Death of a TARDIS
Every TARDIS has an expected life span of several thousand years but in modern times it is unlikely that any TARDIS will reach that age. One should keep in mind that most Time Lords tend to view their time capsule as nothing more then a utilitarian form of transport. Each successful Type of TARDIS will lead to the creation of hundreds of that model. However, given that there are only 1000 Time Lords at any given time it would appear most TT Capsules are scrapped after only a couple of centuries or less. In most cases, a TARDIS will be replaced as soon as its technology becomes obsolete and its operator can afford a newer timeship. In the 2000 years leading up to the Last Great Time War, capsules were often be de-registered well before the end of their expected lifespan. After being put to sleep by its owner, the old TARDIS is usually scrapped at the breakers.
Even if a TARDIS is spared the breakers, eventually, entropy will eat away at a TARDIS's systems until a major system failure occurs. For example, a TARDIS will die if it remains in a state of Dimensional Collapse for more than a few decades. When a TARDIS is near death, the flow of time between the interior and exterior begins to break down. Some areas will show the past, some the future. Some will be frozen in time, some will have accelerated reference frames. A TARDIS that is abandoned for around 3000 years will break down from lack of maintenance, leading to the death of the timeship.
A dying TARDIS will, if capable, travel to a secret TARDIS graveyard. But a mortally wounded TARDIS could rip a hole in the vortex as it moved through the Vortex. If the TARDIS is incapable of safely travelling then it might be forced to suffer in a near death state for centuries. If the TARDIS is incapable of reaching the Graveyard on its own it not unknown for the wounded timeship to send out a telepathic recall signal to any Time Lords who share a symbiotic link with it.
A TARDIS that dies with an active Eye of Harmony will jettison its interior. Its location at the time of death will determine whether the interior is dumped into the Space-Time Vortex or the Space-Time Continuum. It is for this reason that a TARDIS's owner is responsible for putting her to sleep when she is beyond repair.
If possible, a dying TARDIS will automatically time-link itself to another nearby TARDIS. When Time-Linked the dying TARDIS's chameleon circuit and desktop theme will instantly be re-configured to match the pattern of the healthy one. This will stabilize the flow of time inside the capsule.
The traditional method of putting down a disabled TARDIS is to use the time-link to pilot the dying TARDIS into the heart of a star. The healthy TARDIS to aid the dying one in reaching the star by generating a wormhole within the Vortex for it to travel along. This can be done by synchronizing the co-ordinates of both timeships, making sure the calibrators are online, and dematerializing at the exact same time. Care should be taken that the impact doesn't cause any minor shift the orbits of any planets in the star system.
Once the timeship reaches the heart of the star the energies found there will allow the dying time ship to reach the TARDIS Graveyard, located in an impacted pocket dimension outside of normal space and time. Very few Time Lords have seen this graveyard, but one such visitor reported seeing hundreds of decaying TARDISes. The Cloister Room will be the last part to disintegrate.
The following color code is used:
- Black: For information from the TV Series, including Dimensions in Time, and 1996 TV Movie.
- Blue: For information from the Novels and Audios including Target, Virgin, BCC, and Big Finish.
- Green: For information from 'licensed' reference sources such as the Technical Manual, Doctor Who Magazine, and the Role Playing Games.
- Red: For information from unofficial sources -The Faction Paradox series, behind the scenes interviews, author's speculation, and popular fan belief.
The TARDIS Technical Index is copyright Will B Swift.