At the end of ‘A Good Man Goes To War’ the Doctor sets off to find the stolen Melody Pond, leaving the rest of his friends on the space station, Demon’s Run. He leaves the responsibility of getting everyone home to River Song.
The next time we see the Ponds is ‘Let’s Kill Hitler’ but there is plenty to explore after the TARDIS dematerializes.
Presumably River will be using her vortex manipulator. Previously the Doctor dismissed the technology as being rubbish. The only reason that he was able to use it with any accuracy in ‘The Big Bang’ was because the universe was much smaller. Yet here he expects her to get several groups back to different time periods.
It is possible that she is using some other form of time travel device, maybe even borrowing the TARDIS from a past or future Doctor. This would make things easier but still might cause problems.
River does seem to be able to navigate through time but there is plenty of potential for problems along the way. There is also the question of whether they’ll be returning Vastra, Jenny and Strax to Victorian London or the Ponds to 21st century Earth first.
This has a bearing on the duration the group spends travelling together. They are an interesting selection of characters and have great potential for interaction as they attempt to reach their respective destinations.
The biggest fall-out of this episode is the revelation that River is Amy and Rory’s daughter. While she might not reveal any details about her early life (‘spoilers’) she might be able to speak about the emotional consequences of what her parents are going through.
Amy and Rory would have to deal with the reality of the situation, having just lost their child and discovered her again as an adult. Their relationship with River has just drastically changed so how do they address that?
They might also put together what the Doctor realised, that the child in the spacesuit they encountered in ‘The Impossible Astronaut/Day of The Moon’ is a young River. This in turn could make them suspect she is the one who will shoot him at Lake Silencio.
Knowing this could there be an issue of trust? They know she is keeping things from them and after being tricked several times already might they believe that she has always been an agent of the Church of Silence and could still be working for them?
The journey to Victorian London might be a chance for Strax to adjust to the idea of living with Vastra and Jenny. If the group get into trouble on the way it would be chance for him to use his warrior skills to save the others.
There would also be further opportunities to explore his connection with Rory. Their brushes with death and their role as nurses give them plenty in common. Not to mention the comic potential of the pairing.
Vastra and Jenny could talk with the Ponds about being a couple. They might even find time for a double date, leaving River Song and Strax out in the cold. Both have faced troubles and it would be interesting to see what advice they can give each other.
River is put in the position of playing the role of the Doctor. She has a lot of responsibility, having to get everyone home safely. At the same time she is dealing with the emotional consequence of her revelation.
Being from their future River knows that they’ll shortly learn that she is their friend from school, Mel. Knowing that they’ll see her at her worst, when she was following her programming as an assassin, how does she behave? Does she try to prepare them, keep her distance or just try to establish a strong emotional connection so that they believe she can be a better person?
If they do end up in trouble is River Song’s priority to escape with the others or does she live up to the Doctor’s example and try to solve the problems that they encounter along the way?
The group could still be in danger from the Church of Silence. If the organisation is aware that the Doctor has left their company this could be a perfect time to attack. They obviously have their own time travel technology and can not only pursue them but disrupt their journey.
Players could take the roles of this group of characters in a short mini-arc that details their exploits on the way home. Each character is unique with a diverse set of skills. With distinct roles there should be something to appeal to each player.
If they are using a vortex manipulator it might only be able to move them in short, inaccurate jumps before having to recharge. This recharge period should be just long enough for an adventure to take place in. They have to stay close together when they’re ready to leave, so they can’t go until they are all reunited. This setup is similar to ‘Sliders’.
The group could also be encountered by the PCs when their paths cross. They could then help them get to their destination, even helping them make the final trip in their TARDIS. This would mean that the Doctor would owe them a favour in the future.
Even after everyone reaches their destination the journey could have formed strong bonds between them. We know that River Song will occasionally visit her parents and we know that Lady Vastra and company can communicate with others through dreams.
This creates the possibility that the group might reunite, in the gaps when the Ponds aren’t travelling with the Doctor. They could have their own adventures they never share with the Time Lord or simply meet up to compare notes.
Since the Doctor had faith enough in River to get his companions home he might ask her to do something similar again, either with future companions or to visit those he left behind (Vicki, Steven Taylor, Peri and Mel to name but a few) and see she can get them home.
This could result in another group of mixed characters on an epic journey through space and time.