"You cheated," he said. "I already knew the address. I remember tracking one of the Henches to the old music shop."
Giggling. “Memory cheats,” said a boy.
“But it happened,” said the Doctor. “You didn’t just implant a memory. You’ve changed my biodata. You changed my past!”
“Are you sure?”
“It’s impossible,” said the Doctor. “It’s impossible for my people. Our past is unreachable. What’s written can’t be unwritten.”
“Who said your history can’t change?”
Another boy answered, “Someone from his history.”
And another: “Maybe it’s the second-biggest lie in Time Lord history.”
“Maybe it changes all the time.”
Someone giggled. “Let’s play pin the tale on the donkey.”
“Maybe you didn’t use to have a father.”
“Maybe you’re living in the middle of a time war. maybe there’s an Enemy out there—”
The Doctor shouted, “I’m not listening!”
“—who’s rewriting you when you’re not looking!”
“Maybe you weren’t always half human.”
“But now you’ve BECOME always half human.”
“Maybe you weren’t always a Time Lord.”
“But now you’ve ALWAYS been a Time Lord.”
“maybe you originally came from some planet in the forty-ninth century. Fleeing from the Enemy who’d overrun your home—”
“I said I’m not listening! Laa laa laa laa laa—”
“—and you’ve just been written and rewritten and overwritten, ever since.”
“Pin the tale!”
“How d’you know it’s not true?”
“How COULD you know it’s not true?”
The voices crowded in. “How would you know, huh?”
“How would you know?”
“How would “How would you “How “How would you know?” you know?” you know?” know?”
“Why would I CARE?” shouted the Doctor.
Unnatural History, Kate Orman and Jonathan Blum (via eighthdoctor)


What’s so great to me about this line—I had to pause afterwards and hyperventilate for a few minutes, and about half of that wasn’t the fault of Paul McGann being on-screen—is that it references not only Looming, but the War Looms.

See, Time Lords aren’t really big on having physical forms, or, in fact, being involved in anything at all that has to do with leaving Gallifrey or interacting with lesser species in any capacity.

Deprived of organic evolution, deprived of the spur of mortality, the the last ten-million years of their existence the [Time Lords] have been locked in a form of cultural stasis. They see themselves as monumental, as the severe, stone-faced guardians on the walls of eternity. They have no interest in progress: they consider it beneath them. They have no interest in high culture: they consider it incomprehensible. Their own biological heritage bothers them… yet at the same time they lack the will to reshape (or even leave behind) their bodies, unless the War should demand it.

Well, the War did demand it, and so some more genetic variations were made. Looms were built purely for a new caste, one of warriors. They started the War in humanoid forms. They did not end it that way.

[There was a notion of military regeneration:] field-agents whose biologies were engineered so that with every re-birth their bodies would become stronger, faster, and better-equipped for whatever tasks may lie ahead. […] Although at first these [regenerations] merely left the soldiers with enhanced bodies, with built-in resistance to the more blatant forms of post-nuclear warfare (for the frontline troops), or special temporal lobes designed to enhance communications [with Gallifrey] (in the case of comms officers), the process was soon refined. It wasn’t long before soldiers were primed so that with every transformation they’d become less and less hominid, their bodies armoured against all known forms of enemy attack, with biological weapons systems “fitted as standard”…the ultimate regenerative forms of the soldiers would…be entirely non-hominid; no limbs, no visible head, each agent a self-contained and blast-proofed unit laced with sensitive tripwire nerve-endings.

Even before the utilisation of the War Looms, there were many parallels between the Time Lords and the Daleks: they’re both starkly xenophobic and change-resistant races which can’t quite be called “species”; they propagate themselves not by biological procreation but with highly-advanced machinery which places a living consciousness within a casing, whether that casing be metal or flesh; they both lack a real sense of individuality, with Daleks nameless clones and Gallifreyans a hivemind; even the Matrix and the Pathweb share many similarities!

Who can tell the difference anymore indeed? One of these is a Dalek mutant: the other is a Time Lord soldier. Can you tell which is which?




Imagine the worst possible thing in the universe, then don’t bother, because you’re looking at it right now. This is evil refined as engineering.

Henceforth this shall be known as That One Scene That Made Charamei Learn To GIF Because She Wanted To Talk About It So Much, so sit down, kids, because I’ve just spent the better part of a day learning to rip DVDs and swearing at size limits and boy am I going to talk now.

For those who don’t know, the scene on the left is from The Invisible Enemy, in which the Doctor contracts a mind-controlling virus and so, naturally, medical science being what it is in the future, they and Leela make tiny clones of themselves and enter their own brain to get rid of it. So yes, that is Four standing in (and discussing the biology of) their own brainInvisible Enemy is also the serial which introduced K-9, in a completely unrelated piece of trivia.

Into the Dalek has some very clear parallels with Invisible Enemy on a storytelling level, so much so that every classic Who fan I’ve seen liveblogging it has made a comment to the effect of ‘are we getting another tin dog then’. But in terms of scene-to-scene parallels, this one is by far the most noteworthy: the Doctor specifically points out the part of each brain which is responsible for the creation, or simulation, of a hivemind. And in the second example, Twelve explicitly calls it evil.

So. Let’s talk about the reflex link.

Gallifreyans are telepathic and have a hivemind. There are plenty of examples of this, but the one which springs immediately to mind is in Dalek:

Doctor: I’d know [if any more Gallifreyans had survived the Time War]. In here. (taps head) Feels like there’s no one.

The nature of the hivemind has varied throughout the species’ history: originally it was pretty much all-encompassing, save for some lucky individuals, but after Rassilon rewrote their genome to accommodate things like regeneration and individual thought it seems to be more like the Ood: a sort of collective subconscious.

There’s also the Matrix, which is a collective store of all Gallifreyan… well, all Gallifreyans. Brain scans, biodata, knowledge. There are multiple ways to access it, but at least one of them seems to be telepathy: it’d be a bit like having WiFi delivered straight to your brain.

So just to clear this up, the reflex link is not the source of all Gallifreyan telepathy or the primary link out to the hivemind. First, there are more than a thousand Gallifreyans in existence; second, the Doctor had demonstrated telepathic abilities before Invisible Enemy (most importantly in Deadly Assassin, where they were able to interface with the Matrix) and would do so again in later serials. What the reflex link seems to be is the remote access link to the Matrix: Four was able to access it in Deadly Assassin because they were literally plugged into it, but the reflex link would have allowed them to access it from anywhere in the universe.

And that’s where the parallels start to get interesting.

Let’s get the obvious one out of the way first: among its other uses, the Matrix acts as a repository for the memories of dead Gallifreyans. Meanwhile, the cortex vault is storing the Dalek’s memories… and censoring them.

Which brings us to the less obvious one.

The Matrix stores the biodata of everyone on Gallifrey. Biodata, as the Time Lords use the term, is more than just a person’s memories, DNA and biometrics: it’s also a continually-updated copy of their timeline information, and the connection goes both ways. If you change a person’s biodata, you change the person themself. This was used to great effect in Gallifrey VI: Ascension: Romana quite literally set the entire planet back three years in its history by simply plugging a biodata back-up from that time* into the Matrix and letting it overwrite the current information.

*Okay, it was a bit more complicated than ‘a back-up’, but close enough.

You can edit people with the Matrix. You can remove entire chunks of memory, or tweak someone’s timeline so that certain events never happened to them at all. You can alter the way they perceive events and ensure that they toe the party line - you don’t even have to go to the bother of telling them what the party line is.

*points up to Twelve* Sound familiar?

Considering how utterly useless the Time Lords were in Classic Who (Four once said they had ‘about as much sense of adventure as dormice’), and how terrifying they seem to have abruptly become in the Time War, it’s not unreasonable to wonder just how far they took their Matrix editing in the name of survival. Did Romana or Rassilon just roll out a specieswide upgrade one day? Everyone went to bed harmless bureaucrats and scientists, and woke up with a gun and a burning need to slaughter as many aliens as possible? It kind of looks that way, doesn’t it?

Evil refined as engineering, indeed. The Time Lords, as always, did it first.

I absolutely love this idea thank you so much for posting this (and huge kudos for learning how to gif and making these!).

I had a lot of theory and head canon surrounding the Time War before the 50th came and screwed it all up. Most of it was based on The End of Time and despite more recent events I still support most of the ideas.

The most important one was this: The Doctor did not end the war out or fear or hatred of the Dalek. He had confronted the Dalek countless times before and even decided against their genocide before. And though their threat was a contributing factor the real main reason that the Doctor choose to end it all was that he was terrified of the Time Lords. They had made themselves - and maybe even him - into monsters and were willing to destroy literally all I creation except themselves to get their way. Sound like anyone else we know? The Dalek. The Time Lords, in the end, were no better than and Dalek.

The other important idea I had was that at the time the Doctor fully believed that he was committing the equivalent of genocide-suicide. He did not believe himself to be exempt. He was fully expecting to die, but in stead he regenerated (Eight into Nine. Not this War doctor stuff) and woke up. It was the most terrible realization of his existence: that he had really done it and that he actually had to LIVE with the consequences.

Anyway I don’t mean to talk over your ideas, I just meant to share mine as I think yours fit very well with my own. The idea of them “rolling out an upgrade” is especially telling. It makes me recall The Doctor’s Daughter and wonder if there were parts/aspects of the war that everyone remembers that simply never happened.





Is there anything a natural 20 can’t do?

This is a poster idea I developed to show off the amazingness of tabletop rpgs.


"You attempt to pickpocket the man, but accidentally pull down his pants instead."

"You reach out to push the orc off the bridge, but instead lightly caress his back. He is uncomfortable."

"You try to stab the guard, but you stab your crotch instead. Roll fortitude."

"You say your name is Bob and not Jim. Your lie is misinterpreted and they now believe you are a serial killer."

"You swing your axe, but it slips from your fingers and sails across the room."

"In an attempt to dodge the incoming arrows, you jump into the swarm.”

"You bull rush the enemy but miss and jump off of the cliff."

"You try to land on your feet but you land on your sword instead."

"While providing first aid, your hand slips and you stab him in the heart. He dies instantly."