As the terra-forming gases swirl above their heads, the Doctor, Martha, Donna, Jenny, the Hath and the humans look up in awe. Both parties have laid down their weapons. Everyone watches the spectacle, everyone but General Cobb. Cobb grimaces as he looks at the Doctor. He destroyed it. He destroyed everything! Hatred makes him bring up his gun and point it at the head of the smiling Time Lord. I will not stand for this! He fires.
Just seconds before the bullet leaves the muzzle Jenny turns her head. She sees Cobb’s intentions and doesn’t hesitate. She jumps in front of the man who hours before was just a name, but has become so much more.
The bullet hits her square in the chest and she collapses into her astonished father’s arms. The soldiers hold down Cobb and take away his gun, but it’s too little, too late. Is this what it feels like to die? It hurts, but I feel okay. I... I feel okay. I saved him. I saved him! She looks up at her father and sees an unimaginable sorrow. Is that all... for me? He’s lonely, so lonely... I wish I could stay, dad. I wish I could.
“Jenny? Jenny! Talk to me, Jenny!”
No, nonononono, this can’t happen, not now, not now that I... She can’t die, she can’t! Please, please don’t leave me, don’t leave me! The Doctor sits down carefully and takes Jenny into his lap. Martha checks her pulse and the wound. She’s gonna be alright, please, she has to be alright! Donna bends down a bit and asks the question that he’s afraid to ask.
“Is she gonna be alright?”
He knows. Even before Martha moves, he knows. His former companion looks up at Donna and ever so slighty shakes her head. No, please, no... Not this. Not this again. I can’t bear it, I won’t! I don’t want to be alone again! His daughter, his beautiful Jenny, who he’s only known for such a short time, looks at him and whispers something.
“A new world. It’s beautiful.”
“Jenny? Be strong, now. You need to hold on, d’you hear me? We’ve got things to do, you and me. Hey? Hey? We can go anywhere. Everywhere. You choose.”
“That sounds good.”
“You’re my daughter and we’ve only just got started. You’re gonna be great. You’re gonna be more than great. You’re gonna be amazing! You hear me? Jenny?”
She closes her eyes and breathes her last breath. No, no, NO! Don’t go! His faces contorts with despair as he holds her tight and kisses her forehead. Suddenly he realizes something: She IS my daughter! She has two hearts, she’s at least part Time Lord! She could... Could she? He looks up at Martha with tears half-formed in his eyes.
“Two hearts. Two hearts, she’s like me. If we wait... If we just wait...”
The expression on her face tells him all he needs to know. Still, he waits for her to say it, to make it real.
“There’s no sign, Doctor. There is no regeneration. She’s like you, but... Maybe not enough.”
The cold, hard truth smashes through his sorrow and despair. It blasts past his enormous ability to feel compassion, to understand other beings and give them a choice. Finally it comes to a stop when it hits his deepest inner being, the darkest part of his soul, which he purposefully stowed away a long time ago after he saw what his brethren were capable of. Right there, the truth of Martha’s words hits a small core of cold, unbending steel that lies at the heart of a true Time Lord. This is why civilizations feared the Gallifreyans. This is why the Doctor’s truly fallen enemies never rise up to challenge him again. It is the Time Lord’s wrath. It is the Doctor’s wrath. It is the most unforgiving and unrelenting force in the whole known universe. And once awakened it will never rest until it is fulfilled.
The Doctor’s eyes darken. He remembers all the times that he had to let go, that he had to accept one more loss. He feels the pain of every time he had to let a companion go, of every time he came too late or had to sacrifice someone for the greater good. All those lives, all that potential, gone. And now his daughter is dead. The daughter he’d just come to know. Just when he thought he’d never have that, have a family, feel that particular kind of love again. Taken from him. Stolen from him. He’d sworn never to kill. To always have a choice. To always give a choice. But now... It seems so futile, to cling to that one notion. No. It is not enough. Everything gets taken from me. Everyone and everything gets taken from me and I never get anything in return. It’s not fair. It’s not fair! And it’s not fair that they get to live while everyone I’ve known and loved dies!
“No. Too much. That’s the truth of it. She was too much... Like me.”
The Doctor gently puts Jenny to the ground and kisses her one last time. My daughter. My beautiful daughter. Find peace. Before anyone understands what happens, he gets up, walks to Cobb and picks up the gun that the soldiers took from his daughter’s killer. Cold fury burns away his despair as he points the gun at Cobb’s head. Cobb looks up at his would-be executor. His face shows no emotion, but the Doctors reads the man before him like a book. What he sees, shocks him at first.
He sees possibilities. He sees the endless possibilities that almost every member of the human race possesses. The ability to do good or evil. To show compassion or to show no mercy. To kill out of love, out of spite, out of sorrow, out of hate. The Doctor sees it all. But Cobb’s book mostly shows him selfishness, an almost bottomless pit of selfrighteousness, an unwavering belief in his own ideas about how the world should work. For all its potential, for all the Martha’s and Donna’s and Rose’s he’s encountered over the years, there will be hundreds or thousands or tens of thousands more like Cobb. And humanity’s future appears even bleaker than he ever expected. That simply will not do. Now he understands. There’s only one person with the power to change it all. Me.
“You killed her. You killed her in cold blood! You wanted to kill me, because I helped you. Helped you! Blind, arrogant, selfish idiots! All of you. Why did I ever think I could change that? Why did I ever feel I could change you by being an example? What did I get out of it? Nothing! Nothing but the knowledge that I will lose everything every time and there’s no amount of time travel or mercy to remedy that!”
He grits his teeth and grips the gun tighter.
“I showed mercy. I had compassion. I gave you a choice. And not once, not ONCE did I get a thank you or a show of appreciation. Not once! Ungrateful, that’s what you are. All of you! All I have to show for it is a TARDIS with a broken chameleon circuit and a string of companions I’ve known and lost. And now you’ve taken my daughter. My daughter! Took her from me before I even got to know her, to show her the universe, to... To hold her, see her grow up, like I could never see...”
Tears roll down his face.
“I could never see them grow up. I lost them. I lost so much. And I’m alone. Always alone. Even my worst enemy would rather die than get stuck with me for eternity. So... I’m done. I don’t wanna play by the rules anymore. What rules are there, anyway? I’m the last of the Time Lords now. There’s never gonna be another like me. I rule time and space. I make the choices now. It’s my time. Time to get what I want.”
He pulls the trigger. The sound of the gunshot echoes in the silence. A gasp escapes Martha’s mouth before she can clasp her hand over it. Donna just stands and looks at the Doctor, shocked beyond words. Cobb’s body slowly falls to the ground, his lifeless eyes still staring at the Doctor. The Doctor lowers the gun. He doesn’t feel anger or despair or joy or grief. Only cold, hard logic remains. Logic, and a purpose. The purpose to not only set things right, but to set them right according to his own plans, his own needs. As he turns around and faces his former companions, he doesn’t feel how a single sliver of darkness rises up from his long-ago imprisoned Time Lord essence and reaches out for his soul. All he can think about is how beautiful this new universe will be. He can’t help but smile at his next thought. And it will be MY universe.