employees wash hands before returning to the invasion

The last vestiges of sunlight left 13 Paternoster Row. A coach pulled up in front and a hooded figure emerged.

The figure spoke, ‘Thank you, Parker, I won't be needing you again tonight.’ 

‘Yes, m' lady,’ the driver said and drove off. The figure entered 13 Paternoster Row and removed its hood as usual. 

‘Jenny!’ Madame Vastra called out, ‘I'm home. Is dinner ready?’

‘Yes, ma'am,’ Jenny replied from the dining room. ‘A beautiful roast duck is waiting for you.’ 

‘Good,’ said Vastra , ‘I've been starving all day.’ Jenny took the hint. 

‘No luck today, ma'am?’ 

‘None whatsoever, I'm afraid. There's been a depressing lack of crime around here recently. How am I supposed to be an adventuress if there aren't any more adventures to go on?’ 

‘With all due respect, ma'am, Jack the Ripper was quite a catch. It will be difficult to top that one.’ 

‘Yes, I know, but still I wish there was something that could shake me from this awful boredom.’ It was then that they both heard a familiar sound emanating from the drawing room. 

‘Ma'am, is that-‘ 

‘Yes, Jenny, I believe it is. He's back.’ Vastra smiled as she led Jenny into the drawing room. Sure enough, the blue police box was waiting for them. ‘Doctor! We were wondering when you'd return.’ 

The TARDIS doors opened and the bow tie wearing Doctor emerged. ‘Well then,’ he said, ‘Let's not waste any time. What adventure have you got planned for me?'


 'So, no adventure at all, then?’ the Doctor asked. 

‘No, I'm afraid not,’ Vastra replied. They were both sitting at the dining table feasting on duck while Jenny poured the wine. ‘Ever since we last met, nothing much has happened around here.’ 

‘I see. I wish I could say that will change but if I recall correctly, 1889 was a rather dull year.’ 

‘And I presume you don't have anything in mind for us, either, Doctor?’ 

‘Nope,’ he said. ‘You've repaid your debt to me; so as far as I'm concerned, you're off the hook.’ 

‘Thank you. You'll be glad to know there's no lingering resentment over the deaths of my sisters. How are your companions doing, by the way?’ 

‘Well, let's see. Amy and Rory are living happily ever after in 21st-century London. Or, so I hope, it’s been a while since I’ve seen them both.’ 

‘I'm glad to hear that.’ Jenny said. ‘They seemed terribly shocked when that River woman told them she was their daughter.’ 

‘I should think so. Oh, did River get you both home without any problems?’ 

‘Yes,’ Vastra said, taking a sip of wine. ‘That method of instantaneous time travel is not as much fun as the TARDIS, but it did the job.’ 

‘Good. She's doing fine as well, despite the fact that she's in prison.’ 

‘What was her crime?’ 


'Who was the victim?’


‘WHAT?’ declared Vastra and Jenny simultaneously. 

‘Long story short, I'm alive and well, she's serving time to maintain the illusion that I'm dead. Count yourselves lucky that I'm trusting you with this information.’ 

Vastra and Jenny exchanged an awkward glance. ‘Very well, Doctor,’ Vastra said, ‘Let us toast your good health.’ 

‘Isn't that what villains say before they poison people?’ the Doctor asked. 

‘I suppose I'm still getting used to human customs,’ Vastra replied. As they sampled the wine, Jenny retrieved a letter that had been pushed under the door during the conversation. She quickly handed it to Vastra. 

‘Who is it from?’ the Doctor asked. 

‘Lady Quentina Grantley,’ Vastra replied. ‘A wealthy widow, whom I once saved from certain death at the hands of a murderous thief. She's one of the few people I trust with my appearance.’ 

‘What does it say?’ 

‘She wants Jenny and myself to come to the Grantley mansion tonight. Apparently, there is to be an important meeting with “otherworldly implications”.’ Vastra looked at Jenny who in turn looked at the Doctor. He leapt up from his chair in excitement. 

‘Excellent!’ he cried, clapping his hands together. ‘It looks like we may be in for an adventure after all!’ 

‘Are you sure you want to come, Doctor?’ Vastra asked. ‘She may not take kindly to strangers.’ 

‘Don't worry. I'll show her my credentials. Plus, we can get there a lot faster in the TARDIS.’ 

‘Alright, then, I'll get my cloak." As Vastra left the room, Jenny approached the Doctor. 

‘Did you enjoy your duck, Doctor?’ 

‘I certainly did. Just like mother used to make. So, how are things with you, Jenny?’ 

‘Oh, more of the same I suppose. Cook dinner, wash the dishes, do the laundry, make sure the house is spotless. The life of a servant isn't glamorous you know, Doctor.’ She sighed and lowered her voice. ‘Sometimes I feel like she doesn't appreciate everything that I do for her.’ 

The Doctor nodded. ‘I understand. My friend Charley grew up with a maid named Edith who didn't feel she was appreciated either. But thanks to a life-changing event, Charley came to see just how much Edith had meant to her as a child.’ 

‘Do you think that's what it'll take for her to appreciate me? A life-changing event?’ 

The Doctor shrugged. ‘Who knows?’ he said. 


The TARDIS materialized in an alleyway behind the Grantley mansion. The Doctor, Vastra and Jenny emerged and cautiously looked around. 

‘I'm sure the old girl will be safe here,’ the Doctor said as he locked the TARDIS doors.

‘How do you intend to persuade Lady Grantley that she can trust you?’ Vastra asked

 ‘With my impeccable credentials, of course,’ he replied and produced the psychic paper from his coat pocket. He led Vastra and Jenny around to the front of the mansion and knocked on the door. A smartly dressed man opened it.

‘Hello, my good man,’ the Doctor said, holding up the psychic paper. ‘I'm Dr. Bernard Summerfield with the London Paranormal Investigation Service. These two ladies informed me that there is to be an important meeting here tonight that is of interest to my organization. I take it you are Lady Grantley's butler?’ 

‘That is correct, sir,’ the butler replied. ‘I'm afraid you will have to confer with Lady Grantley as to whether you will be allowed to attend the meeting. This way, please.’ They followed him through the front hall into the parlor. There, they found Lady Grantley chatting to a gangling man with spectacles. She stood up as they entered the room. She was an elderly, yet graceful woman with piercing green eyes. 

‘Madame Vastra! Jenny! I'm grateful you could make it! You may take Vastra's cloak, Perkins,’ she said to the butler. Perkins did so, revealing Vastra's face. The gangling man stared. 

‘My word!’ he exclaimed. ‘Lady Grantley told me you were unique but I wasn't quite prepared for this.’ 

‘I am only unique because all my sisters are dead,’ Vastra said flatly. ‘I resented that fact for a long time until this man helped me to overcome it.’ She indicated the Doctor who held up the psychic paper again. 

‘Dr. Bernard Summerfield, London Paranormal Investigation Service. Vastra, Jenny and I go way back. We-'

'I thought I indicated in my letter that you two were supposed to come alone,' Lady Grantley interrupted. She glared at the Doctor. 'This is not a matter to be taken lightly.'

‘I can assure you, my lady, that this man can be trusted with whatever it is you summoned us here for,’ Vastra said. ‘He has seen many things that are, shall we say, out of the ordinary.’ Lady Grantley looked at the gangling man who nodded his approval.

‘Very well, then,’ she said. ‘Allow me to introduce Reginald Woodville, the most eminent scientist and inventor this country has ever produced.’

‘I think there are quite a few men who would disagree you,’ the Doctor interjected. ‘I've met some of them. Isaac Newton, George Stephenson, Michael Faraday, Charles Darwin, Alan Turing- oh wait, you don't know who he is yet. Never mind!’ The others just stared at him. 

‘Nevertheless, Doctor,’ Lady Grantley said, ‘Once you see what Mr. Woodville has to show us, I think you will be inclined to agree with me.’

‘Thank you, my lady,’ Woodville said. ‘Please, everyone have a seat. The presentation is about to begin.’ They sat down and Woodville stepped aside to reveal a device that resembled a primitive film projector. ‘I call it the Universal Revealer. It is my life's work. You see, Lady Grantley's late husband was a most generous patron of scientific research. His donations enabled me to build the device so I thought it appropriate for her to be among the first to witness its power.’ 

‘And I felt that you were the only ones who could appreciate what this machine is capable of,’ Lady Grantley explained to Vastra and Jenny. 

‘But what does it do?’ Jenny asked. 

‘It projects images of other universes,’ Woodville said. There was a brief silence, which the Doctor broke. 

‘How can you be sure of that?’ he asked. 

‘Because the structures and technology contained in these images is unlike any we have ever seen before, Doctor,’ Woodville explained. ‘Thanks to a series of intricate equations, I was able to harness some rare crystals that power the device. Allow me to demonstrate.’ He flipped some switches and the Revealer projected a moving picture onto the parlor wall. It showed a flyby of what appeared to be a metal fortress surrounded by three small islands. Woodville flipped another switch and the view shifted to a mountain surrounded by an endless sea. There was what appeared to be a ship sticking out of the rock and a lighthouse. Another flip of the switch and the view was of a forest of immeasurably tall trees. There were huts connected by walking bridges and a windmill. The final view showed a desolate landscape punctuated only by an oasis, a crystal forest and… a rocket ship? 

The Doctor could scarcely believe his eyes. It seemed that Woodville was telling the truth. 

Woodville flipped one final switch, turning the Revealer off. ‘And that is just a small sample of what I have been able to witness,’ he said. ‘Over time, I have come across more and more beguiling images. Floating rocks. Giant mushrooms. You name it. I have allowed only a few of my colleagues to know about the Revealer. You are the first members of the general public to view these worlds.’ 

‘It is an honor and a privilege to do so, Mr. Woodville,’ Lady Grantley said. ‘Your invention has the potential to revolutionize physics itself.’

‘It certainly is impressive,’ the Doctor said, with only the slightest hint of skepticism in his voice. ‘If you don't mind my asking, have you ever caught a glimpse of any people in one of these images?’ Woodville shook his head in reply. 

‘No,’ he said. ‘It would appear that while these worlds were clearly inhabited once, they are now completely devoid of people. I suppose it is useless to speculate as to what became of them. After all, the Revealer can only tell us so much. If we could somehow travel to these other universes, then we might be able to find out. But that is beyond the scope of this project, I'm afraid.’ 

‘Yes, of course,’ the Doctor said. But he was not looking at Woodville. He was looking at the Revealer, lost in thought. 

‘In all my life, I have never seen wonders such as those I have just witnessed,’ Vastra said. ‘Not even the Doctor has shown me anything quite like these other worlds, Mr. Woodville. You are nothing short of a genius.’ 

‘Indeed, sir,’ Jenny chimed in. ‘Oh, how I would love to see more of these worlds! If only there was a way-‘ 

‘Vastra! Jenny!’ the Doctor interrupted, jumping up from his seat. ‘I need to talk to you both in private. Lady Grantley, if you'll excuse us. Reg- can I call you Reg? Your invention is marvelous. Top notch, in fact, but I just need a few minutes to think this over.’ 

‘Of course, Doctor,’ Woodville replied. ‘Take all the time you need.'