Clara Splinters and Where to Find Them – Investigating Clara’s lesser-known incarnations

Image Credit: Adapted from Gage Skidmore (CC BY-SA 2.0, Flickr)

Image Description: Jenna Coleman

“Sometimes it’s like I’ve lived a thousand lives in a thousand places. I’m born, I live, I die. And always, there’s the Doctor.” – Clara, The Name of the Doctor

A research dossier by James Ashworth – Director-General, Splinter Watch

Clara Oswald. The Impossible Girl. Appearing in a variety of guises throughout the Doctor’s life, helping them in a variety of ways, we already know some of her many guises. Be it Oswin Oswald, deleting him from the Daleks’ Pathweb, or her barmaid doppelganger in Victorian London, these established splinters already enjoy fame and recognition from fandom. But what of the other, lesser known splinters appearing across a variety of other productions? While we’re yet to learn just why Amy Pond is masquerading as a blue cyborg in Guardians of the Galaxy, we do know that these Clara splinters must be saving The Doctor, somehow. Here, therefore, is a spotters guide to a few of these lesser known splinters, just in case you should encounter one in the wild…

Alias: Lydia Wickham

Date: June 1803

Location: Pemberley

How she saved The Doctor:

Appearing in a Pemberley somewhat different from that of Austen’s, it is therefore most likely that this is not the original Pemberley at all, but a construction within the Land of Fiction, created by The Master (not that one). After adventures in The Doctor’s Second (The Mind Robber) and Seventh (Conundrum, Head Games) incarnations, it seems likely that this Clara Splinter deemed it necessary to adopt an identity within the Land, to ensure that it does not encroach into our world again. The documentary featuring this splinter, Death Comes to Pemberley, indicates that this splinter is still committed to finding justice by hunting for the killer, suggesting that though she may be fictional, Clara’s personality still comes through. Furthermore, her adoption of the identity of a Jane Austen character is telling, and perhaps provides the source of the original Clara’s obsession with the author, as a leftover memory from this splinter’s time in the Land of Fiction. If seen, assume you yourself are in the Land of Fiction, and avoid falling into pre-written traps.

Alias: Victoria, By the Grace of God, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland Queen, Defender of the Faith, Empress of India

Date: 1879

Location: Torchwood House, Scotland

How she saved The Doctor: 

Though notably older than in the Clara Splinter documentary Victoria, this version of Clara is nevertheless the most powerful, and highest ranking, of any known splinter so far. She used this to assist The Doctor in numerous ways, not least by providing the Koh-I-Noor diamond to defeat the Lupine Wavelength Haemovariform at Torchwood House. She also took direct action herself, killing Father Angelo personally, which indicates that Clara’s darker, more controlling side has manifested more strongly in this incarnation. This risk taking is also seen in the Gabriel Chase affair, where she used herself as bait for Josiah Samuel Smith, by providing an invitation to Buckingham Palace for Redvers Fenn-Cooper, thus necessitating the Seventh Doctor’s intervention. Of course, a Splinter in such a position would attract undue attention from The Doctor, perhaps making them realise her mystery before its proper time, so she cunningly used the incident as a pretext to have The Doctor banished from the Empire. Even this action, establishing the Torchwood Institute, has ensured the Earth’s survival multiple times, either in co-operation with The Doctor by the utilisation of the Rift, or independently. This would also provide safe harbour for former companions, including Captain Jack and Martha Jones. As can be seen, this splinter should be treated with caution, having enormous power at their disposal.

Alias: Connie

Date: 1943

Location: The Stark Expo, USA

How she saved The Doctor:

As is shown in the non-fiction book Death’s Head #8, The Doctor, at least before their ninth incarnation, was a visitor to the Marvel Universe on multiple occasions. As such, it makes sense to have a Clara splinter stationed here, just on the off-chance that they may return now Galifrey is restored. This splinter, perhaps worried about being discovered as coming from another universe, has only appeared briefly in documentary media, but Captain America: The First Avenger, shows, she is close to some very powerful figures that she may have recruited as allies, such as Steve Rogers and Bucky Barnes. Furthermore, her presence at the Stark Expo may also suggest she is assembling advanced technology, that if not for her own benefit, may be used for The Doctor’s at a future point. As little is known about this splinter, please alert your nearest Splinter Watch representative if spotted. 

Alias: Samantha Briggs

Date: 20 July 1966

Location: Gatwick Airport

How she saved The Doctor:

This Clara splinter is unusual in relation to the others, as she does not look like the original Clara at all, instead bearing a closer resemblance to the Victoria splinter. This splinter was vital in ensuring that the Second Doctor, having had his companions Ben and Polly taken away from him, had enough help to prevent the Chameleons completing their scheme. Indeed, the presence of the Chameleons may be the reason for this Splinter’s unique appearance. Except for the original Clara, this Splinter came closest to boarding the TARDIS, having to decline an offer to join the crew in order to ensure Victoria would be able to come aboard, and the Time Vortex’s stability is maintained. After these events, she also indirectly helped foil The Master’s plan to meddle in the Kennedy Assassination by assisting James Stevens’s inquiries into The Doctor, as detailed in Who Killed Kennedy? This Clara splinter is now assumed to have served her purpose, and is presumably safe to approach.

Alias: Jasmine Thomas

Date: 2005-2009

Location: Emmerdale

How she saved The Doctor:

While the Yorkshire village of Emmerdale seems safe, the presence of he Valeyard, in the disguise of Donald de Souza, was more than enough of a reason for a Clara splinter to be stationed there. Especially now The Doctor is between their Twelfth and Final incarnation, attention to The Valeyard, though they have not been active in some time, is essential to ensure maintenance of the time streams. Her work as a journalist also suggests that she may be providing some help to Sarah Jane Smith in The Doctor’s absence. Furthermore, this Splinter may be present for more sentimental reasons, given the presence of a younger Danny Pink, and so fulfilling Clara’s emotional side. Now in prison, this Splinter has presumably completed their observation of The Valeyard, and deemed them safe… for now.

Alias: Lindsay James

Date: 2009

Location: Waterloo Road School

How she saved The Doctor:

Though connections with The Doctor seem limited, investigation of this Splinter allowed Splinter Watch to make a startling discovery – a previously undiscovered rift in time! Located in a school in Rochdale, or possibly Greenock, which operates under the unassuming name of Waterloo Road, this rift perhaps even challenges Coal Hill School for time travel phenomena. For one, noted civil rights campaigner Rosa Parks was, for a brief period, an English Teacher at this school, before being restored to her proper time and place in time for the events of Rosa. It also appears that activity such as this has attracted other interested parties, with Clive Finch, the conspiracy theorist, being observed undercover as a maths teacher, allowing him to observe the school incognito. Indeed, observations have also been made by rift rivals, Coal Hill School, with their headteacher, Dorothea Ames, deeming it necessary to pretend to be a geography teacher so as to investigate. While it is possible that this Clara Splinter is purely precautionary, keeping a watch for unwitting time travellers, they may have served their purpose, allowing for actions independent of The Doctor. 

Unconfirmed Report

by Agent Matthew Kilburn

Alias: Ray?

Date: 2,000,000

Location: Iceworld, Svartos

How she saved The Doctor:

The parade of Claras seen in the pre-credits sequence of The Name of the Doctor closed off some mysteries about the Doctor’s past, but raised questions surrounding where these Clara splinters fitted in or around the version of the Doctor’s history we’d already seen on television. In one case, that of the Clara seen looking out at the Seventh Doctor as he hangs by his umbrella over an unpromising drop in Dragonfire, I propose that this Clara is native to the previous story, Delta and the Bannermen. Her studded leather jacket recalls a similar one worn by Ray in that story and her hairstyle, earrings and neckerchief would fit Delta’s 1959 setting. This is someone who became close enough to the Doctor to join his travels, and is very possibly a temporally re-engineered version of Ray (played in Delta and the Bannermen by Sara Griffiths). Ray in Delta lost her unrequited love, Billy, to a life in space with the eponymous Chimeron Queen – but perhaps this Clara-Ray couldn’t console herself with Billy’s Vincent motorcycle, and felt compelled to join the Doctor…

As can be seen, Clara splinters take on a variety of roles across our universe, and others. They can be difficult to identify, especially those with unorthodox appearances, so any suspicions should be reported to Splinter Watch’s highly trained staff immediately. Remember to stay alert, and remain vigilant, as anyone, be it a colleague, friend, or family member, could be a splinter.

Tides 44 is, at time of publication, available to buy through this link

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