Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Fiction Break: A Still Point In Time 5

Stark Expo, 13 June, 1942

Clara strolled into the Modern Marvels Pavilion, arm-in-arm with the handsome young man she thought would one day become Captain America. She took in the sights, gasping appreciatively as the dark-haired man in uniform pointed at the displays. The Doctor was doing his best to ignore the scrawny young man that Barnes had brought along with him, surreptitiously scanning with his sonic screwdriver when no one was looking. Clara wasn't sure why they needed the disguises, let alone why the Doctor was holographically disguised as a young woman, but she was playing along for now.

They had passed a display that claimed to be a robot of some kind, but looked like a man in a red suit, when the Doctor's face lit up and he pulled Clara and Barnes towards a stage where a red car was parked.

via Gfycat

"Ladies and gentlemen, Mister Howard Stark!" came a disembodied voice as a dapper man with a moustache and top hat joined several showgirls in front of the car. He gave one a kiss before trading his top hat for a microphone and addressed the crowd, "Ladies and gentlemen: What if I told you that in just a few short years, your automobile won't even have to touch the ground at all?" The showgirls removed the tires, and then the man flipped a switch.

The car began to hum and lift slowly off the ground. Clara gasped a little, and then giggled when she heard the Doctor scoff slightly, the sound of which was amusingly strange coming out of his now-feminine mouth.

He tilted his hand towards the stage as the sonic screwdriver pitched up and whined in sync with the hum of the car. Suddenly, sparks flew from the gadgets in the wheel well and the car dropped gracelessly.

"I did say it'd be a few years, didn't I?" The dapper man said, still smiling, and the crowd applauded.

The Time Vortex

After she'd had her fill of dancing with her new friend Bucky, Clara and the Doctor returned to the TARDIS. "Do you plan on staying that way?" she asked.

"Hm? Stay what way?" he answered distractedly, already working the control console.

Clara gave him an arch look and gestured at the Doctor's red dress and platinum curls.

"Oh, right, that." He cleared his throat and flicked a switch, the hologram vanishing and his vulture-like features returning.

Clara breathed a sigh of relief. "So what was all that back there? I don't recall flying cars in my own time, let alone the 1940s."

"Exactly right." He adjusteda few controls to bring up a diagram of lines extrapolated from the scalpel. "The man you just saw on stage was Howard Stark. In your universe, he was killed by a corporate rival of his family as a teenager. In this universe, he lived to adulthood and was a prolific inventor. What we saw was the tipping point of this timeline. In one version, the car levitates successfully, he gets a government contract, flying cars in World War II, Nazis copy them, chaos ensues. In another timeline, the car failed catastrophically, killing Stark." The Doctor turned the dial again, revealing another timeline. "According to the TARDIS databanks, this was the best possible outcome. Stark lives, Captain America is born, and a golden age of super heroes is ushered in decades later."

"But, Doctor, that's three."


Clara's brow furrowed, "That's three. You said earlier there were two timelines, but you just listed off three."

"Well, there was a war on, Clara," the Doctor grumbled, "It's possible I miscounted."

Clara giggled at his irritation, and as the Doctor noticed he decided to change the subject, "What say we go give the good news to our friend in Lagos?"

Lagos, Nigeria 2018

It had been several years since he had last seen them, but Isaiah still remembered the excitable old man and his pretty young companion when they returned. He was grateful to hear that he'd no longer be seeing things that weren't there, even if he didn't quite understand what the old man was saying. (Isaiah's grasp of English was quite strong, but he wasn't so sure of the Doctor's.) He waved to them as they left, smiling and laughing and enjoying a job well done.


But… something wasn't quite right. Isaiah looked down at his hand. Flecks of dust were coming off of it. The more he shook it, the more dust fell. As the Doctor and Clara stepped into their box, Isaiah tried calling out to them, tried to let them know something was wrong, but by the time he could, he'd already blown away in the hot, dry air of Lagos.

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