Name: The Family of Blood
Format: Television show
Time of Origin: Uncertain, but believed to be the far future, although they fought The Doctor in 1913.
Appearances: “Human Nature/The Family of Blood”
Doctors: Tenth Doctor
Companions: Martha Jones
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The exact circumstances behind the origin of the Family, or even the circumstances under which they originally encountered The Doctor, are both unclear even after their defeat. What is known is that the Family are a race of incorporeal telepathic entities, possessing at least some degree of time travel technology in the form of a time vortex generator in a ship equipped with a cloaking device, who required physical bodies of others in order to extend their own limited lifespan. Having encountered the Tenth Doctor and Martha Jones during their travels (Without ever apparently getting a clear glimpse of Martha; the precise details of this encounter are unknown), the Family subsequently attempted to acquire The Doctor’s DNA, with he and Martha only escaping them at the last minute. Exploiting the Family’s short lifespan – which would cause them to die in less than three months without The Doctor’s DNA to revitalise them – The Doctor seized his only chance to escape the Family for good.
Taking advantage of the fact that they hadn’t managed to get a good look at Martha, he used the TARDIS’s Chameleon Arch to turn himself into a human called John Smith, erasing all his Time Lord memories and planting them in a watch-like device that came equipped with a perception filter that prevented ‘John Smith’ from registering anything strange about it. Thus protected from the Family’s attempts to track them, The Doctor (Now reprogrammed as John Smith) and Martha hid in 1913, Smith taking a job as a teacher in Farringham School while Martha posed as a maid who’d come with him from his family home. Despite Smith experiencing the occasional dream of his life as The Doctor – resulting in him writing about his experiences in his Journal of Impossible Things, containing pictures of the TARDIS, some of his old enemies, Rose, and even sketches of some of his past incarnations, – in general the illusion worked well for the three months they remained there, Martha making sure The Doctor didn’t break any of the ‘rules’ he’d left for her to ensure his human self followed (Such as not to leave the area or her).
Unfortunately, the Family managed to track them down shortly before their life span ran its natural course, the four of them subsequently using the bodies of Mr. Clark, a farmer (The Family member within him being known to the others as ‘Father/Husband of Mine’), Jeremy Baines, a school prefect (‘Son/Brother of Mine’, who generally acted as their leader), Lucy Cartwright, a small girl holding a balloon (‘Sister/Daughter of Mine’) and Jenny, a maid at the school (‘Mother/Wife of Mine’; whether they actually had any individual names of their own is unknown) to begin the search for The Doctor. Discovering the Family’s presence, Martha attempted to warn Smith about the danger he was in, but Smith, still believing his flashes of his life as The Doctor to be nothing more than dreams, dismissing Martha as insane in favour of focusing on his new romance with the school nurse Joan Redfern, particularly when she was unable to show him the watch as evidence due to it having been accidentally picked up by a young pupil Tim Latimer after he heard The Doctor’s voice reaching out to him.
Attempting to convince Smith of the truth regardless of the odds against her, Martha recovered the sonic screwdriver and presented it to Smith at a local dance, but the Family confronted Smith at the dance hall, with only Martha’s quick thinking managing to allow them to escape. Having returned to the school, Smith had the headmaster organise a defence against the Family, only for the subsequent attack to prove pointless when the Family dispatched soldiers in the form of temporarily animated scarecrow-like beings against the pupils, vaporising the headmaster when Sister of Mine sneaked into the school and was discovered (Although she was driven of when Tim exposed her to the watch, her body too small to cope with the terrifying scale of The Doctor’s mind). Forced to retreat from the school, Smith, Martha and Joan were shocked to see that the Family had managed to locate the TARDIS (Although they still couldn’t enter it), intending to use it to force The Doctor to come to them.
As Smith, Martha and Joan hid in a nearby house, Smith still torn between his life as John Smith and his apparent destiny as The Doctor, the group was visited by Tim Latimer, who told him that, although The Doctor he had witnessed when looking into the watch could be lonely, ageless, and – in his own way – terrifying, he was also wonderful. Even with this assurance, Smith was still terrified of transforming back into The Doctor, briefly contemplating giving the Family the watch to end their attack before it was revealed that the Family would conquer the universe if he did that. As the Family began to fire on the village, after being permitted a brief ‘vision’ of the normal life he and Joan would have had if he had been real, Smith opened the watch and turned himself back into The Doctor, subsequently travelling to the Family’s spaceship to confront them. Using an olfactory misdirection trick – essentially a ventriloquist effect that worked on the nose rather than the ears -, he managed to generate a human scent that prevented the Family from realising what he had done until after they had opened the watch. Taking advantage of their belief that he was only a human, while staggering and falling around the ship in ‘shock’, The Doctor pressed various switches throughout the ship, triggering an energy feedback through the retro-stabilisers, causing them to feed back into the primary heat converters and trigger the ship’s self-destruct.
After the Family fled from the exploding ship, The Doctor stood coldly over them as they lay around the field in shock, swiftly deciding on their punishments; since they had sought immortality, he decided to give them exactly what they had asked for without giving them precisely what they had wanted. Father of Mine was wrapped in unbreakable chains from a dwarf star and left in a prison (Presumed by some to be the Time Lord prison Shada), Mother of Mine was trapped on the edge of a collapsing galaxy, Daughter of Mine was trapped in a mirror dimension – allegedly always visible when people look in a mirror and see something moving in the corner – and Son of Mine was turned into a scarecrow and trapped in a field, condemned to watch over the fields of England for all eternity. Years later, after spending much of his time reflecting on The Doctor’s actions during their confrontation, Son of Mine finally realised just why The Doctor had run away to hide from the Family when he had faced beings who could best be described as gods without so much as flinching; he was being kind, giving them a chance to live out the last few months of their existence in peace, rather than being trapped in the eternal imprisonment he would have granted them when his mercy ran out.