Time of Origin: Late nineteenth century
Thomas Brewster is one of those relatively few companions whom The Doctor never asked to accompany him on his travels; indeed, at the conclusion of his first encounter with The Doctor. Thomas actually stole the TARDIS itself, forcing The Doctor to resort to very unorthodox measures in order to get it back. Despite the circumstances of his arrival, and the relative brevity of his time in the ship, The Doctor and Nyssa nevertheless grew rather fond of Thomas after they got to know him better, both of them clearly missing him after his departure.
Originally an orphan from the Victorian age, Thomas’s earliest memory was seeing his mother’s funeral when he was about four or five years old – being blamed at the time for her suicide – subsequently being sent to a workhouse as they felt it was no more than he deserved. As he grew up, Brewster regularly witnessed the Fifth Doctor and Nyssa attempting to visit him and ask him about a recurring dream he had – featuring his mother singing ‘Oranges and Lemons’, but the three were never able to meet until after Thomas left the workhouse and fell in with a gang of thieves. Based on instructions he received in dreams, Thomas began to steal various items from around London to create a machine that would apparently restore his mother to him, unaware what the final result would be.
However, the rift that the creatures’ attempts to communicate with Thomas created resulted in the Fifth Doctor and Nyssa being drawn to London during this time frame, The Doctor and Nyssa subsequently learning about Thomas’s visions. The Doctor deduced that the creatures that had contacted Thomas were actually from a possible version of the year 2008, attempting to use Thomas to influence the past to make their future more likely and thus increase its chances of coming to pass, appearing to him as his mother as they were unable to gather enough energy to manifest directly. Despite the creatures’ attempts to ‘guarantee’ their existence by encouraging Thomas to smash The Doctor‘s equipment and take the TARDIS into their future, The Doctor managed to follow them- thanks to a slight time paradox, in that he salvaged a future version of the TARDIS that would be sent back into the past after he followed the present TARDIS in its future self – collapsing the time rift that had allowed the creatures to communicate with him, the paradox subsequently being averted by The Doctor taking Thomas back in time to warn his past self not to listen to his mother’s ghost.
Despite the resolution of this crisis, Thomas, unwilling to return to his old life, attempted to escape it by stealing the TARDIS once again, only for his lack of knowledge of TARDIS control – having previously been guided by the creatures – to prove a significant disadvantage. Even when attempting something as simple as landing he ended up unintentionally creating a dimensional rift when he failed to materialise completely during a brief trip to the ‘true’ 2008, creating a temporal rift that allowed existential maintenance workers called Phil and Trev to gain access to this universe, subsequently latching on to the wish of a young woman called Connie Winter that Thomas was talking with to remake Earth into a ‘perfect’ world. On another occasion, Brewster tried to earn some means of getting by in the universe by selling some components of the TARDIS to another group of time travellers he discovered on a temporal reef that he crash-landed on during his travels – having been created due to the TARDIS‘s conceptual geometer latching on to a piece of space coral – not realising until after he’d sold the components that they couldn’t work in anything other than another TARDIS.
Eventually, however, the TARDIS was returned to its rightful owner, albeit in a roundabout manner. While trying to track down the TARDIS using Block Transfer Computations – the computations being chanted in the form of a séance with ten other people due to the lack of any more sophisticated technology – The Doctor and Nyssabriefly experienced a very personal crisis when The Doctor‘s own guilt caused his subconscious mind to send the computations to the Cybermen freighter where his former companion Adric had died, transferring Adric to a newly-created alternate reality. Although driven insane by centuries of isolation and bitterness, Adric eventually agreed to help The Doctor and Nyssa escape his world. Once back on Earth, Adric subsequently sacrificed himself to send a message to Thomas and divert the TARDIS back to Earth with one final block transfer computation, suggesting to Thomas that he remain with The Doctor if didn’t feel he belonged in any specific place or time.
However, his time with The Doctor was destined to be brief, primarily consisting of him helping The Doctor and Nyssa cleaning up the mistakes he had made during his brief time in the TARDIS. On only his first actual trip with The Doctor, the TARDIS crash-landed on the temporal reef where Brewster had sold components of the ship during his time away, leaving The Doctor, Nyssa and Brewster forced to deal with the enraged crew of the ship as The Doctor raced against time to recover the missing components before his ship was lost for good. Despite the fact that his incompetence had been the cause of the problem, Brewster redeemed himself by risking his life to repair the damaged TARDIS, leaping into the ship to return the geometer to the interior dimensions despite the risk to himself. On their subsequent trip to the twenty-first century, The Doctor quickly discovered the alterations that had occurred as a result of Brewster’s creation of a quantum fissure on his last visit, subsequently tracking down Connie, who served as the focal point of the quantum fissure Brewster’s actions had created. Bringing her into the TARDIS, where Phil and Trev appeared to answer the group’s questions, The Doctor and Connie subsequently convincing them that perfection could only happen if people made themselves better rather than others doing it for them.
With the world restored, and with Brewster having developed feelings for Connie, he decided to remain where he was, feeling that remaining with The Doctor and Nyssa would be like running away from real life, and wanting to stay in one place and see what happened. Although Nyssa was surprised that Brewster didn’t want to stay with them for longer, The Doctor – while insulted at how quickly he jumped ship – recognised that Brewster had found what he’d wanted; someone to be with and a place to belong. Wishing Brewster well, The Doctor left Brewster with the deeds to a house in Baker Street that The Doctor had lived in during his attempts to reacquire the TARDIS, for him to do with as he wished, confident that Thomas would do well for himself.
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