Earth. That doesn’t have to be changed. Only Adric doesn’t have to be on board.”
The Doctor took no prisoners. “Now listen to me, both of you. There are some rules that cannot be broken even with the TARDIS. Don’t ever ask me to do anything like that again. You must accept that Adric is dead. His life wasn’t wasted. He died trying to save others, just like his brother, Varsh. You know, Adric had a choice. This is the way he wanted it.”
Far away, two were watching the three.
“He was so different back then. I remember this one. Or rather I did. A bit of me did, it’s all rather complicated.”
“At least you remember some of it.”
“At least I can do something about it.”
Clara and Me watched The Doctor, Tegan and Nyssa mourn in their own way, in a room very much like the one they were standing in. Same white same roundels, a pretty similar console. But Clara, still dressed in her waitress gear was damned if they were going to let it end there.
“Adric lucked out” said Clara. “If he’d had my Doctor instead of Mr Celery over there, he’d have found a way. Which is where we come in.”
Mr Celery had made it look complicated. But Clara knew how much was for show. Two flicked switches and a slammed lever achieved one of the more complicated manoeuvres in four dimensional space . Me opened the door of a fifties diner onto a doomed space freighter.
“Now I’ll never know if I was right.”
Five seconds later, Me had Adric slammed against the bulkhead, Clara staring into his terrified eyes. It was getting rather hot for everyone and sweat started streaming from foreheads.
“Hello. You have thirty seconds to decide before boom, boom, Adric. Come with us in a different TARDIS knowing that one day you will return here and die a final death. Or wait twenty-four seconds and meet that death, head on. Your call.”
Adric was nothing if not good at mathematics. He had a good sixteen seconds left before he nodded his head.
“And that” said Clara, snapping her fingers as the TARDIS doors closed, locking them in some extra dimension of menus and swivel stools unfazed by the expanding fireball around it, “is how it’s done, Doctor.”
“He was going to leave me to die, wasn’t he” whined Adric. “Yeah, he does that” batted away Clara. “Or at least he used to. Hey, I’m Clara, we know you’re Adric and this is Me.”
“Future or past regeneration?” asked Adric. There was a slight freakout from the women.
“No, I’m not a Time Lord.”
“Not a Time Lady either.”
“There’s little difference these days.”
“I just travel in time and space in a TARDIS”
“And I’m an immortal. Possibly a hybrid, there is some debate.”
“This is Me. Not me me, but Me, her name is Me.”
Adric couldn’t say anything about stupid names. His brother was called Varsh after all.
“How long can I stay?” asked Adric, with a tiny screaming voice in the back of his head that betrayed what he was really asking “how long can I stay alive now?”
Me signalled to Clara, “Oh, she’ll keep you around for ages, she loves a sad case. But as for Me…” She paused, trying to avoid confusing wordplay but failed. “Annoy Me too much and I’ll throw you out of the TARDIS airlock.”
“The TARDIS doesn’t have airlocks” corrected Adric.
“The Doctor turned that feature off on his”, re-corrected Clara. “I would, but I can’t find the settings in the manual.”
“I could have a look at that” offered Adric. “I’m good at that sort of thing.” A role, thought Adric, get yourself a role. Then Me can’t risk throwing you out of anything.
Me raised an eyebrow and looked at Clara’s waitress uniform. Somehow, somewhere, somewhen, Clara had acquired the stick of celery now adorning it.
“The difference is between me and him”, said Clara, lowering her sonic sunglasses. “Is that I make this look good.”
Adric drank his shake.
Coming to a TV show near you never, Clara, Adric & Me.