But, yet, nothing did. Before leaving Earth, before the Four-Five-Six, he had been an administrator. The tea boy. Now, after coming back he was again. Well, not so much. He was an administrative worker with field agent clearance. He was the man who did the paperwork when the team returned.
The team dynamic had changed drastically, though.
He still made the best coffee in the place, and he found himself still making it for everyone, but the best tea maker was Jackie Tyler. Jack Harkness was still... just gone... and in his place was Peter Tyler. Torchwood had explained his "disappearance" as staged so that his position within Torchwood could remain secret. It was sketchy at best, but there was literally no other way to explain his sudden return. At first the applicable government agencies had refused to see reason, citing the obvious autopsy on the real Peter Tyler, the accident in front of the church... the funeral.
Torchwood had stepped in, and with Jackie's testimony that while, she too, had been quite skeptical that certain things about him had finally convinced her.
It didn't help that his DNA and appearance was actually correct.
Finally, the proper registry offices had brought Peter Tyler back to life.
They just couldn't explain the nearly twenty year old son. With a sigh, it was Alexander and Autumn who had come up with the best solution. Ianto and Autumn had created the new records for Anthony Tyler, born two years ago in 2011. While officially their son was now two years old, Alex said this was no problem - he would be properly introduced to Torchwood in 2029, at the age of eighteen, the legal age to actually work for Torchwood as a paid intern.
Jackie and Peter had been, at first, very concerned about this. Jackie remembered Rose's frequent disappearances into the future with the Doctor and was vehemently against the same happening to Tony until Alex pointed out that records wise, Tony would be in the future but in reality he would work "in the past" with them, reverse to Rose's tendency and therefore still within reach of his parents, should he wish to be.
Thankfully, Tony had wished it, so the three now lived mostly legally and temporally correct to each other, and the paperwork had not required much more work than that.
Jake, Mickey's former working partner in the parallel world, had been a different matter. He asked for the same deal as Tony, only then he turned around and asked for the Time Lords to take him to that future. While he liked the Tyler's, he only really had a professional link to them and therefore no reason to stay in the past. His present was 2031, and he'd like to return to it.
For a long moment, Alex had thought about it before he turned to his great-great grandmother, who nodded. "Jake, I've a better idea. I was raised in a time further on than that, and we're desperately short of people to work with. If you can handle being a century on, I've a place for you at Torchwood in Vancouver. Year is 2215, if you're interested."
Jake had gone to the twenty third century, much to everyone's shock. Days later, Rose Tyler asked to speak to Autumn.
* * * * * *
"Are you sure about this?" asked Autumn, one more time. "Let me tell you, as a mother myself, how much it hurt to see my two sons grow so very, very distant from me. So much so that even when they came back into my house I did not recognize them. Yes, literally - regeneration does that - but also emotionally, figuratively. My sons had taken to the stars and to other times, other people. I changed to them, and they changed to me. Even when one son became Lord President, I failed to know who he was until they announced the name I gave him in addition to the name he had taken when he was officially sworn into office. It will be the same with your mother and you."
Rose looked down from where her mother Jackie all but ruled the small nook that housed the kettle and tea. She smiled sadly. "The truth is, Autumn, I already have grown to the point where she doesn't recognize me anymore. I've spent too much time with the Doctor that, as my mother once said would happen, I am just not Rose Tyler anymore."
Autumn nodded once to indicate that she understood. "So the damage has already been done, then."
"Do not ask this of me," asked Autumn, and while there was no sound of pleading, the plea was still plain. "Not of me. Not of a mother who will watch another mother go through the same as I have. While I, and my sons, are and were Time Lords, it does not mean we are immune to heartsbreak. You cannot ask me to do this to Jacqueline."
Rose sighed, while the part of her heard the strange lilting accent to the way the Time Lady said her mother's name, not to mention no one had called Jackie by her full name in a very long time. That was the way of the Time Lords, though, she had noticed. So much had been explained about the way the proper Doctor had been just by meeting and interacting with his people.
"Who else can I ask?" stated Rose. "I can't ask one of the others, they wouldn't understand or would refuse me before I finished askin'. You're the only one."
With a sigh, Autumn looked out the window to the younger of the Time Lords, one known as Alexander Campbell. Susan's only son by blood, although evidently he had foster brothers and sisters from the twenty-second century. Rose looked from Autumn to Alex again, and then said, "Thank you," before running to Alex to talk to him.
Autumn closed her eyes in sorrow, knowing that another difficult task would be ahead of her.
* * * * * *
"What the bloody hell have you done?" asked Ianto of her some hours later.
Autumn looked up from her book as he stalked into the garden of the small estate complex that the Time Lords had been granted. It had been a literal estate property, and actually slated for demolition which was why they had been granted it so cheaply, but in their usual manner they had changed it and renovated it so that it was, once past the gates that had also been installed, more of an estate in the North American sense of the word. It was like stepping foot into a very large and complex Roman villa, complete with the grandeur and upscale furnishings. The interior housed a private garden.
In many ways, they had rebuilt the Citadel of the Time Lords within the heavily populated heart of Cardiff. The only thing it lacked was the glass dome and the monorails.
The Time Lords within even had regained their former glory and wore the same clothes, robes and other cultural items. It only took a moment for Ianto to be struck by this, and his former outburst was momentarily forgotten, although the same words were repeated in a more awed voice as he said in wonder, "What the bloody hell have you done here?"
With a smile, Autumn replied, "We took what was granted to us and made a home of it."
"You certainly have," he replied, then he scowled and the first meaning of his first question, the outburst, returned. "It still doesn't answer the first question. You. What have you done?"
"I do not know what you mean, Ianto Jones," she answered evenly. "Please elaborate... we both know you're going to anyway."
Ianto took a breath, then sighed before putting a hand to put two fingers to the bridge of his nose. Taking two deep breaths, he calmed himself. If he had learned anything, calm tended to mean he caught more than someone intended him to catch. Piques of emotional outbursts might unsettle people unused to such things, but it also meant it unsettled him. "Rose Tyler." Ianto paced from an unusual tree back to the bench where Autumn still sat, suddenly took notice of the fact that she wore loose, flowing robes that had some sort of gold shoulder pieces. "She left today with Alex. Said a rather permanent good bye to everyone, but said she might be in contact."
"So she chose that path after all," Autumn sighed, sadly. "I rather suspected she would."
"Are you telling me you tried to talk her out of it?" asked Ianto.
"Yes, I did. I told her that she could not ask me to do to Jacqueline Tyler what my own sons did to me. But, she was determined in her course."
"She was... since when do you speak like this?" asked Ianto. "Are you even speaking English, for God's sake?"
"I am," defended Autumn, and her voice rose slightly. "Ianto... oh my beautiful Ianto... how long has it been, truly, since you last saw me in your time-line? Your personal time-line, I don't mean what time around you makes it to be."
"You have been gone for one year, three months and one week, give or take a day. I swore I'd count the days, Autumn, and I have," he admitted.
"I too, have counted the days since we parted," answered Autumn, as she stood up and walked over to him.
While she wasn't wearing the formal robes of a Time Lord, the day to day robes were still the same robes but without the massive golden shoulder pauldron pieces or head pieces. She still had gold pauldrons, with small gold chains, but they were small, little more than shoulder caps to hold the robes closed. She wore a thin golden circlet in her hair, and the front piece sat heavily on her forehead, but she was rather thankful that it wasn't the formal wear. That was simply cumbersome.
But the typical wear for a Time Lord, or Time Lady, was still meant to impress lesser beings. And it served to illustrate the rather large gap between her and Ianto now.
"For me, it has been eighteen centuries, plus four months, two weeks and two days, by human reckoning," she stated. "In those long years, I checked on one 'teenage' son in the Time Lord Academy, had another and raised and then sent him, too, into the Academy. I watched both grow into men, and then into their roles as Time Lords. One would become conventional, proper... his shortcomings hidden. The younger would be proper, but bored and crave adventure. He would, unlike his elder brother, marry and have children, and those children have children of their own. Each one also going to the Academy and become Time Lords in their due course. In those short years, to you, I lived and became a great-grandmother... and then... a great-great grandmother."
Ianto felt the hot tears behind his eyelids but fought against them. "Are you telling me that you forgot me?"
"No, Ianto. I never did. But... there is no way to make this easier on you... Ianto Jones, whom I love, I am not the same Autumn you remember. I may not have regenerated since you saw me last, but I am still not the same as you remember. And you are not the same either. We are both different now." She looked up at him, searching his eyes for something. "Do you understand what I am trying to tell you?"
Ianto nodded. "What we had is gone. It was gone when you left Earth. I knew that."
"I am sorry, Ianto Jones."
"No, I am. I expected something that could not be even though I knew it couldn't happen." Ianto sighed and then looked down at her. "But that doesn't mean we're enemies now, right? We can still be civil... still have coffee together some days?"
Autumn laughed, not a cruel laugh, but one more of relief. "Yes, of course. I would like that very much."
Ianto walked out of the compound then, looking back only once to see Autumn framed by the arch of the entrance, the stone acting like a frame around a picture of this strange, alien, woman in an unearthly garden. And then he turned and left, stopping only when he was at his own home again.
It was only then that he looked up into the sky, as if there was something there that he could see. That, too, was now something in the past and could never bee the same again. What was weeks to him was years for Jack Harkness.
* * * * * *
* * * * * *
A really old rock song, one that was old before even the classic rock, blared loudly from the depths of the TARDIS. The console room was deserted and dark, although the glow from the core dimly lit the central part of the console. The screens were dark, likely on a sort of power save mode.
The sound of laughter overlapped the music, but, unlike the music, the laughter was moving out of the depths and towards the console room. Donna stepped into the console room and was greeted by the gradual, if swift, change from dim lighting to near full lighting as the console activated by her mere presence alone. Jack laughed one final laugh, still relating whatever story he was relating as the Doctor followed behind them both, a slight smile the only indication that that she was listening.
Donna looked over and saw the slight melancholy on the Time Lord's face and walked over, giving her a playful little shove to attempt to knock her out of whatever spiral her thoughts were working into.
The Doctor smiled, moved out of range and therefore away from Donna's second try at it. She could see why her grandfather had liked the woman. She was, in many ways, much like Autumn before everything had likely gone downhill. In truth, the Doctor didn't recognize her great-grandmother much anymore. She had turned more into Patience, but she supposed that was to be expected after having to hold together their house during the Time War.
She knew her companions were concerned. They had every right to be.
For all intents and purposes, all was well. She had her people back -- and probably the better part of the Time Lords instead of the part that made them less as a whole. While most of her family was still dead, she had more than she ever expected to see returned to her.
But... something felt as if it was approaching, dark and foreboding and weighing heavily on her soul and the Doctor knew it wasn't her own. Another Time Lord was feeling this way, perhaps more than one and she was picking up on the notes of something not right at all.
* * * * * * * *
The meeting was mostly human and she knew she should have felt honoured to even be allowed within the room. However, it was a bitter pill.
For untold generations Gallifrey had been the eldest of all civilizations. Their policies had shaped the universes and when they had learned the secret to traveling the Vortex within their TARDISes they had been able to hold on to this distinction.
Now, however, with the fall of Gallifrey and the Council of Time Lords that ruled over it, that was all swept away almost as if it had never been. Their status as eldest and most powerful crumbled away leaving the Time Lords without a home and without their seat of power. They were little more than just refugees left to cling to the nearest friendly port they could find.
How the mighty hath fallen, mused Autumn. To be reduced to begging for scraps at the table of those once thought little better than beasts.
Autumn was the eldest of them all. She was not only mother to one of Earth's heroes, depending on which government you asked, but just plain the eldest of them all by virtue of that. She was also the last surviving member of the Inner Council of the Time Lords; the very Council that used to have direct access to the Lord President of Gallifrey. One of her sons had even served as Lord President of Gallifrey and, by extension, the Time Lords.
It was only by this distinction that she had been even allowed within the room where these humans would decide their fates.
Gone was the day that a Time Lord could command respect just by their mere presence. She would have been insulted enough to simply depart in her TARDIS however she no longer even had one. The few that had survived the Time War were so close to failing that there was no other option other than to remain here, in this time and in this place until maybe at least one of them were repaired enough, recovered enough, to at least take off in normal space let alone brave the Time Winds in the Vortex. They were trapped here and the longer they remained the less likely it was that they were ever leaving.
"The council calls Lady Autumn, the representative from Gallifrey and the Time Lord Remnant," intoned the page.
Autumn stood, her gold shawl falling in waves around her shoulders over the dark burgundy skirt suit she wore. "Ladies and Gentlemen of the United Nations council for Refugee status, I thank you for the time to bring my case before you. My name is Kethrenalysaifanyare e'Fanyarenosse e'Prydon, Acting Lady President of the High Council of Time Lords of Gallifrey Prime and Kithriarch of House Lungbarrow."
She could see some of the humans eyes glaze over from her title and name, but others she saw their eyebrows raise in barely restrained amusement. Not exactly the reaction she was hoping for, but she was determined to retain her pride. Fallen the Time Lords might be, but not beaten and certainly not dead. "Madam President," said the man, with an accent that said he was from someplace in Britain... it was an aristocratic sounding accent. "We are honoured that you felt the need to bring this to us personally."
"Dire circumstances demanded a direct and personal approach, sir," she answered plainly.
"If so, please continue without delay, Madam," said the man.
"Thank you, sir" She noticed that at her failure to bow, or even nod, a few of the people in the room were more than a bit shocked. Strange. "I come before you to ask for clemency on your soil. Our people have lost their home, their very world and everything they had. We seek shelter and time to heal and rebuild, and to find a new home for us. We seek status as Refugees; and ask for your aid."
Another man on the council, this one with an accent and demeanor she was unfamiliar with called out, "And why should we do that?"
"Because one of our own has saved your planet many, many times. Most of those times he did it and no one ever could know. Others, it was so plain that all saw it and remembered it," she answered. "I do not wish to ask you to return a favour, or repay a debt, but I would gently remind you of it as possible leverage to our cause."
"And who was that?" asked the first man.
As it happened, Autumn didn't have to answer as another man walked in, leaning on a cane heavily as he walked. But it was his answer as he stepped in the room. "Because her son, I believe, is the Doctor. Am I correct, Lady Autumn?"
"Quite," she answered as she turned back to the Council.
"And who are you?" demanded another member of the council.
"My name is Sir Alistair Lethbridge-Stewart, formerly Brigadier-General Lethbridge-Stewart," answered the man as he walked to stand beside Autumn. "I'm honoured to finally meet you, Madam... although I wish I could say I'd actually heard of you before this."
"The honour is mine, Sir Alistair... I have heard of you," she answered, smiling back at him.
There was a murmur through the council and the first man, the one from Britain, said, "Sir Alistair. How did I know that a secret meeting would not remain so where it concerned you?"
"It might have, if not for the fact of who would be standing before you. I have ears everywhere, your Highness."
"Still as blunt as ever," said the Prince.
"Your grandmother knighted me, your Highness," chuckled Sir Alistair. "And you always loved my stories."
The Prince coughed and then turned back to the matter at hand. "I am inclined to grant you the shelter you seek, my lady, but it is not solely my decision."
"I disagree," said the woman who had questioned Alistair's identity. "She has no nation by her own admission. Even if we accepted the nation of Gallifrey as such there is no longer a Gallifrey. Her nation is defunct."
"Is that not the very nature of refugee?" asked another council member. "Having no home and seeking shelter from those who do? And, as she said... Earth as a whole owes her people a rather large debt through her son, the Doctor's, actions."
"Indeed it is so," answered the second man. "But as to her first request, which was to negotiate anything for them as a nation, I agree that she has no such right as there is no nation, and therefore normal diplomatic negotiations do not apply. I suggest we take them on a case by case basis and find what spaces we can for them. They will not remain together but be fairly split among the nations to share the burden as refugees."
"I don't recommend that," said Sir Alistair. "Their eventual aim is to move on and find a new home that would not involve displacing others. To split them up would either defeat that entirely or slow it to being pointless."
"Nevertheless, as refugees, that is what must happen," said the Prince. "Lady Autumn, do you accept this Council's decision? Please be advised that refusal means we cannot grant you any of your requests for your people."
Sir Alistair touched her elbow out of support. He rather suspected she wasn't going to be happy about it. Hell, he wasn't.
She wasn't happy about it. It would weaken what remained of the Time Lords and Gallifreyans even more than they already were. But she had little choice. It was that or find another shelter from what the war had wrought on the Time Lords. Unfortunately, there was no other place they could go and their TARDISes weren't going to last the trip anyway.
Autumn bowed her head in defeat. "I accept on the behalf of the surviving Time Lords. It will be as you say."
* * * * * * * *
The trip back to Cardiff took hours from London with Sir Alistair as company. The man watched the elder woman the entire trip in the back of the rented limo. "Are you all right, Lady Autumn?" he asked finally, offering her a snifter of brandy. "Your son liked to take this with me at the end of the day."
Autumn looked up at him finally, staring into the old man's eyes. He many, many years ahead of him. Far more than a human ought to have but she could recognize Time's Hand in this. "Thank you for your support earlier."
"My Lady, it was my honour. I can see where he gets... got it... Damn. I don't think I'll ever get used to referring to him in the past tense."
"If it helps, you haven't seen the last of him," said Autumn with a smile. "But he can never know should you see him again in your future."
"Ah yes. Time traveler. I suppose that's true but when we deal with our present then we deal with his death," said Alistair, and with a sigh he leaned back into the seat. "And in the present I deal with his mother and his granddaughter. I did not expect..."
There was a bit of a mischievous twinkle in the man's eyes now, one that Autumn wasn't sure she appreciated but didn't find totally unwelcome. "Did not expect what?" she answered in a perfect representation of his very accent, and was rewarded with surprise and barely hidden delight -- the latter unexpected but it did confirm what the twinkle had been about.
"I did not expect that his mother would be so... lovely."
"Lovely?" she asked, mock archly. "Sir Alistair, I am not lovely; I am over four thousand years old and I am beginning to show signs of that age."
"And? So then you're an elder by the standards of your people. So am I by the standards of mine."
So he was suggesting that.
But also very strange. All reports of Sir Alistair were of a very taciturn, business-like man with no time for such things. And he was also reportedly very married to a lovely woman named Doris, who would not die until the year of 2011.
It was 2013, and two years since Doris' passing. He was still a widower, and likely missed Doris as Autumn missed Ulysses before the bastard had left her on Gallifrey with their two sons to raise. Her sons had handled being abandoned far better than she ever thought they would. Braxiatel had been well on through the Academy by the time Ulysses decided he'd had enough, but... her beloved younger son who would one day become the Doctor had only been twelve and far too young to understand why his father had simply vanished without so much as a good-bye.
It was a good thing Innocet had been there to pick up the pieces as Autumn had barely been able to leave her bed.
Sir Alistair saw the change on the woman's face and put a hand out over hers. "My dear, what did I do or say to bring this on?"
"You did nothing; it was not you," she answered, her Gallifreyan accent plain again, and she heard the sigh from him at his. "My accent troubles you."
"No, on the contrary," said Sir Alistair. "I find it as beautiful and exotic as the woman who possesses it."
Oh dear Rassilon, what had she done to this human man to have that effect? She smiled. "That's very sweet of you, but you need not flatter me to make me feel better."
"Is that what you think?" he asked, and she heard the hurt and shocked tone. "You don't know me half as well as... well, I suppose you wouldn't." There was no mistaking the very well hidden bitter tone. "He wouldn't have said."
"He did, actually... when I actually saw him," pointed out Autumn.
Alistair actually laughed then. "It never strikes us sons what we do to our mothers until we meet another mother and suddenly it hits us full in the face."
* * * * * * * * * *
The meeting was held in secret and then only among a select group of humans. Projected onto the white board were the faces of four people. Autumn, the Doctor, Jack Harkness and Sir Alistair. These were representatives from various intelligence agencies, ones with clearances so high that most people didn't know they existed unless the country of origin didn't actually support that level of secrecy. In that case they had the clearances to know but were more public, even if the general public and half of the government didn't know the full degree of what they did.
The meeting was among fifteen people.
Brigadier General Bambera looked from one side to the other. She recognized Allen Shapiro from the CIA, as well as representatives from Torchwood One in Toronto, Canada. She walked over to the new representative, and held out her hand. "Good evening, my name is Brigadier General Winifred Bambera from UNIT. I heard about Director Vaillieaux. He was a good man, you have my condolences."
She nodded her acknowledgment and shook Bambera's hand. "Thank you, Brigadier General. How is Sir Alistair?"
"Very well, but has business in London and Cardiff."
"Ah yes, I heard about his appearance before the UN council with that Gallifreyan Ambassador..." said Shapiro as he walked up. "Fascinating creatures those. I'd love to see one up close... meet one and talk to one. Particularly the Doctor herself." This was said with a wink and Bambera rolled her eyes. "Nothing to personal. The wife wouldn't appreciate it. Is it true what the files say? Or is the Doctor simply a call sign? That seems far more believable."
"How much do you know exactly?" asked Bambera, her eyes thinning in sudden suspicion.
Shapiro made a placating gesture with his hands. "Nothing that I shouldn't, I assure you. Your security is still very tight. What we've learned came from other sources." There was no mistaking the pointed glance towards the woman from Torchwood. "But, perhaps we should find our seats. The meeting is starting."
Bambera found herself seated next to Shapiro, but not next to the Torchwood woman. Instead she was between the representative from Mossad. With a sigh, she had a feeling she knew where this meeting was going. "Thank you ladies and gentlemen for agreeing to meet today to discuss the refugees to Earth as a whole, not just to one of our sovereign nations. This is an issue that affects us all, even if we find ourselves not being directly involved," began the Chinese delegate. "It proves to us all, without a shadow of a doubt, that even if an alien race is far advanced in comparison to ours that we can end up being a place of safety and refuge. We are no longer alone in this universe as evidenced by the arrival of the Gallifreyan people on Earth."
"Get to the point, Zhao Xiang," said the Canadian, not from Torchwood, but from CSIS, which was the Canadian equivalent of the CIA and MI-5.
Xiang glared at the Canadian. "Now, now, Ben, curb the hostility. Zhao Xiang has a point," stated Shapiro. "It would be best if we listened to what he has to say."
"Thank you, Allen." Xiang cleared his throat and continued. "These unfortunates are here and asking for our aid but I have learned that some of our organizations are finding less than savory ideas on what to do with them."
"And you're not?" asked the representative from Mossad.
"I will admit we find them fascinating, but we have no illusions that as unfortunate and homeless as they are that they are also defenseless. Which leads to the next issue."
"They aren't harmless," said the representative from Russia. "We all know that. There is more than just one infamous example of their power. I have it on good authority that one Harold Saxon, now thankfully deceased, was one of their number. Known as the Master."
The silence in the room was heavy. Bambera sighed. "I can confirm that as true."
"You're not serious," said Shapiro, and there was something in the man's eyes that she wasn't sure she liked.
"Unfortunately I am. But, also, remember the Doctor is one of theirs."
"Or many - I still believe that to be a call sign... one of yours, I believe. Did not the Doctor work for UNIT in the 70's and 80's?" asked Torchwood.
"Yes, that I can confirm," answered Bambera. "He was stranded, but agreed to work with us in fair exchange of a roof over his head until he could get back into the stars."
"And now we know how they knew to come to us," stated Torchwood. "You are responsible for this! Once he had regained his ability to travel he took that knowledge and went straight back to his world with it and reported back to them. And now... here they are."
Shapiro pinched the bridge of his nose. "Nell, there is no way to confirm that. Furthermore, he's been here and back numerous times and each time I can tell you he's saved us. Even the CIA knows that. Hell, we have records straight back to the moon landing about him. We even had him... for three months... in Area 51 before he slipped his guards and vanished again. Trust me when I say this - if they wanted to invade they would have and we'd not even know they were here until it was too late."
"So they are dangerous," said the representative from Russia. "I suggest not splitting them up. If they are telling the truth... put them in a camp somewhere remote and surround it with guards and barbed wire. They should be segregated from us."
"Tell me you, of all people, did not just suggest that!" shouted the representative from Mossad. "I agree that they should be watched, but what you suggest is... is... a travesty."
"At best it's like a reserve in Canada... which isn't the greatest option either," said the CSIS representative. "That would solve nothing either. No, no, leave them as refugees. Process them as normal. I realize that it will add months to the process, but at least we can get a feel for each individual or their family unit. Let them choose their solution. It not only gives them a fair sense of of dignity, but it is humane and fair."
"I agree with Ben," said Shapiro.
"As do I," said Bambera.
"As does Mossad - it would give us far more intel on them and a feel for their culture and a sense of who they are than throwing them in a concentration camp." This last part was aimed at the representative from Russia.
"I was not suggesting anything so cruel as that, but perhaps a cultural center they can retreat to if Earth gets to be too new, and too much for them. It would be a shame for them to lose their culture after all this. Like an added insult to injury," stated the representative from Russia.
* * * * * * * *
After the meeting a few of those from within it met secretly. "I have to agree that just one of those... Time Lords... would likely have information and technology unlike anything we've seen. It could shoot us ahead by decades, perhaps centuries."
"Dangerous territory you are suggesting there. There are many who consider them now protected."
"If one or two go missing, who will notice? Earth is a big planet to vanish on with billions of people to fade into, especially considering they do not look alien to us but like other humans."
* * * * * * * * *
* * * * * * * * *
The limo pulled up in front of the Plas and the door was opened by the driver. The Brig and Autumn stepped out of the back of it and he stood with her in front of the water tower. "Well, I suppose this is your stop, my dear. If you ever need anything, please do not hesitate to ask. I am but a phone call away."
Autumn inclined her head. "I will remember that offer, but I hope I will not need to bring your position into disrespect."
"I do not mean just for that..." he sighed. "Can we please drop the formality? I wasn't this formal with your son, and I'd hate to be this formal with you. Please, just call me Alistair."
"Then you must simply call me Autumn."
"Not Kethrenalysa... oh hell, I think I will stick to Autumn, unless you allow me to shorten it to Kethren. Seems a shame to not use a perfectly good and lovely name that suits you. After all, I am assuming that is your name?"
"It is. As is Autumn. It is what the name means. Gallifreyan names are not chosen randomly -- we know the meaning of our names."
"Alien lover!" came a screamed shout.
Alistair blinked in surprise at that just as they turned to see a crowd gathering. "Alistair, you should leave. I have a feeling this is about to get ugly." Autumn backed up towards the car, guiding Alistair and his driver back to it.
"Don't be ridiculous, I can't leave you to handle this lynch mob by yourself."
"Alistair, please... I am a Time Lord. I am far more robust than you or your friend. Just go."
There was a bit of hurt in his eyes, but he nodded once as the first rock struck the car, causing silvery cracks in the glass of the window but the anti-shatter coating held. Alistair retreated fully into the car and pulled out the phone, noticing that his driver was already ahead of him and already on the phone with the authorities.
Autumn fell into the car, not injured, but she slammed the door closed and the driver wasted no time in locking it.
There was the loud crack of a gunshot in the air and the crowd suddenly dispersed. Alistair gathered up the alien woman into his arms and cradled her. He was aware of the bemused smile on her face and he looked down and she looked up. For a long moment time stilled as they both stared into each others eyes. The air was electric.
And as quickly as the moment came it passed as Ianto Jones pulled the door open and guided both Autumn and Alistair out of the car. "Are you all right?" he asked, calmly, but the calm belied the storm in his eyes and the outrage at her treatment.
"Yes, Ianto, we are," she answered.
Moments later sirens screamed in the distance as they came closer and finally the police car came to a halt in front of the Plas and the limo. "About time," said Alistair as the two officers came up to them. "That mob nearly killed us."
"Sirs, are you all right?"
"We are, thanks to the young Ianto here," answered Autumn.
"Ma'am, please be quiet, you are in enough trouble as it is," said the first officer, as he brought out his cuffs. "You are under arrest for disturbance of the peace and public mischief." He finished with reading her rights and then allowed the other officer to guide her to the back of their car. "Now, when did she..."
"She didn't do anything!" exclaimed Sir Alistair. "I was just bringing her back to her friends when someone from those ruffians called me an alien lover and began to throw stones at the car. I barely managed to get the two of us inside and my driver to call for aid before the young Mr. Jones scared them off. I demand you release her."
"And you are, sir?" asked the officer.
"Sir Alistair Lethbridge-Stewart," he answered bringing himself up to his full height.
The officer visibly paled before turning to Ianto. "My name is Ianto Jones, Torchwood Three."
The officer sighed. "There was another complaint that she had been the one to instigate this, which will have to be investigated at the station."
"The CCTV will clear her." Ianto assured Alistair when the car drove off, Autumn still in the back seat as she stared back at them until it was out of sight. "It will show that the crowd mobbed you and not the other way around. I was watching it for her return... that's how I knew to come out."
"Thank you, Mr. Jones," said Sir Alistair. "I think I will head to this station and see what I can do about getting her released."
"I can do that," said Ianto, a frown creasing his brow. "I appreciate what you have done..."
"It is my pleasure, young man. Carry on."
Ianto was left to wonder what the Hell just happened, but the dismissal was clear. A thread of red hot jealousy surged through him. First Jack and now Autumn. His life had literally been thrown up into chaotic pieces since the Doctor had re-entered all of their lives. He walked back to the Hub, blowing out a breath as he did so. He had been gone so long to them but yet it was nothing to him. And now this.
He slammed the door to the Hub and watched as the blonde woman he suddenly found there jumped. "Can I help you?" he asked, puzzled.
"Oh, yes... I... ah..."
"It would help if you told me your name."
"...Oh, it's Jenny..." And then she smiled.
Ianto found himself dazzled by a mega-watt grin and blue eyes.
* * * * * * * *
Gwen watched as Ianto led the young woman into the Hub. Other than she was very pretty, and very young, she was normal looking if for the dirty military styled fatigues she wore and the smile that could light up a room. She was familiar but she couldn't put a finger on where she'd seen her. It was only when Martha walked in, stared, and had the girl stare back in shock. If it were possible the girl's grin brightened even further as Martha gasped, then tears ran freely down her face as they ran to each other. "Oh my God, Jenny!" exclaimed Martha.
"Martha!" was the equally joyous cry from the other girl. "I knew I'd find you! Oh... where is Dad? Tell me you've seen him. And Donna."
Martha's face fell, and Gwen suddenly realized it wasn't the girl she'd seen, but the girl's father. A pall settled over the Hub. "What is it?" asked Jenny.
"He's... he's gone."
"Yes, I know." Jenny rolled her eyes. "Off and running, saving worlds and doing more running."
"No, Jenny... he's... dead," said Martha sadly.
Jenny stilled suddenly, the smile faltering before fading entirely. "What? No... I just found you! He can't be!"
Martha gathered the young woman into a hug. "I'm so sorry, but he died after finishing out his regenerations. He was so old when... but he wasn't alone."
"And Donna?" asked Jenny in a subdued voice.
Martha laughed. "Fine, just fine and... well... it's a long story."
"Tell me everything!" said Jenny. "I want to know everything."
Ianto watched in bemused silence before moving over to Gwen, all business. "We have a problem. Autumn was arrested just outside for disturbance of the peace."
"What?" asked Martha. "Why are we standing here then?"
"Who's Autumn?" asked Jenny.
"Don't worry, Sir Alistair has gone to secure her release and I am to take all the CCTV evidence to clear her name," said Ianto.
At the same time, Martha explained to Jenny, "Long story short, she's your grandmother. The Doctor's mother."
"Really?" asked Jenny, her eyes wide. "When can I meet her?"
"Hopefully soon," stated Pete as he came out of his office. "I just talked to the investigating officer. Sir Alistair has already posted her bail and taken her to his home in the country. She'll be far safer there. Greetings, Jenny. My name is Peter Tyler, and this is my wife Jackie. Can we get you anything?"
Jenny smiled, and then promptly collapsed into Ianto's arms when he managed to catch her from behind. He lifted her and noted that she was bony, and far too thin. The dirt masked bruises and other marks. "Infirmary, now," ordered Martha.
* * * * * * * *
The Doctor stood still as she listened to the message on the phone. Jack and Donna stepped up to support her at the elbows as she turned pale. "Thank you Ianto. Can you give me the exact temporal coordinates to this? Yes, I mean the date. Exactly and as accurately as you can. Thank you, we'll be there shortly. Now... that is amusing. I didn't think he'd go for her. Wait... I think I remember him. No, I don't mean as the Doctor... I mean as me... just me. He saved me from drowning. No, I don't think he knows it was me. Oh, this was a long, long time ago from my perspective. My first incarnation and before we began traveling with Ian and Barbara..." the Doctor trailed off, this time smiling at the memory of a much simpler and happier time. "Ianto... tell Martha and the others we'll be right there. It's time to put a stop to this farce right here and right now."
She hung up the handset and sighed, sitting down in the pilot's seat with another heavy sigh. "I take it things are not perfect?" asked Donna.
"No... but there is good and bad news. Bad news is that they aren't taking the Gallifreyans as a group but as individual refugees. That's not as bad as it seems, though. It could have been far worse." The Doctor leaned back, digging the heels of her hands into her eyes as if to push away the fatigue of dealing with this.
"I can think of far, far worse," said Jack. "Ever see the movie District 13?"
"No... should I have?"
Donna's expression darkened. "No, you don't want to." She turned on Jack and slapped his arm. "And shame on you, dunce, for mentioning it."
Jack shrugged and waited for the Doctor to continue. "Worse news is that the people of Earth are responding in fear and anger, some are forming mobs and attacked Autumn and Sir Alistair just outside the Hub in Cardiff. Autumn was arrested for disturbing the peace."
"That's just stupid! How stupid can they be?" ranted Donna. "I swear that people are so... so... stupid sometimes it's just mind boggling."
"Fear tends to suspend higher reasoning." Jack sighed. "The twenty first century is when it all changes. I always wondered what it was and now I know." He blinked and then stood up straighter. "You said there was good news?"
"Sir Alistair is quite taken with Autumn it seems. He secured her release and managed to have all charges dropped against her. He then took her to his country home where she is much safer. She will be his house guest for awhile." The Doctor smirked at this. "I was hoping he'd find someone to fill his life after Doris drowned in that accident, but this was rather unexpected. Not unwelcome... if Autumn allows it to continue."
"Good for them!" exclaimed Donna. "There's more isn't there?"
"Ianto found a rather pretty blonde in the tourist center that was looking for her Dad... and her name is Jenny."
Donna's eyes bugged out. "No way!"
The Doctor nodded and smiled. "She survived Messaline, barely, it seems. She fainted shortly after. Ianto said she was no more than a twig in his arms and Martha is treating her for exhaustion and starvation, as well as other signs of physical abuse. She barely made it here. Pete send out a field team to find her ship."
With that the Doctor stood and then walked over to the console again and began to run around it. The Time Rotor began to move up and down as they stopped hovering in the Vortex. Moments later they landed and the Doctor threw open the doors to reveal Cardiff. With that, Gwen and Ianto ran inside and closed the doors just as armed men gave chase. "Quick, dematerialize the TARDIS and take us here... same time or a few minutes ahead," said Gwen.
The Doctor threw the switch just as the sound of gunfire hit the side of the TARDIS. Once done, she took the paper from Gwen and asked, "What the hell is going on now?"
"You missed by a few weeks!" exclaimed Ianto. "Things have gone from bad to worse."
The TARDIS rematerialized, and the Doctor cautiously opened the doors, saw that they were safety within the deeper part of the Hub before she opened the doors fully. "Between when we last talked and now, two Time Lords went missing from Canada and London," explained Ianto, and the Doctor blinked in shock. "We think it was Mossad and maybe the CIA. They have been in contact with others. Mossad didn't realize that your people are highly telepathic and could call for help that way. Contact was lost so we're guessing they figured it out."
"I'd ask why but I think I know," said the Doctor darkly.
"Autumn went to the proper authorities and accused the two organizations of kidnapping and when the nature of that evidence came to light, well... all the organizations... except for UNIT... banded together and claimed the Gallifreyans were spies and threats to national and homeland security. I'm sure you can guess which organization led that particular claim," supplied Gwen.
For a long moment the Doctor was literally shocked into silence. And then she took one breath, and then another as she came out of her respiratory bypass and forced herself to begin breathing normally again. "What about UNIT?" asked the Doctor.
"Like us, UNIT maintains that they're not spies nor threats. They cite you and your grandfather as prime examples of that. Torchwood is backing them up on that under the Queen's direct order. I'd really, really like to know what your grandfather did to gain such support from her..."
"... stopped a ship from obliterating Buckingham Palace at Christmas in 2008," answered the Doctor. "Among other things."
Gwen stopped for a moment and then started laughing. "Yeah, that'd do it. Saved her life in specific and directly. So, out of respect for the Doctor those Time Lords and Gallifreyans have been spirited away and to secure locations. To maintain the illusion of cooperating with the mandate, UNIT and Torchwood are arresting the refugees when we can find them to keep them out of MI-5's and others hands. Some Time Lords are seeing this for what it is and only giving token resistance to make it look good. Others have gone to ground, and given how human they look they've been very successful. They want to take back their kin and run, or force us lesser beings into bending to their will stating they've tried the peaceful method, time for another approach. Before Autumn disappeared she made it clear she wanted a peaceful resolution..."
"Autumn is gone?" asked the Doctor in horror.
"Unfortunately, she didn't make it out of the building when she went to plead her case. We have literally heard nothing." The worry on Ianto's face was obvious as they guided the Doctor up and out of the archives and into the Hub proper.
"Oh thank God you're still free!" came Jackie's exclamation and the Doctor found herself enveloped in a massive hug.
Jackie pulled back and smoothed back the Doctor's hair. Pete made a motion with his head to indicate that the Doctor needed to look up and behind her. Standing on the catwalk above and just to the side from where it linked to the conference room from the cog door was a group of Time Lords. It was then she noticed them all. Some were despondent, and others paced nervously. All regarded her with veiled expressions, but there was no mistaking the hope now that she was here.
They all stood and then bowed. A smaller group, elders and possibly those that remained from the defunct council stepped forward. For a long moment the Doctor faced down the Cardinal before he stated, "Madam President, what do we do now?"
* * * * * * * * *
* * * * * * * * *
For a long moment the Doctor couldn't respond. In truth, no one could in the Hub. Every single last human could not believe what they just heard. Finally, the Doctor managed to push out, "I'm sorry?"
The Cardinal sighed and looked to the others as if to say, I told you she'd be like this. The other shrugged but then they turned back to her. "It is common knowledge that in the Doctor's fourth incarnation, he was fairly voted in and then sworn in as Lord President of Gallifrey, and therefore our Head of State. He also held office for a set period."
"He also abdicated after appointing his successor." She could see the shocked look at her admittance of that fact.
They hadn't known this. Wonderful. Further complications in their relationship.
"Yes, he did, however, he was voted in and again served in his Sixth incarnation for a second term as Lord President of the Time Lord High Council and of Gallifrey. This was something that only Rassilon could lay claim to -- two non concurrent terms." The other Time Lords nodded their acknowledgment.
The Doctor looked up to the ceiling. "Yes, and he didn't even bother to appoint a successor before abdicating that time. He simply ran away, if you remember."
"We don't deny that; that also means technically he was still President and every President after was merely an Acting President in his stead until he returned until, of course, Rassilon put an end to that. At which point he served Rassilon..."
"... Unwillingly, and during a time of war," finished the Doctor.
"Yes, however, if you follow the logic, not only was he twice elected, he was also directly involved as a War Hero... and... the Last to Step Foot on Gallifrey itself. The Doctor logically holds far more claim than any of us for leadership. Even while assigned elsewhere, he worked from the Citadel as its Representative, and then as a General in our military. His brother was a respected Cardinal. His son none other than Admiral Hawke, and his daughter Rylen was a respected member of our Senate. Unlike any of us, even Autumn, he has the highest connections with the universe at large. We, the surviving Time Lords and Gallifreyans took a vote, and it was decided that the most qualified and most rightful claim to Presidency belongs to the Doctor and to no other."
The companions looked at the Doctor expectantly. The Doctor knew what this meant. For them to decide to regain a Presidency meant they were establishing themselves as a nation again, but with no actual soil on which to settle that claim. She didn't like where this was heading. They couldn't leave Earth which meant they were about to lay claim to someplace on Earth to legitimize their nation. It was Jackie who defused the tense atmosphere. "Oh, now that's unexpected. I didn't expect the bum to be so high'n mighty. He never acted it..."
"He didn't want that kind of attention. He hated it," answers the Doctor before she turned back to the other Time Lords. "I can't take the Presidency. It would be under false pretenses. I am not the Doctor. I am, but I'm not. The Doctor that did all that died and is buried. I am Arkytior, daughter of Admiral Hawke... but I'm not him. I only carry his legacy and his name in his stead."
Some of the other Gallifreyans near the back deflated at this, thinking their last hope gone. The small council did as well. They were clearly unsure of what to say now. "She says something that is key," said one woman in the back, and suddenly she found that she had everyone's attention. "She says she carries his name and his legacy in his stead. That means all of it. She has inherited his legacy, his titles and his estate. She is still our Lady President. If she is now the Doctor then the decision stands. There has been a precedent for this is the records."
Everyone turned to the Doctor again and the Cardinal said, "She has a point. Doctor, you are still our President. We will follow your lead."
For a moment the Doctor bowed her head and closed her eyes. There was no way around it. But, even with this unwelcome development she suddenly saw a certain ability to divert a developing disaster. She looked up with sudden determination in her eyes. "I need a cup of tea and a moment with my human friends while I think of a method to move forward with this, Cardinal."
"Then you accept?" he asked.
"I accept. I am now the Lady President of Gallifrey and the Time Lords."
* * * * * * * * * *
The conference room closed and the Doctor let herself flop into one of the more comfortable arm chairs at the side of the room, not the office chairs at the table itself. Jackie brought her a cup of tea. "There you go, dear."
"Thank you Jackie," said the Doctor. "Oh bugger, that was unexpected and out of left field. I also think he might not have told you his full... ah... standing in Gallifreyan society."
There was a snort from Jackie. "Understatement of the century. I always thought he was some outer space vagrant, not some bloody blue blood in his own private yacht."
"That explains so much about him," laughed Donna. "Outer space playboy he was, just without the girls."
Pete turned serious. "If this is true, you've a rather target painted on you and your TARDIS. You do know what it means for them to reclaim their nation with a president?"
"Depending on how they are going about it... it means war. It means we are invading Earth, and of all ironies the Doctor is leading the charge." The Doctor leaned back in her chair. "My grandfather would be rolling in his grave if he knew this was happening."
"This isn't your doing," said Peter. "This is those idiots who decided they were going to take a situation and make it ten times worse by kidnapping Autumn. Much as it pains me, as a human, Doctor, you're in your rights to declare war and invade for the defense of your people. What they've done is an act of war. Yes, you may not have a nation anymore but they've disrespected your people nonetheless."
"It's too bad there's no where on Earth we aren't so you could stake a claim and have a nation," mused Jack.
Jackie inclined her head in agreement and Gwen and Mickey looked at each other. "What if there was?" asked Gwen.
Everyone looked at her. "There isn't a place on this planet, Gwen," pointed out Jack.
"But there is, unless some country has finally claimed Antarctica," said Mickey. "It's the one unclaimed continent on the whole world. Yeah, it's all ice and snow, but there is land underneath it. And except for penguins and a few research stations, it's no nation on Earth's territory."
"There's a thought," said the Doctor. "The climate isn't so cold that we couldn't handle it. I'll tell them to take one ship down there, perhaps the one about to kick off, as well as the other one that works and start building a new Citadel. It might even be just like home."
"Except for the half a year dark of night and half of year of daylight," pointed out Jackie.
"True, but we are very used to stranger living conditions. I have a feeling my people would just be happy with someplace to call home that doesn't involve the interior of a TARDIS. And it is remote and forbidding enough to not interfere with the further development of humanity." The Doctor stood up. "Well, on that I think I shall broach it with my Council. No time like the present. Not to mention it's time we found my great-grandmother."
* * * * * * * * *
"The top news for today is the protests around the globe in regards to the extraterrestrial refugees. Dowling Street was shut down due to riots as citizens protest the allocation of government funds to help the Gallifreyans in resettling. One group maintains that extraterrestrial or not, they are still illegal aliens living on British soil and on government money, no different than the terrestrial kind. At the same time, another group is maintaining that it is our compassion that sets us apart and we are duty bound to aid the Gallifreyans in resettling. This scene is all over the world, from in front of the Whitehouse to Parliament Hill in Canada and the Kremlin."
* * * * * * * * *
She didn't have the strength to hold her head up anymore. The drugs, meant for humans, were making her sick and woozy and although she could metabolize them quickly, the constant slaps to her face were not helping her concentration. She could sense the other Time Lords, in pens like chattel, where as she was singled out and tied to a chair. Lights from some sort of display lamp shone on her, hot and bright.
Her hair hung in loose layers, half matted and probably a horrendous mess. She could feel her swollen lip and the split in it, and the sticky wet that meant the cut in her lip was bleeding.
"Wakey, wakey, Alien Queen," said the man with a very, very thick accent, not a British one but that harsh one like at the meeting. "Get it? Alien Queen!"
There was laughter around the room and Autumn lifted her head finally, her vision blurry. "Why?" she asked in English.
"Because you have something we can use," he answered. "Technology, medicine, science. Take your pick. You, yourself, your very body and the way it works is valuable."
"You cannot unlock our secrets..." she said, letting her head fall back.
She tried to call out telepathically, but the drugs were screwing with her abilities. "Oh, not us, my dear. But there were some very interested parties off world that are."
Her eyes widened and she managed to lift her head again, fixing the man with a glare. For one moment her vision cleared and she managed to connect fuzzily with another Time Lord. All she could send what what she saw.
"Oh no you don't," he said as his fist connected with her head and everything went black again.
* * * * * * * * * *
* * * * * * * * * *
When she came to again there was another man with the first now. This one was tall, with short graying hair and a graying and short cut beard. He wore a well cut and well made, not expensive but not cheap either, suit. There were others with him, all dressed as if they were going to the office.
"Why are there fewer of us?" asked Autumn.
The messier dressed man with the harsh accent and the new people turned to her in surprise. "I see what you mean by drugs are not the best option... they simply wake up too quickly," said the man in a suit and she recognized his accent as American, likely either East or West Coast, but not heavy like in the southern middle states. "How much for this one?"
In horror she realized what had been done. Her people had been sold off as slaves or worse. She bit down the sudden feeling of rage and then the even colder despair. "You hypocrites. You deal with aliens and then do this to us."
"We have done what we have always done to ensure our survival, and the contacts are a necessary evil. But to have you on our soil is beyond tolerance," said the man with the harsh accent, but she noticed the steely glint in the American's eyes.
"That's Mossad's policy on foreigners?" he asked.
"It was much the same with us... but I always questioned it. A trait I passed on to my son who often gave his lives in the very defense of Earth. If he hadn't over and over and over again, you'd be slaves to worse, or this planet would have been a crisp or many other ways it could have all come to an end. And now his sacrifices are repaid like this!" This final part was said loudly, and she sat there, breathing hard as she fought to regain control over her emotions.
It was then that the last of the drugs were burned out of her system, but she decided to act as if they weren't. But contact, blessed, blessed contact, had been regained. She blinked for a long moment as she felt the familiar presence of the Doctor.
"There are many of your people left on Earth. You hide too well for you all to be caught and the capability to spy is simply to great a risk to ignore... however... I can say I am rather displeased on our international partners decision to sell of the Gallifreyans, and that Mossad has no issue with it." The American took a breath. "The US does have a rather large issue with it and we will be dealing with it."
The American looked pointedly at the Israeli and the Russians, who had the grace to look chagrined. "Considering all that has happened, I regret your decision to land on Earth," said the American, and then he looked at her. "If you can contact your brethren, I'd suggest leaving. It'd be safer from these."
"I have been in contact with them for the past five minutes, long enough to learn that we have a new Lord President of the Time Lords, now sworn in and ratified."
"I thought you were the Lady President!" exclaimed the Mossad agent, before he whirled on the American. "Goddamn CIA! Your information is yet again wrong!"
The American, the CIA operative, shrugged and Autumn saw the ghost of a smile. He wasn't on the others sides. Typical. Even Gallifrey's 'CIA' had been always playing three ends against the middle. "I was merely the interim, acting, President. Not the President. I was neither sworn in nor ratified by our Council. And Elder among our kind but no more than that. Our new President should be rather familiar to you humans - it is the Doctor who now leads our people."
The CIA agent blinked and looked visibly shaken, and he looked to another one, who was gray haired and elder, who also looked rather shocked by the sudden turn of events. One of the suited men suddenly spoke, and she recognized the British accent. "If the Doctor is involved, MI-5 is out. He, er, she, has the personal support of our Queen and is a protector of our realm. I'm not going up against both our Queen and the Doctor. I advise not doing so either."
The one from Mossad said, "It's a bluff."
"Is it?" retorted Autumn.
The humans began to squabble amongst themselves, but Autumn saw the CIA and MI-5 agents quietly disengaged from the argument and move behind her. "Tell me you have one of those uni keys that unlocks everything, Canton," said the lead CIA agent.
"Do I ever go anywhere without it?" asked the second CIA agent, the one named Canton. "Sorry, ma'am, for the delay in getting here. I'm a friend of your son's."
"Brax?" she asked in a whisper.
"No, the Doctor," he answered and then she felt the bonds fall away from her wrists and ankles.
"Can you stand?" asked the graying bearded one.
"I think so," she answered and stood, but wobbled and he picked her up. "I think I'd need at least a first date to be so personal."
"Perhaps you'd settle for my name instead?" He had a pleasant chuckle. "Allen Shapiro, Central Intelligence Agency. But let's get you out of here first before we get into more introductions."
The others with him unlocked the pens just as the first gunshots rang out and the sound of transmats overlapped. "I'd say that's their contacts," said Canton.
"I'd say it's time to beat a strategic retreat with the package being secured?" suggested the one from MI-5 as her people started running out.
Lights lit up the warehouse and there was a loud whine of turbine engines. "Definitely time to get the hell out of here," said Shapiro. "Don't know what that is, but guessing it's definitely not the Valiant!"
* * * * * * * * *
The Doctor watched from a distance as the joint operation between UNIT and the CIA fell upon the warehouse. It was equally as sudden that the ship above it, hidden using perception filters, suddenly revealed itself and began to lift off.
She cursed and pointed them out to UNIT.
The area soon became a bloody field of battle. UNIT had to find and arrest the fleeing humans in collusion with the Sontorans while also trying to prevent the transport ship with almost a hundred Gallifreyans on board from leaving.
It wasn't until the planes from the air force arrived that they appeared to be able to prevent it leaving. Finally, one of the better TARDISes, one built for war, materialized above it and forced it back to the ground in a hard landing. It counted as a crash, but since it hadn't been that far off the ground, the crash was more a gentle settling but still hard enough that there would be no taking off again.
Shortly after, she could hear the TARDIS engines starting to cut out, and not because it was dematerializing.
It was finally failing. The second TARDIS was failing... it flew to the side and then slowly, quietly, settled into the sea. For a moment, it appeared to float... and then it began to sink. The Doctor could hear the screams of the Time Lords on board as they scrambled to abandon their ship and the cries and death throes of another TARDIS.
Finally those cries silenced forever as the TARDIS sank into the Northern Sea.
* * * * * * * * * *
Six weeks later
* * * * * * * * * *
Jack looked up as the Time Lord entered the Hub. Everyone looked up and craned their necks as she was accompanied by a small entourage of Time Lord Chancellery Guard as well as a few from UNIT.
She was dressed in a tunic and shaped cloak, but it was an outfit that was reminiscent of both Time Lord clothing and human clothing. She only had small golden shoulder caps, and no headdress. There was a sash holding it all together as well as a small golden circlet with a small red gem set into it.
It was the Doctor, dressed informally in her Gallifreyan presidential clothes. "I didn't think I'd see you so soon," said Jack as he stood up and embraced her. "How have you been?"
"Busy. The construction of the new Citadel at Earth's South Pole is proceeding well, but the daily decisions and work of being President keeps me grounded and rather busy," she answered. "How have you been?"
"Busy," he smiled. "By the way, I have a surprise for you."
She lifted a brow and followed Jack's gaze as her eyes settled on the young blonde woman. "Hi... I understand you're my niece."
"Jenny?!" exclaimed the Doctor as she held out her arms. "Oh, by Rassilon, Jenny! Grandfather thought you dead."
"I know, they all told me. I... miss him," she admitted, the smile fading. "I would like to come with you to the Citadel, help out if you'll have me. Learn about what I am and who I am."
"You'd be most welcome."
Jenny stood to the side of her just as Drax walked in and then had to look at her twice. "What is it?" she drawled.
"I thought I saw a ghost," he answered sadly. "One by the name of Romana."
The Doctor smiled slightly. "I'm flattered... I truly am."