Twice Upon A Time
Wandering back to his TARDIS through the South Pole after leaving his companions behind, the First Doctor refuses to regenerate. He encounters the Twelfth Doctor outside his own TARDIS in a similar state of mind. The pair are soon approached by a confused and injured First World War British captain, displaced from December 1914 while in a gun-point stalemate with a German soldier. All three are then forcibly taken into a large spaceship. Inside, they meet with Bill Potts; the Twelfth Doctor, however, doubts she is the real Bill. Upon encountering the ship’s glass-like holographic pilot, they are offered freedom in exchange for allowing the ship to return the Captain to the moment of his death. Refusing to allow the Captain to die, they escape and take the First Doctor’s TARDIS to the planet Villengard.
Alone, the Twelfth Doctor meets with the rogue Dalek Rusty, who has taken refuge from other Daleks hunting it. Given access to the Dalek Hivemind, the Doctor learns that the pilot and its ship, known as Testimony, were created on New Earth, designed to extract people from their timelines at the moment of their death, and archive their memories into glass avatars. “Bill” is one such avatar, created from her memories. Seeing no evil to fight, the Doctors agree to return the Captain to his timeline. Upon arrival, the Captain asks the Doctors to keep an eye on his family, introducing himself as Archibald Hamish Lethbridge-Stewart, a surname shared by the Doctor’s frequent ally and lifelong friend the Brigadier. As time resumes, the Doctors watch as soldiers on both sides begin singing “Silent Night”. The Twelfth Doctor explains to the First that he deliberately shifted the Captain’s timeline to the start of the Christmas truce, to ensure his life would be spared.
With the Captain saved, the First Doctor informs the Twelfth that he is prepared to regenerate and says his goodbyes before returning to his TARDIS. Now alone with Bill’s avatar, the Twelfth Doctor adamantly contends she is not really Bill, but she argues that memories are what define a person. Bill’s avatar restores the Doctor’s memories of Clara Oswald before they are joined by Nardole’s avatar. The Doctor, however, refuses to give the avatars testimony of his life. They respect his wish to be alone and leave after he embraces them both. The Doctor then returns to the TARDIS and decides to regenerate, but not before relaying advice to his next incarnation.
After the Thirteenth Doctor examines her reflection, the TARDIS suffers multiple failures. Tumbling out of the turning ship, the Doctor watches the console room explode, and the TARDIS dematerialises while she plummets towards the Earth below.
Twice Upon a Time was a novelisation based on the 2017 television episode Twice Upon a Time
Writing and publishing notes
This story was released as an audiobook read by Mark Gatiss.