I like Jenna-Louise Coleman. I think her acting in the BBC television series Doctor Who is worthwhile Sci-Fi. But honestly, her character, Clara Oswin, sucks. Steven Moffat never really developed a good backstory for the character. And with season eight of the 2005 reboot of the languishing program soon airing worldwide, it is obvious the man stopped trying. So be it. One has to let eggs drop so that more might be saved. Alas, I believe the actress herself is worth salvage. Give Ms. Coleman a new role on the show, I propose. Bring back a favorite face, I dare say. I mean a rewarding character. I elect Romanadvoratrelundar, the Time Lady from Gallifrey. Jenna rejoins Peter Capaldi on Doctor Who in this exciting new role.
Clara is Dead! Long Live Clara! is a fictional story. Doctor Who and the characters in this story are properties of Doctor Who. I submit this tale as a fan for fans of the Doctor Who television series.
Clara is Dead! Long Live Clara! by Matthew Sawyer is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License. Please contact the author for permissions beyond the scope of this license.
Clara is Dead! Long Live Clara!
Clara Oswin has no idea why she stays around. The Doctor is a maniac. He was more considerate when he was a different man. “When he wasn’t so old,” she deliberately thinks.
“Oh,” the Doctor’s companion tells herself aloud. “He’s the same Time Lord. His face has changed….”
The Tardis is jolted and the young woman grabs a safety rail inside the console room. She is then prompt and complains. “And his whole personality, that’s all.”
The perturbed young lady tells the Doctor on the other side of the console, “You were more considerate before. A gentleman. Slow down. Let me rest if you’re not tired.”
“I’m never tired,” the Doctor declares and he flips levers on the carousel control board. His time and space ship straightens itself upright.
“I remember,” he shouts and presses a single button repeatedly. “An old friend.”
The incredible machine groans and everyone knows it is about to materialize. Clara grumbles. “Oh, where are we now?”
“Home,” he answers. “My home, Gallifrey.”
“Oh,” Clara chirps suddenly chipper. “Is your friend here?”
She strolls around the console while the Doctor remains hunched and attached to its switches and dials. The young woman teases the fixed pilot. “Why else come home?”
The Doctor sounds sarcastic when he tells her, “I don’t know. It’s been about six hundred years since I’ve seen her last and I guess sometimes I wonder how she is getting on.”
“What’s her name?” Clara asks and bites her lower lip.
“I’d like to see her.”
“You will,” he replies in a raised voice. “Get out. Take a look – there’s a light flashing on the console.”
Clara stops mid-step toward the time machine’s exit door. “What is it?”
“Parking authority,” he scoffs. “Evidently, I can’t park here. I’ve got to go somewhere else.”
The Doctor’s female companion stays paused near the door. “I’ll come with you.”
“No,” demands the Time Lord. “Get out. Go. Clear your head.”
The advice resonates with Clara. His precise phrases make her paranoid, but the errant school teacher has felt so about him since she first met the genius alien. He periodically makes her uneasy. And she feels as if he can read her mind.
“I will,” Clara answers the Doctor. “If it’s okay with you.”
“Go, get out, look around. I’ll be right back. I’ll meet you here.”
She cracks wise. “When?”
The moment she opens the exit door, shouts come in from outside. “Take this junk to the shipyard or we’ll ship it to the junkyard. You can’t bring it here, take it to the spatially-bound staging lots.”
The Tardis dematerializes leaving Clara alone outside the time machine. The abandoned companion sees she’s been left in a strange cathedral, a wild exaggeration with an impossibly high ceiling. The enormous walls appear made of balsa slats and paper panes – like those found in medieval Japanese noble homes.
Silly soldiers dressed in shining and ornate plastic armor tinted red come and meet Clara Oswin here in this spacious antechamber. She tells the dispatch there with their crystal pistols, “I’m with someone. He’s coming back.”
“Is he?” an ancient woman asks her. The question is sincere.
“Sure,” Clara affirms for her own good. “The Doctor has to park the Tardis. That’s his name, the Doctor.”
She mumbles, “It’s still him,” then says aloud, “He’s meeting me here.”
“Clara?” asks the older woman while she approaches the young companion.
Clara wonders, “How did you know?”
She remembers her suspicion about the Doctor and she assumes everyone of his race all have telepathy. He does read her mind, he has the whole time. Her human brain is stuck contemplating how she can cope being someplace where everyone knows her thoughts. Clara stands chewing her lower lip and knitting her brow until the other woman interrupts her morass.
“Oh.” Clara wipes her hands before taking that of the hostess. “I am Clara Oswin. I haven’t actually known him that long – the Doctor that is.”
“Well, you have,” Romana tells her. The mysterious deepens when she says, “But that is another story.”
“I’ve known the Doctor for centuries,” the worn Time Lady informs the ripe companion. “I was assigned to keep an eye on him.”
“Oh,” Clara states unsurprised.
Romana clarifies, “He was in a different reincarnation…”
“I know how that goes,” Clara blurts.
Romana finishes. “A long time ago.”
The companion promises the old companion and nanny, “You won’t recognize him now. He’s regenerated again.”
“I know,” Romana tells Clara. “It was big news on Gallifrey, unprecedented. The Doctor had been so wasteful with his lives.”
“That hasn’t changed,” Clara gripes. She talks about herself. Inside, she admits she has witnessed his tremendous sacrifices. The man was a hero and she feels guilty about her distrusting him.
“Thank you, Clara,” Romana tells the human. “Time Lords live so long, we forgot how precious life is. You helped the council remember how appreciation feels. Your words were a gift to awaken the dead.”
“Thanks?” Clara wonders.
“Let’s go to Borusa’s old office,” Romana suggests. “I’m about to have it remodeled but mine has just been started. I was going to take the day off, but by now you probably know about Time Lords. We are a restless bunch – that’s why there are laws against our intervention. I had to stay busy.”
Clara agrees with as much as she is able to relate with. “You’re telling me. Whew.”
Romana’s red escort marches away while the two women walk the opposite direction. The Time Lady leads the way by one step ahead of the unattended companion.
“Who?” Clara also inquires. “Borusa?”
“He was the Doctor’s former teacher. The man walked a controversial path, like everyone our mutual friend knows.”
“Mine is pretty straight,” opines the human woman. “I think.”
“Examine your company,” Romana reminds her.
“I’m not judgmental,” Clara assures herself aloud.
“Come to think of it, I believe I’ve met you before,” Romana tells the other woman nonchalant while she pushes open a pair of great leaden doors. A bomb then explodes from inside the room behind the loose slag-marked slabs. Both Clara and Romana die when the tiny women are crushed.
Romana then awakes with a new face. Indeed, her whole body has changed. She is a new woman with the same name. The Time Lady is proud because the fact. She praises a planet as she gets up and on her feet. “Thank you, Karn.”
Appreciation for the Sisterhood’s Art swells both of Romana’s hearts. Regeneration is erratic without the knowledge of their spiritual methods and practice. Without their help, she would have been confused. Their miraculous elixir would have been ideal but the Time Lady was reborn into the form she visualized. Romana had seen another hero while she floated in her lucid dream of death.
The Doctor then finally arrives one more time.
“Clara,” he shouts. “What happened? You look all right. Dirty, but yeah-uh…”
“Thank you for noticing,” Romana responds. “Uh-hem, it’s nice to see you too.”
“Is someone dead?” the Doctor yells. The Time Lord drags his foot against the ceramic while red armored soldiers come and investigate the explosion from Borusa’s old office. More red comes scraped from the sole of his boot.
“Yes,” Romana reports. “I was telling your companion about the disease we Time Lords suffer because we live so long over and over again. Our apathy.”
The Doctor mentions, “It’s because of all your rules.”
A pall then falls over the Doctor’s anxious expression. “What?”
Romana mentions, “I’m sorry, Doctor. Clara is dead.”
“No,” he groans. No one is certain what the man denies.
He implies a thousand questions when he asks the air, “Who?”
“I’m Romana,” she tells him. “I was here when she was killed. We both were – I lost a life.”
“Sabotage, my lady,” a soldier tells the Time Lady before he goes back to investigating.
Romana and the Doctor face each other widemouthed and overhear another soldier identify, “Sontaran.”
“You look different,” she mentions to him out of hand before the Doctor shouts, “I wasn’t here. I didn’t see this, I can fix this.”
“Doctor,” Romana begs. She follows him when he spins around and runs the length of the Citadel cathedral. She shouts while she pursues her longtime friend. “I think I know what you’re doing. Your sense of boundaries got you in trouble during your last set of regenerations, don’t waste your new lives.”
“It’s what I do,” he yells when they arrive together at his Tardis. “I save people.”
His new self and the newer Romana jump into the time machine, which then disappears. The sound the Tardis makes as it vanishes is especially tedious this trip. Its noise is even more tired when the machine reappears nowhere else except back a small hop in time. Although, from a perspective inside the Tardis, that same time is frozen. It’s stopped in the past.
The Doctor and Romana save minutes while an impromptu, prolonged discussion first interrupts then delays Clara’s impractical rescue. The Time Lord is angry. He shouts at the fresh disguise of his old companion. “Why her? Why would you look like her?
The Doctor then immediately apologizes as he always has. “What I mean is…”
“It’s terribly swell to see you again, Romana. You’re one of my favorite people. I’m happy for your change, but you look like her because Clara died. How can you do that? Change back.”
“I came back to Gallifrey just to see your face. Wash-up, for goodness sake. You’re covered in ash. And is that a scab of blood?”
“Thank you, Doctor, but no,” she tells him. “I looked like I was about to topple over. Clara was a pretty girl – and fit. You’ve always like the athletics ones.”
“You did this last time,” he grumbles. A critical point then occurs to the Doctor. He reminds Romana, “Hey, they were people, human beings,”
“They weren’t Time Lords,” she retorts.
The Doctor argues. “They were still important.”
Romana confesses, “Clara still is a hero to the people of Gallifrey.”
“So you take her face?” he snorts.
“Why not? She’s been fashionable all year.”
“I think all of you have confused memorial for fashion,” the Doctor judges. “I’m happy I don’t stay here.”
“Perhaps,” concludes Romana. Her changing the topic is abrupt. “Doctor, the officer said it was the Sontarans.”
Happy the conversation now moves at a speed he is accustomed with, the Doctor replies, “I heard.”
Resentment deep in her belly compels Romana to elaborate. “They invaded our home planet after you were made president.”
“That was hardly my fault.”
“You abdicated your position after you vanished and didn’t come back.”
The Doctor argues, “I came back.”
“You were summoned, again.”
He is grumpy, but his old companion has heard him act this way before and most of the time. She ignores his mood – one she knows he probably pretends – and Romana reminds him, “I think they hid a bomb in Borusa’s office when you on Gallifrey with that jungle girl. I saw the recordings in the Matrix.”
The Doctor grins. “Yes, Leela. Show some respect.”
He suddenly acts outraged. “Is that what this is all about?”
“You threw her into the wastelands.”
“For her own good.”
“Listen, Doctor,” Romana commands. “How far back in time have we come? Do you have a plan?”
“Do you?” he asks her, embarrassingly open to ideas. “I remember when Commander Stor had access to Borusa’s room. We’re here then.”
“That was an awfully long time ago.”
Romana calculates, “I think the bomb was set to go off when a sensor detected your DNA.”
“You think?” the Doctor answers as if he casts blame. “What about Clara? She’s the one who is dead.”
The Time Lady stays calm. “Obviously, a little of you had worn off on the girl.”
The Doctor is humbled and he states, “Right.”
Fiddling with controls on the Tardis console, he tells Romana, “I suppose that’s the reason I didn’t come back on my free will; mysterious forces, hooey and all. Let’s not talk about it and let’s just rescue the girl.”
“Are you going to stop him, Commander Stor?” she wonders. “Aren’t you worried about causing a Paradox? I won’t look like this.”
“Good,” he replies.
“Time starts over when you open the Tardis door. You don’t want to do anything bad.”
His tone is firm when he tells Romana, “Paradox? Nooo…”
He stomps his foot. “Someone I know died.”
Romana never relents. “Well, what are you going to do?”
The Doctor blows air up his nostril. “Well, considering the time…”
“Don’t be fallacious.”
“I’m not that,” he replies radiant with mischief.
“You haven’t changed, Doctor,” Romana grants the man. “You never will.”
She looks at herself. “Wait, I suppose Clara brought some of her clothes on board. I assume she came with you in the Tardis. Let me change before we go outside.”
The Doctor frowns, points down an unfamiliar hallway and says nothing. Romana does not try to understand and she goes the way her old friend has directed.
“Good,” he eventually says after she has left the console room. The Doctor shouts, “Put on someone uglier.”
“What do you mean?” Romana calls from anywhere in the bowels or rafters of the time machine.
The Time Lord waves his hand from where he pauses near the exit of his marvelous spacecraft. “Pff.”
Once he never verbalizes his expression, Romana asks the Doctor from outside the room, “Do you want me to bring you a tie? I noticed you weren’t wearing one.”
“No,” he yells.
She informs no one when she ponders aloud, “I’m not going outside. I don’t want to meet myself. I am sure I was in the Citadel the day of your coronation.”
The Time Lady walks back into the console room wearing a blue summer dress. Her pale thighs are largely exposed and tinted cool shades reflected off the borrowed garment. “How do I look?”
She asks nobody. The Doctor had left Romana alone in the Tardis with no one to talk with. She now stomps her red sandshoe and searches for a clue as to what her old friend is up to now.
“Oh,” she complains. “He’s moved everything around, like I didn’t expect that. They’ll all be different tomorrow.”
The same time she curses, Romana finds an external monitor. The Doctor had steered the flat screen’s vista toward vestibules run from the big antechamber. Borusa’s old office is located there. Watching for her friend, Romana notices the decoration.
“Wait,” she desperately mentally projects to the Doctor. She can’t know if he receives her message only because they’ve been separated so long.
Nevertheless, she thinks loud. “Look at the ornaments, Doctor. Look out a window. We landed on the wrong coordinates. We never went back in time.”
She criticizes his shadow when it appears on the view screen. “You’re no better at flying the Tardis than I remember.”
The lead doors of Borusa’s office are closed and the previous she and Clara are nowhere in sight. Romana is grateful she and the Doctor are early. She contemplates the bomb.
“Doctor, where is your head?” She scowls when his image appears on the viewer. “Don’t you remember? The explosive is triggered by your DNA.”
“I’ve got to warn him,” she urges herself. “This is such an unnecessary waste of a life.”
Yet in the guise of Clara Oswin, Romana dashes from the sanctuary of the time machine and goes searching for the Doctor. She must warn him not to open Borusa’s office.
“Doctor,” she shouts.
Romana hears her new self say, “That sounded like me.”
The Time Lady turns around and meets a living Clara. She and her doppelganger are yet dozens of meters away from each other, but the two identical woman do find the eyes of the other. The Doctor is also there. And he is too far away. He is safe from what is about to happen, and the Time Lord can’t get close in time to help.
The old Romana opens a lead door and the room inside explodes.
The next Romana watches herself die. Before her body regenerates, her future incarnation sees she is dead. The Time Lady realizes that moment she wastes her life. She looks at the Doctor standing agape in front of her.
“Well, I’m about to get here,” are the only words he will utter. Romana follows her friend back to the Tardis. She grills him only when they are alone together inside the time machine.
“Are you satisfied? You only made a horrible event more set in stone.”
“You still need someone looking over your shoulder,” she admits to her companion. “Someone who knows what she is doing. I’m coming with you. We’ll go do something anybody can do for your dead friend. We’ll go to Earth.”
The Time Lady drives the Doctor’s time machine without a sound. During the flight through space and time, Romana wonders, “Clara was that little girl we met together on Earth. It was Christmas time, is that right?”
The Doctor nods his head. His face appears fallen and dull but Romana might swear she sees him glow when she speaks to her friend. She continues talking to him.
“That was quite a while ago – and you still traveled with her? Hold on, she is the Impossible Girl. I remember her story, it’s why Gallifrey is in love with her beyond what is simply popular.”
“Say,” ponders the Time Lady. “She constantly pops up through time and saves your life.”
“Fragments,” growls the Doctor.
Romana tries to sound convincing. “You might see her again. Or are you two done? Was that it?”
“I’m only curious,” Romana mutters in silence after she realizes she has mentioned too much.
She asks the brooding Doctor, “Is she done?”
“Apparently not,” he answers after she asks him again. He looks directly into the face of his companion.
The Time Lord pledges, “I’m going to fix this.”
“Not alone,” Romana tells him.
“We will think about the solution first and take our time. Did you forget, Doctor? You always do. Time is on our side. That is our luxury.”
The Time Lady smiles wide enough for the both of them. “And we’re together again. Let’s remind ourselves what it is like to be alive.”
- END –
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