X Marks The Spot - Or Does It?
November 9, 2017
An X Files/Doctor Who crossover. Stranger things have happened and indeed this is true for Mulder who finds himself in Oxford, U.K., then proceeds to embark on an adventure aboard the TARDIS with the Doctor and his companion Rose Tyler. But an underlying threat known as the Void could bring existence itself to extinction!
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X Marks The Spot - Or Does It?
X MARKS THE SPOT…OR DOES IT?
by John Jeffrey and Penny Evans.
Being: the state of existing. Anything, that exists in fact or imagined.
Supreme Being: that beyond or containing all other beings.
For the time being: for the present; now.
Disclaimer: J. Jeffrey and P. Evans. Definitions are taken from the Oxford English Dictionary. The X Files is owned by Chris Carter, 1013 and FOX. Dr Who and Torchwood is owned by Russell T Davies and the BBC. No profit was made and no copyright infringement intended.
Timeline: X-Files = Post THE TRUTH (ignoring I WANT TO BELIEVE movie as the agents are still in the FBI. Dr Who = Post JOURNEY’S END
Feedback: Welcomed - email@example.com
“You see I don’t know who I am,” laughed Mulder. “Can you imagine that? Well try, there’s no other way of explaining. No, it’s got nothing to do with memory loss, I can remember things fine. I remember Mulder…in my mind’s eye. I can see him sitting here now, doing the remembering. It’s just that he’s not me. Well not all the time.”
Dr. Marcus Helmholtz referred to the file. “I see this identity problem began soon after the accident?”
“Problem?” Again he laughed. “What problem? If it’s anyone’s it’s yours! Here sits a void waiting to be filled. You’ve got my notes, so fill it why don’t you? Because you can’t, at least not until you know what it’s like. And the only sure way you’re gonna do that is by experiencing it yourself.”
“I have, more than once. Usually it’s in the early hours of the morning, especially after a bad night. I wake up dazed and with a thick head, and for a while I’ve lost all sense of who and where I am. It’s rather frightening, so how you can laugh about it beats me?”
“As I said, how are you gonna know unless you try it. And I repeat; it’s got nothing to do with memory. It’s more like a kind of letting go. Let me be the doctor for once. Okay?”
“Right. Take off your glasses, lean back, close your eyes and open your mind. Let me do the rest.”
Dr. Helmholtz conformed. Time passed, as eventually did his sense of time. Then came brief glimpses of what it was like to remain fully awake and yet…quickly to be replaced by a sense of insecurity, anxiety, anchorless. Which eventually became so intense he opened his eyes. Hardly a laughing matter!
The figure opposite broke the silence. “Good, very good. And now you’re wondering how I come to be so relaxed about it, right? But you see, as a result I now know what I am, even though as yet I’m not sure who I am. Paradoxically I’ve found my identity, only it’s not what I thought it was. I’m ‘not knowing’ who I am, all options are open! Such release! No longer to be tied by those self-identifying thoughts is wonderful! Then why doesn’t everybody seek this inner freedom you ask? Why don’t we stop this self-identifying chatter and discover the many options available to us rather than just the one we’ve been conditioned into believing?”
“Because we can’t, at least not under normal circumstances. Or perhaps we’re afraid…like you were? Funny how often we learn how to think but how rarely to stop. And so we’re stuck with an affliction – one we don’t realise we have because almost everyone else has it too, so we believe it’s normal. An incessant mental noise which prevents us from finding out who we truly are, namely a timeless, space less being.”
“ I don’t see…?” The doctor was confused.
Mulder, or what he saw as Mulder, reached across and took his hand. “Try a little harder. Join me,” he smiled, “and who knows? Who knows but that the thing that separates one person from another, perhaps one person from himself is an illusion? Who knows, Doctor…who?”
Helmholtz nervously withdrew his hand, and as if to break the tension glanced towards the window. Just in front of the building opposite stood one of those old-fashioned police boxes. “Strange it was still left standing,” he thought and returned his attention to the chair opposite.
It was empty.
“No, no, no…NO!”
Rose jumped with a start. “What the heck’s the matter?”
The Doctor was staring wildly at the monitor inside the TARDIS, at the same time pressing various multi-coloured buttons whilst pulling on oddly shaped levers of all shapes and sizes.
“It’s happened again!” he yelled. “But that’s IMPOSSIBLE!”
Rose crossed over to the monitor trying to see what he was staring at. But all she witnessed was strange blue electrical interference lines all over the screen. “What has?” she asked, nervously.
“The damn breach has re-opened. The rift, the portal…whatever you want to call it? It’s opened!”
She knew what he was referring to. In past travels aboard the Doctor’s ‘spaceship’, a contraption known as the TARDIS (which stood for Time And Relative Dimension in Space), she had witnessed this unbelievable event more than once. The first time was the worst when it took her away from this extraordinary time-traveller; a man she had grown to love. She had ended up lost in another world with her ex-boyfriend, her mum and a parallel version of her dad after fighting two of the Doctor’s intergalactic enemies, namely the Daleks and the Cybermen. Then amazing circumstances had brought everyone together for yet another major war with the Daleks. But it had once again resulted in her being left back in a parallel Norway…Darlig Ulv Stranden…Bad Wolf Bay. This time she’d been left with the Doctor…only it wasn’t her Doctor even if every atom was identical in every possible way. She had tried to make the best of it…but it wasn’t him, she’d convinced herself of that. Then another miracle had occurred. The TARDIS had somehow fallen through into her dimension (even though time and again he’d said it was completely impossible!) They had been reunited and here she was, his travelling companion once more. ‘Don’t mess with Destiny!’ she’d said to him, while he’d just stood their open mouthed as they left Bad Wolf Bay behind forever? Well for now, at least. During their travels through time and space he had explained to her that since saying goodbye to Martha Jones and then Donna Noble, he had remained alone. Part of her was very happy to hear that…but the rest of her felt for this lonely traveller. Now here she was, back in the TARDIS. Don’t mess with Destiny. She’d probably have those words etched on her headstone one day.
“Remember me telling you how every decision we make creates a parallel dimension? And how crossing from one parallel world to the next rips holes in the universe, creating a dangerous imbalance of reality? The result will very possibly amount to existence being sucked back into the Void! The space in-between all dimensions. Non-space…dead space, no up or down, in or out…”
Rose cut him off adding, “no space or time…you called it The Howling or Hell.”
“Nothing! Rose,” he yelled. “Everything will be nothing!”
“But you said you’d managed to close the breech for the final time?” she questioned. “You said it was over?”
“What do I know?” he told her, flashing her a smile. But she saw what lay beneath that exterior. Over time she had started to learn to read into his hidden emotions, even though he tried with expertise to cover them.
The Doctor strode over to the door and opened it, then faced her and smiled. ‘Well, we seem to be in Oxford, England.” His face frowned, “Of course this could be a parallel Oxford? If we’ve managed to defy the rule book of the Time Lords yet again, then we could have done the impossible once more!”
Rose smiled. “Least it’s not Norway!” Then she joined him and they stepped out of the TARDIS.
Across the way, in plain view of the traveller and his companion, a tall figure watched their every move. He knew they would not be able to see him, as they weren’t yet… tuned in? That was as good a word as any to describe the situation. Agent Fox Mulder smiled to himself. He’d done a lot of Internet research on this Doctor and now here he was. What were the odds? He’d been secretly searching whilst on X File cases with his partner Dana Scully, though he’d kept this from her. She most likely would have tried to find a logical explanation anyway. But what he had discovered was far from rational. Also, why he’d tried to explain part of his discovery to an old university professor from his days as a student in this city, he couldn’t quite understand. Come to think of it how had he ended up in Oxford in England after all these years? One thing pervaded his mind though – the Void ship. It was something to do with that Void ship. He had come across another UFO sighting while he and Scully had been investigating a case in Virginia, USA. But it hadn’t just been any old flying saucer hovering in those woods, he wasn’t even sure it had belonged to the Greys. It had felt like...? There had been no words to describe it right there and then. And somehow he’d ended up inside it. Fear had gripped him at first, until that wore off and was replaced with…nothing. Then there was no need to fear or even feel anything at all. Everything became nothing…and since that had become clear, he had understood everything! Then he’d found himself talking to Dr. Helmholtz, trying to explain reason, when there was none. So he’d tried to make this old professor experience this sense of not knowing but understanding his true self, this illusion of reality? Of course the old man couldn’t grasp even the tiniest thread of understanding. Well it wasn’t his fault. He was only human with a basic human understanding of living and dying…existing. But there was so much more to it than that. Being inside the ship had altered Mulder’s perception…by completely eliminating any concept of reality. And oh, the peace he had found from that. So why had he been returned…and what exactly was this accident he was supposed to have had? Now here in this world was a doctor he felt he could ask…and he knew it wasn’t Helmholtz.
Though in a sense it wasn’t Mulder either. Both were fancies trapped in time, trapped in the pages of a story not of their making, and which was about to take a drastic turn.
“All options open!” yelled the Doctor as he and Rose stepped out of the TARDIS into the Void, which in this case lay like a timeless interval of nothingness between one side of the street and the other.
At that very moment Mulder stepped into it as well. But it was not totally alien. Being inside the Void ship had prepared him for such an occasion. Here if anywhere lay that potential for peace, a peace beyond all understanding. Yet even now something niggled. For a moment the mist cleared between them. And here was someone who might know the answer.
“So ask,” said the Doctor, as if reading his thoughts.
“Tell me, is all this real or am I dreaming?”
“Ah, I reckoned that’s what it might be, I asked it myself once. The answer is neither. You see it’s ‘Being’ that is dreaming. ‘To be or not to be?’ You, Mulder are part of the Dream, as are Rose and I. ‘We are such stuff as…’”
“Cut the Shakespeare crap, it doesn’t help. ‘Being’ inside the Void ship, a ‘Being’ that’s doing the dreaming, ‘being’ you, ‘being’ me, what the hell is all this ‘being’ stuff? Look, being me is I. It isn’t you or anyone else and it sure isn’t a figment. Got it?”
“Got it. Just like the characters in my own dreams aren’t each other either. But strictly speaking are they themselves come to that? I mean, without me dreaming them they’re…well, nothing?”
“I take your point,” Mulder said. We imagine them into ‘being’…they’re purely our creations, aspects of ourselves. But we have minds of our own!”
“So do the characters in your own dreams always do what you want, or do they sometimes have minds of their own?” the Doctor asked him.
“Come on, all this ‘dreaming’ stuff just doesn’t make sense!”
“When did dreams ever make sense? Suppose I were to suggest that at this very moment we three not only exist as ourselves but also in the imagination of someone else, someone reading the very words we speak, without which the words remain unspoken, what would you say?”
“I’d say you and your ideas are crazy!” Mulder exclaimed.
“Oh yes!” the Doctor smiled. “But perhaps the Author is crazy, so we his thought forms act crazy as a result? I sure do most of the time though I prefer the word playful, even if some of the games aren’t always what we’d hoped for. Tell you what, here’s another crazy idea: suppose the Dreamer’s ‘out there’ right now, as much lost in the mist as we are and so not sure what’s going to happen next. Or if he can do anything about it any way because he’s so caught up in the Dream he’s forgotten all about himself doing the dreaming and imagines it to be real – just like we do?”
“So hadn’t we better remind him?” laughed Mulder, feeling a bit better about the whole thing.
“I just have. The problem is getting him…”
“Or her,” interrupted Rose.
“Or her…to listen. In which case perhaps you would like the job Rose? You’d probably get on well.”
“Don’t ask me. I don’t even know what you’re talking about.”
“Splendid, that’s the best way to begin! As Mulder said a few pages ago (no, don’t try to understand that either.) Take off your metaphorical glasses, close your eyes, and open your mind.”
Which she did, to startling effect...!
“Rude of him to leave like that without so much as a goodbye. Never thought much of him as a student either.” Dr. Helmholtz closed the file and returned his gaze to the window. Outside a mist had come down, almost obscuring the buildings opposite. Nearby the low sound of a foghorn could be heard. “Like a ship in distress,” he thought, which left him somewhat puzzled considering where they were. He stood up to approach the window, wondering if he’d actually seen a police box or if for some obscure reason he’d imagined it. At that moment the study shook, propelling Helmholtz back into his chair. Seconds later the intercom buzzed. Expectantly he switched on the receiver.
“Sorry to bother you doctor,” said the voice of his secretary nervously, “but there’s a gentleman here…” She paused and he could hear someone muttering in the background. Then. “He says he’s the steward and would you come up on deck immediately, bringing your life-jacket with you. Apparently we’ve struck another vessel and we’re in danger of sinking.”
Mulder stared incredulously at the space where Rose used to be. “Where’d she go?”
“Nowhere, she’s still there,” the Doctor, replied, matter-of-factly.
“Okay, I’ll put it another way; why is the space she’s in empty?”
“In a bit, the space you’re in will be empty too. As it were before you got here.
“Right, if you want to be smart, let’s skip the ‘where she is’? Let’s try ‘when is she’?” Mulder asked, starting to get annoyed.
“Hold on, I’ll do the coordinates.” The Doctor took out something that looked like a watch but wasn’t. “Yes, as close as I can make it it’s 2.37pm, 2nd February, 1933. As far as space is concerned she hasn’t moved a jot. Unfortunately the space she’s in has taken her with it.”
“Explain or I’ll think I’m as crazy as you are.” Mulder asked, exasperated.
“Now we come to the hard bit – knowing is one thing but explaining it is something else. Look, you know space and time aren’t separate, don’t you?”
“They’re two aspects of one thing called space time.”
“Exactly. Now how can I put it…? From our point of view the space Rose was in is still there, right?”
“But if you were watching from, say, Mars, it would have shifted quite some speed from west to east, not least because the World’s spinning – taking Rose’s space with it.”
“Yeah, I see that,” Mulder pointed out. “But then that fellow on Mars is moving too, going round with Mars, which in turn is moving round the Sun, which is…heck, where’s anything heading in the end?”
“Quite,” the Doctor replied, knowingly. “To really find where anything is at any particular moment you’d have to stand on something perfectly still, something not going anywhere.”
“And who the heck can do that?”
“Me. I’m a time lord…well, a space time lord but that’s a bit of a mouthful.”
“So where-when is Rose now?” Mulder asked.
“I’ve given you the when, let’s check the where.” He turned the ‘watch’ over to reveal something that looked like a compass but wasn’t either. “Hmm, now let’s see, ah yes, at that particular moment in time Rose and the space she’s in should be at longitude 31, latitude 53.”
“About halfway across the Atlantic Ocean. And what with unusual fallout due to spacio-temporal drift she might well have taken someone else’s space, including them, along with her.”
Rose’s eyes darted open, she was back. “What the heck was...? Was I dreaming?”
The Doctor smiled at her. “What did you see?”
“Erm…sorry, still a bit dazed…having trouble remembering. There was this old man…wearing a life-jacket…on the deck of a ship…mumbling about his office sinking and police boxes and things.” She looked across at the stranger who had joined them, “And he knew you, Mulder.”
“Helmholtz?” Mulder said, puzzled.
“That’s not the half of it,” she stated. “Said his office was a ship and it had crashed into another ship!”
As if on cue, the TARDIS suddenly jolted with such force it threw all three occupants across the floor. Scrambling alongside the Doctor and his companion for a handhold or foothold, Mulder became aware of his surroundings.
“How did I get here?’ he yelled.
“Never mind that now,” the Doctor replied, trying to get his magnificent living machine under control. It shuddered and undulated for a good while then came to a standstill. He rushed to the door and threw it open. Turning to his travelling companions he announced. “Just as I thought…we’ve crashed…into the ship!”
“A spaceship?” Rose asked, picking herself up off the floor, whilst still reeling from her ‘dream’.
“No, a steam liner.”
Mulder stared at him dumbfounded. “How in hell can we have hit a boat?”
Rose just gasped. “But that was in my imagination, Doctor.” Then a sudden thought struck her and she was quite pleased it had, as she didn’t think she’d understood anything he’d said to her. But quite clearly she had. “It’s the Void, it’s got to be, right? So whatever we imagine or dream, it makes it happen. It brings things into existence and makes us a part of it?”
“The Void is ‘nothing’, Rose,” the Doctor said. “But I like your train of thought.”
“Okay. You said it’s the non-space between all possible parallel universes,” she added defiantly. “And now…the rift is open again. So they can now overlap onto or into one another then?”
“And we’re in the centre of it. The maelstrom.”
Mulder spoke up. “So then it’s this ‘Dreamer’ or creator or the story writer who’s responsible?”
“Now you’re getting it,” the Doctor replied with a grin.
“For some reason I’m now reminded of something my partner Scully explained to me once. She’s a scientist, dealing in facts, well most of the time. Schrodinger’s Cat,” Mulder said.
“Oh yes! The old, cat in a box trick. Poison gas in a capsule. If the capsule is broken but no one witnesses it, is the puss alive or dead? A thought experiment, often described as a paradox, devised by Austrian physicist Erwin Schrödinger in 1935. Similar to the ‘if a tree falls in the forest but there’s no one around to hear it, does it make a noise?’ conundrum. Quantum physics. Brilliant!”
Mulder was still lost in his own thoughts. “So he/she/it wanted me to be inside your ship?” he asked.
“As did you. Curiosity always gets the best of us.”
“But I didn’t even know this TARDIS existed,” Mulder piped up, getting confused all over again.
“Sure you did. Take a look.”
He did so, and the revelation struck home. “It’s the blue police box I noticed when I saw you and your lady friend in Oxford! But it’s…” Mulder hesitated.
“Time lord science,” the Doctor added. “It’s bigger on the inside.”
Rose joined them to discover they were now on the deck of the steam liner. “So just how big is the Void then? If the ‘Dreamer’ can conjure up anything into existence, then anything is possible? Oh and by the way, we seem to have sunk!”
All three occupants realised the boat was under the ocean now. Above them they could see outlines of life rafts and hear muffled sounds of the passengers as they were being rowed away to safety.
Mulder stared incredulously. “So why is the ocean not coming inside the TARDIS?” He answered his own question. “Protective force field I guess? The Greys used them on their spaceships and called it a cloaking device. Wow, I’ve always wanted to be in a submarine.” His train of thought drifted even further. “I wonder if it’s a Grey that’s the ‘being’ who is dreaming all this?” Over the years in the X Files division, spending his life trying to uncover the weird and supernatural splendours, he’d come across the alien Greys who were capable of body and thought transference among other things. They could easily be capable of running the show.
The Doctor absorbed Mulder’s suggestion. “You know I think in the end it’s best to just ‘be’ and not question who is behind it. Takes all the fun out of existing...or not as the case may be. “Right, I’d better get the TARDIS out of this ocean. Allons-y!”
“Hang on.” Rose said. “Are you now saying we don’t exist?”
“Schrodinger’s Cat, Rose,” the Doctor reminded her and added, “an idea exists in the mind of the author and is brought into ‘being.’ But was it ‘alive’ in the first place? And there lies the rub.”
“Oh my head hurts”, Rose moaned.
Dana Scully opened her eyes, a concerned look etched upon her face. Just what on earth had Mulder gotten himself into now? She’d had prophetic dreams connected to her partner before. It was like they had some kind of spiritual link where both either knew what the other was thinking, or sometimes, even feeling. Her worst ‘vision’ had been Mulder being experimented on within an alien craft…a nightmare that had terrified her. Unable to help him she had felt so powerless yet had to endure his painful experience within her own mind. Thankfully this latest dream didn’t involve any kind of suffering. In fact as the mists cleared, it developed into a sense of clarity. As if she knew answers to many questions. The only problem was she couldn’t completely define what those questions were. Least she discovered he was safe, on board some vessel, a strange looking blue box…and he had company…a tall energetic man and a young blonde girl. But just where were they going? That was a question she couldn’t answer, yet.
On her bedside table the phone started to ring. She glanced at her alarm clock then reached over and picked up the receiver, wondering who could be calling her at such a late hour? Perhaps this was Mulder? He had an annoying habit of doing that on a regular basis.
“Am I speaking to a Miss Dana Catherine Scully?” a male voice at the other end asked.
“This is she.”
“I’m calling from Cardiff, in Wales.”
Well that would explain the reason this person had phoned her at an ungodly hour. He’d obviously forgotten the time zones. She had to admit when he mentioned his location it had surprised her at first. He had an American accent so she’d presumed he was in the United States. “Who are you?”
“My name is Captain Jack Harkness. I can’t go into major details but let’s just say I work beyond the government for a secret operation know as Torchwood. Basically there’s a rift of space and time over the city and our job is to stop any threatening alien life from taking over the planet.”
This just had to be one of Mulder’s friends. “So, why are you telling me this?”
“You work on The X Files, yes?”
“So, basically we work under similar circumstances?”
“Okay.” Scully was getting a little impatient. “And you called because…?”
“I’m looking for the Doctor, and I was told you might know of his whereabouts?”
The mists cleared once more. “He’s with my FBI partner and a young lady travelling in a… blue box.” She paused for a moment. “Why did you think I’d know that?”
“Well this is going to sound odd, but I… had this dream about you.” Jack’s voice took on a rather seductive tone.
“Oh really?” Scully replied, unfazed. “So did I, about my partner...and the box.”
“TARDIS”, Jack informed.
“I suppose it’s some kind of space ship?”
“Yup. I have to get a lock on it.”
“Because the rift has gone nuts! I think it’s trying to spew everything out of it, from every possible point in time and space.”
Scully could hear a slight panic in his voice. “And this Doctor can prevent that from happening?”
“You sound awfully calm,” he stated.
“Been there, several times, facing apocalyptic possibilities,” she replied.
“Me to, but this is like the mother of all apocalypses. I fear we’ll just get sucked in…everything will end.”
“Okay, now you’ve got my attention.”
“Good. Can you get in touch with your partner?”
Scully frowned. “I told you, Mulder is on board this TARDIS. I doubt the cell phone signal can reach that far!”
“With a little adjustment it can.” Jack announced.
“And how do we do that?” Scully asked, puzzled.
“No problem. I’m just going to teleport over to you in Washington DC.”
“You’re going to what?”
A second later, Dana was face to face with a tall, dark and handsome stranger.
“Well, hello.” Jack Harkness flashed one of his overpowering smiles.
Scully just stood open mouthed. “Just how in God’s name did you do that?”
“Wrist teleport, state of the art stuff,” he announced, proudly. “Now, where’s your cell phone?”
Across the far reaches of space-time, the Doctor alerted his companions aboard his vessel. “Hang on kids, this is going to be a bumpy ride!”
“So what’s new?” Rose said, with a hint of sarcasm.
“Come on Rose, I thought you loved all this adventure?” the Doctor queried, flicking a switch here, a lever there.
“Oh I do, don’t get me wrong. It’s just I could do with less of this tossing, tumbling and shaking,” she stressed, hanging on to the console as the TARDIS proceeded to buck like a wild steer.
“I think it’s cool!” Mulder added, hanging on beside her. “Kinda like one of those roller coaster carnival rides.” He glanced at the Doctor opposite him. “So where are we going now?”
“Right this moment we are travelling through the time portal. Destination...search me?”
“Never heard of that planet. Is it habitable?” Rose asked, her sarcasm increasing a notch.
The Doctor gave her a large beaming smile. “Oh yes! Lovely place. Green, luxurious, crystal streams, exotic birds…”
“Okay!” she replied, sharing the smile. “Enough!”
“You two are like a married couple…kinda like me and Scully,” Mulder said, wondering how she was. Truth be known, he was starting to miss having her beside him.
Then the Doctor’s tone changed and he frowned. “If we can’t think of a way to stop this, then the Void is going to engulf existence as we know it.”
“Well that’s just killed the mood,” Rose announced, realising that they were all indeed in a very serious situation. “So, what can we do Doctor?”
All she received was a shrug of his shoulders.
She was just about to question what that meant, when the sharp rings of a mobile phone sounded out loud and clear. The tune, she realised, were the five notes that contacted the alien spaceships from ‘Close Encounters’. “Cute,” she said, and couldn’t help but smirk.
“Well that certainly isn’t Martha trying to call us,” the Doctor said, puzzled. A few years ago he had adjusted her mobile phone enabling her to contact the TARDIS if she’d needed to. He had done the same for Rose when she’d embarked on her first journey with him to watch the Earth’s demise in the far distant future. Well, one of the futures, because now it looked like they were embarking along a completely different timeline.
Mulder had already reached into his jacket. “It’s me,” he announced.
Rose looked as baffled as the Doctor. “How can you get a signal way out here?”
“Only a time lord or time agent could make those adjustments.” Suddenly the Doctor had an unnerving feeling the Master was going to be at the end. But that was plain ridiculous as how could he have an FBI agents phone number from the year 2009? For that matter how would he know Mulder was on the TARDIS?
Mulder answered with a curious ‘Hello?” There was a pause, a raised eyebrow then he handed his phone over to the Doctor. “It’s for you?”
“Doctor? Doctor is that you?”
He recognised the voice immediately. “Captain Jack Harkness. But how do you know…?”
Jack interrupted him, “I’m in Washington DC, with Mulder’s FBI partner, Dana Scully. I just adjusted her phone so we could talk.”
“What’s going on?” Rose asked.
“Jack is phoning us from present day USA.” He glanced over at Mulder. “He’s with your partner.”
Mulder’s attention increased slightly. “Just what is he doing with Scully?”
“You probably don’t want to know the answer to that,” the Doctor teased.
“Hey I resent that!” Jack exclaimed! “I’m not that insatiable!”
“You could have fooled me.”
“Look! Just tell me why this friend of yours is with Scully?” Mulder asked, getting impatient.
“Don’t worry,” Rose said. “He doesn’t chat up every woman he meets…It’s usually every man as well!”
“Thanks Rose, that’s really comforting to know,” he replied curtly.
Both stared at the Doctor who was now listening intently, his face growing darker with every minute that passed. “Thank you, Jack. We’ll see you soon.”
“Doctor? What is it?” Rose asked, concerned.
He looked at each companion in turn and proceeded to explain what he’d just heard. “Jack had…a dream about Dana.” Before Mulder could cut in, he quickly added, “It led to him teleporting over to her so he could use her phone to call me. Torchwood has been monitoring the rift…and it has increased in its intensity. It’s just what I suspected.”
“Which is what?” Rose asked, nervously.
“Well, when we three stepped into the Void it fed off our energy. That’s why we were caught in these time shifts which made anything possible.”
“A dream is the answer to a question we haven’t yet figured out how to ask,” Mulder said, quietly.
“You could very well be right there” the Doctor replied.
“It’s what I used to tell Scully.” He pondered on what he’d just said and added, “I was thinking about her, then the phone rang.”
“And now you’re going to get reunited,” the Doctor stated. “Jack can’t teleport to us because we are not at any fixed abode. We can’t land in Cardiff as the rift is too powerful and the TARDIS will end up being a conduit, which will probably result in the rift opening completely.” He glanced across at Rose.
“Yeah, I remember it helped open it in the first place,” she replied.
“Right. So our next best option is to go to the good old U. S. of A.”
“I hate to say this, but an old fashioned blue police box from England is going to stick out like a sore thumb there,” Mulder added.
“Right. So, we’re going to your partner’s place. Jack’s given me the coordinates.” The Doctor proceeded to run around the console hitting various controls. “Hold tight. Allons-y!”
“We’re landing where?” Mulder asked, surprised.
In Georgetown, Washington DC, Captain Jack Harkness handed the phone back to Scully. “They are on their way.”
“The blue box is landing here…in my apartment? Just how big is this spaceship?”
Noticing her face was showing complete astonishment, he grinned widely. “Don’t worry, on the outside it looks like it’d hold about...two people? However, on the inside? That’s a different story.”
“What do you mean by that?”
“You’ll see,” he told her, with a smile. “Oh, you’ll see.”
“I’ll see what?” she questioned. As Scully spoke those words she thought she could hear a faint whooshing noise. Like engines, of some kind, and it was getting louder and louder. The air started to shimmer before her eyes and at first it reminded her of the force field that had surrounded the UFO which had abducted her partner several years ago. She had looked out across the Arizona desert and noticed a displacement of light, like a shimmering curtain, which she’d believed at that time, was the heat causing a rippling effect. Well she wasn’t in a desert now - she was in her living room!
“Here it comes!” Jack yelled
A gust of wind suddenly whipped up from nowhere blowing their hair in all directions then sent a pile of papers Scully had stacked on her dinning table, flying everywhere.
The TARDIS materialised and she gasped in amazement. “Holy fu...!”
The door swung open before she could finish, and a tall man in a long coat stepped out. “Hello, I’m the Doctor. You must be Dana Scully?”
She stared in wide-eyed amazement, “Erm…yes. Yes, that’s me.”
“Pleased to meet you,” he said, shaking her hand firmly. Then he noticed his old friend who had travelled with him on several occasions. The ex-time agent and retired con-man who he knew was going to live for many, many years, and would eventually evolve into a wise creature known as the Face of Boe. Not that the man in front of him had any idea that was his destiny…well not yet. “Jack!” he cried.
“Doctor!” he replied, gathering the time lord into a bear hug.
Scully waited until the two men had exchanged greetings then spoke up. “Where’s Mulder?”
“He’s inside the…” the Doctor started to say. But before he could add anything else she’d rushed past him and disappeared into the TARDIS. He looked at Jack. “Did you explain to her about time lord science?”
Mulder drummed his fingers on the console for the umpteenth time. “When can we step outside?” he asked Rose, impatiently.
“When we know it’s safe.”
“I’m sure Scully’s apartment is as safe as houses.” He grinned realising the pun he’d just come out with. Then he frowned as he remembered previous cases that had resulted in quite a number of deaths in and out of her place. “Or…maybe not?”
“Long story. It involves psychos, mutants and folks being shot.”
“Sounds like a really cosy place to live,” Rose said, rolling her eyes at him.
“You have no idea,” he snorted. A moment later the door flew open and a familiar redhead breezed in. “Scully!” he cried, startled, running towards her.
“Mulder!” she yelled, then stopped short when she realised her surroundings. “Oh my God!” she exclaimed. The interior was metallic, organic and above all…massive!
“It’s bigger on the inside…time lord science,” Mulder announced as he threw his arms around her.
“Yeah, I can sure see that,” Scully replied, returning the hug. Then she continued to scan the area. “Wow, it’s incredible!”
“You can say that again.” The young blonde girl walked over to her and introduced herself. “Hi, I’m Rose Tyler. And this is the TARDIS,” she announced proudly.
“Hello Rose.” Scully said, shaking her hand. Then she faced her partner. “So you’ve been travelling in this TARDIS through time and space?” she asked, still reeling from her discovery.
“And then some,” Mulder replied.
Before she could question him, the door opened and the two men entered. Jack immediately spied Rose and ran over to hug her. “Boy I’m glad he was able to find you again,” he beamed, referring to the Doctor. “It’s great to see you Rose!”
“You too,” she replied, squeezing him tightly.
“Oh I’ve missed this,” he said cheekily, then kissed her on the lips.
“You never change,” she laughed.
He felt someone tap him lightly on his shoulder. “Still the same old Jack.”
“Absolutely,” he replied, turning to face the Doctor, before kissing him in the same fashion. Then he noticed the tall, dark haired attractive man beside Scully. “And you must be Fox Mulder?” he stated, striding over to him.
“Yes, I am,” Mulder replied, a little uneasily. “And you really don’t have to greet me the same way.”
“You sure?” Jack asked, giving him the once over.
“Yeah, he’s a little shy,” Scully smirked, immediately receiving a hard stare from her partner.
The Doctor stepped in. “Jack, there’s a time and a place. And believe me, Mulder is definitely not your type.”
“But everyone is Jack’s type,” Rose piped up.
“Don’t worry,” Scully said, taking hold of Mulder’s hand. “I’ll protect you.”
Rose couldn’t hold it in any longer and burst into giggles, which had Scully following soon after.
Jack offered his hand to the FBI agent. “Hi, I’m Captain Jack Harkness.”
“Special Agent Fox Mulder,” he replied, returning the handshake somewhat reluctantly.
“My you have a strong grip there, Fox,” Jack replied, with a wink.
“Mulder,” he replied, forcing a smile.
“Yeah, never call him Fox. Or he’s likely to pick up a gun and shoot you,” Scully warned Jack, and dissolved into giggles once again.
During the exchanges the Doctor had watched his friends, old and new, pleased that they were enjoying this moment of frivolity. But he knew from here on out things were going to get very dicey indeed, and now he needed their full attention. “Everyone, let’s get down to business. We have a Void to seal and a rift to close before the world ends.”
The giggling ceased, and all eyes turned towards him.
Jack was the first to speak. “So have you any idea what is controlling this Void?” he asked, suddenly deadly serious, his question aimed at the Doctor.
A discussion began in earnest amongst all five of them and as their theories unfolded one by one, they realised that even though they were from very different walks of life and indeed times, they had been mysteriously thrown together. The age-old saying that everything happens for a reason and all things are connected was starting to make sense, even if the actual reason why all this was happening around them was eluding them so far. They were key figures being controlled by an unknown force, and it now seemed that whoever or whatever was in charge wanted them all to take these first steps towards oblivion.
“Right, lets sum up what’s randomly happened to each one of us…that has led us to this moment in time,” the Doctor announced. “Okay, first of all the TARDIS fell back through the rift leading to Bad Wolf Bay where Rose and I were able to meet again. Impossibility made possible but let’s not ponder on that. Then Mulder came across a Void ship waiting for him in Virginia, USA, which allowed him to cross over to a parallel Oxford in England where he had a discussion on quantum physics with an old university professor. That’s where he met Rose and myself and this time the TARDIS was led to a point in a past timeline where we discovered the sinking steam liner.”
“Steam liner?” Scully queried.
“Long story,” Mulder replied.
“Least I now know your reason for ditching me? You were transported into this incredible journey in a spaceship.”
“Void ship,” he corrected her then thankfully added, “Least it didn’t involve sadistic implements splicing and dicing me this time.”
Jack carried on from where the Doctor had left off. “So that’s when we came along,” he said to Scully. “Because of the dreams we had. Mine was about you and finding the X Files division in the FBI, and yours told you where Mulder was – on board the TARDIS.”
“And now here we all are.” The Doctor paused and looking at each person in turn added, “all these random incidents have taken shape, just like fragments of a dream.”
“So the Dreamer is the one responsible?” Mulder asked him.
“The dreamer?” Jack asked, puzzled.
The Doctor smiled remembering the conversation he’d had with Rose and Mulder on board his time machine. “The Dreamer, the author, the story writer…it’s all the same entity.”
“Define entity?” Rose added.
“If you’re referring to the Creator, then I would say, that surely has to be God,” Scully stated. She had a strong catholic background and always had believed in her faith to see her through, even the darkest of hours. “But He certainly can’t be behind this Void? Why would he want to destroy all his children of earth?”
“Maybe He’s decided he’s tired of his creations, which let’s face it, haven’t exactly respected their planet for eons,” Mulder added.
“Good point,” Rose piped up.
“What I’m saying,” Mulder continued, “is maybe it’s alien…and before you disagree with me Scully, you and I have seen enough to know that they could be the little men behind the curtain.”
“That’s rather racist Mulder,” Jack pointed out. “I’m an alien, the Doctor here is an alien, and we are definitely not out to destroy the world.”
“I apologise,” Mulder said quickly. “I meant the Greys.”
“Ah a bad alien race,” Rose confirmed. “We’ve also met a number of extra terrestrial terrorists out there in many different universes, haven’t we Jack?”
Before he could reply, the Doctor cut in. “For instance, our most recent run in with Davros, creator of the Dalek race. Remember the reality bomb and how he tried to wipe out every possible parallel universe so there would be nothing left?”
“You mean he might be behind this?” Jack asked.
“The Daleks hid in a Void ship once, then tried to take over the earth using the Torchwood Institute at Canary Wharf in London,” Rose explained to Mulder & Scully. “I ended up trapped in another parallel world.”
The Doctor took hold of her hand and smiled, “Least a twist of fate resolved that.”
“Fate!” Scully exclaimed. “That’s what this is all about…fate. Not aliens and…” she paused. “What the heck are Daleks?”
“Creatures I hope you never get to meet,” the Doctor told her, abruptly.
“Giant pepper pots with one hell of a nasty attitude!” Jack added, his voice solemn.
Scully raised one eyebrow, then realised that was all that was going to be said on the matter. So whatever they were, they’d sure had a powerful impact on the Doctor and his companions.
“But the void stuff...?” Rose began. “It gave them their power.”
“Void…stuff?” Scully asked, even more puzzled.
“Hold on,” Mulder spoke up. “I was in the Void ship and I sure didn’t see any big giant pepper pot creatures. But, does that mean I have this void stuff as well?”
“Everyone who has travelled into a different dimension acquires it, because it’s in between each one,” the Doctor stated. “Think of every parallel universe being a bubble. The space between each bubble is the Void. Every time you cross from one to the other you pick up void stuff…arm, energy, anti-matter and it surrounds you… like an aura.”
“Is it dangerous?” Mulder asked, rather worried.
“No, it’s more like dust. Only nothing like the vashta nerada,” the Doctor replied.
“Excuse me? The what?” Scully asked.
The Doctor shook his head. “No…they are more like…piranhas of the air, that live in shadows.”
“Okay, so now we are going to get devoured by invisible piranha fish?” Scully gasped. She was completely and totally lost with this conversation.
“No, Scully, the Doctor said it wasn’t that.” Mulder told her gently. Though truth be known he was now showing a keen interest in these alien beings, and was secretly quite jealous of Rose and Jack who had witnessed these extra terrestrials up close with the Doctor.
“Look we can speculate till we are all blue in the face,” Jack said, firmly. “What we need to do is stop the damn thing! This Void is going to swallow up absolutely everything in existence…like the reality bomb would have done?”
“Pretty much,” the Doctor replied, crossing his arms.
“It reminds me of a story I read once,” Mulder said, “where the characters in their fantasy world were going to be wiped out. Imagination was being killed and nothing was going to be left in its wake. The Never Ending Story.” Mulder turned to face Scully. “Remember, I showed you the movie on DVD once?”
“Yes, I remember,” she replied. “The little boy stepped into the pages and rescued the world…and that was a piece of fiction. This is reality.”
“What’s reality?” the Doctor asked.
“Well according to you it’s giant evil pepper pots and invisible piranhas,” she replied, with a shrug.
The Doctor couldn’t help but smirk on hearing her off hand description of two of the most threatening creatures he’d ever had the misfortune to meet. “That’s one reality. Like I said there are an infinite number and the Void wants to destroy each and every one.”
“And wipe out the fantasy,” Mulder added, profoundly.
Jack’s mobile phone rang and he hurriedly answered it. The others waited intensely until he’d placed it back inside his jacket pocket. Then with a grave face he addressed his fellow travellers. “That was Gwen back at Torchwood. The rift has reached critical point and there is nothing she or Ianto can do. It’s going to keep splitting until it covers this entire planet! Everything will be sucked into the maelstrom!”
“Are you saying it’s all over?” Scully asked, nervously.
“There’s nothing anyone can do, not even you Doctor?” Rose questioned, fearing the worst.
He nodded briefly, and reached for her hand, which was trembling slightly. “I’m afraid boys and girls we have reached our swansong.” He spoke the words quietly, almost as if he’d known deep down in his subconscious that this was going to be the outcome.
Jack reacted sharply. “We can’t just give in? Doctor surely you’re not going to be defeated here, after everything else we have faced in the past?”
The Doctor reached for his hand and held it tight, letting the corners of his mouth turn up ever so slightly. “All good things come to an end, Jack. The question is…what happens next?”
“Mulder, I’m afraid,” Scully admitted, grasping his hand firmly. He squeezed it softly then reached out for Rose’s hand.
Before anyone could remark on what he’d said, a wave of intensely bright light suddenly filled the TARDIS.
“What the hell...?” Jack exclaimed.
“The TARDIS is acting like a conductor,” the Doctor said. “It’s channelling the energy into her…Hold on!”
“Rose, it’s alright,” Mulder said, gently.
“How can you be okay with this?” Rose asked, confused.
But he didn’t have time to finish his sentence as he was suddenly struck with a wave of inner peace. It was almost like…nothing mattered anymore.
“I can’t remember anything,” Scully said. She thought she sounded scared…but then again there was no reason to.
“This is so weird.” Jack also felt strangely calm yet couldn’t understand why. “I feel I ought to be freaking out…yet, have no idea why I should?”
“Who are we?” Rose asked, now in a tranquil state of mind.
“We are such stuff as dreams are made of,” the Doctor quoted his favourite Shakespearean phrase once more.
“There’s nothing to fear,” Mulder added, recognising the feeling as it had been the same one he’d experienced inside the Void ship. Now he realised the incessant mental noise and self-identifying chatter would cease. He could finally ‘let go’.
It took only a blink of an eye before the Void engulfed the Earth, swallowing it whole, devouring every atomic particle. It was at that moment that everyone on board the TARDIS began to lose a sense of who they were. Fear was eradicated, euphoria flowed over them and complete and utter peace was all that remained.
Inside the Northeast Georgetown Medical Centre in Washington DC a lone figure of a man lay in a bed, unmoving. His face was ashen and white. All that could be heard was a singular low tone from an ECG monitor in the room, revealing a green line across the screen. The patient had flat lined.
“Time of death, 11.15pm,” Dr Marcus Helmholtz stated, clinically.
A young woman sat beside the bed, tears flowing down her face. She’d rushed to the hospital as soon as she’d been informed her partner was in a coma after being in an accident involving a head on collision on the freeway. For weeks she’d made frequent visits, praying the nightmare would end and he’d wake up? But fate had not been on her side this time. Now, gripping the man’s hand tightly she leaned over to plant a kiss on his forehead, allowing her curtain of red locks to fall over his pale features. Then with trembling hands she started to clean out his bedside locker, placing the items in a cardboard box she’d brought with her. Scully sighed heavily as she packed away several books she’d been reading to him in the hope it would bring him back. A hardback book that had been written by his old university professor from Oxford called ‘The Psychology of Time’, a paperback on famous shipwrecks, and a couple of science-fiction novels based on two TV series from the UK. A faint smile crossed her face as she remembered him inviting her over to his apartment one evening to watch DVD’s of these shows, he’d ordered off the Internet. Dr Who…and what was the other one? Oh yes, Torchwood.
In another dimension of space, another parallel, a different reality, Special Agent Fox William Mulder opened his eyes. As his senses returned he thought he could hear a low humming tone, which seemed to increase in volume. Then a noise like combustion engines permeated the air. Like a pulsating heartbeat of immense power, the sound added almost an ethereal quality to it. But it was unlike any spacecraft Mulder had heard before. Sitting bolt upright on his couch he was just in time to witness a strange blue box materialise right in front of him.
“Here we go again,” he thought.