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The Stolen Earth Incident

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30 April 2009

The Dalek Crucible


As the Crucible shook around them, Jack stood at the door of the TARDIS, watching as both Doctors – with a hovering Donna watching them closely – worked around the control console, doing things with the various knobs and sockets around the device.  “How they hell are there two Doctors?” he couldn’t help but ask.

“That is an interesting story that I don’t completely understand,” Clint admitted.  “But I did see that hand in the jar grow into the Doctor Double…well, that’s what I call him, anyway.  He’s also human.  Said something about a metacrisis.  Apparently, he got bits of Donna and me when it happened.”

Jack frowned.  If he understood the term ‘metacrisis’ correctly, then that hand of the Doctor’s had used the regeneration energy that the Doctor had poured into it and had created another Doctor out of it, using DNA from both Donna and Clint to stabilise the matrix.  He’d done quite a bit of research on the subject of Time Lord regeneration, back when he’d been an uncontracted agent for Torchwood and had been waiting for the Doctor to show up, and while he didn’t pretend to understand it all, and the records were hardly comprehensive, Jack was pretty certain such a thing should never have happened.

There was a bit of an argument currently going on with the pair of Doctors.  It looked as if the one in the brown suit – the original – was yelling at the blue-suited one – the Doctor Double, as Clint had put it – and Jack would have given anything to have been listening in if he wasn’t being so busy holding onto the TARDIS as the lurching of the Crucible grew worse.

He could just make out Davros amid the flames.  He looked as if he was still alive, but Jack doubted that would be the case much longer.  Whatever that device that Clint had used must have done a lot of damage to him as well as setting up the cascade of destruction amongst the Daleks, and he was slumped down in his chair, his good hand twitching just a little, surrounded by the broken shells of the Daleks that had been in the Vault with them.

Jack couldn’t find it within himself to much care.

Davros had long been a bogeyman out in the universe.  He was the Father of the Daleks.  It had been his vision that had brought into existence one of the most dangerous races ever to have been imagined.  To Jack, this was justice, that Davros should be dying amid the ruins of his creations, victim to his hubris and insanity.

The blue-suited Doctor began to stomp off toward the TARDIS, Donna following close behind.  “We were able to get most of the planets back to where they belong,” the Doctor Double growled, “but there’s still the Earth left, and we need to get it moved before this place shakes itself apart around us and the equipment keeping the planet stable goes down.”

With those words, he entered into the TARDIS.  Donna stopped, motioning back to the other Doctor.  “Will you get that dumbo into the TARDIS?” she asked acerbically, the tone one that Owen would have appreciated.  “He’s insisting we save Davros as well, and while I would normally go along with whatever the Doctor wanted, this is just being plain stupid.”

She also stepped into the TARDIS, leaving Jack and Clint still outside. 

Jack sighed.  He should have expected this.  While Jack wasn’t a naturally bloodthirsty individual, he knew there was a time and a place, and this wasn’t it.  “I’ll get him,” he sighed. 

“I’ll cover you,” Clint volunteered.

Jack felt supremely confident in Clint’s ability to watch his back as he made his way across the tilting floor of the Vault.  Flames were everywhere, and he coughed in order to clear his lungs. 

Davros was awake now, and he was shouting loud enough for Jack to hear over crackling of the fires and the still-loud explosions going on throughout the Crucible.   “You did this!  I name you forever, Doctor…I name you the Destroyer of Worlds!”

He and the Doctor might have been on the outs, but Jack really wanted to put a bullet in Davros for saying that.  If anyone could have been called the Destroyer of Worlds, it was Davros, since that was exactly what the Daleks had done uncounted number of times.  Jack snagged the Doctor by the sleeve, tugging him away.  “He doesn’t want to be saved,” he yelled in the Doctor’s ear.  “We need to get out of here!”

The Doctor wanted to argue, that was obvious from the mutinous expression on his face, but Jack wasn’t going to let him get away with it.  If the Time Lord kept hating him, then so be it.  “The Earth is still in danger,” Jack pointed out.  “What’s more important: one madman who wants to die, or an entire planet full of innocent people?”

That was the problem with the Doctor: he felt he could save everyone.  Jack had learned the lesson the hard way that this was nearly impossible, even though that didn’t stop him from trying.  The Doctor, though, despite being such an ancient being, still hadn’t quite grasped that. 

Still, he allowed Jack to pull him away from the ranting Davros and toward the TARDIS, where Clint was keeping watch from the still-open door.  The Crucible was destroying itself around them as Jack practically shoved the Doctor into the time machine, the archer on their heels and slamming the door behind them.

The Doctor ran to the console, where his double was already working.  He pulled the main view screen toward him, saying as he did so, “Calling the Torchwood Hub!  This is the Doctor calling the Torchwood Hub.”

Jack was at his side in a heartbeat, needing to make certain his team – his mate – was alright and wondering just why the Doctor was contacting them for, with his dislike of both Jack and Ianto, and in extension, Torchwood.

The screen focussed past the snow that had been on it, revealing the Hub…and Owen Harper, looking distinctly stressed out and furious.  “What do you…oi, Harkness!  You get things fixed up there?” The anger was replaced with relief. 

Jack opened his mouth to answer, but the Doctor beat him to it.  “I need you to open up the Rift Manipulator and send all that power to me.”

Owen’s relief disappeared.  “While I’d love to do just that, I can’t.  The two people who know their way around the programs are incapacitated because of the Earth being all out of kilter.”

That meant Ianto and Toshiko…Jack swore his heart stopped at the news.  “They’re going to be okay?” he demanded.

“I don’t bloody know that, do I?” Owen snapped.  “Get the Earth back where it belongs and they should be right as rain.  But there’s no one here who can do what you want.”

“We need that power,” the Doctor argued.  “I need it to tow the Earth back to its position in space.”

That made sense.  But if Ianto and Toshiko were down…

“I’ll do it,” Jack volunteered.  He held out his wrist strap.  “Set this thing for the Hub, and I’ll teleport back and do what you need done, Doctor.”

For a moment, he didn’t think the Time Lord was going to do it.  Jack knew how the Doctor felt about Jack having actively working time travel, and honestly he’d been expecting it to the disabled again once this was all over.

“Do this,” Jack bargained, “then I’ll find you once the Earth is back and you can break my Vortex Manipulator all over again.”

The Doctor gave him such a glare that Jack was surprised it didn’t kill him as he stood there. 

“I’ll stay,” Clint said.  During their confrontation, he’d come to stand beside Jack, lending his quiet support.  He shrugged.  “Jack’s sure to come back for me.”

“Yeah, because Agent Coulson would have my ass if I left you somewhere, unsupervised,” Jack snorted.

Clint smirked.  “What can I say?  He’s overprotective.”

The Doctor didn’t say anything, but the second Doctor appeared.  He grabbed Jack’s wrist, pulling the Vortex Manipulator toward him, accessing the interface easily.  He aimed a sonic screwdriver at it as he pressed a couple of buttons.  “Don’t make me wrong about trusting you, Jack.”

Clint bristled, and Jack knew he would have said something they’d both regret if he didn’t step in.  “I’ll have the Rift Manipulator opened as soon as I get to the Hub,” he promised. 

With a last nod toward Clint, hoping the archer would get the hint and not pick a fight with either Doctor, he activated the wrist strap and was gone.