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Vortex manipulator

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A vortex manipulator was a form of basic time travel used by the Time Agency of the 51st century. The Tenth Doctor took a dismal view of it, claiming it to be a "space hopper" compared to his "sports car".

Usage Edit

Time Agents were each given a vortex manipulator. Vortex manipulators used and issued by the Time Agency were housed in leather wrist-straps with a covering flap, enabling the device to be worn conveniently by the Time Agent without drawing attention to the device itself. (TV: The Empty Child)

Jack Harkness Edit

After Rose Tyler as the Bad Wolf resurrected Jack Harkness following his extermination by the Daleks, (TV: The Parting of the Ways) Jack used his manipulator to travel from the Game Station, 200,100. He attempted to reach the 21st century Earth, but missed and ended up in 1869 (146 years off-course). The manipulator burned out after this trip. However, Jack was still able to use at least some of the other functions besides time travelling and teleporting. (TV: Utopia)

Years later, as Jack, the Tenth Doctor and Martha Jones were being attacked by Futurekind on Malcassairo in the year 100,000,000,000,000, the Doctor repaired the vortex manipulator with his sonic screwdriver, transporting them to Earth, 2008. The group used it to teleport to the Valiant, from which Martha subsequently escaped, also by use of the manipulator. (TV: The Sound of Drums) Martha considered the vortex manipulator in her Top Five Worst Ways To Travel because it made her sinuses and organs ache and caused her throat to become bloody. (PROSE: The Story of Martha) The Master later also used it to teleport from the Valiant to Earth, where he threatened to destroy the planet. The Doctor was able to use the manipulator to teleport them both back to the Valiant. Once the Master was defeated and Jack made his way back to the Torchwood Hub, the Doctor deactivated the manipulator, saying that he couldn't leave Jack with a time-travelling teleport. "You could go anywhere in time, twice; second time to apologise", according to the Doctor. (TV: Last of the Time Lords)

When the Daleks relocated Earth to the Medusa Cascade and invaded it, Jack used information from the UNIT Project Indigo (based on Sontaran teleport pod technology) to reactivate the teleport function on his vortex manipulator (he still couldn't time travel). He then teleported to find the Doctor, arriving just after the Doctor was shot by a Dalek, which Jack then killed. (TV: The Stolen Earth) After the Daleks were defeated, the Doctor deactivated the manipulator again, sternly saying "I told you - no teleport". (TV: Journey's End)

Eventually, Captain Jack's vortex manipulator came into the possession UNIT and held in their Black Archive under the tightest secrecy, with UNIT keeping it hidden from not only its allies (particularly the Americans) but the Doctor himself. A Zygon posing as Kate Stewart told Clara Oswald it was bequeathed to the UNIT archive by Jack on the occasion of his death, "one of them" (the exact circumstances have yet to be chronicled). When the Zygon presence was revealed, Clara took the manipulator and using the activation code left by the Eleventh Doctor, used it to reunite with the Doctors in Elizabethan England. It is not known what became of the device afterwards. (TV: The Day of the Doctor)

River Song Edit

After hearing that she was in search of time travel, the salesman Dorium Maldovar met with River Song in the Maldovarium bar to offer her a vortex manipulator that was, according to him, "fresh off the wrist of a handsome Time Agent" (which wasn't quite true as, after examining the box, Dorium said "I said off the wrist," implying it had the hand with it). She used it to teleport to Planet One at some point in the past and then to 102 A.D. on Earth. (TV: The Pandorica Opens)

After the destruction of the TARDIS, the Eleventh Doctor used River's manipulator to teleport to Easter, 1996, and then back to 102 A.D. to affect the rescue of both his earlier self and of Amy Pond. Discovering the TARDIS to be caught in a time loop at the moment of its destruction, the Doctor was able to use the manipulator to transport himself into the TARDIS to rescue River. The Doctor later time-travelled back 12 minutes to fake his death after being seriously wounded by the Stone Dalek, buying himself time to get to the Pandorica. The vortex manipulator was then used to transport the Pandorica into the heart of the explosion of the TARDIS, thus 'rebooting' the Universe. After being brought back by Amy, the Doctor gave the vortex manipulator back to River Song. (TV: The Big Bang)

River later used the device to meet up with the Doctor, Amy and Rory at Demons Run. The Doctor afterwards charged River with returning Amy and Rory home, which she presumably did using the device. (TV: A Good Man Goes to War) It's uncertain whether she helped Vastra, Jenny Flint and the revived Strax also return to their time (The Battle of Demons Run: Two Days Later).

When three Rivers ended up in the Doctor's TARDIS, the second one was travelling using her vortex manipulator and the Doctor sent her away before she or any of the other Rivers could see each other by activating her vortex manipulator and causing her to teleport away. (TV: Last Night)

River travelled back to 1938 New York with her vortex manipulator. Despite the TARDIS being unable to travel to that time due to time distortions, the manipulator was able to make the trip. River later used it to send a signal to the Doctor to act as "landing lights." (TV: The Angels Take Manhattan)

Other instances Edit

Captain John Hart used a manipulator to reunite with Jack and then take him to 27 A.D.. Gray used his manipulator to take control of the Weevils in Cardiff. (TV: Exit Wounds)

Although it was generally used by the Agency, the Family of Blood stole one to follow the Tenth Doctor around the universe. (TV: Human Nature/The Family of Blood) Adam Mitchell stole another one in order to kidnap several companions of the Doctor and plot against his first eleven incarnations. (COMIC: Prisoners of Time)

Abilities Edit

The main function of a vortex manipulator was to transport the user through time and space via the Time Vortex. (TV: The Empty Child, et al)

The exact range of a vortex manipulator was uncertain. One model did allow Jack Harkness to travel nearly 200,000 years (although in this instance, said manipulator burned out after doing so). (TV: Utopia) Following the Doctor's repairs and adjustments using his sonic screwdriver, the manipulator was able to travel 100 trillion years. It could transport multiple people if necessary, so long as they had some sort of physical contact with it (or the person wearing it). (TV: The Sound of Drums)

Manipulators could be seen as an extremely precise form of time travel when properly used. Both River Song and former Time Agent John Hart were able to reach their intended destinations quite regularly using vortex manipulators. When the universe was a fraction of its former size, a vortex manipulator was able to facilitate multiple precise jumps with no apparent difficulty and extreme precision - although, admittedly, the distances and time differences involved were a great deal smaller. (TV: The Big Bang)

The vortex manipulator protected its user from the journey through the Vortex, and was able to transport two people without difficulty or discomfort for those travelling. However, transporting three people appeared to result in discomfort for the users, possibly slightly overloading the manipulator's capabilities. (TV: The Sound of Drums)

In addition to transportation, vortex manipulators had several other functions. These included:

This seems to only apply to Jack's vortex manipulator.

Despite Jack's claim to Gwen Cooper that the wrist-strap was DNA coded to him, but could be reset, the fact that the Doctor, the Master and Martha were all able to use the teleporter function, as well as its detection of low sodium levels in Rex Matheson, who was simply holding the device, shows that Jack was lying in an attempt to escape. Text transmitted directly to Gwen at this time also confirmed 'Jack lies...'

Vortex manipulators were constructed from an unidentified, but extremely durable metal. One was easily able to survive the detonation of a bomb which obliterated the human wearing it, albeit at the cost of the leather wrist-strap housing the vortex manipulator itself. The vortex manipulator was later recovered and installed in a new, identical wrist strap for £50 (TV: Children of Earth: Day Five) Another vortex manipulator also survived the explosion caused by Big Bang Two by being 're-booted' from its original form. However, its wearer (the Eleventh Doctor) was being erased temporarily from time, which would leave the device unharmed when he returned. (TV: The Big Bang)

The Tenth Doctor considered the vortex manipulator as very primitive compared to a TARDIS, describing his TARDIS as a "sports car" to Jack Harkness' "space hopper". (TV: The Sound of Drums) His eleventh incarnation described it as "cheap and nasty time travel, very bad for you", and stated that he was "trying to give it up", referencing how he's had to continuously use one to help him save the universe. (TV: The Big Bang) River Song described it as "less bulky" and considered it like a "motorbike through traffic." (TV: The Angels Take Manhattan)

Vortex manipulators were able to travel to places with time distortions, whereas TARDISes couldn't. For example, River Song travelled to 1938 New York when the TARDIS couldn't until it had "landing lights," using a manipulator. Unlike a TARDIS, it could go back to eras where large paradoxes had occurred, without risking the total destruction of the area. (TV: The Angels Take Manhattan)

Evidently, the interface for activating the device (or, at least, Jack Harkness' version of it) was very simple and easy to understand, as Clara Oswald was able to successfully enter coordinates into it without any training only moments after seeing it for the first time. (TV: The Day of the Doctor)

Known owners Edit

Cloaked Figure Vortex Malipunator

Adam Mitchell's vortex manipulator. (COMIC: Prisoners of Time)

Behind the scenes Edit

Jack's vortex manipulator is used much in the same way as the Doctor's sonic screwdriver in the context of Torchwood, being capable of doing just about whatever the writers want it to. Its only known limitation, within the context of Torchwood episodes, is being unable to time travel or teleport, both functions having been deactivated by the Tenth Doctor. It has since been reactivated by Clara, upon being given the reactivation code by the Eleventh Doctor. (TV: The Day of the Doctor)

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