There were so many Doctors behind the other Doctor now. Every conceivable kind of person, and many that were nothing like people at all.
They gathered under the crackling storm of realities, filling up the glade until they could hardly move. Jostling, in an enormous crowd— but the crowd was still only one person, of course. A single individual who ruled the universe, and who was her.
The Timeless Reign.
The other Doctor looked behind her shoulder at the crowd, and scowled.
“Typical,” she said. “Hardly anyone’s shown up at all.”
The Doctor wasn’t even looking at the herself-covered ground. Instead she stared up at the air, in awe and horror.
“I was a dragon?!” she said.
Her other self laughed.
“Oh yes,” she said. “That life was pretty wild.”
“Look at how vast your existence has really been,” she said. “Think about how much of what you were is ready to fight you now. This is what you stand for, Doctor. This is who you are.”
The Doctor looked at the vast army of her past in front of her, and scowled.
“Maybe it’s who I was,” she said. “But I know exactly what I stand for now: that all of us are capable of change. Even you, and me. And even history.”
“You’d only change history for the chosen few,” said her other self. “This is about fair play.”
“It’s about stopping an atrocity,” said the Doctor, her face both firm and set.
Her other self looked at her with something that wasn’t quite respect. And then she nodded, although only very slightly.
“If that’s where you stand,” she said. “And if there is no other way. Then”—
—“then we’re really going to do this,” said the Doctor.
Her other self nodded.
“If that’s what we think is right,” she said.
Above them, reality burst. Around the assembled armies the glade vanished, as other versions of the Earth flickered in and out of existence. And as they did, behind the other Doctor the Timeless Reign began to do all manner of things, light glowing from their hands, strange instruments in their arms. Devices that weren’t quite weapons strapped to legs and heads, ready to engage. Behind the Doctor, hundreds of sonic screwdrivers in a rainbow of colours were being taken out: flickering to life, and switching on.
“In the name of the Doctor!” the other Doctor shouted.
“For the ends of the Earth,” the Doctor said in reply.
For only a second, they both looked at each other in the eyes.
And then the armies were running towards each other, and the battle had begun—