Written in 1998, Genesis of a Time Lord used the mythology of Doctor Who to educate in a fun way the definition of Cystic Fibrosis.
Join James and find out how he came to know that Cystic Fibrosis is not all it's made to be.
Previously in Chapter 1:
Later after my friends had gone home, and my parents returned home with a few of their fellow dancing friends. After refreshments and a bit of social chat my parent’s friends too had gone home. I was helping mum clear away some glasses when I told her about the images I saw knowing she would blame the films for my overactive imagination. However the reaction she gave was quite the opposite than what I expected.
“I was wondering when you’d start getting telepathic readings from your race.” She said.
“My race?” I replied confused.
Chapter 2: Who is the Doctor?
What a truly odd and confusing evening I was having. I simply could not contemplate what was happening. I was confused by how I was able to translate symbols seen on my gearstick earlier in the evening transform from the numbers usually displayed. What did it mean, “Time And Relative Dimensions In Space”?
I wanted to know more about these creatures. I spent some time attempting to see if any of these creatures would familiarise themselves as characters seen in films I had watched. The answer to this came as an unexpected and unexplained “no”.
What was this blue box I saw? Although it had qualities on it that were identifiable as Earth origin, there was something uncanny and not human about it and its occupant. I recognised there was a link between this box and this “Doctor” chap. However what that was I had no idea.
The most odd thing about all this was somehow mum had answers to. I was totally bewildered when rather than accuse me of having an overactive imagination, to instead claim I was receiving telepathic readings from “my race”.
Mum began telling me that when she worked as a secretary for the government, she was assigned to a department called U.N.I.T., which she explained stood for United Nations Intelligence Task Force. As she assisted in writing reports, Mum was soon to learn some of the reports documented alien beings coming from space and trying to take over the world. At first I could not believe it, but then she left the kitchen and I heard thuds as she went upstairs followed by the sound of wood being rubbed together as Mum opened her bedside drawer to search for something. There were more thuds on the stairs as Mum returned back to the kitchen with an aged looking envelope and handed it to me. With anticipation and curiosity, I opened the envelope and removed from it a small collection of black and white photographs.
“They were given to me by a colleague I worked with.” Mum said. “She was a journalist known as Sarah Jane Smith, who was assigned to work with a scientific advisor in U.N.I.T.”
I was astounded by what I saw. I looked and looked again at the photos not being able to believe what I was seeing. Mum saw the bewildered look in my eyes, and continued to tell me more about the photos.
“The scientific adviser was an expert with these types of creatures.” She said. “We never knew where he was from, but going by a place he described, we made the assumption he was from somewhere in Ireland.” Mum paused as though she was remembering something else. “That is until Sarah started describing some journeys he took her on.”
“Who was this man?” I asked, still looking in amazement at the photos.
“His name was Doctor John Smith, but everyone referred to him as the Doctor.” Mum replied.
“The Doctor?” I asked in amazing remembering the visions of the man by the hexagon console.
I started to wonder if what I was being told so far was Mum playing along with the descriptions I gave about my visions. However the photos proved this wasn’t the case. “What does this Doctor have to do with what I’ve been seeing?” I asked.
“When I was working for U.N.I.T.” began my Mum. “I became acquainted with the Doctor through his assistant, Sarah Jane Smith. Over the years of getting to know the Doctor, I found he was a time traveller who travelled to many places preventing invasions by alien beings that fought only to conquer.”
Mum could see by my expression I wasn’t sure whether to believe her or not. However at the same time she knew I knew there was truth in this as I continued to look and look again at the photos.
“I can see you’re confused.” Mum said. “So was I when Sarah told me all these stories about the Doctor. One claim Sarah made was the Doctor was not of this planet.”
She explained that he was something called a Time Lord who travelled back through time of about 3735 years from a planet called Gallifrey.
“Like other Time Lords,” Mum continued, “the Doctor has the abilities to travel through time and space in something called a Time And Relative Dimensions In Space machine (TARDIS for short).”
I appeared to look mesmerised as I thought back to the symbols on the gearstick in my car. Mum noticed this. “Yes,” she said, “it’s a lot to take in. Perhaps I’ll tell you more tomorrow after you’ve slept on what you know so far.”
“NO!” I exclaimed. “I want to know more.”
“Ok,” Mum began, “let me know once you’ve heard enough.” She paused and acknowledged my nod as a wish to continue. “A couple of years later, when my friendship with the Doctor developed, I found out a close ‘friend’ of the Doctor faced difficulties whilst giving birth to her first and only son.” I noticed a change in the tone of Mum’s voice, which gave me an idea what had happened to the baby. “When the Doctor heard of the difficulties, he made attempts to contact the father, who at the time was serving in the armed forces.”
Mum started to speak slower as though she had gone back in time to the very moment. “Sadly, the Doctor found the father-to-be had been killed in battle.” I noticed tears develop in her eyes. “The strain put on the mother during labour ended her life.”
Reaching for a box of tissues, I offered the box to Mum, who took a couple of tissues from it to wipe her eyes and blow her nose. Holding back more tears, Mum continued. “The Doctor had no idea how he could help the orphaned child. He wanted to, but couldn’t adopt the child himself due to the dangers the child could face as a result of being with the Doctor.”
“So what happened?” I asked. “I mean to the child?”
“When it came to choosing a suitable candidate for the adopting the child, the Doctor knew straight away who he could suggest, but pondered on the idea not knowing if the potential adoptive parents thought in the same way as him.”
I was eager to know more. It was quite obvious by Mum’s emotions as she spoke of the Doctor and his quest that she knew the fate of the child. My thoughts were with that child and I felt sad the child not only lost his dad who died in battle, but also his mum. I have never heard such a sad story of this nature in all my life. However I had heard many sad stories of Cystic Fibrosis sufferers like me, who were condemned to a life time of tablets, inhalers and physiotherapy to control the genetic disorder that affects mainly the lungs and pancreas. In my time in the 1980s to be a Cystic Fibrosis sufferer reaching teenage years meant you were very fortunate to survive the obstacles of chest infections, organ failures, collapsed lungs and depletion of lung function being some examples that you experienced as you drew your last breath. Although I was fortunate to fight my way through to my late teens and near my twentieth, there were many Cystic Fibrosis friends, who I considered to be siblings by how close we were, who weren’t as fortunate. However with what I was about to be told, little did I know that what Mum was about to say would be met with life changing consequences for me. When she said those words, at first I thought it was all a trick of some sort. I tried and tried to figure out how the trick could be put into practice. However coming up with a theory was impossible. All the evidence was right in front of me in black and white. The significance of which would soon be revealed. The photos Mum had presented were of the alien beings that I had visions of. The aliens, the Doctor, the blue box, and the symbols all had one thing in common.
“The Doctor,” Mum said, “asked if we, that is your dad and I, could help him with the child.” Mum smiled and wiped away another tear. “Of course we were delighted and always have been ever so proud to be of help to the Doctor in bringing you up. Though we did face some difficulties.” She said with a worried look. She looked at the shocked expression on my face. “Um, I’ll put the kettle on. You look like you could do with a cup of tea for the shock.”