“Amy!” the Doctor shouts, poking his head out of his temporary office.
“Yes, Senator?” Amy asks calmly, flipping through the files in her hand.
“What on earth happened to my schedule?” he demands, scowling like a child. Amy rolls her eyes and closes her folders.
“We need to deal with the France thing, and some kissed American babies and a quick tear-jerker with Trinity Wells is the easiest way to brush it off.”
“But I don’t want to brush it off! I stand by what I said. Saxon was out of line.”
Amy sighs. “And that’s what you’re going to explain to Trinity while charming her with your boyish charm.”
“Nope!” Donna says, sailing out of her office and down the hall. Her heels clack sharply against the cheap wood floors of their California campaign office. “I’ve cleared your everything and booked you on the next flight to New York. Grab your spare suit; wheels up in thirty.”
“Thirty minutes!” the Doctor exclaims, outraged. “This is my bloody campaign! Who’s in charge here?”
“I am, then Jack, then your wife, Amy, Martha, and Ianto. And then lastly, you.” Donna spears the Doctor with a glare that could peel paint and have it doing gymnastics. “We all know that if I weren’t in charge, you would go wandering off at the sight of anything shiny.”
Amy snorts and then laughs when the Doctor turns a betrayed look at her. “Do you need me to call Rose?” she asks slyly.
“No! No, of course not. Just let me find my suit and we’ll be on our way.”
“Hold down the fort,” Donna orders Amy as the Doctor ducks out of sight. “Shoot anyone who looks like they’re abandoning ship. I will not tolerate deserters.”
“Yes ma’am,” Amy says, saluting.
Donna smirks. She turns on her heels and puts her hands on her hips. “Doctor!”
Following the 2016 elections are like driving past a car accident; you just can’t look away. Being in them is like being in the car accident; you just want to go back in time and let the air out of your own tires.
Rose still doesn’t understand how she got here, shaking hands with old rich men and smiling for the cameras.
She used to cuff criminals. She took photos at crime scenes and got into arguments with the district head. She spent time in the practice range, firing shot after shot whenever a case went badly. She had plans about her career, about what she wanted to achieve during her service in the FBI.
Then she met Doctor John Smith and all her plans went out the window.
He wasn’t a politician then, just an absent-minded professor guest lecturing at Bryn Mawr. After a few dates and mishaps, Rose did the most irrational and rational thing of her life: she eloped with a man she’d only just met. They’ve been married for ten years now, through two terms as a governor and one as a senator, and she hasn’t stopped loving the way his hand holds hers or that he loves going off the map and finding odd little places full of odd little people.
The media loves their story; nearly every mention of her involves a picture of their Vegas wedding - John in a borrowed suit and Rose in a twenty dollar dress from Walmart, smiling at each other like they’ve found the sun. The women’s groups sniff over how she ‘gave up her career for a man’ - despite the fact that she had only done so because you can’t drag a security detail around every time you have to interview a suspect.
Mickey, her best friend, former FBI partner, and current chief of staff, eyes her as she reflects on what’s become of her life. The District Times op-ed pages are spread out in front of her, carefully flattened so that she could read the whole article.
“I want you to get her on the phone,” Rose says calmly. She runs a manicured nail over the columnist’s name. “Now.”
“Look, I don’t think that’s a good idea,” Mickey starts to protest, but Jack gets there first.
“Rose, no,” he says flatly. He folds his arms over his chest.
“She’s claiming that I’m bad for the female cause!” Rose explodes. She slams her fist onto the paper, imagining it being Margaret Blaine’s face. “She says I’m a bad feminist! Because I got married! Because I believe that you can be female without having a vagina!”
“I understand, but you can’t call her directly,” Jack explains gently. “This isn’t the FBI office. You can’t just give people a piece of your mind. If you want to knock her down a peg, you have to do it indirectly.”
Rose pauses, narrowing her eyes. “What, exactly, do you have in mind?”
Jack smiles evilly.
“Tea-boy!” Owen calls. Ianto doesn’t so much as glance up from his desk. “I said, tea-boy! I want some coffee.”
Ianto ignores him.
“Tea-boy,” Owen growls. He gets up from the flimsy folding table they have him working off of and stalks toward Ianto.
“Owen, are you harassing my assistant when you should be crafting that healthcare plan you still haven’t finished?” Jack says, striding around the corner. Rose Tyler-Smith is at his heels, with that Mickey fellow following at hers.
“Absolutely not,” Owen says, swinging around and going straight back to his table.
“I thought so,” Jack grins. “Ianto, with me.”
Ianto smirks smugly in Owen’s direction. He stands and straightens his jacket collar. “Where are we going, sir?” he asks, focusing on Jack.
“We’re going to burn the District Times to the ground,” Jack says gleefully.
“Should I have our lawyers on hand?” Owen doesn’t understand how Ianto can make a flat tone sound condescending.
Ianto pulls out his Blackberry and begins scrolling through his contacts. Jack sets off again, heading towards the closet Amy Pond has claimed as her own. The whole lot of them trail after him, looking like soldiers off to war.
It is a presidential campaign, after all.
The flight to New York is boring. Donna spends most of it scowling at their flight attendant, who’d had the nerve to ask who the Doctor was. She’d spent a good twenty minutes berating the man for not knowing the Democratic nominee for President of the United States by sight. It had ended in the man’s tears and the Doctor’s reproachful stare.
The Doctor, being the Doctor, has taken the opportunity to get into a debate about the American education system with the couple across the aisle from them.
“It sounds like you’re just copying the Santos line,” the husband grumbles.
“The Santos plan made sense,” Presidential Candidate John Smith says, “before all of those amendments and pork were added on and the whole thing crashed.”
“There’s a reason it didn’t pass,” the husband presses.
“And that reason is because those in the House were too scared to make an effort at actual change in our education system. Did you know that the United States has a ranking of ‘average’ in education? Average! We’re falling behind and the only way to fix things is to re-evaluate the way we do things. This isn’t the 1930s anymore. We can’t continue as if the world hasn’t changed!”
“Senator,” Donna murmurs warningly. She taps her fingers smartly on the folding tray, signaling that it’s time for him to shut up now.
“Sorry,” the Doctor says, smiling sheepishly. “We have to go over the itinerary for New York.”
“We understand,” the wife says. She elbows her husband in the ribs until he grunts in agreement.
“I thought the point in not getting a plane was for me to talk to the voters,” the Doctor whispers as they pretend to look at Donna’s Blackberry.
“Exactly,” Donna whispers back, uncharacteristically quiet. “The point is to talk to them, not drown them with your college education and big bad words.”
“Intellectualism is not a bad word,” the Doctor huffs.
“It is when a quarter of America can’t spell it.”
“How many tears am I going to have to shed over this French thing?” the Doctor asks, resigned.
“Crying over the French is probably not the best way to gain points in the polls,” Donna says. She ruffles through her bag until she finds the bodice-ripper she picked up in the airport bookstore.
“But he was wrong!” the Doctor exclaims, drawing the attention of the entire cabin. Donna groans and thumps her head against the paperback. “Harold Saxon was wrong about the French!”
“How was he wrong?” the conservative husband from before challenges. The Doctor narrows his eyes and switches into professor mode.
The Doctor is a skilled orator. His lectures were always packed with students and members of the public. He can make almost anything sound interesting, from the political intrigue of the colonies to the medical history of lube. When he gets started on a subject he’s passionate about, he’s unstoppable.
Unfortunately, he’s passionate about the French.
“The French are not cowards,” the Doctor says forcibly. People pull off their headphones to listen as the Doctor describes the Gallic chieftain Brennus’s sacking of Rome, the Battle of Toulouse and the Battle of Tours, the land won under Charlemagne, the hopelessness of the Crusades, the rise of the chivalrous knights. By the time the captain announces their approach to JFK, he’s reached the French resistance to the Nazis.
As they left the plane, Secret Service agents in tow, Donna overhears a teenage girl on her cellphone.
“Yeah, apparently the French are actually badasses,” she says, checking over her pink carry on bag. “Like, actual kickass-fighter, set Rome on fire badass.”
Donna smiles. This is why they always take commercial flights.
“Now please give a warm welcome to our special guest, the nominee for Vice President, Doctor Martha Jones!”
Martha smiles as she steps out onto the stage. The National Women’s Studies Association had invited her give a speech on her work in Philadelphia. Donna had all but ordered Martha to go.
Well, actually, she had ordered it. Martha really hates the campaigning process.
She shakes hands with the woman who introduced her, doing it slowly enough to give the photographers a few good shots. Then she steps up to the podium and takes a deep breath.
“When I was a student, I met a woman who changed my life,” she begins. “Doctor Johnson was everything I wanted to be: strong, independent, and so intelligent that even her male students had to respect her -- when they weren’t quaking in fear at the thought of her eight AM lectures.” There were a few murmurs of amusement from the crowd. “I used to sneak into classes I wasn’t even enrolled in, just to hear her speak. One day, she caught me at it and told me to meet in her office.”
A short pause to build suspense.
“When she came in, she closed to the door. She sat down behind her big oak desk and looked me in the eye. What she said next changed my life.”
Pause. Reel them in.
“She said, ‘Why are you wasting your time listening to me when you could be out there doing something worthwhile?’ Then she handed me a stack of brochures for charities and research facilities. ‘Get out there,’ she told me, so I did.”
Applause from the audience. A few cheers.
“I started volunteering on weekends. I started reading articles about domestic violence and teenage pregnancy. I stopped waiting for change and started causing it.”
“That’s what we need! That’s what this country is thirsting for. We can talk about change all we want, we can admire those who attempt it, but unless we’re out there helping them put that change in action, we’ll be stuck. There will be no progress without effort, there will be no innovation without education, and there will be no change without people, without women, like you and I rolling up our sleeves and marching into the muck.”
The audience rises to their feet, shouting their approval. Another speech, another day on the campaign trail.
The Doctor steps into the public library with a box of books in his arms. There are photographers lined against one wall, snapping rapidly as reporters scribble furiously. He makes sure to smile charmingly and adjust his glasses.
The head librarian stands stately in front of the checkout desk, a group of children at her side. The ages range from four to fourteen. The Doctor sets the box down on the desk, displaying the ‘donation’ sloppily written on the side by the Doctor’s own hand.
He and the head librarian shake hands, and the cameras click-click-click away.
Amy has the Doctor’s interview with Trinity Wells playing in the background as she mulls over the Margaret Blaine problem. Obviously, they can’t take out a hit on the woman, but Amy is tempted. This morning’s District column is the just the latest in a string of attacks on the woman who will hopefully become the First Lady. It’s Amy’s job to get this under control.
There’s a knock on her door. It opens to present Jack Harkness’s handsome face, smiling at her flirtatiously. “I’m about to make your day.”
“Oh?” Amy asks, batting her eyelashes.
Jack swings the door open wider, revealing Mrs. Tyler-Smith and a few members of the assistant squad. “I want Margaret Blaine’s head on a stick,” she says. “Wanna help?”
“Gladly,” Amy says. She motions for them to find spots to lean on in her tiny office. “What did you have in mind?”
Two hours after her husband takes the Trinity Wells show by storm, Rose and Amy board a plane headed to Washington D.C. With them are Ianto Jones, sent by Jack as backup, and Mickey Smith, who refuses to be left behind. Amy’s husband Rory offers to come, but he’s needed in the field office. Someone has to keep Dr. Harper pinned to his desk.
They exit the airport and into a swarm of reporters. Rose stops to speak with them, using the line Amy had carefully crafted for her.
“I’m here on personal business,” she says with just the right amount of charm. The reports start shouting questions.
“Are you here to speak with Margaret Blaine?” one of them demands, just as hoped.
Rose’s brows furrow slightly, as if she’s racking her memory. “I’m sorry, who?”
“Margaret Blaine,” the reporter says, gleeful to have caught her attention. “She wrote some pretty negative things about you in today’s District Times.”
“Did she?” Rose says, sounding genuinely surprised. “Well, everyone is entitled to their opinion.”
And then she breezes past the reporters and into the waiting car.
“And how will that help?” the Doctor asks, puzzled.
“Now if she writes anymore about me, she’ll look like a bitter harpy,” Rose says, winking in thanks as Ianto takes the phone from her hand and puts it on speaker for her. She unbuttons her blouse and slides it off her shoulders. Ianto looks politely away. Amy hands Rose another shirt, one more suitable for the surprise appearance they’re about to do.
“She looks like one anyway,” Amy says as Rose pulls the T-shirt over her head. She smooths it out so that it’s not bunching over her bra. “Honestly, she’s written more inches on you than she has on the real issues she's supposed to care about, like birth control for minors.”
“Mrs. Pond, are you saying that my wife is not a real issue in today’s society?” the Doctor asks playfully via the cellphone.
“Well, they do say that I’m too sexy to be First Lady,” Rose says, pulling up her jeans under the business skirt she wore on the flight. She's living her life in the spotlight, and one wrong outfit will wind up slashed on every Fox News outlet from here to next year.
“Rickey, was that you I just heard grunt like a wounded pack animal?”
“It’s Mickey,” Rose’s chief of staff growls. They don’t get along.
“Anyway,” Rose says. She tugs off her skirt and tosses it at Mickey’s head. “I have to go be majestic at a community center pickup game.”
“You’ll be brilliant,” the Doctor says lovingly. Ianto has to close his eyes and pretend to be somewhere else. Amy looks wistfully out of the window, fingering the wedding ring dangling around her neck on a fine gold chain. Mickey just appears sullen.
“I hope so,” Rose tells him. “It’d be embarrassing for the future First Lady to miss the hoop.”
“Mrs. Tyler-Smith, we’re here,” their driver announces.
“I’ll see you tomorrow morning,” Rose says. She leans close to the phone’s tiny speakers and makes a kissing sound with a smack of her lips. “Get some sleep, you hear?”
“I’ll try,” the Doctor sighs. He hangs up, and Ianto does the same. He looks out the window at the Pete Tyler Community Center, which the Doctor and Rose had built in honor of Rose’s father.
Rose slips on her sneakers and waits for the Secret Service to open the door.
Amy calls Jack on Skype after she’s sure that Ianto is done with his nightly phone call to Jack’s personal line.
“Any word on how this is going over?” Jack asks without saying hello. Give the man a war scenario and he’s the MacGyver of raw strategy, but put that plan in action and he won’t stop worrying until they’ve either won or crawled away to lick their wounds. He looks positively bloodthirsty.
“The New York Times and the Sun are running stories tomorrow,” Amy informs him, towel-drying her hair. “And so are the LA Times, USA Today, and the Washington Post. By the day after, it’ll be in every paper from here to Japan.”
“I may have also pointed them in the direction of a few blog articles on the subjects of white feminism and cissexism in the feminist community.”
“You, Amy Pond, are an evil woman.” Jack appears delighted.
Amy grins. “I like to think so.”
“You know, we may actually win this thing,” Jack says.
“Only if we get a better slogan than ‘American Needs A Doctor,’” Amy sighs.
“I’ll get right on that,” Jack says. “So, who are we going to destroy tomorrow?”