[Spoilers for "Oblivion" part 5, DWM 327, and for the blurb of "Timeless", found on: http://www.gallifreyone.com/releases.shtml
No spoilers for "Timeless" itself - it won't be out until August in the UK (and God knows when in the US).]
Oblivion used to be a normal planet once. It wasn't called Oblivion, at least then - no-one knows _what_ its name was.
Back then, the people there were pretty much indistinguishable from humans - up to, and including, making war on each other.
Then they discovered biological warfare.
A sickness - a plague - swept the world. It mutated minds, destroyed memory, bringing madness, coma... and then death. No cure could be found.
They called it the Oblivion Plague.
Eventually, they concluded that the plague would die out once the last of its victims died.
So they sealed off their capital city - with only their royal elite, and their most favoured servants, within.
They left their entire planet - left at least _ten billion people_ - to die.
...I think we _all_ looked nauseous after that one.
No-one could get in or out.
Eventually, the shield would come down, and they could come out.
A city of people to rebuild a world of ten billion. They believed that. They truly believed that.
Maybe it would have worked, I don't know - they certainly had the technology to pull something like that off. And the arrogance.
But they never got the chance to find out.
Six months after the shield went up, the nobles held a ball - a fancy dress ball, where everyone came masked as an animal.
But when midnight came...
When midnight came, their molecular structures were reshaped by a psychokinetic pulse.
They were transformed into the likeness of the mask they'd been wearing - into the creature they'd been pretending to be.
Anyone not at the ball - which was most of the populace - was left unchanged.
It went further than that, though - but they didn't know that, not then.
But they found out.
Any children born _after_ the transformation inherited their parents' features. The nobles would always be like this.
_How?_ Who had the power to do this? Any of this?
They found _that_ out, too - almost immediately after their transformation.
Most of the Oblivion Plague's victims hadn't died. Instead, they awoke from their comas... transformed.
Their minds had expanded, joined together.
Ten billion people survived their comas.
Ten billion minds, joined together, become a horde.
Together, the power the horde wielded could rip a planet from its orbit - or wipe it from the memory of the universe. They could travel in time and space, go anywhere, do _anything_.
But they had no intelligent direction, no _purpose_.
They were childlike. Playful. They wanted to be entertained.
And that's what they got. Entertainment.
No-one comes. No-one leaves. No-one knows.
They erased a world from the memory of the Universe. They took its true name. They wanted it to be called Oblivion, and it was so.
The horde could do _anything_.
But they had nothing to _do_.
They wanted a leader. Someone to tell them what to do, give them direction.
They found her.
She had managed to escape Oblivion - the people of Oblivion hadn't developed space or time travel, so the horde hadn't blocked off the Vortex.
But Jodafra, her uncle, managed to find a way to open a hole in the Vortex - big enough for one person, but not for a timeship.
The rest of _that_, we already know.
But the horde were waiting for her. Waiting for her to return. Waiting for her to kill her mother - to prove herself worthy to be their Matriax.
They transformed her, turned her into one of them... but she, alone of all of them, retained her mind and memory.
That's where we stand now.
She has the power of _ten billion psychics_ at her command. Whatever she orders, they will do.
...but what _are_ they going to do?
It's that old line. Once you conquer the entire universe, what are you going to do with it?
Destrii has the power to do anything she wants. The question is... what _does_ she want?
Revenge on the Doctor, Izzy and Fey for a start, maybe... but what about _afterwards_?
We don't know.
The Doctor can't hold them, can't kill them, can't escape them... all he can do is _talk_.
Out-talk a horde of godlike psychics. Out-talk Destrii.
But what do you _do_ with them?
That's what it keeps coming back to. They have all this power, and no idea what to do with it. They act on their whims - but it's not _enough_. They need a _purpose_.
And I don't think Destrii is the one to give it to them. She's never wanted anything beyond freedom.
Which - in part - is why I think it's going to come down to Izzy, in the end.
There was a piece of foreshadowing - a prophecy - from a time-sensitive in "Uroboros". Something he told the Doctor.
"The one you seek [Izzy] is lost to you now.
"She will remain so."
He's found her again, true...
But if the prophecy was right - given this is foreshadowing, and given the way things are going, it's pretty much a given - this is Izzy's final story - her final _official_ story.
This arc's been _about_ her - about her relationship with the Doctor, about her coming of age - and I think this is where it happens.
This is where she makes the decision about what to do with her life.
But what will that mean?
Does it mean she's going to switch positions with Destrii? Does it mean she's going to be transformed _alongside_ Destrii, her counterbalance?
Does it mean we're going to lose her - and Destrii - permanently?
Or does it mean something else?
We don't know.
We're the only ones to have lost one of our own - Kroton.
Are we going to lose Izzy as well? Lose both her and Destrii?
"To lose one companion is a misfortune. To lose two - or three..."
We're not losing them... but we might as well be, if they join the horde.
Never seeing Izzy again...
It devastated us when she was bodyswapped. If we never saw her again - even if she went willingly...
...it's going to be hard - for all of us.
And if something _were_ to happen to Izzy... what would that do to the Doctor?
How far would he go?
Izzy keeps sneaking peeks at herself, as if she wants to get what she looks like imprinted in her mind before it happens.
And we're left hanging, waiting for the other shoe to drop. We don't know what's going to happen until it _does_ happen.
We know _where_ . We know _when_.
But we don't know _what_.
And then, after this, there's Zagreus, waiting for Charley...
I'm surprised we've kept it together as much as we have, to be honest...
...but it gets hard sometimes, holding on...
...and there's nothing we can do about it, to stop it, to change it... we don't know how it's going to turn out, what's going to happen...
All we can do is deal with the consequences.
We've had to. It's a survival skill.
It's fatalistic, yes - but _we're not the ones making the decisions_. We can't, until we leave, one way or another.
And that _grates_. I've always been the one who decided what to do about my life. I was _written_ to be the one who decided what to do next, so that's what I do.
"It's irony. Obviously." Compassion would say.
I'm left waiting, waiting to see what happens next - to adapt, to consider what's going on, and then, as best I can, decide what to do about it.
I mean, I'm going to be a mum in "Timeless". A _mum_.
I can guess how - down to someone meddling with the timelines. But apart from that... I don't know. I don't know what's going to happen, whether that's going to be the least of my problems... but if I knew exactly what was going to happen, would that make things any better?
Me, Anji Kapoor, a mum.
I still can't quite believe it...
...then again, I couldn't get my head around Fitz being a father.
I guess what goes around comes around.
Thanks, Don Cole.
On one hand, you've got uncertainty, the inability to prepare for what's coming, and the complete inability to do anything about it until afterwards.
On the other hand, you've got certainty, the knowledge of what's coming, total preparedness - and the complete inability to do anything about it until afterwards.
I'm not sure which would be worse, all told... uncertainty, knowing something's going to happen - but not what - or certainty, knowing exactly what's going to happen - and either way, being totally unable to do anything until _after_ it's happened.
But as it is... we _don't_ know, and nothing we can do can change that.
We're powerless in this.
And it hits us because we're the current companions - the ones whose official fates have yet to come. We're all in our home Insides - which means that our changes Inside are permanent unless they say otherwise.
Once we leave, we're free... well, as free as we can be, unless they want us back.
We keep coming back to these themes, over and over - asking the questions, trying to find answers, reassessing what we're going through. If we didn't ask - if we just gave up, allowed them to do whatever they wanted, without so much as a squeak of protest, just _accepted_ what we go through, both what we know and what we anticipate, keeping our heads down until it's all over... then what would that make us?
We fight through, try to find our own answers. Perhaps we'll find some, perhaps we won't. The point is to keep questioning, to step back at some point and _look_ at what we've gone through, ask whether there are other ways to deal with this, what we can do.
Even if it's the same answer... perhaps this time we'll see something else, something we hadn't seen before.
So... we have to wait.
But that doesn't mean it's _all_ we have to do.
We pick ourselves up.
We try to deal with what's happened, however we choose to do that.
And life goes on.
- from the personal files of Anji Kapoor.
Disclaimer: Anji is the BBC's. Everyone else mentioned is the BBC's, Big Finish's, Marvel's, or their own.
Story notes: Kroton transcended in DWM's "The Glorious Dead", while Fitz became a father in the BBC EDA "Vanishing Point", by Stephen Cole.
Oddly enough, he's writing "Timeless", too...
Copyright 2003 Imran Inayat