Welcome to the Time Tales section of Doctor Who Online. Time Tales are Doctor Who dioramas (picture stories), based on characters and worlds inspired by Doctor Who, and written and shot by Malcolm Orr.


‘It started with an assassination, Doctor. The world went to war over the life of one man according to history, but in truth the Great War was due to imperialistic Governments who wanted it,’ John Lennon said sadly. ‘Governments wanted war because they wanted power. They didn’t realise that power comes through peace.’

‘The war has stopped, even if just for one day,’ the Doctor replied to John, passing him a crate of food that he had brought from the TARDIS pantry. The Doctor had arrived at John Lennon’s house moments earlier and he had promised his old friend a trip to the past. The TARDIS had landed in the Allied trenches in the Western Front of Europe in the opening year of World War I. it was Christmas Eve, 1914, and an unofficial truce had developed. German soldiers had lit candles and placed them out of their trenches, singing Christmas carols. In turn, some British troops had responded in like, lighting their own candles and singing carols. Some soldiers from either side had even tentatively ventured into No Man’s Land to swap gifts and good wishes. Artillery fire had stopped temporarily, but both side’s commanders would later learn of the Christmas truce and would be furious.

‘Most of them don’t want to fight,’ Lennon said, ‘and today they don’t have to.’

Carrying a second crate, this time crammed with oranges, biscuits and sweets, the Doctor joined Lennon and they both approached the informal gathering of the British and German troops. The Doctor and Lennon smiled as they both wished them all a Merry Christmas.

Later, the Doctor and Lennon made their way back to the TARDIS.

‘Peace on Earth in the midst of a war, lessons to be learned for everyone,’ Lennon said. ‘I wish the truce could have lasted.’

A young British soldier approached them. He must only have been old enough to serve in the army, Lennon thought.

‘Are you from the future?’ he asked them. ‘You talk as if you are.’

The young soldier must have been hiding close by when the TARDIS had arrived. ‘Is this the end of the world?’ he asked, his voice shaking as if fearing the answer.

‘It gets better,’ Lennon replied. ‘Eventually.’

The young soldier smiled at Lennon.
It was Christmas Eve, 1979 and the TARDIS materialised with it’s usual crescendo of wheezes and groans in an alley near to the apartment that John Lennon lived with his wife, Yoko Ono. Only moments had passed since the Doctor and Lennon had left the trenches of World War I but for the Earth it had been almost 60 years. John was still troubled by the words of the young soldier they had just met all those decades ago.

‘Did he live?’ Lennon asked the Doctor. ‘Did you check?’

‘We never got his name,’ the Doctor answered, regretfully.

‘The unknown soldier,’ Lennon replied, sadly. ‘He fought for the imperialist cowards who brought about a war from the safety of their offices.’

The Doctor smiled warmly at Lennon. This hadn’t been the first time that the Doctor had visited John Lennon. He first met him when he was still part of the Beatles, and he had met him a couple of times since then. Lennon had always wanted a trip in the TARDIS, and as a Christmas present to his dear friend, the Doctor had obliged.

‘What about my future?’ Lennon asked the Doctor. ‘What legacy do I leave?’

The Doctor looked momentarily uncomfortable.

‘There are laws of time,’ the Doctor replied, and then he hesitated. ‘Maybe, though, just maybe it would be fine this time.’

The Doctor smiled and opened the TARDIS door for a second time. ‘Time to see the future,’ the Doctor said, enigmatically.

The TARDIS materialised inside a huge guest lounge onboard a spaceship in the 31st Century. The lounge was adorned with an abundance of Christmas decorations, and many guests were enjoying the festivities.

‘The Yellow Submarine!’ the Doctor announced as he exited the TARDIS.

The Doctor explained that the SS Yellow Submarine was a 31st Century spaceship that was currently on a mission – a very important mission – on behalf of a peacekeeping foundation.

‘A peacekeeping foundation?’ Lennon asked.

‘The Imagine Foundation,’ the Doctor answered. ‘Named after your song. Even in the 31st Century people from many different worlds are still being inspired by your songs and messages of peace. This is your legacy, John. Merry Christmas.’

John Lennon looked around the whole area, finding it difficult to take it all in – all the people, all the aliens.

‘Look at him with the basin haircut,’ Lennon said.

‘A Monoid,’ the Doctor answered.

‘I used to have a haircut like that in the 60s,’ Lennon added.

‘Yeah,’ the Doctor replied. ‘I think I did too.’

The Doctor walked over to a table of food and drink.

‘What’s that?’ Lennon said, pointing to another alien.

‘Another alien. It’s an Alpha Centauran.’ The Doctor smiled to the alien who had sensed that it was the topic of conversation. ‘Hi Alph!’

‘It looks like a giant green p-’

‘-ickle,’ the Doctor finished just in time. ‘Yeah, everyone says that.’

The Doctor noticed a huge porthole on one wall and pointed it out to Lennon.

‘I think the people onboard this ship have their work cut out for them,’ the Doctor said.

Lennon looked out to see the vastness of space beyond the spaceship, but as beautiful as that sight might have been on another day, chills ran down Lennon’s spine. A huge silver spaceship coated in threatening barbed weapons hovered in space, easily dwarfing the Yellow Submarine.

‘We are in a warzone?’ Lennon asked the Doctor.

‘Right in the middle of one,’ the Doctor replied, ‘and that’s just a tiddler.’

Elsewhere, inside a black control room a huge holographic display showed a map of two fleets engaged in war. The red ships represented the fleet of the Havershi Alliance and the green ships represented the Kaathani Protectorate. Both powers had been at war for years and it was becoming increasingly unpopular amongst the civilian populations of both empires. Several Slitheen stood around the holo-display scrutinising the positions of both fleets, calculating the skirmishes occurring and the number of battleships lost. War was business after all. The image shifted to show the SS Yellow Submarine in full view.

‘Ahhhhhhhh!’ a shrill voice suddenly, half a sneer and half a laugh. ‘A ship of peace that will escalate a war! Is our agent in place?’

The Slitheen family head, Clor Fel-Fotch Pasameer-Day Slitheen, looked at their employer’s representative and a sick smile spread across his lips.

‘Our agent is in place, Sil, and soon the war will become an apocalypse. The peace conference will be overshadowed by a massacre.’

Sil’s eyes bulged greedily at the thought that very soon the holographic fleets he had just studied would end up as broken shells in space, and the Mentors would be able to sell both sides more battleships to feed their thirst for vengeance. Really, when he thought about it, there was nothing quite as profitable as war, and profit made him happy.

A woman approached the Doctor and John Lennon as they peered through the porthole and out into space. She looked in her early-30s, was quite short and had long dark curly hair. She was smiling, but the Doctor could see a worried look in her eyes. A wolfhound, presumably her pet, was standing loyally next to her.

‘Have I seen you both onboard before?’ she asked. ‘I really need to see your boarding passes – this is a peacekeeping ship on a crucial mission. Millions of innocent lives are at stake, and we really can’t have stowaways onboard.’

‘You should at least recognise him,’ the Doctor said, pointing towards Lennon.

The woman looked for a second at Lennon, but if she did recognise him she didn’t make it obvious.

‘OK,’ said the Doctor as he held out his psychic paper and waved it in front of the woman’s face, and briefly in front of the wolfhound’s face too, for good measure. ‘Here’s our ‘Ticket to Ride’!’

Lennon sighed and leant closer to the woman. ‘The faces changes, but the jokes don’t.’

The Doctor coughed and tried to move the conversation on, but before he could speak the woman spoke again.

‘OK, so your pass checks out, but try and keep out of the way. We have a very unwelcome escort, though we are reassuring them that we are an unarmed vessel seeking peaceful demonstration.’

Lennon could see a passion in the woman’s eyes as she talked about her mission – she was here risking her life and those of many others so that a terrible war could be stopped, and she knew that it was going to be an almost impossible task.

‘I’m Jeniah Tole, head of the Imagine Foundation. This is my pet, Rigby. Welcome onboard the SS Yellow Submarine.’

‘Rigby?’ echoed John.

‘As in Eleanor,’ said the Doctor. There’s nothing like obsessive fans,’ he finished before patting the wolfhound affectionately on the head.

Jeniah smiled at Lennon as she turned to leave.

‘Nice Lennon guise, by the way. One of the best Wannabes I’ve ever seen, though I don’t think you have the nose quite right.’

Jeniah and Rigby moved back towards the other alien guests and started to talk into her communicator to ask the bridge for an update on the Kaathani Battlecruiser.

‘Wannabe?’ asked Lennon.

The Doctor explained that in the future people could change their entire physical appearance with Facial Modulation Surgery, and there was a craze amongst some people to emulate the physical appearances of their heroes – they were called ‘Wannabes’ by the popular press. Lennon was a popular choice, but not as much as Elvis.

‘There’s an entire colony of Elvis Wannabes on a planet called Graceland II,’ the Doctor added whilst scouring the nearby table. ‘Mince pie?’ he offered, holding a tray of them out to Lennon.

The Slitheen ship was hidden from sight by a Promethian cloaking device allowing it to approach the SS Yellow Submarine and the Kaathani Battlecruiser without any danger of it being detected by either. Clor Fon-Fetch looked at both ships as they loomed large on the holodisplay.

‘Are the preparations complete?’ he asked his cousin, Jin Fon-Fetch.

Jin nodded his head, prompting the Slitheen gathered around the holodisplay to break into a slow, sinister laugh.
‘The Christmas Massacre,’ Clor grinned. ‘The family will reward us well for this.’

‘And reward me too,’ Sil added. ‘We shall sell more and more battleships, watch them destroy each other, further creating the demand to sell even more! And the family Slitheen will get their cut.’

Clor laughed again, echoed by his brethren, but inside his mind he wasn’t laughing at all. In fact Clor Fen-Fotch had never been more serious – he had plans to rise to his rightful position as the Head of the Family Slitheen, and the backing of the Mentors might just be the leverage he desperately needed.

The Doctor had decided to head towards the bridge to see what was happening with the Kaathani battlecruiser, but security guards had refused to allow him to leave the lounge that they had arrived in. Undeterred he headed back towards the TARDIS where he would have a look using far more sophisticated equipment. The Doctor explained to John that both sides in the war were attempting to reach a peaceful conclusion via delegates at a conference. The SS Yellow Submarine had entered the war zone to show support for the measure – to show that the people of both empires wanted peace. The TARDIS was showing the Doctor three spaceships in their vicinity, one of which was hidden from conventional sensors by a cloaking device. Fortunately for the Doctor, the TARDIS was anything but conventional.

‘Interesting,’ pondered John Lennon, ‘someone’s stirring up trouble by the looks of it.’

The Doctor agreed, troubled by the discovery.

‘Jeniah is risking her life, in my name,’ said Lennon. ‘We have to help her spread peace.’

The Doctor looked at John and smiled.

‘We will,’ he replied as he flicked a switch on the console. ‘Remember the Christmas Truce, John. The people didn’t want to fight, at least for one day, and so they didn’t.’ With those words, the TARDIS dematerialised...

The TARDIS materialised onboard the cloaked Slitheen ship and fortunately it had arrived in a covert location. The Doctor and Lennon crept out of the ship and looked around.

‘Bit dull,’ Lennon remarked.

The Doctor opened a locker set into one of the walls. Inside he saw several skin-suits hanging up.

‘Slitheen,’ he muttered. ‘Big green blobby creatures who like dressing up and role playing. And not in a nice way...’

The door to the room opened and two Slitheen entered. The Doctor looked at them and smiled.

‘Smith and Lennon, interior decorators. Bit dull around here, how about a lovely coat of TARDIS blue?’

Lennon leaned in. ‘Don’t you mean Lennon and Smith? Lennon always sounds better put first.’

The Doctor thought for a second.

‘Well, if it’s good enough for Paul – “Lennon and Smith, interior decorators”.’

One of the Slitheen lunged at them, but the Doctor had been expecting it – he swerved out of the way and grabbed his sonic screwdriver from out of his pocket. The Doctor and Lennon bolted out of the room, the Doctor spinning around and using the sonic to lock the door behind them.

‘Won’t hold them for long,’ the Doctor warned.

The door suddenly shook as Slitheen hands tried to pound through it. The Doctor and Lennon disappeared around a corner and deeper into the ship.

‘Intruder alert!’ announced Rob Slob-Fotch Pasameer-Day Slitheen in the bridge area. Sil looked at Clor, glaring with a mixture of panic and anger, silently demanding to know what was happening. Clor managed to get an image of the intruders on the holodisplay.
‘Who are they?’ asked Sil.

The Slitheen crowded around the display and peered at the image.

‘They arrived in this,’ the first Slitheen said, showing a picture of the TARDIS.

There was a collective scream from Sil and all the Slitheen.

‘What?’ said Rob Slob trying to get to see the holo-display, wondering what was on it.

‘It’s him! It’s him!’ shouted Sil.

‘He’s here! He’s here!’ joined in most of the Slitheen. Except Rob Slob who still couldn’t see who or what had triggered the alert off.

‘You can’t mean...’ Rob Slob said, a smile developing on his face. ‘He’s here? Him?’ The smile broadened further still. ‘Santa?’
Sil threw a dish of flesh grubs at him.

The Doctor and Lennon ran down yet another corridor.
‘Do you know where we are going?’ Lennon asked the Doctor.

‘No,’ he replied, ‘but all roads lead to Rome.’

Lennon wasn’t sure what the Doctor meant, but he knew the Time Lord had some kind of plan hatching in his mind. The Doctor opened a door just to reveal a Slitheen behind it. They spun around and took a detour but that corridor was also blocked, once again by another Slitheen. The Doctor held up his hands.

‘You don’t like interior decorators, do you? Can’t blame you, I must say.’
The Doctor and Lennon were frogmarched into the bridge area by two large Slitheen.

‘Sil,’ said the Doctor, ‘how unpleasant to see you again. I see that this time you are working with the Slitheen.’ He slowly looked around the room. ‘You are going to make this war worse, aren’t you?’

Sil could hardly contain his excitement.

‘It has been a long time, Doctor, and you may have changed since then, but I always knew I’d have the chance to finally defeat you.’

The Doctor listened as Sil tried to goad him, telling him that the war was going to escalate, both in terms of destruction and profitability.

‘I’m running this war – both sides,’ Sil explained. ‘The Havershi and Kaathani are meeting to see if they can find a peaceful solution to this war, but the destruction of a peacekeeping ship by a Kaathani battlecruiser should break their Christmas spirit.’

Lennon was horrified, though the Doctor remained passive, as if he had a trick up his sleeve.

‘I will stop you,’ the Doctor said quietly. ‘But more importantly, he will stop you.’ The Doctor pointed towards John Lennon.

‘A war run by a little maniac for his greedy ends, destroying people and spreading misery,’ Lennon said. ‘But you should listen to what the people want - they will want peace and they will get it.’

‘The little people? The insufferable masses? The cattle? If you want to give them guns then I could always sell some to you – more weapons, more war, more profit!’

‘They will all be armed,’ Lennon replied, ‘but their weapons will be words, not guns.’

Sil turned to the Doctor with a sadistic grin on his face.

‘Is that your plan, Doctor?’ Sil asked. ‘How far do you think you can get with mere words?’

Sil broke out into his irritating laugh once more as he savoured a sweet victory.

‘With his words?’ the Doctor echoed. ‘John Lennon – a man whose lyrics and words of peace have inspired many generations on many planets? You’ll see exactly what his words of peace can do very soon, but in the meantime this little runaround of ours has been a good distraction. Enough of a distraction, in fact, for the TARDIS psychic circuits to seek out and destroy the cloaking device onboard this ship. It’s been doing that ever since we arrived!’

Several panels around the bridge sparked as the Doctor finished his sentence. Sil could see the Kaathani battlecruiser turn towards it as the huge ship had suddenly detected it. The battleship fired laser cannons at the Slitheen ship, attempting to disable it. Realising that the attack had momentarily distracted Sil and the Slitheen, the Doctor and Lennon ran out of the bridge and back towards the TARDIS.

Inside the TARDIS the Doctor frantically spun dials and flicked switches. He picked up a covert transmission from the Slitheen ship to the SS Yellow Submarine.

‘The Slitheen must have an agent onboard,’ the Doctor said, ‘and they are trying to tell it to activate the final phase of their plan’.

The Doctor managed to jam the signal.

‘That might not stop it for long – we have to find their agent quickly.’

The TARDIS rematerialised back onboard the SS Yellow Submarine and within seconds the Doctor and John Lennon had sprang out through the doors and started running through the ship.

‘How do we find the Slitheen agent?’ Lennon asked as they ran.

‘Sorry,’ apologised the Doctor as he bumped into a man dressed as Santa Claus in the corridor. ‘The Slitheen can disguise themselves as humans,’ he continued saying to Lennon, ‘but they can only compress so far, so they usually disguise themselves as ‘generously built’ people.’

Lennon was struggling to keep up with the Doctor who was sprinting now through the ship.

‘Like Santa?’ Lennon offered. The Doctor skidded to a halt, Lennon bumping into him. They glanced at each other for a split second and then ran back they way they came.

‘Oi!’ protested Santa as Lennon tugged at his beard.
‘Seems real,’ Lennon observed.

The Doctor checked Santa’s forehead for signs of a concealed zip.

‘Nothing,’ he said, ‘he must be a Santa Wannabe. Now there’s a novelty. Sorry Santa!’

Lennon suggested that they had to find Jeniah and tell her that there was a Slitheen agent onboard the ship.

The Doctor and Lennon burst into the lounge where Jeniah was talking to some guests.

‘There’s a Slitheen agent onboard this ship and we are sure it’s planning something to escalate this war,’ the Doctor announced to a suddenly stunned room. ‘Problem is – the Slitheen are masters of disguise.’

The Doctor looked around the room to see if anyone fitted the typical description of an undercover Slitheen.

‘Is there anything that gives them away?’ asked Jeniah anxiously. ‘False eyes? Different voices? Moustache and wig?’

‘Well they fart a lot,’ the Doctor explained, ‘due to a gaseous by-product of tissue compression.’ The Doctor coughed. ‘So, err, anyone here fart a lot?’

Everyone looked at Rigby, the wolfhound.

‘That’s a new one,’ said the Doctor, both surprised and a bit impressed.

The skin on Rigby’s back started to split and a violent blue light poured from it. With a scream that pierced the eardrums of everyone in the room a Slitheen emerged from within the skin. It bolted out of the room and away down the corridor. The Doctor threw a jar of pickles at Lennon and told him that vinegar was lethal to the Slitheen. It could help him ‘pursuade’ the Slitheen agent. Lennon ran down the corridor after it.

The Doctor pulled a computer terminal off a nearby wall and after reprogramming it with the sonic screwdriver he started to scan the ship for any Slitheen technology that had recently been installed. Jeniah asked the Doctor whether the Slitheen had been hiding in the ship that was cloaked before the Kaathani battlecruiser attacked it.

‘Yes,’ the Doctor replied. ‘They are trying to do something to derail the peace conference, somehow trigger the battleship to destroy this peacekeeping one.’

The Doctor continued to look for any trace of Slitheen technology and discovered a few adaptions to the ship.

‘A-ha!’ he said. ‘Found you!’

The Slitheen agent masquerading as Rigby had managed to install a program in the SS Yellow Submarine that would make it explode as if it had been attacked by the Kaathani battlecruiser. He deactivated the program and checked on the status of the Slitheen ship by looking out of the window. The Slitheen ship had been impounded by the Kaathani battlecruiser and their plan was effectively over.

Lennon had the Slitheen cornered and he was waving the jar of pickled onions in front of it.

‘This could kill you,’ Lennon warned the Slitheen, ‘but I am not a murderer like you or your lot. I don’t believe in killing whatever the reason.’

Lennon put the pickled onions on the floor as some security guards arrived and he walked back to where the Doctor was.

‘We have to go to the peace conference,’ Lennon told the Doctor. ‘When the people on both their worlds see how their war has been run by Sil’s arms dealers they will soon lose their appetite for war. War will be over, Doctor. But only if they want it to be.’

The Doctor agreed to take the TARDIS to the peace conference, and soon more volunteers were offering to join them. The Doctor realised he had no choice but to transport them all – this was their chance to stop a war.

The TARDIS materialised at the peace conference where a photo opportunity for the galaxy’s media had been set up. Lennon and the Doctor stood alongside some other volunteers from the SS Yellow Submarine right in front of them. The Doctor explained to the delegates and the TV cameras that Sil and the Slitheen had tried, and failed, to escalate the war for corporate greed. John Lennon stood forward and spoke to the collected media.

‘This war serves no purpose. The only winners are the warmongers. Put down your arms and fight no more. War is over, if you want it.’

A slow wave of applause started to spread around the room as images of Sil and the Slitheen stared to play on the galaxy wide media channels.

The Doctor turned to Lennon, ‘All we are saying…’

‘…is give peace a chance,’ Lennon completed, smiling.

Within seconds all the protesters were clapping, stamping and singing in chorus:

‘♪All we are saying, is Give Peace a Chance!♪
♪All we are saying is Give Peace a Chance!♪’

And soon, everyone else, including all the peace delegates, had joined in.
The Doctor and Lennon were about to enter the TARDIS, ready to take the protesters back to the SS Yellow Submarine. Kaathani and Havershi representatives approached Lennon and told him that they would make renewed efforts to find a way for peace, calling for an immediate cessation of hostilities. They promised that the war would be over and that they would give peace a chance.

‘A Christmas truce,’ the Doctor whispered to Lennon, ‘and not our first today.’

Christmas Eve, 1979, Earth

The TARDIS materialised outside of Lennon’s apartment.

‘We did it Doctor,’ smiled John Lennon. ‘We did it. Thank you for showing me the future. There will always be politicians who try to go to war, but there will always be people willing to rise up for peace.’

John Lennon walked a few more steps down the alleyway. The Doctor was still standing by the TARDIS.

‘Aren’t you coming in for a drink?’ Lennon said, pointing towards his door.

‘I’ve got to be getting back to Amy,’ he said. ‘She’s shopping on Oxford Street and I’ll probably need all the space inside the TARDIS just for the shoes.’

‘What about next year then? You’ll have to come back next Christmas, or the year after.’

A pang of sadness reached the Doctor’s hearts. He turned around and closed the TARDIS doors. Next year was 1980. He straightened his bow tie and smiled at John.

‘You know what?’ he said. ‘I think I’ll come in for that sherry.’

‘Sherry? Sherry?’ laughed Lennon. ‘Are you sure you aren’t a Southerner?’

‘Lots of planets have a South!’ replied the Doctor.

They both laughed as they made their way into John’s house.

Christmas Eve, 1980. Above the Earth...

‘It ended with an assassination,’ the Doctor whispered to himself and he looked down on the Earth whilst standing inside the doors of the TARDIS. ‘But the message of peace is eternal.’

As the Doctor looked down, he imagined the Christmas dinners being eaten and the crackers being pulled, the presents being given.

He also thought of those who didn’t have such things, those suffering from poverty and war.

‘War is over, if you want it,’ mused the Doctor to himself.

It wasn’t only just a message of peace – it was a message to do something about it. To make your voice heard. To encourage people to stand up and find ways to hold hands across all the nations. Peace on Earth. And the Doctor knew that someday the humans would find a way to achieve that. Lennon’s message of peace would never die, the Doctor thought as he smiled to himself.

‘Merry Christmas, John,’ he whispered.

© Copyright Malcolm Orr & Doctor Who Online, 2010.
 Page Last Updated: 24/12/2009

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