Centuries ahead of our twenty-first era, there lays a space station, a massive wheel forever suspended in the black of the universe, orbiting the tiny planet of Terra in the Sol star system, in one obscure arm of the Mutter’s Spiral. Once, a great tale was told here, a tale of death and destruction, adventure and mystery, and of new friendship. The story of the Cybermen invasion, as the tiny metal creatures called Cybermats infiltrated the station, eating up all the power requirements for the laser cannon, leaving the station defenseless.
Enter the Doctor: a strange, scruffy man, a cosmic hobo with an alien depth to his nature that allures so many to wonder if the title Time Lord is meant on a grander scale then he suggests. Enter his companion, James Robert McCrimmon, known as Jamie, a highlander from an age far, far before our 21st century, and far, far before the age of this rotating wheel in space. Their arrival, most peculiar: trapped aboard a derelict shuttle, the Doctor was brought aboard for medical treatment, placed in suspicion of sabotage, only to save the day in the end. Their method of leaving, even more so: fading away in an old Police Telephone Box, circa 1964, like dust in the wind as a little girl in a pixie haircut and brown doe eyes watches with wonderment.
It was here that young Zoe Heriot, who has never dreamed of anything but facts and figures before the Cybermen came, always wakes, and is filled with such a sense of wrongness in her heart as the images of the Police Box fading away drift in the recesses of her dreaming mind. Something feels amiss, as if she shouldn’t be watching that box fade away, but instead be inside, watching the surroundings of the Wheel fade into a blossom of bright colours.
She’s told no one of the dreams, of the fantastical worlds her mind creates in the darkness of her quarters, even the moments when she finds herself waking with a hammering heart, unspoken cries dying on her lips before they can be called out, as the images fade.
Always the same; always Jamie, Doctor…
There’s something more to her mental subconscious, she knows, that she’s not accessing. Something she’s forgotten, that she shouldn’t have forgotten, and how could she have forgotten if she never knew anything in the first place?
Then one morning, as she works the laundry shift, as she loads the pale peach and white uniform she wore on that fateful day of the invasion, a small silver cylindrical device clatters from the pocket. It rolls across the pristine white floor, coming to a stop at her feet. She stoops to pick it up, and she marvels.
“What’s that, Doctor?”
“This is a little invention of mine, Zoe, the sonic screwdriver. Very handy tool; it uses sonic vibrations to do all sorts of useful things.”
“Like scramble locking mechanisms on cell doors?”
“Sonic screwdriver…” she murmers, and wonders how she knows. For no reason other then curiosity, she pushes down the little button, and a soft metallic hum makes the pen-like device tingle in her hand. The bolt she presses it to, on the edge of the laundry machine, creaks as it slowly untwists from its hole. For no reason other then an unexplained sense of amusement and familiarity, she grins, giggles. Then she seems to catch herself, and hurriedly sonic-screws the bolt back into place.
The sonic screwdriver slips into the pocket of her uniform, and she hurries to finish her chores.
That night, with the alien device clasped in her hand, hidden away under her pillow, she dreams of adventure, of danger, of Daleks and Cybermen, of the Brigadier, UNIT, and the Quarks. She dreams of alien sands and alien foods and alien customs that leave a tingle of excitement as she learns something new. She dreams of Jamie, of the Doctor, of the TARDIS, and she remembers. She remembers the Time Lords, Gallifrey. She remembers the smile on the Doctor’s face, so contrasting the sadness in his eyes. They’ll never meet again, she’ll never remember their time together, never take his hand, and never again run when he tells her to run and he knows this.
When she wakes, tears streak her pillow, but her heart and head feel whole. The metal of the sonic screwdriver is cool, even clenched so long in the heat of her hand. She looks at it, and the dreams do not fade. She remembers.
She wonders if he’s even missed the little invention that has healed her soul.