Clara turned the badge over and over in her fingers while the Doctor spoke until he paused and his eyes eventually fell to it. Her eyes traveled down too, having momentarily forgotten still had it in her hand. “I forgot to leave it in my desk,” she said, holding it up so the Doctor could have a better look at it. “One of my students decided the pin back was for poking others rather than holding it onto their clothing.
“May I?” The Doctor asked and Clara gave a little shrug before handing it over.
“I will need to give it back Doctor, so please don’t take it apart.”
The Doctor twisted his face and looked slightly hurt. Clara wasn’t sure if it was the accusation or just the general statement that did it. He scanned the symbol on the badge with his sonic screwdriver briefly and then looked at the reading. “I thought so. This marking is from twenty-third century Earth, Starfleet I believe the organization was called, but the actual badge is twenty first century manufacturing.”
Clara laughed, “Good one Doctor, but Starfleet can’t be real. It’s fictional.”
The Doctor looked very confused, “Is it?” He scanned the badge again.
“It’s made up! The badge is based on a TV show called Star Trek. A new movie came out so all the students are talking about it. That symbol represents the science division.”
“Very interesting. “ The Doctor tossed the badge back to her before turned away. If he had heard what she said he didn’t respond directly, and was now pressing buttons on the console. A bell chimed and the Time Lord turned the viewer screen towards Clara. She took a step forward narrowing her eyes to read the text:
Search: Starfleet, History of, Earth
Year 2161 – Starfleet and its Academy founded, coinciding with the creation of the United Federation of Planets.
The text continued on but Clara turned her attention back to the Doctor. She stood, struggling to find words with what she read. It could all just be from the internet, maybe from some fan site and the Doctor was trying to pull a prank on her. It didn’t seem likely. Shoving down the confusion she let out a sigh, her voice was laced with exasperation.
“Doctor, the show began in the 1960s, are you saying a time traveler came back and started writing stories about aliens, space travel and adventures based on actual facts?”
“It wouldn’t be the first time a time traveler came back to Earth in the 1960s,” he said and Clara sighed and rolled her eyes. “I’m not saying the TV show was entirely accurate, Clara. I’m no expert, but one of my earlier incarnations was rather a fan of the show and if I recall, a lot of it was purely for entertainment. In actuality there were far more women on the ship called Enterprise and Orion women had gained their independence by that period in time. They were no longer slaves and often flew their own ships.”
Clara couldn’t believe this, it was like being told Bambi had not only actually existed, but could actually talk like the cartoon. “What about all the characters? I watched that show with my cousins when I was little. They were all so, fantastical. Vulcans, Andorians, Kingons… Kirk, Spock, McCoy, were… are they real?”
The Doctor tapped at a few keys and glanced at the viewer. On the screen two columns appeared and in one were the cast and events of the Star Trek franchise and in the other an encyclopedic description of the USS Enterprise and crew. Similarities and differences were highlighted in different colours. The text relaying the events surrounding the actual spaceship Enterprise seemed to waver slightly, like the letters were breathing.
“It appears so, although highly dramatized in their adventures and they seem to have taken some liberties with their appearance. James T. Kirk did Captain a ship called the Enterprise and was regarded as a highly successful leader and diplomat. His First Officer was Spock, who was part Vulcan and part human, and their Chief Medical Officer was named Dr. Leonard McCoy. It seems this time traveler took a very famous crew from his day and made them into TV stars. As humans in that time had nothing to compare it to, it was deemed ground-breaking.
Clara pointed to a short paragraph, “It says here Gene couldn’t get the show off the ground in the 23rd century as the actual Kirk, Spock and McCoy wouldn’t allow their likenesses to be used. That makes him… a time traveler. Doctor, was Gene Roddenberry a time lord?” The thought was very exciting, had her cousin met a time lord at a convention all those years ago?
The Doctor’s face fell. “No, Clara, he was most likely part of the test projects to improve the past. There were government projects that were very secret. After the incident with the extinction of the humpback whales, it seems it was realized that time travel was an important part of defense and maintaining relations with other species.”
“Humpback whales?” She laughed. “Now I know you’re joking, humpback whales according to the fourth Star Trek movie,” she placed a little more emphasis on movie than was necessary, “were supposed to have gone extinct by the 21st century and they still exist today in the wild.” Clara crossed her arms in a rather triumphant motion.
The Doctor grinned. “In no small part because of that movie, I’d wager. You can’t look at every lil’ fact Clara, it was still a TV show. I’m sure they left out really interesting adventures in favour of really boring ones.”
The Impossible Girl felt impossibly overwhelmed and she took a seat in front of the railing near the viewer. Her brain was trying to reason all of this new information out, but her rational side was trying to debunk it at the same time. The badge felt warm in her hand and she quickly put it in the pocket of the navy coloured skirt she wore. She had loved the show when she was younger, but as is normal with kids, had grown apart from it as she got older and pursued other passions. Her cousins had preferred the later versions, but something about the original had always stuck in her brain. Maybe it was the intellect, ok she could admit to a slight crush on Spock. She looked up to see the Doctor studying her and she managed a smile. If this was true, if, where did she start and more importantly, could they go and meet the REAL people who inspired the TV show… Could they meet the real Spock?
“It would seem that Roddenberry told someone else about who he really was and about the future,“ the Doctor said, scanning the entries on the current franchise and the history of the Enterprise. “The shows continued after he passed on, yet they have truths about the future.” The Doctor was talking, but was facing the viewer once again. “Very interesting.”
“Doctor?” Clara was looking at the Doctor and his shoulders seemed to slouch a little. When he turned, his hand rested near his face and he was tapping his cheek in contemplation. “What is it?”
“Clara, you mentioned new movies,” he took a step back so Clara could see what he had been reading. The information was being written as she was reading it and everything that seemed to move a little before seemed to be in flux. Then, the screen shook and a third column began to form to the right of the “Entry About Starfleet.” The Doctor tried to key over to another page, but even as he did so, moving through the information about the Star Trek franchise on Earth, another sequence of events was being spelled out elsewhere in the future.
“An alternate timeline.” The Doctor’s voice was hushed, he sounded both amazed and worried. “Clara, these new movies are they on a different timeline than the original series of television shows?”
She nodded. “Same characters, but people call them the Kelvin timeline.” She left out why it was called that; she was feeling very nerdy, which was saying something considering the Doctor.
“And this Kelvin timeline has different events?”
Clara nodded again, where was he going with this? “Vulcan is destroyed in these movies, Spock’s mother is killed and Kirk’s father dies.” She swore she heard a muttered, ‘spoilers’ in response but she continued on, “one of the characters from the original series comes back through the timeline creating the alternate timeline. They’re different movies with different actors. Even if the original is based on the future,” she still wasn’t completely convinced, “then these ones have to be completely fictional. You can’t have two totally different versions of the same universe. Unless…” She trailed off as the Doctor stared. She knew that look, it was the look that said, ‘what you said was very stupid, but I remember that I’m not supposed to call you stupid out loud. Instead I’ll stare at you.’ “Unless you can?”
“Yes, you can.” The Doctor jumped into action and was he smiling? “Someone is re-writing the future through these movies and creating an alternate future. This new Kelvin future,“ he hit a button, then pulled a lever, “now exists alongside the original future,” two more buttons and Clara saw the viewer change. “Which shouldn’t matter, there are parallel universes everywhere. Each time you do something another universe is created with the choice you didn’t choose. The problem is someone within that new future is beginning to push the original timeline into flux, trying to erase it. Erase too far back and modern Earth may not exist. We should be able to find this entity, stop it, and change small events to correct the alternative timeline and keep it from interfering with the original.”
“So we’re going into the Star Trek universe.” Clara said, deadpan. She looked unimpressed, but she was beyond giddy on the inside. She had a hand in the pocket with the badge and she held it to stop her hand from shaking at the idea.
“No –“ The Doctor began.
“Good,” Clara interrupted, “that would be cr-.”
“We’re going into your future which happens to resemble the television show Star Trek.” He interjected before flipping a lever. Clara didn’t have time to argue, she had to hold on to the railing as the TARDIS groaned, creaked and then started towards her destination.