Thursday, 4 July 2013
Dr Who - The Vikings
Our last Dr Who short story was really well recived (by the 20 or so people who read it anyway!) so here's another one. The historicals have always appealed to me and like our last story 'Lost and Found' this is another one I've been trying to write for 20 odd years. The story behind Leif Ericson is true by the way - he is the world's greatest explorer and probably the first to discover America or 'Vineland' (depending which historian you belief) and nobody seems to really know what happened to him when he died...Apologising for the lack of spacing by the way. It's that ole' computer-internet problem again which means I can only post these articles at the library and they always take the spaces out of everything I write. It would take hours to put them all back in so sorry for being forced to strain your eyes...
Dr Who “The Vikings”
A scene of merriment and noise. A little shack on the side of a hill. It’s like a Eurovision party, but without all that awful singing. Still awful, mind, but not that awful. Men with horns on their helmets are drinking round a table and laughing heartily. Lots of backslapping and macho posturing. Cut to a weedy youth staring out the window. This is Leif Erikson, staring out at the water’s edge and the Viking longboats tied up by the water’s edge. He looks nothing like the other Vikings around him. Suddenly someone walks into shot and obscures our line of vision, dressed in traditional Viking feminine costume. The camera pulls away and we see it is River Song.
River: Staring into space again, Leif Erikson?
(The boy nods).
River: It’s not for much longer now, you know. They’ll make it back alright.
(Suddenly there’s a knock – well actually more of a pounding - on the door. It opens wide and in come a load of grinning hysterical Vikings without horns.
Bjorn: We are back from our long voyage my hearties! I hope somebody’s put the kettle on for some of that tea the English natives kept making!
Agnetha: I just knew you’d be back today!
Bjorn: Well, knowing me, knowing you!
Anni-Frid: What did you bring this time?
Bjorn: Oh just some money, money money!
Anni-Frid: Gimme Gimme Gimme!
Agnetha (staring at the huge treasure trove of crudely cut gold objects the Vikings bring in with them): Mama Mia!
Bjorn: Yep! And the winner takes it all, you know!
Anni-Frid: Well, all I can say is thank you for the new sack, the gold you’re giving!
Agnetha: Thanks for all the joy you’re bringing!
Benny: Who could live without it? I ask in all honesty...where would we be?
Anni-Frid: You seemed to take longer this time...
Benny: That voyage just went on and on and on...
Anni-Frid: Well, at least you are both home now. Was there much of a battle put up?
Bjorn: Well, that is the name of the game when you’re a Viking warrior!
Benny: Yes, with goodies galore! Those ancient Saxons didn’t know what hit them!
Anni-Frid: Why do you call them ‘Ancient Saxons’?
Benny: Don’t you remember from our last voyage? A whole country full of OAPS! Even the children seem to be going on for sixty!
Bjorn: And what of you, Leif? Does your mother know that you’re staring out the window? You’ve still not grown into a man I see! Honestly, there’s a whole world out there to explore you know!
Leif (quietly): I know it.
Bjorn: As my second son, I need not remind you that you will inherit none of my land when I die, that’ll all go to your bother Olaf, assuming he hasn’t been eaten yet out there in the wild. You need a career! You need to be a warrior like me! Look there’s a raid with this workfare company coming up...there’s no money in it and no jobs at the end of it, mind but it’ll look good on your ‘raiding’ CV down at the Viking jobcentre...
Benny (more kindly, more used to children): I thought we might have seen a dragon this last voyage – after all we must be getting closed to the very edge of the world. One day we might drop off, eh, and then where will we be?
Leif: There are no dragons, uncle Benny! But there are plenty of beasts. River Song, she’s told me great things of the world there is out there – wonderful things, planets full of iced seas, boiling volcanoes and technology that would make ours look completely primitive! (a hush falls on the shack which had been so full of noise).
Bjorn: Primitive eh?! My longboat is state of the art technology! You can’t buy these in the shops you know – instalment payments only! And it’s so much better than what the Svjoneses have got!
River: I told you not to say anything!
Leif: Oh, they’re only fairy stories, at least your tales of distant lands in the stars must be, we will only get to see those once we are all dead and buried of course according to father’s religion. But out there, there are other lands, other worlds that I can see one day...
(Agnetha, Bjorn, Benny and Anni-Frid laugh at this in a musical manner).
Leif (quietly, determinedly): And I will be the one to see them first!
River (the only one whose heard this, quickly, to stop the others hearing): Right, everyone, the party’s over so you can all take those silly party helmets with all those horns off now!
The same scene at night. A shadowy figure is stalking through the woods towards River Song. A helmet with horns rises out of the bushes. It’s the Dr! He looks into his reflection in a nearby shield, adjusts his bow tie, strides out towards River and then promptly falls over. Picking himself up he reaches out a hand!
Dr: Well, hello! We meet again! And it’s still you – I mean last time I met you you’d regenerated into a giant pink blob and before that you were a dog with a big red nose and lots of wrinkles! Oops spoilers, I mean only kidding, don’t give me that face. River, you’re mad at me aren’t you?
River: Ten years.
River: Ten years I’ve been waiting for you, spending my nights out here just in case today’s the day you happen to show up. And I don’t really know why I am here.
River: This note is in your handwriting?!
Dr: Yes. Yes, it is. That doesn’t mean a lot though. I mean, I seem to have written it in the future of my own time stream so I know as little about it as you do.
River: So you don’t know why I’ve just spent the past ten years at the prime of my life in some godforsaken backwater country filling a young boy’s head with fairy tales?
Dr: Not exactly. I rather thought from the link the psychic paper gave me that you would be the one to tell me.
(River gives him a look).
Dr: Now...oi!...stop that...Enough of the look! I’m sure I had a very good reason. Or will have. You know I always do.
River (giving a look): Ten years Dr!
Dr: Well, 9 years two months judging by the change in your appearance since the last time I saw you!
River: Oh and who are you now, the president of the pedantic society?!
Dr: Vice-president of the pedantic society to be exact! I wanted the presidency but the position had been filled by a Vulcan. I hate it when that happens.
River: So what do I do now? Have I done enough? Can I go home yet?!
Dr: I think that all rather depends.
River: On what?!
Dr: What this boy has been thinking of our conversation! (The Dr reaches out into the darkness and grabs Leif Erikson by the arm. Far from looking cross the Dr looks thrilled).
Dr: An honour to meet you dear Leif Erikson!
Leif: A stranger knows my name?
Dr: Oh, I know an awful lot more than that! Why I know that your favourite lesson in Viking school is Geography, your favourite food when you can get it is boiled polar bear, your best friends at school were called ‘Fat Thighs’ and ‘Stinking’ – hmm I’m rather glad those names didn’t catch on – and one day you want to be an explorer. Like your dad. And indeed your mum. Although that’s just a family secret in this day and age.
Leif: How do you know all this?...
Dr: Oh, word gets around. Especially when you’re a time traveller who meets a lot of people
Leif: And you are?...
Dr (proudly): I’m the Dr! Everyone’s heard of me, in all sorts of time streams!
Leif: I’ve never heard of you. Dr Who?
Dr: Well....that’s close enough! Let’s get you back inside, can’t have you catching your death of cold – who’d travel out to see the stars then?
The Dr and Clara are lounging around in the Tardis. The Dr is leafing through a collection of maps. Clara is sitting in a chair drinking something. She looks bemused.
Clara: So, you’ve just discovered that your future self has sent a message to your past self via a bit of psychic paper only you can read and when you visit there you find your wife is already on the scene following orders you haven’t even given yet? Busy day!
Dr (busy): Mmm-hmm?
Clara: Doesn’t that strike you as odd?
Dr: No, it’s happened a few times actually! Admittedly it’s never been good news when it has... No, what struck me as odd was the fact that nobody else seemed to be wearing a hat with horns on it!
Clara: Didn’t you see that episode of QI, Dr? It’s a myth that Vikings had horns, it was added by historians when they wrote stuff down centuries later and wanted to make them all sound really scary! Actually Vikings were quite civilised for the times.
Dr (boastfully): Well, that used to be true until I zipped back into time and starting showing off how wonderful horned helmets were. Now everybody’s wearing them! Fezzes, though, those never really seemed to catch on in this time zone...
Clara: Trust me Dr, on a scale of one to ten of what’s usually odd on my travels with you that isn’t even worth a whole number!
Dr: Aha, I knew I’d find it! See here, this continent that’s quite obviously ‘America’, only it’s called ‘Vinland’ on this map. Of course bits and pieces haven’t fallen off it yet so that New York is an island and New Jersey is under several thousand feet of water, but it’s close enough.
Clara: So this Eric bloke is going to find it one day?
Dr: Well technically of course America was never lost – the people living on it always knew it was there. It’s still quite a tremendous occasion though – the first person to travel past the known sides of the map and risk falling off the edge as they saw it back then. Imagine, sailing into a danger that people had been convincing themselves for centuries was there – simply marked ‘here be dragons’. Everyone on your planet thinks Christopher Columbus was the first person to find America, but he wasn’t even in the top five! I was first of course, naturally...
Dr: and one or two aliens after me. But in purely humanoid terms Leif Ericson was the first and he’s more vital to the progress of the human race than he knows.
Clara: And you’re meant to be helping him?!
Dr: Apparently! Exciting eh?! After all, if a new land mass hadn’t been spotted then would the human race have kept travelling and exploring, or would they have stuck to the same land masses? Would they have travelled down to the South Pole and up to the North Pole without Ericson’s examply to build on? Would they have explored the deepest oceans? Would they have ended up in space? Would they have colonised their star system? The Alpha Centauri star system? The Western spiral galaxy? Just imagine what he’d have gone to explore in a future time zone, bucking the trend of hundreds of generations of stay-at-home scavengers. That nudge could have been the most important moment in the whole universe and from what I could gather from the psychic paper someone or something is trying to interfere with that fact.
Clara: Well, I suppose it beats a day as a childminder for those two brats I look after and for less than minimum wage a cup of tea anyways!
Dr: You know what else is exciting?
Dr: Despite being one of the most famous men of the 11th century and the most famous person to have ever come out of Scandinavia in his lifetime and many more, no one knows how Leif Ericson died or what happened to him on his last voyage!
Clara: ooh, a mystery! I like mysteries! Like why you’re wearing that bow tie...
Despite the poverty, the cold and the historical dating, this is obviously a child’s bedroom covered with rubbings, primitive drawings of animals and seas drawn on leather with blubber and some crudely carved objects made out of whalebone. Leif is clearly an active child, but at the moment he doesn’t seem too well...
Leif (clearly feverish): River?.....River! I saw him again. With the flashing eyes and the manic laugh!
River: Don’t worry, the jobcentre manager won’t get you here!
Leif: No, a stranger. He says I won’t last the night! He’s mocking me, tormenting me, saying I’ll never be as strong or as grown up as the others!
River: Strength isn’t always in the body you know, it’s in the head – and in the heart. I know its only a dream, Leif, but can you see what he looks like?
Leif: A monk!....He looks like a Monk!
The Dr, River and Clara have met up at the edge of a forest. The Dr looks thoughtful and is still wearing his Viking helmet with horns.
Dr: A monk you say? No, surely just a coincidence!
Clara: I’m Clara. I don’t think you’ve met me yet. Or have you? The Dr told me how this timeline business works!
River: Not yet! Knowing the Dr you’ll probably turn out to be my long lost auntie or something! Or a machine built to keep the Dr out of trouble! (Clara looks guilty – she’s clearly seen the trail for the last episode of the current series like I have).
Dr (to himself): It sounds as if he looks different slightly now. But he could change – he is a timelord after all! But they’re all gone!...
Clara: So...have you really been here ten years?
River (glaring at the Dr): Nine years two months to be exact! And you’ve missed at least a centuries’ worth of anniversaries!
Dr: I’ve missed what?!
River: We got married...remember?!
River: The Silence were about to murder us all and we met up at a giant pyramid after time had begun travelling backwards, remember?!
Dr: Oh, I remember that, but I wouldn’t forget something like getting married...I mean happiest day of my lives and all that...hahaha... erm... (He sees that the other two plainly don’t agree. He swallows nervously).
Dr: More to the point – someone must be out to disrupt the temporal nexus causeways, meaning that this is an unfixed point in time where the future can most certainly be re-written. And I very much suspect that someone is something to do with the monk our friend saw in his sleep last night.
River: So what are you going to do now?
Dr: Me, I’m not going to do anything! But you are. Me and Clara will be back soon!
River: How soon?!
Dr (running, from behind): In about another ten years’ time I should think! There’s no danger to him now, I’ve checked the delta wave frequencies! Whoever our mysterious friend is he’s clearly going to disrupt the timeline nearer the day of the voyage!
River (to Clara): I’d forgotten about all the running!
Clara: I’m still quite new here compared to you. Is it always like this?
The Tardis whirs to a wheezy stop. River is waiting with her arms folded, clearly a lot older, covered in whale blubber. The Tardis doors open.
River: Eleven years!
River: Eleven years, five months, three days!
Dr: Well, I said approximately didn’t I?!
River: Let me tell you – I’ve eaten more penguins this century than I did in the 21st when they were chocolate bars in wrappers! The Tardis translation circuits do work here like you told me, but seeing as the Viking alphabet only has 16 letters making myself understood has become a terrible struggle, thinking up words that don’t have one of the missing 10 letters everytime I want to talk! And I’ve used every one of those missing letters everytime I think of you, Dr! My bed at night is fur from a bear
Dr: Well, you always were one for teddy bears!
River: My make up is made out of whale blubber and the last time I had something new to wear it was kindly stitched together for me by a Viking from the skin of one of his enemies! Do I look like I belong in a Horrible Histories book?! 20 years I’ve been here now Dr! And for what?
Dr: Nothing happen yet then? I needed you here on the lookout just in case, you know!
River: Not to Leif, no! But one hell of a lot is about to happen to you if you don’t tell me what’s been happening!
Dr: And where’s everyone gone? The place looks deserted!
River: Oh, they were at a funeral a couple of miles away leaving me to be housekeeper. They’ll be back soon.
Dr (hopefully): In a few minutes?
River: In a few days I should think. It wasn’t the death of anyone important so they won’t be all that long!
Dr: But...but...but...I can’t wait here that long! The Tardis has brought me here, so something’s obviously about to happen now! I must go! Must! Must! Must!
River: I’ve waited 20 years. You’re telling me you can’t wait a few days?
Dr: No! Come on Clara, we must get there quickly! (Running off in one direction) Which way did they go? (River points in the other direction. The DR and Clara run past again) See you later!
A Viking Vicar is desperately trying to read out a sermon while, at a long table, a dozen Vikings (without helmets this time) are getting drunk from mead poured into the skulls of cattle and are eating like pigs. By the state of them they’ve clearly been doing this for some time. The Dr and Clara walk in.
Vicar: We are gathered here today...uh...in the name of the Lord (ducks to avoid drumstick)
Clara (whispers to Dr): I thought your wife said this was a funeral? Surely she must have meant a wedding?!
Dr: My wife? Oh River, erm yes, well...and no, this is most definitely a funeral. Viking weddings are generally much more sombre occasions. They had it the right way round if you ask me!
Clara: But they’re wearing make-up. Even the blokes!! It looks like an Alice Cooper concert in here.
Dr: Yes, it’s for special occasions. Well, any excuse really. Vikings like their make-up.
Clara: And that’s the Bible isn’t it?! I thought the priest would be shouting ‘By Thor!’ or ‘By Odin!’ or something!
Agnetha (coming up behind them!): How last century! Get with the times, doll! We’re hip Christians now! It’s a new religion you probably won’t have heard of yet – its a bit like paganism, but with crueller Gods and much more poverty and oppression. Great fun! And what’s with that skimpy outfit! And you (turning to the Dr), is that bit of string keeping your head on or something?!
Dr: That, madam, is my bowtie! Sorry for intruding on your wake!
Agnetha: Not at all, tis only a thrall funeral, a servant of ours. Not a very special occasion but, well, you have to do something for these events don’t you?
Dr: Thall did you say? As in Daleks?...
Clara (in a whisper): No Thrall.
Agnetha: They are the underclass here.
Dr: Is everything alright? Leif is...
Agnetha: Is over there, sulking by the look of it.
(But no, Ericson – by now a lad of 20 – is staring into space in a trance. The Dr rushes out to him, his sonic screwdriver in his hand).
Dr: What do you see?
Leif: A vision...a voice...in my head...and the things I see! This must be Valhalla!
Dr (fiddling with screwdriver): Not yet, that must be our monk friend hard at work. But why here? Why now?
Leif: is it something to do with the voyage I have planned?
Meanwhile Clara is busy talking with Agnetha
Clara: So, you’ve really been to England? Did you ever get to a place called Lancashire? Top left, ish? Very wet. Bit dull. Mostly fields?
Agnetha: Lan-ca-shire? I don’t remember it. But I did get as far North as Carlisle.
Clara: Wow. What did you make of it?
Agnetha: Gosh, the weather!
Clara: Tell me about it!
Agnetha: All that rain!
Agnetha: It was wonderful!
Agnetha: Well, I mean, it made such a change after all this snow we have here!
Leif (interrupting): The monk, I know who he is now!
Dr (Using his sonic screwdriver): Yes, yes, yes, he must be close enough to have a full hold over you know, tell me what you see!
(He points an accusing finger towards the Dr)
Dr: No, I’m not the monk I tell you, I’m the doctor, an altogether different...um...philosophy...
(The mourners – if that’s the right term – all turn on him and Clara)
Benny: I knew there was something suspicious about him!
Bjorn: Just look at those clothes!
Anni-Frid: They’re spectres out to trick us!
Agnetha: What is your real name stranger?!
Dr: I tell you I’m the Dr!
Bjorn: Dr what?!
Dr: I don’t know! That episode isn’t on till next week!
Bjorn: Tell me Dr or you and your friend die!
Dr: I’m Dr...Err...Norman. That’s right, I’m Norman the Viking. Or is that Viking the Norman?!? Pleased to meet you all! Err...again!
Benny: he doesn’t look any younger! He must be a witch! Or a demon!
Anni-Frid: Burn them...burn them both!
(Just then the Tardis whirs into action. River pops her head out the door).
River: Well I wasn’t going to walk here after I’d aged 20 years was I?!
Dr (while he and Clara fall into the open door of the Tardis): Where did you learn to fly her?...
Inside the Tardis as per earlier:
Clara: So, just to recap, there’s a horde of scary Vikings after us because they think that you are the one whose been causing the world’s greatest explorer living in his times pain and we’re meant to be saving him and we’re all very lost and about to die a very horrible death?
Dr: Don’t rub it in, Clara!
River: You’re good! You should get in touch with the Radio Times about the plot summaries!
Clara: Any idea why he thinks the monk is you, Dr?
Dr: No...well, possibly. The Meddling Monk I used to know liked causing problems in this period of Earth’s history and was a fellow time lord. Perhaps when Leif saw me he picked up on the similar thought patterns we both share? And although he’d recognise the similarity he’d know we were different people. But no... the Meddling Monk died in the time wars along with everyone else.
River: Except The Master as it turns out.
Dr: Well, yes
Clara: And Rassilon!
Dr: Him too!
River: And didn’t you say there was a soothsayer who looked a bit like your mother?!
Dr: Well, yes, point taken, but they’re all dead now – even the Rani is gone! There must be some other reason...
Clara: So what do we do? Hide in here for eternity?
Dr: No! We go back again at a slightly later date, this time in disguise...if it really is my time lord essence he’s picking up he won’t recognise me now!
A teenage girl named Gytha (genuine Viking name – ooh, get me, Mr Research! Well, that’s what Horrible History books are for!) is helping to load items onto a boat. Leif Ericson stands aft, looking troubled
Leif: It’s no good Gytha. I can’t possibly lead these people, not with my visions! It’s one thing to lead myself to my death, but with other people in my charge?!
Gytha: If not you then who? We need to know what’s out there. You’ve said it yourself, dragons, beasts, reptiles, monsters unknown to man, we need to know! And you’re the right person for this mission: you know your way round maps better than anybody!
Leif: No, Gytha, I tell you I cannot risk it! We must call this off at once! I’ll become a farmer, or a merchant travelling to the backward waters of the United Kingdom. Anything but this!
The Dr, Clara and River walk up to the boat. They are all wearing disguises: The Dr has an eyepatch and a horned helmet, River is dressed like a Tudor King and Clara is wearing 20th century shorts and dressed like a boy
Leif: What’s with the fancy dress?!
Clara (to Dr): I told you I thought the Tardis had got it wrong!
Dr (in a false, high squeaky voice): Err...We believe you are still looking for crew members!
Leif: Well...yes...but I’m very particular!
Dr: Oh, I’ve done lots of travelling, me! (Leans forward conspiratorially): I’ve been as far as Greenland you know!
Leif: Gosh, that is indeed a claim. Forgive me, but I must check – what colour is it?
Dr: Err, not green!
Leif: That’s good enough! Pleased to have you aboard! Are this pair with you?!
Clara: Arrh! Jim Lad!
Dr: Forgive my assistant, he’s – err – a bit of a joker! When do you set off?
Gytha: Leif, go – go now! I *sniff* hate goodbyes!
Dr: Yes go now, before you change your mind!
Leif: Alright then crew, listen up! I don’t promise to be the best explorer there’s ever been, but I promise to try. We don’t know what’s out there and I know that’s a scary thought. But what’s scarier is the thought of not knowing and taking that thought to our deathbeds without having stared that unknown something in the face! I say, our lives are dispensable and worth the noble sacrifice if only we can ascertain what exists out there! I know that something is there. I hear it calling to me. I feel it. I see it in my sleep. I have to see what it is for real. And yet (he shudders, seeing another vision), no, men I am too afraid! We shall not go!
Dr (quietly): Another vision?
Leif: You know? All I see are dragons, the ones from the corner of the map, turned real and laughing at me, with their starey eyes and their scaly clawes...eating...biting...hope all gone
Clara: How come he doesn’t recognise the Dr?
River: He’s turned himself back into a human for the purposes of this plot using his pocket watch. It’s all very complicated and timey-wimey...
Dr: This vision hasn’t hurt you yet though has he?
Leif: No but...he taunts me! I cannot bear it!
Dr: Then the best thing to do is to prove it wrong, find the new land and fling that in his face...
Leif: I...you are right, stranger! I shall do as you say! Cast off!
A stormy day at sea. A battered Viking long boat is circumnavigating Britain. The following scene takes place in the distance...
King Canute: I keep telling you, go back! I am your king!
(Laughter from a crowd on the beach!)
King C: See, I told you! I may be a King but God is my ruler the same as yours! I am a just and noble ruler and my feet get wet too! Somebody fetch me a royal towel!
Subject: Well that’s just great, Canutey! Does that mean we don’t have to pay for the upkeep of your seven palaces anymore if you’re the same as all of us now?!
Canute: Off with his head!
The boat nears land. It has obviously been a while since the last scene – River looks even older and everyone else is unkempt.
Leif: I should have stayed in port...but no.. I had to go...I know...it’s out there, somewhere...it must be...the visions are getting nearer! No!...
(With a strangulated cry – remember those?! - he tries to throw himself off the side of the boat but River and Clara haul him back)
Clara: No 22 today!
River: We’ve passed yesterday’s record already!
Dr (sulkily): Four months I’ve sat here! Four months! Think how many planets I could have visited in that time!
River: Hush! 20 years, remember!
Dr: Well...that’s different! I’m bored! And he’s not helping!
(Leif tries to throw himself overboard again. River and Clara calmly haul him back)
Clara: And we’re so close...I can almost smell the McDonalds fumes from America!
Viking: We’ll not land this boat without the orders of our captain! Ericson, do we land? Or go back?
Leif: We land...arrrgh...no, we retreat!
Clara: After coming all this way?
Leif: You’re right we go on....arrrgh...no we go back! We tell our people never to come here ever again!
Dr: We can’t go on like this! I must talk with whoever is doing this! Come here and talk to me face to face! (he uses his sonic screwdriver and a thunderclap appears and drags him through a portal in time and space)
MMonk: Well, well, Dr! This is a pleasant surprise! Well – I say pleasant! You always were a meddler!
Dr: Huh, I’m a meddler!
MMonk: How long has it been?! Your face has changed! You’re looking much younger in fact – that means in time lord terms you must be ancient by now!
Dr: Timelord genetics, funny thing! But how are you still alive – and looking the same as ever!
MMonk: As if I’d tell you! I seem to remember the last time you did something very naughty to my Tardis!
Dr: I seem to remember the last time we met you were doing something very naughty to the people of Earth! Electric toasters in the middle ages! The whole timeline could have been destroyed!
MMonk: Oh you used to be so much more fun than this Dr!
Dr: What I don’t understand is how you avoided the time wars?
MMonk: That would be telling!
Dr: So tell it!
MMonk: Oh not yet, Dr, you’d never believe me if I told you who I really am!
Dr: Alright then, tell me why you’re meddling with Leif’s thoughts. What’s it to you if the humans never spread out to other continents?
MMonk: Oh, I have a very clever idea about that! You see, if Leif never lands in America mankind will never travel, full stop. They’ll never go outside their own countries. In the future they’ll never leave their own planet. They’ll never reach the next solar system. They’ll be easy pickings for the first planet that wants to conquer them – with my help, for a fee of course!
Dr: UKIP! Everyone will think like UKIP voters! It will be intolerable!
Monk: And that’s not all, Dr!
MMonk: I have much more devastation planned! You know how superstitious these backward people are? Well, here we are, in the very year of the first millennium and I have a millennium bug all poised to wreck havoc across the world! By the time I’ve finished they’ll all be so afraid they won’t want to travel to the shops never mind explore out into space! Why there’ll even be a collective memory of the millennium bug by the time of the second millennium, although by then in the year 2000 it’ll all be a complete anticlimax of course! The people will be alright Dr – I wouldn’t want to hurt them exactly, just manipulate them a bit!
Dr: So what ‘visions’ are you showing Leif exactly?
MMonk: Oh nothing untruthful Dr. Just pictures of what the planet will become if he travels to America. Images of George Bush with his big red button, fast food outlets, airport queues, pollution, the EU, the chaos that will reign!
Dr(with an intake of breath): Leif must be very strong to witness all that and still want to travel!
MMonk: So what do you say to that, Dr?!
Dr: No more monkery! This has to stop! Now!
MMonk: Make me!
Dr: Ok! (The Tardis suddenly flies into shot)
MMonk: But...but...this is a dream! I’m talking to you in your dream!
Dr: No you’re not! I’m in yours! I’ve been here ever since I worked out who you were and what you’ve been doing to Leif!
Dr: We are both time lords – in many ways we have the same minds! And now its my turn to show you what will happening. The starvation from lack of trade! The futile local wars! The lack of respect! The hopelessness! The Drudgery! Doing the same things over and over! There are no heroes because there is nowhere to go! There are no storytellers because there are no stories to tell! There are no scientific discoveries except for pockets of people who live near a particular metal other pockets of people haven’t discovered yet. Without travel there is no imagination, no hope, no future plan for mankind, instead he simply shrivels up one day and dies! And literally - without hope for getting off the planet one day the whole of humanity simply dies in the supernova of the Earth’s sun! I’ve seen Brian Cox’s programmes! And without Earthlings to spread out into the galaxy intergalactic trade falls, everyone ignores this side of the galaxy which becomes like a ghost town and instead of peace and harmony its war and destruction spread across the entire universe! The timelords ask why I always seemed to be visiting this planet, well, its more vulnerable than most, filled with a backward species who without intervention couldn’t last the night! But you know what, without them and the federation spreading out into the universe in the future there will be no peace. War and chaos will reign until the time wars and even then its humanity that survives at the very end corners of the universe. Can you really have that on your conscience?!
MMonk(Defeated, seeing these visions first hand): No. You always spoil my fun, Dr! But you don’t see life from my point of view. Without Gallifrey I – well – I’m bored. It’s alright for you, you have companions galore, a giggling gaggle of schoolgirls to show the universe off to while I’m just an old man who has nothing!
Dr: Trust me, sometimes I wish I was better off alone! They’re probably ranting and raving at me right now...Alright, I tell you what – come back later.
Dr: You have a time machine – promise me that you’ll release your hold on our young explorer and then come back in 20 years when I know for certain that the fixed timeline has not been affected and I’ll show you what I mean!
MMonk: Somehow, for all our supposed differences I know I can trust you, Dr!
Dr: Hmm, by my reckoning a fair bit of time must have passed down there. Oh, they’ll be pleased to see me, I’ll bet! Terribly worried I should think!
(The Dr is back on board the boat)
Clara: Where the bloody hell have you been?!
River: It’s been seven months! With nothing to eat but fish! While you’ve probably been gallivanting somewhere having lots of fun!
Clara: And in all that time the boat’s just been going up and down – Leif still can’t make his mind up about whether to land or not!
Suddenly the crumpled heap at the bottom of the boat stands up tall. In a shaky voice at first, growing more confident with each line, he says:
Leif: Yes I am sure. Nothing will hurt us here anymore! We land!
Clara: Yay! I’m going to be here for the first landing on America! I wonder if I’ll see the world’s first McDonalds?!
Leif: I name this land...
Clara: Yes!...Go on!
Clara (to the Dr): Uhh?!
Dr (to Clara): It won’t be renamed America until Christopher Columbus lands some 500 years later.
Leif: Just think of it! A new continent! New things to uncover that people have never seen! A land where no one else has ever stepped foot! There could be anything living here – they might look like us! They might have extra arms! They might have no heads! They might be Republicans! There might be birds, animals, insects that I have been dreaming of all this time! I must find something nice to bring back for my beloved Gytha! I knew I was right to come here – I feel so much better now!
River: He does remind me of you in your more lucid moments sometimes Dr! I don’t know what you did, but you obviously did it well, while all I did was sit in a boat stinking of fish!
Dr: Oh, I have my dark side too sometimes River. I wonder...
The scene is Sweden again but obviously much later. An older Leif Ericson, now nearer his mid 50s, is living in the poshest shack in all of Sweden, is dressed like Royalty. A hundred subjects follow him around and look up to him with devoted eyes. However, his melancholy eyes only have room for the sad sight in his arms as Gytha, clearly 30 years older, is cradled in his arms. She is clearly dead.
Bjorn (now looking very old and as weedy as Leif used to – while he looks sturdy and muscly): It’s been two days, Leif. You need to let her go! You need to move on, find a new life for yourself
(The Tardis lands again with its wheezy whirring sound startling everyone except the heartbroken Leif).
Leif: Dr...I thought I’d never see you again! And you haven’t changed one bit in all that time!
Dr (kindly): No, but I see things have for you my old friend.
Leif: You could say that. My world was so wide. I’ve been on so many adventures. But none of them matter now I have no one to share them with. My heart is broken and my world it is smaller than it ever was. At least when I was a boy maid River used to fill my head with stories that kept my imagination going!
Dr: What would you say if I told you I could make you feel like that again? You’d never replace Gytha, of course, but she’d have a full Viking burial as befitting the noblest lady of the land and you’d rejoin her in Valhalla as soon as your own life is through so you needn’t be apart for very long. But for now, I have a friend who can show you the stars...River’s stories, well she does exaggerate a bit – well, quite a lot actually - but they weren’t all made up, you know!
(The Meddling Monk appears out of the Tardis).
MMonk: What of it, Leif? You do not fear me still, do you?
Dr: No – not now. I didn’t understand your pain when I felt it as a young man, but I understand it now – that misery, it wasn’t born of cruelty, it was born of loss, a loss like mine.
MMonk: I have been lonely this millennia, with no one to travel the stars with and keep me out of trouble. I get tired so easily with primitive minds! But yours is different, so much wider, so much more open – I feel a kinship with yours! What do you say, will you be my travelling companion?!
Dr: It’s what Gytha would have wanted!
Leif: Stay a while and let me think it through!
Dr: Err...I’ll go then if its all the same to you!
(As he goes)
MMonk: Thankyou Dr, for giving me this last chance at redemption!
Leif: As I thank you Dr! I feel it in his mind that he will do me no harm!
Dr: That psychic links come in handy! Now make sure you keep each other out of trouble!
Leif: Will I really see the stars? Like in my dreams when I was a child?
MMonk: Of course! Oh and Dr – I still have my psychic link with you. A time lord bond is very hard to break!
(A beat. The Dr stares ahead and then walks wordlessly back into the Tardis).
(Scene 15 – the final one, I promise Mike!)
Clara: So – it really happens? He becomes the first human being ever to go into space and experience life on other planets? Do you think he’ll cope?
Dr (lost in thought): Oh, he has a very wonderful mind, I know he will cope –
Clara: And he doesn’t miss his own world?
Dr: Oh, of course he misses it, but like all travellers its a wonderful kind of homesick that just keeps you moving forward, not backwards at all.
Clara: Won’t all this muck up the timeline?
Dr: Oh no! The fixed point in time ended as soon as he landed back home again with tales of the new land he’d found. In fact he’s had three decades now of telling those magical stories of what he had and shown the objects he collected. According to the history books Leif died on last mysterious voyage he never told anyone else he was taking...one day he simply disappeared!
Clara: So he’ll be alright?
Dr: Yes, its the Monk I worry about!
River (whose clearly had a bath and is now back in her 21st century clothes): There’s something you’re not telling us?...
Dr: That psychic link the Monk had with Leif, I felt it too.
River: Well, that’s just because you’re a fellow time lord!
Dr: No...I checked with my sonic screwdriver while we were in that dream world. It’s impossible that he’s another time lord unless...
Dr: That time lord is the last of the time lords. If that time lord is me?
Dr: Yes, in another, future regeneration. Oh I think it each and every time I regenerate – that I’ll never have someone to travel with. Perhaps one day it will come true? Perhaps I’ll lose someone very dear to me and life will change? Perhaps that explains why the Meddling Monk turned so bad – and all this time he’s been hovering round Earth where he’ll know I’ll appear...
River: But I thought the future you was meant to be the Valeyard?!
Dr: Oh, don’t be silly! That was just a crazy idea added in retrospect to spice up the ‘Trial of a Time Lord’ story! No the real alter ego me would be mischievous, funny, daring, but totally harmless really. Just like the Meddling Monk. I hope they’ll be happy out there in the stars those two...now there’s only one thing I need to do and this adventure is over. River, pass me my sonic pen, I need to send you a message...
WOOOOOOOH! WOOO-EOOOOOOH! WOOO-HOO-OOOH, WOOOOOOOOOOH!!!!
No Vikings were harmed during the making of this episode although one clandusprod stubbed his toe
Dr – Matt Smith
Clara _ Jenna Louise Coleman
River Song – Bingo
Gytha – Max
Leif Ericson – Michael Fitzpatrick
Meddling Monk – Max
Viking 1 – William Shatner
Viking 2 – Patrick Stewart
Agnetha, Bjorn, Benny and Ani-Frid were played by The Spice Girls