Doctor Who Fiction – “Restless Memory”

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Doctor Who Fiction – “Restless Memory”
by Michael E P Stevens

Zoe was puzzled. Surely it had not been more than an hour since she’d said goodbye to the Doctor and Jamie? It seemed as if it had been years ago… And what was it that Tanya had said about her face… looking as if she’d aged months in a matter of minutes? Zoe couldn’t spot any sudden changes in her mirror reflection, but she did feel strangely grown-up. This was most probably due to the Doctor’s influence, she thought. He’d had a great effect on her – she only wished that he could have stayed for longer…

As Zoe dwelt on this point, her eyes brimmed with tears and her heart began to race, acknowledgement that by now the TARDIS was perhaps a million lightyears away, never to be seen by her eyes again. Zoe sat down and tried to calm herself. Why ever was she being so emotional about the whole thing? The Doctor and Jamie had only been on board the Wheel for a few days – that was hardly enough time to become attached to them.

Yet she did feel a bond of sorts… a feeling that each of the three needed the other two, and perhaps they were in danger being alone. Zoe struggled with her memory – what had happened to make her feel this way? Was it something that Jamie had said? Perhaps he was the cause of her melancholy; he wasn’t unattractive to her after all, and whilst the Cybermen had been there she had grown quite fond of him. Yes, that was what it was – a kind of schoolgirl crush.

But no, it was something more. Zoe was genuinely fearful – not just for herself but also for the Doctor and Jamie. It was as if they were far away, fighting a battle and she should have been helping them. What would happen to them, out there in space? Whatever it was, she felt that she should have had a part in it…

In the afternoon Zoe slept, causing Tanya and the others concern. Why should she be so tired – surely it was not the excitement of what had been happening on the Wheel?

Zoe had the most peculiar of dreams. She imagined what the interior of the Doctor’s blue box was like – bigger on the inside than the outside! Well that was daft for a start. But then, the dream had been a nightmare in parts. So many things flitted through her mind… so many adventures… she dreamt of the Cybermen of course, and that was to be expected, and yet they were somehow different, and Earth had been different. Yes, she’d dreamt of Earth in the 20th Century, with such detail that it was incredible! What did Zoe know of Earth as it had been then? Nothing, of course – History wasn’t her strong point. And yet…

Finally, a goodbye. Saying farewell to the Doctor in a strange place, watched by people of his own kind. An enormous sense of loss, of emptiness… then there was the parting with Jamie, tears and screams, and then… nothing.

Zoe woke. It had been a horrible dream, but at least it had exorcised all her pining feelings for the scientist and his helper. Zoe began her shift of work, unaware that out there, somewhere in another passage of time and another dimension, in someone else’s future, she was fighting Dominators and Quarks and Krotons and Cybermen and Ice Warriors and…

On Gallifrey, a technician breathed a sigh of relief. For a moment there he thought he’d have the High Council coming down on him like a lead weight. But now it had all sorted itself out. With a smug smile of self-congratulation for his skill, he left his consoles and carried on with his life. He would go to his family and play with his children and then visit his relatives and his friends, or maybe he would walk for a while in the artificial sunlight of the home he knew so well. No-one was messing around with his memories.

First published: October 1989

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