Most good ideas are better told as stories, aren't they?
When I was putting together all the bits for Awesome, Incorporated there was a lot of discussion about the fact that sometimes it takes a story to really flesh an idea out. . . and who better to flesh out an optimistically skeptical future vision than our favorite time lord? He's an almost optimal literary device for this!
That being said, I really hate when they change Doctors on me. I always end up loving the new one, but I generally have to re-watch the first few episodes to appreciate them properly.
If you want to imagine this as Matt Smith or Tom Baker or your personal favorite then feel free, that's what I often do . . . but I'm going to give Mr. Capaldi a chance to start off his Doctor Who career not with a bang . . . but with an Evolution.
(also, it'll be pretty funny . . turns out I'm not too bad at this!)
So... here's Mr. Capaldi's regeneration scene to start us off.
[Setting: inside the TARDIS, which is tossing about quite alarmingly]
[The Doctor has just finished his most recent regeneration and revealed that he doesn't like the color of his new kidneys and has just asked a most important question. . . ]
THE DOCTOR: Do you happen to know how fly this thing?
CLARA: That's generally been your job [looks at console] Or hers. She's been a bit [Sparks] . . . independent of late.
THE DOCTOR: Well then. Right. How are you at crashing?
[The scene goes dark, crashes are heard]
[Credits and Dr. Who song (Classic version or KLF version)]
[Scene: The Doctor and Clara are getting up as the TARDIS flickers back to life]
THE DOCTOR: Right! Nose. . . check. Two eyes, good! Chin's a bit less chinny. . . I'll have to get used to that. . .
THE DOCTOR: No! No! Don't need one! I'm fine, this happens to me quite often, I just . . . [attempts to take a step, falls pratfallingly] I'm okay!
[The Doctor pops back up]
THE DOCTOR: See! I'm fine. The floor just arrived too soon. Different legs. Takes getting used to, doesn't it?
CLARA: Wouldn't know. Just had the one set the whole time.
THE DOCTOR: That's right! You lovely people do that! Or don't rather. Right! So . . . where was I? Hungry! Do you have any Jelly Babies? I think I'm craving some.
CLARA: [slightly horrified] Jelly. . . babies? Jelly doesn't have babies, it's smooshed up fruits. Fruit is babies, I suppose?
THE DOCTOR: No! Not like that, little sugary soft things shaped like little people, I think they used to be a comfort food.
CLARA: The ones that taste like gummi bears, but even less tasty?
THE DOCTOR: Bears? Bears! Aren't we ambitious? No, it'd have to be babies, wouldn't taste right otherwise. No. . . no. . . forget the cravings. [begins fiddling with controls on the TARDIS, stops abruptly, looks around]
THE DOCTOR: [To the TARDIS]: Really girl? You sure . . .no no, of course you are, you always are.
CLARA: I'm pretty sure you're not talking to me anymore, are you?
THE DOCTOR: [Excitedly] Wait, what have you done with your height? Your eyes are . . . at the wrong place.
CLARA: That's you, Doctor. I'm still the same.
THE DOCTOR: Right! [chuckles to self, grinning broadly] Bears! You humans are positively adorable sometimes, you know that?
CLARA: [Indignantly] We don't really think we're eating bears, you know.
THE DOCTOR: Do you ever bite their heads off first?
CLARA: I always bite the heads off first, that way they don't suffer.
THE DOCTOR: [Nods] Quite right! [Pauses] By the way, who ARE you?
CLARA: I'm Clara, Doctor. Clara
THE DOCTOR: Doctor Clara! [Reaches for hand] SO excited to meet you, I may be in need of your services.
CLARA: I'm not the doctor, Doctor. . . you are.
THE DOCTOR: Well then, what do you . . . wait. . . Clara? Are you my impossible girl? I seem to remember a Clara and that she was impossible.
CLARA: Unless you mean 'difficult' that would be me.
THE DOCTOR: Lovely! Then shall we head outside?
[The TARDIS materializes in a lush forest, the door opens and the Doctor stumbles out, looks around, holds his arms to the sky and spins around, laughing joyously. Clara follows.]
CLARA: Where ARE we?
THE DOCTOR: Earth! The year 2207. I have no idea why we're here, but we'll improvise, I do that well, don't I? Do I? Yes, yes, I do.
[The Doctor pauses]
THE DOCTOR: Well hello, who have we here?
[Clara follows The Doctor's gaze and notices a strange dog-like creature with stripes and an odd hunched posture]
CLARA: That's… a strange dog. Is that a dog?
[The creature rears up on its hind legs threateningly and opens its mouth impossibly wide, making a strange chuffing sound and a growl]
THE DOCTOR: [to the creature] Easy, beautiful. . .we don't mean any harm. You're just watching out for your little ones, aren't you? Terribly sorry for disturbing you, we'll be on our way and you can get back to sleep. [to Clara] They're generally nocturnal, probably woke her when the TARDIS arrived.
[While The Doctor is talking to Clara the creature backs off into the forest and vanishes]
CLARA: What on Earth WAS that? That wasn't normal.
THE DOCTOR: Not normal? That beautiful thing was a thylacine! A Tasmanian Tiger. You probably never saw one because they were extinct. There'll be more around, come! This way!
[The Doctor strides boldly forward in a seemingly random direction. Clara hurries after him.]
CLARA: So we're in Tasmania, then? And we're bringing back extinct species? We were talking about that with mammoths or something like that, weren't we? I suppose that's. . . .
[They break the treeline and Clara stops in mid sentence. The terrain is grassier and the immediate vicinity has scattered tree-houses connected by zip-lines, but very little like anything she's seen before. In the distance is a beach with a stretch of water past it. . . and beyond that is a ring of strange buildings and structures that seems to circle to the left and right as far as she can see.]
CLARA: . . . not what I expected.
[The Doctor clearly struggling to contain his excitement]
THE DOCTOR: Aren't they brilliant? What better place to experiment with repopulating species than a floating city?
CLARA: That doesn't sound like us. . does it? This must have cost . . . more money than I can imagine!
THE DOCTOR: You still think in money! That's right! No, they don't have money anymore. I mean, some of them do. . . but only when they want. Generally most of you are better off without it.
[While The Doctor and Clara are talking they notice a strange vehicle heading in their general direction. It seems to be suspended above the ground and stops some distance to their left. A younger woman exits followed by middle aged man and somewhat older woman. Despite her age, the three walk briskly towards the Doctor and Clara, followed by thirteen creatures that look like animated teddy bears with long legs.]
CLARA: Well, that's new.
[As they approach the group, the younger woman seems to be controlling the teddy bears and has the bears fan out in front of the three humans. It also becomes apparent that her legs have some sort of mechanical braces on them, they appear to hinder somewhat, though less than one would expect]
OLDER MAN: [Observing Clara's reaction, he leans to the younger woman.] I know you're eager to help, Jen, but look at the woman, you're making her nervous with your herd. Trust first.
JEN: [With sudden realization leading to a burst of confusion.] Why is she. . . she doesn't know what they are? Oh my! [she quickly directs her bears behind her and they fall into place.]
CLARA: [slightly indignantly] I can hear you, you know. I'm not just a 'she'. I'm Clara!
OLDER MAN: [Stepping forward] Hello Clara, my name is Griff. It's a pleasure. May I introduce [he gestures to the older woman] Kaylee, [he gestures to the younger one] and as you've likely surmised, this is Jen.
JEN: And this is my herd! This is . . [she begins pointing at the various odd animated teddy bears] Mystic, Rum-tum-tugger, Mister Bojangles, Queen Nefertiti, Halloween, Yngvie, GIR, Conan the Librarian, Alfred, Morton J. Throckwoddle III, Bela, Barry the Bare Bear, and Animala.
CLARA: They're alive?
GRIFF: Ha! No, they're just robots. You're really from somewhere interesting, aren't you?
THE DOCTOR: That we are! And lovely to meet you all. I'm The Doctor and this is still Clara. [whispers conspiratorially] She's wonderfully impossible!
KAYLEE: So, now that we've got introductions in hand. . . how DID you people get here?
JEN: [Excitedly] Is this a game? What's your signcode? Which net?
THE DOCTOR: [holds out 'psychic paper' (invisible)] See? Everything's in order, mind if I show Clara around some?
KAYLEE: [looking at psychic paper] You're. . . The Doctor from. . . Gallifrey? [nodding faster as she remembers] Oh, like from the old television show? With the blue box that went through time!
[The Doctor and Clara both do double-takes, even The Doctor looks somewhat flummoxed]
CLARA: It is! How did you know that?
JEN: [Excitedly] You . . .are . . . AMAZING! Are you a method actor? How do you stay in character like that?
THE DOCTOR: Quite right, and since Clara is so wonderfully "in-character," I trust you won't have trouble answering her accordingly? Just be part of the story!
[All three smile and nod knowingly]
KAYLEE: [coming off as quite spry for her age, acting in on the game.] Of course! So. . . Doctor. If that IS your real name [eye wink and little lopsided grin], why are you here?
THE DOCTOR: I'm here to show Clara all the amazing things you've done! It's kind of a vacation from all the world-savings we do, right?
CLARA: What? Oh! Yes, right. So . . . what do you guys do?
KAYLEE: Well, I'm a genetic engineer and DNA coder most of the time. My specialty is extinct or endangered species.
THE DOCTOR: Ahh, so is it you we have to thank for that lovely creature we met on the way? A thylacine?
KAYLEE: [laughing] Oh, no! Charismatic megafauna bores me. I like little things, they're more fun, I suppose you can credit the Lake Peddler Planarian to my name, but I'm guessing you didn't observe any flatworms on the way?
GRIFF: Don't let her sell herself short, she's amazing. Tell them about the protoceratops!
CLARA: You brought back a DINOSAUR?
KAYLEE: [Laughing] Not me! No! And you can't get much more megafauna than that, can you? OH! I mean [winking conspiratorially] . . .yes, a dinosaur! It was one of the first big ones they think they got close.
Dinos are complicated, especially if they're not therapods, these guys branched off way before any modern anologues . . . so they already had their work cut out for them there even with so many samples to work from. They still had to guess a lot, and of course we'll never be sure we got them even close to right. But every creature is an ecosystem and we haven't really had that much luck getting any microfauna from back then.
[She pauses and sighs sadly] We'll never know how much we'll never know, will we? And we only have ourselves to blame the last extinction. . . the one that would have had the most cures. . .the people we could have saved. . . [she appears about to break into tears, but quickly composes herself.]
Sorry, it's just. . . painful. Anyway, we had to pretty much try to give them modern gut bacteria, and apparently they had something in them way back when that they depended on to make some pretty specific proteins. . . or they were way off, hard to say. I led the team that managed to crack that particular nut. We wouldn't have gotten that much attention but they'd been stalled for a while, and the mini versions are really popular as pets in some places, so yeah, that was kind of cool.
CLARA: Wow. [She pauses for a moment, clearly a bit awed] Okay. . . right. [to GRIFF] and you? What do you do?
GRIFF: Right now? I'm in the middle of a stint as a travelling scribe. I go from community to community, gathering ideas and stories, inventions and gifts, jokes and dreams. Then I mingle for a while and share adventures of other spheres and so on. We also stir things up and make sure nobody's feeling useless or hopeless.
CLARA: That sounds really fun!
GRIFF: It is! I used to be a Park Ranger, and just tried the scribe thing as a vacation of sorts. Turned out I had a knack for it and loved it, so my vacation became my career. It's been a great experience for me, I'm loving it.
THE DOCTOR: Wait! That's a new one. Your vacation became your job?
GRIFF: Oh! You're making a story too! Sorry, I thought you were a mentor or something.
THE DOCTOR: [winks to Griff] Shh. . . in character!
GRIFF: Right! Sorry, just a totally new sort of game, takes a bit to adjust, you know?
THE DOCTOR: Of course.
GRIFF: Anyway, yes. We have to take at least one vacation a year, and we're also encouraged to take at least one second 'intern-vacation' as well if we're interested in exploring something that we haven't already, makes us better people, I think, too. And you've got to admit, the idea of having a vacation that you can turn into your life has a certain appeal to it, doesn't it?
CLARA: Umm. . yes! I like that quite much actually! [To JEN] How about you? What do you do?
JEN: I'm a Teddy Bear Herder of course, we're the closest thing we have to Emergency Management here. The herd [nods to the bears] also helps with disaster recovery and occasionally enforcement if somebody has a bad moment. We usually spend a couple of days a week with the kids acclimating and goofing around. I love that part best, that's where they got their names. I suck at naming things.
CLARA: [Taking note of JEN's distinct lack of bigness and apparent handicap] Enforcement? Like law enforcement? And you came out here without a gun or anything? Do you have laser legs?
JEN: [Smirks] Griff! Does anybody have laser legs? I would like some, please!
GRIFF: [Rolls eyes] You know every time you do that I have to ask. Last week I sent the librarians requests for sloth-variant teddy bears, examples of humor from peoplespheres using mathematically derived languages, and a device that can make people's hair stand up from a distance. . . and I'm not convinced you'd use that appropriately.
JEN: Nonsense. It was for the kids and would be delightfully entertaining and appropriate for us. [To Clara] Oh, and nope. No guns or laser legs. Just my charm and these guys. [Nods to the teddy bears]
CLARA: What, they have guns?
JEN: Nope, they just entangle you in hugs.
(Also, I'll hit on the theory behind the whole dinosaur cloning bit in a supplement. There's no time-travel involved and I know just as well as you guys that there's obviously no way to do it thanks to the DNA half-life discovery) ;)