The Sirens of Time
“The Sirens of Time”.
The Sirens are rather similar to their Greek namesakes in that they ‘sing’ people into danger; however, while the Sirens of Greek mythology did this to lure sailors to dangerous rocks so that they could then at the sailors, the Sirens of Time ‘sing’ time travellers, or people in general, into locations where they can change history, thus providing energy for the Sirens to feed on from the distortions in history.
They eventually struck The Doctor in three times simultaneously, the Sirens luring three incarnations of The Doctor – the Fifth, Sixth, and Seventh Doctors specifically – to three different locations in history; the Fifth Doctor found himself on a British merchant ship, which was sunk by a German U-boat, the Sixth found himself on the starship Edifice, orbiting a gaseous spacial anomaly called the Kurgon Wonder, and the Seventh found himself on a planet designed to act as a prison planet for the war criminal Sancroff, now just a crippled old man who acknowledged that what he’d done was wrong. Under the manipulation of The Sirens, who prevented The Doctors from leaving before they made any changes by locking them out of their TARDISes, The Doctors each made subtle changes to history.
Thanks to the Seventh Doctor’s intervention, Sancroff never died, and the Knights of Velyshaa – a race of lethal warriors, of which he had once been a member – were able to rescue him to lead their second campaign of conquest. the Fifth Doctor’s attempt to return to the TARDIS forced the U-boat off course and prevented it from sinking the Lusitania; although the course of the First World War remained largely unchanged, a petty criminal who otherwise would have died on the Lusitania went on to kill Alexander Fleming in a botched robbery attempt before the discovery of penicillin, thus leaving the Earth ravaged by new strains of pneumonia and meningitis in 1956, and the survivors never discovered space travel and never defeated the Second Velyshaan Empire. And the Sixth Doctor, by freeing the Temperon – a legendary time beast that had escaped attempts to control it by freezing the moment of its own death – also freed the Knights who had been trapped with it, enabling them to complete their experiment, acquire the power of time travel and thus conquer Gallifrey.
However, in its few brief moments of total freedom after the Sixth Doctor freed it, the Temperon was able to collect the three Doctors from their respective locations and deposit them on the now-conquered Gallifrey, where they realised that a woman they’d met in the course of their adventures – Elenya, Helen, and Ellie – was the same person; the manifestation of The Sirens of Time, although they didn’t know it at the time. They managed to escape the Knights of Velyshaa, but the Fifth Doctor was captured when he injured his leg in the escape, and the other two were forced to join him and confront Knight Commander Lyena (Another manifestation of the Sirens), who revealed the changes they’d made to history and begged them to correct it; the Knight’s attempts to use the Temperon for time travel had left them with a mutation in the gene pool that was killing them slowly, even with them now leeching off the Time Lord’s life energies via speciall-designed extractor suitsat least in the old history, the Knights had been able to go down with a bang…
However, this wasn’t as easy as it seemed; for one thing, the only working TARDIS on Gallifrey had a burned out time core. The Sixth and Seventh Doctors decided to free the Temperon to use it, but Lyena, terrified at that option, captured the Fifth Doctor and hooked him up to a life extraction unit… unfortuantely for her, not in time for the Temperon to be prevented from revealing the truth about the Sirens to The Doctors. The Sixth and Seventh Doctors were left with a terrible conundrum; if they did what Lyena asked of them, they would have responded to the Siren’s call twice (Evidently it didn’t control them after their regenerations) and would become the Sirens’ eternal slaves, going all over time causing chaos, but if they refused, Lyena would kill the Fifth Doctor, thus erasing the Sixth and Seventh from history and causing even more chaos for the Sirens to feed on.
There was only one chance; by freeing the Temperon, The Doctors would give the Temperon the chance to stop the Sirens, but only by condeming it, and the Sirens, to eternal struggle. Lyena was sure that The Doctor’s innate compassion would force him to seek another solution, but she made a crucial mistake by bringing three Doctors together; each time The Doctor regenerated, certain aspects of his personality come into greater prominence than in other incarnations, and while the Fifth Doctor may personify The Doctor’s compassion more than others, and the Seventh his knowledge, the Sixth was far more… pragmatic than his other selves. He thus destroyed the restraint field machinery, setting the Temperon free to correct history.
In the restored history, everything turned out as it should have done; Sancroff died, the Lusitania was sunk, Gallifrey was restored, and The Doctors found themselves on the prison planet where the Seventh Doctor had been drawn to by the Sirens. As The Doctors set off back to the TARDIS, where the Seventh Doctor intended to open an interface and return his previous incarnations to their relative time streams, Elenya’s cries drifted out across Time, pleading for somebody, anybody, to help her…
Did someone else answer the call? Nobody knows…