(Tie-In story for the “Time Lord Victorious”, please read Titan Comics “Defender of the Daleks” and watch “The Waters of Mars” and the novel “The Knight, The Fool, And The Dead”)
The Doctor took a gentle step forward, leaving a footprint in the molten snow.
He had reached his destination, he was sure of it. The ember pits of Snodoke.
He withstood the smouldering and intense heat of the triple sunsets, even as day turned in briefest seconds to night before they rose again, an indecisive orbit, it required a fool’s errand to endure.
Was The Doctor playing that fool? Many had died because of the act once before, but now no one else would die this day in creation, not now or any other day that graced his gaze.
Night would fall on the many no more. The sun would rise for everyone and for all time.
A tall volcanic mountain, a sight so familiar to the Doctor through childhoods past, from beyond an infinite set of lifetimes, stood before him.
Standing to his opposite side was a circular temple in the shape of an ouroboros snake. Its jaw wedged in its own tail. Symbolising eternity, symbolising, to the Doctor, a way of things he sought to unravel.
These pits contained of the last great super weapons conceived in the twilight of the Dark Times, the Hondraiser. A device capable of undoing what can never be undone, keeping the doorway to eternity firmly shut, yet leaving but one way open.
A safe passage to death. No harm, no pain, no taxing mental or physical compromise. Just release.
The Hondraiser was developed by those who challenged the way of the universe as it had evolved to that point, to see no need for life after a time, to cease all manner of suffering, an ongoing price paid for the folly of unspeakable atrocity committed by those who breathed in a galaxy’s worth of ash.
This device would revive, exclusively, those who bared the burden of the great threshold, the creatures that sought to silence the screams they could no longer afford to absorb and cry when those voices they belonged were silenced for all time. The sound of silence, the one voice they could never afford to have.
That is, until The Doctor crossed their pathway, and granted them their own unique silence, a painless passage to the next life. And now he had to ensure they stayed at rest.
It was a quandary that played on the current state of his soul…why would he wish to spare them from life if his present mission was to hold back death for all time? Why not grant them a light to guide them through the memory of times so dark to them?
Surely their imprint on the universe would be a stark reminder to all that the time lord victorious can never be truly wrong.
But maybe that was the point.
He had yet to relinquish the universe of pain, and it was through the suffrage inflicted on souls was what gave the Hond their grudge against all who dwell in the galaxy.
A race cursed by pain, inflicting that pain on others, a reminder of travesties that would be finally put to rest.
If he gave them life anew, he might as well snuff out all hope, it would be wrong of him, the time lord victorious is never wrong, that there is no one to stop him, no one to hold him back, no one to tell him his way, his law of time, is an affront.
Nothing but that.
Nothing. But. That.
The Doctor stood between the mountain and the snake; he produced his trusty sonic screwdriver, and held it high above his head. He pressed his finger delicately on the third setting.
The vibrations rocked the planet to and fro, the Doctor, in a physically taxing bout of defiance, did all he could to stand his ground. The temple collapsed, the volcano erupted, the lava spilled.
The Doctor inspected the wreckage while he could; his time was short as the lava raced towards him.
The Doctor was satisfied.
The Hondraiser was no more.
When the future is born, and they were old enough to join the wisest of men in the dead of winter, at the end of another wonderful year, in preparation for the beginning of yet another golden tomorrow, they will ask just what the precise moment was when those wisest among them realised that peace was assured for eternity in the universe? A universe free not just of pain, but the constant reminder of it?
And those wise men would say, as irony would have it, when the jaw was released from its tail.