A New Age Dawns
Chapter Four
by Apollymi 

Series: Torchwood
Pairing: General
Rating: 15
Word Count: 3238
Note: The title comes from the Epica album Consign to Oblivion. Yes, I still suck at titles. This is the first of my fan novels for Torchwood. It is set to bridge the gap between Series 1 and Series 2. Whether or not it will be Series 2 compliant is left to be seen, but it does take into account information released in "The Sound of Drums" of Doctor Who.
Summary: Set immediately following End of Days but prior to the beginning of Series Two, Torchwood Three's leader is gone. What will happen in the meantime?
Disclaimer: Doctor Who and Torchwood belong to the BBC. I'm just borrowing.

Realistically, Gwen knew she'd left the Hub since Jack had left, but that was just to go collect the creature that was now occupying the cell Rhys had been in a few days ago. Well, and to make certain Rhys had been brought back to life once Abaddon had been defeated and Jack had been safely delivered back to the Hub. Well, relatively safely; he'd been dead when she got back and had stayed dead for days, only to wake up and be kidnapped. Awfully convenient timing, that was, in her opinion. Not that she could blame that Doctor bloke for not wanting to kidnap a corpse.

But more than that, what if Abaddon and Jack's subsequent eventual reawakening was what had brought the Doctor calling?

There was no two ways about it. Toshiko and Owen could make her leave the Hub, but they couldn't make her go home. The apartment she shared with Rhys seemed like another world right now, something completely separate from her Torchwood life. And that's what needed her right now. Going home to sooth Rhys's hurt feelings wouldn't help them find Jack, and more than ever, they needed Jack. Cardiff needed Jack. No more than that; the world needed Jack.

She'd take Tosh's suggestions to go to a hotel, but she wasn't going far. There were hotels close by, after all, and she could be back as soon as she needed to tomorrow. She was also taking all the information they had on this Doctor person with her. Maybe she could come up with some sort of profile that might help. Just because no-one had successfully been able to track him down before now didn't mean anything, other than Torchwood hadn't been trying too hard before.

She knew Tosh was working on a program to physically track the Doctor's transport, this TARDIS thing. Well, building computer programs was hardly her speciality, but she could always try to flesh out a personality profile on him, figure out what his next move would be. She was hardly an expert on psychology, but she hadn't done half bad profiling for cases before. And the one time she'd been really, truly wrong about a person's characteristics, they'd all been taken in - and wouldn't she just love to get her hands on Bilis. Wouldn't they all?

She suspected Toshiko was only letting her leave with the files to make certain she actually did leave. That the Asian woman followed her upstairs and that Owen was waiting in the tourist centre just cinched it for her. Ianto had left easily enough, to her mild surprise, but then the poor man had been through the wringer. She felt like she'd been through the wringer herself as it happened. Bilis killing Rhys, Jack dying and resurrecting and dying and eventually resurrecting and being taken, and the days of waiting by Jack's side and research... It was no wonder she felt like she'd been going on all cylinders for a month with no chance for a break; it had been a rough week.

They were all tired, she could see that, maybe more than anyone else, but all three of them, they were always so ready to just give up on Jack. Not believing he'd wake up and calling breaks in looking for him, they might as well have just admitted defeat to the Doctor. She'd helped kill Jack once; she wasn't going to give up on him again. She wasn't going to stop till he was back with them, no matter what it took.

They were going to be stretched thin, though, trying to find Jack and run Torchwood Three. She was sure Toshiko was coming up with some sort of plan to deal with the duties they were going to have to divvy out amongst them. Hopefully that should allow them time to look for Jack "on the clock" as it were. She had no qualms about staying late and sleeping on the couch someone had so conveniently set up in the office to get the work done and put in the time to find their boss, as long as Ianto showed up the next morning with coffee, but the rest of them seriously needed to spend some more time sleeping. Ianto seemed like he was fading out, Toshiko had dark circles under her eyes that rivalled the one time she'd played in her mum's eyeliner when she was small, and Owen definitely wasn't allowing himself time to heal properly; it had been less than a week since he'd been shot for God's sake. Even doctors needed longer to heal up after that. The only person she knew who'd be over being shot this quickly was, well, Jack, him being the man who stood right back up with a great bloody hole in the middle of his forehead one of the first times she'd met him.

She spread the papers she'd collected from the Hub before she left across the hotel bed and studied them in each turn. There were at least a few dozen pictures of the Doctor, several of them showing a different man each time. So, given that the files listed him as alien of unknown species (and since she couldn't read someone's horrible handwriting on the side of that note), she was going to assume (a) the title was familial or (b) the Doctor could change his face. Given that he was alien, she was leaning more towards Option B. So, a chameleon... It made sense, of a sort, but who knew what the Doctor really looked like then?

He seemed to have a limited number of facial and body type options, and as far as the files noted, he was limited to a Caucasian male appearance. Not very helpful for limiting the field. The faces she had seen were all males, approximately mid-thirties and increasing in age to sixties and covering the range between. So almost definitely no-one younger than thirty or older than, say, sixty-five. That narrowed it a bit more.

She eyed the pictures a bit more closely. Was that an opera coat? And she'd thought she worked with some odd ones back when she was still with the police. Apparently, she could add an occasional penchant for odd clothing to the list, even though the short-haired one with the big nose and ears wasn't too odd, compared to the rest anyway. It wasn't all the versions of the Doctor, but enough to count as she figured it, especially the bloke with the scarf that just kept on going. That counted as odd as far as she was concerned.

Most of the information she had before was painstakingly gathered by both Torchwood and U.N.I.T. As far as she could tell, there were two totally different takes on the Doctor presented before her. U.N.I.T. seemed to have benefited a great deal over the years from the Doctor's assistance and knowledge, and so they were the source of almost any positive comments in the files. These were apparently the files that Jack had access to that the remainder of Torchwood did not and detailed multiple instances the Doctor had saved or assisted in saving the Earth, whether from outside invasion or home-grown terrors. They were also the second driest reads she'd ever had to sit through, which said something after years of police reports.

U.N.I.T. didn't completely whitewash the Doctor and had thoughtfully included some shortcomings with each version they had chronicled, but those files didn't even display a third the venom towards some of the other aliens they had chronicled (and there had been quite a few mentioned; she'd spent several hours going over the files carefully one at the time) as the Torchwood files did for the Doctor. If she didn't know better, she'd think that these weren't even the same alien, that there was another Doctor that Torchwood had met compared to U.N.I.T. It seemed like maybe the higher-ups at Torchwood had met a different alien named "the Doctor" than the higher-ups at U.N.I.T. had, in other words.

Personally, she didn't buy the theory that there might be more than one Doctor out there in the universe. Oh sure, there might be billions of aliens out there who were doctors among their own people, just like there were thousands of doctors of various kinds here on Earth, but she was placing bets that there was only one the Doctor. The universe narrowed too much otherwise, and if there was one thing she'd looked learned in Torchwood (besides don't shag aliens, don't accept gifts that may or may not be alien artefacts from strange people who may or may not be aliens themselves, don't shag aliens, don't open the Rift, and oh yeah, don't shag aliens), it was that the universe was unimaginably huge.

It would be like Occam's Razor: the simplest explanation was usually the best. Never presume there were two criminals carrying out crimes when one criminal could just as easily have done all the crimes and the evidence supported that conclusion. The evidence, thanks to the addition of the U.N.I.T. files, supported the idea that there was indeed only one Doctor interested in any way with the Earth. It also supported the theory that the Doctor could change his face and body, not at will but at times when a human would have died, again going by U.N.I.T.'s files. (And she was curious how Jack had managed to get hold of them: they were all marked top secret and higher. She knew they had some dealings with U.N.I.T., and Ianto had once told her that the two organizations occasionally worked in tandem, if not cooperatively, in the past, before much of U.N.I.T.'s higher-ups had been killed at Downing Street and the majority of Torchwood was lost at the Battle of Canary Wharf. In her time with Torchwood, though, she had seen some information sharing going on but rarely anything this highly classified.)

So in her opinion, there was only one Doctor, capable of changing his face and body at times when he should have died, when a human would have. He was at least four hundred Earth years old, having met both Queen Elizabeth I and Queen Victoria - and made enemies of both of them. Interestingly, apparently he'd been wearing the same face both times, the face recorded at Canary Wharf and during the attempted invasion by the Sycorax at Christmas a few years ago. Yet that was not the face he'd been wearing when Toshiko met him not that long before Canary Wharf at Albion Hospital in London, when the officers of U.N.I.T. were murdered. All the evidence seemed to point towards the Doctor being stuck with the face and body he got after each near death, so there was no way for him to change back and forth as far as she could see. However, that was one of the few options she had for the changing back and forth this time line indicated...

But she was looking at it from a human point of view and normal Earth (non-Torchwood, non-U.N.I.T.) technology. Maybe she needed to be looking at it from a more alien view. After all, she never figured on an alien ship looking like a giant rock or being small enough to be an arm's length long and still fit two aliens larger than the one she and Owen had captured tonight. Earth was sadly behind in technology, comparing it to things she'd seen since joining Torchwood.

But what could alien tech do? The file mentioned a TARDIS as the Doctor's primary means of transportation, but how it travelled wasn't touched up, not even in the U.N.I.T. files on him. According to what little Torchwood had gotten at Canary Wharf before everything went pear-shaped, it materialised inside the building and out stepped the Doctor, the same Doctor Queen Elizabeth had met, the same Doctor Queen Victoria had met, knighted, and banished. He looked to be the youngest, but being no real expert in aliens (other than the simple rule of you don't shag them), she couldn't be certain. So, alien tech that no-one really understood, plus a humanoid alien that had been reported by two impeachable sources, added up to what exactly?

It sounded utterly daft and like something out of a bad science fiction film, but all she could add it up to was time travel. And frankly, if Jack and Tosh hadn't been pulled to 1941 recently, it probably would have never come to her mind in a million years. If they hadn't been snatched back through time by Bilis Manger, she would have probably left time travel in the realm of the impossible. And of course, that was to say nothing of how Bilis appeared and disappeared as it were: "stepping across eras" was how she thought he'd put it in the clock shop, before everything had really gone to shit, before they'd realised the true extent of his duplicity, before he'd killed Rhys (because who else could it have been?), before he tricked them into releasing Abaddon.

If Bilis could walk through time as easily as walking from one room to the next - she definitely remembered him saying that - then why couldn't the Doctor also travel in time? It made the most sense, and it was the simplest explanation. Occam's Razor worked here as well, and it wasn't like she couldn't compare her thoughts against Toshiko's tomorrow morning. Whatever the Asian woman was coming up with, it was probably more scientifically accurate. Figuring out people and how they would react was more Gwen's forte than the actual aliens themselves. And who knew? Maybe time travel wasn't possible. She remembered something from some film Rhys had rented by accident (but they'd watched anyway) about something with paradoxes or something like that; maybe that was a tick in the column against time travel being plausible. The scientific bits of it were well and truly above her head. Yes, in the morning, she'd run the time travel idea by Tosh and get her opinion on if it was even possible, much less likely. For all she knew, Tosh had already thought of, considered, and discarded the idea as simply too improbable.

This whole thing might just be her spinning her wheels at this point. It wasn't like Torchwood hadn't been working on this Doctor issue for over a hundred years. She certainly wasn't going to solve it in a single night, not when better, more scientific minds than hers had failed for this long. She wasn't going to solve a century old problem overnight, not even for Jack, but that certainly wasn't going to stop her from trying. There was no way she was giving up this easily.

She pulled the notepad provided by the hotel into her lap and balanced the pen she'd found in the bedside table drawer between her fingers as she tried to work out which of her theories was correct enough or plausible enough to jot down, biting down on the capped end in thought. Well, the time travel theory first, if only so Toshiko could reject it quickly and get it out of the way. Or better still, just get it all out so it could picked through. Owen would probably have a field day with it and probably order her up a psych evaluation once this was all over, but that was then and this was now - and now they needed a theory. (What they needed was Jack, but in the meanwhile, a theory on how to find Jack would have to suffice, and that was the best she could do for now. She wasn't giving up after all.) So with a heavy sigh, she uncapped the pen and began to write:

"Name: The Doctor (real name unknown)
Known alias: Doctor James McCrimmon (? spelling)
Known associates:"

She paused in her writing to check back through the files and consult both the Torchwood One notes and what was recorded by the surviving members of Queen Victoria's guard and the Queen herself to make certain she had the name right before she continued:

"Rose Tyler (from Powell Estates?, London accent, seen in both Torchwood One in 2006 and Scotland in 1879), unknown companions (two meetings with Queen Elizabeth I, unnamed persons from various timezones), UNIT members, UNIT officers
Known allies: UNIT, various companions (human or humanoid)
Known enemies: Torchwood (? - still in charter, but hasn't been mentioned since I started and read initial files)
Known age: At least 400 human years (? possibly older)
Known actions: Several years with UNIT as advisor, Sycorax, werewolf, Albion Hospital, Downing Street bombing?, Canary Wharf
Known transport: TARDIS (dematerialise, whirring grinding noise - yes Owen back-firing auto - move from Powell Estate to Torchwood One - travels in space - maybe time? - help me out with this one Tosh)

"Initial thoughts: Maybe this Doctor can do like Bilis Manger and travel through time. If so, then this makes him doubly dangerous. Queen Victoria said he finds dangerous situations entirely too fun and enjoyable, making him dangerous, an adrenaline junkie, and therefore unpredictable. He also can be anywhere and now anywhen. We also have to add in to that equation that he was present at the attack of the Sycorax and the Racnoss (? spelling on both), both of which had a huge possibility of loss of human life, and the danger goes up. When we add in the Battle of Canary Wharf and the loss of human life, both civilian and Torchwood staff members alike, and the worldwide alien battle that resulted, it's no wonder the Doctor was written into our charter as one of the most dangerous aliens out there. If he doesn't cause it, (Tosh, your experience seems to indicate he's fairly peaceable if not provoked) then trouble follows him here to Earth. Which came first: the Doctor or the trouble?

"It may not be a valid theory, but given that Queen Elizabeth, Queen Victoria, and Torchwood One all apparently met the same version of the Doctor, based on descriptions, sketches, and CCTV, I submit that he is likely extremely long-lived. Since Tosh met a different Doctor between those times and UNIT worked with several different Doctors between those times, my guess is he can travel in time. Maybe that is one of the TARDIS's functions, along with the dematerialising here and there across the Earth.

"The Doctor was present at the destruction of Torchwood One. We get a recording of his TARDIS when Captain Jack Harkness, our leader, vanishes. We are left with the inescapable conclusion that the Doctor wants Torchwood out of the way. Taking into effect the time travel theory above, perhaps he just learned Torchwood was created to protect the world from him when he landed at Torchwood One - but he is cleaning us up now.

"Of course all of this is theory. We've proven time and again that aliens don't always react in human-like ways, so all the theories above could be utter rubbish. And don't you dare say a word, Owen. We need theories, and I've yet to hear a decent one from you."

She stuck the cap back on her pen and tucked the notepad under her pillow as she laid down on it. No sense taking any chance with this information vanishing. They might need it after all.

08 July 2007

You guys are just worlds of fantastic! Okay, so I'm only at one treat (ice cream from the beta for every 500 hits), but still... a treat!

I'm caught back up answering reviews for now - and thank you so much to everyone who has left one! You have no idea how much each one means to me. Thank you!

I'm making no promises on when the next chapter should be out. Every two days seems to be about my speed, but maybe that'll change sooner or later. Faster would be nice, but I'm not giving up quality for it.

See you in Chapter Five!


[ Prologue | 01 | 02 | 03 | 04 | 05 | 06 | 07 | 08 | 09 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | Epilogue ]