It is the story of a rock. […] It’s a very small rock. […] No, no, just a stone, the kind you’d pick up and skim across the lake. Not very large at all. But it was by the side of the path, and the Doctor picked it up. […]
At the time we were escaping from the Cave of Sculls. Cavemen were holding us captives, and we’d found a way of evading them. And we ran through the forest, but one of our pursuers caught up with us and was savaged by a wild beast. He lay there, weak from his wounds. Our choice was simple: to stay and help him and be recaptured, or to run on and save ourselves. […]
Barbara went to his aid. I stood still. Susan crouched down beside him as he cried out. And the Doctor… he’d picked up that rock. He was going to use it. I saw him heft it in his hand, and I knew – he’d dash the man’s brains out. A simple decision. Sometimes, in the Doctor’s head, you have to do something brutal and unpleasant in order to survive and escape. But I couldn’t do that. I stopped him. I stayed his hand, and we were recaptured. We escaped from the cave again, but not before more people had died, and we’d given them the secret of making fire. We’d cost lives, and we’d changed the entire history of a species. All because the Doctor had picked up a rock and I hadn’t let him use it. […]
The Doctor had identified a solution, one that was efficient, and swift, and merciful. A caveman was piteously wounded, in a time without medicine. It was the best solution.
But you stopped the Doctor from using it, that’s the point.
And it changed the Doctor. I challenged him, possibly the only time in his life he’d been questioned about what was right and wrong – by a tiny figure, a mayfly, a simple stupid human. And you know what he did? For the first time in his life, he looked away, he blustered, he was caught out, he couldn’t boldly say what it was that he’d been planning on doing. Because it would have been wrong. Not just in our eyes, but in his own. The Doctor had changed, all because of a rock.
Richer and richer, Ian. Not just because of a rock, but because of you.
Being a teacher is so difficult. Scientists in my time say that quantum physics is such a hard subject to explain because the mere action of observing a particle changes its behavoiur. The Doctor comes from a race of observers. I know so little about them, but I know that he wandered the universe watching time, but never changing it. But I had changed him.
I always liked Steven. He was like a big brother. We were both space travellers before we even met the Doctor so that gave us a sort of bond. And because I was smaller than him, it meant I could boss him about and get away with it.
I was angry and sad for several days afterwards, but Barbara brought me round. She was always so wonderfully rational. Then I realised that, of course, although we may have been wanderers… Barbara and I were never alone. Like the Doctor had Susan, I had companionship from someone who understood me and cared for me, and who I understood and cared for too. And that wasn’t so bad. It kept us sane. It was vital. In fact, it was lovely
Ian Chesterton (The Wanderer)
Is it because of the effect Barbara and I had on the Doctor? Is that it? Before he met us he was just an observer, a selfish onlooker, only getting involved if he had to save his own skin, but we changed him. We made him better than that. We made him noble. We helped him save lives.
Ian in the Time Museum.