summary: among the tools of the Time War, there was something to sidestep the War.
characters: Romana, Susan; mention of Leela.
spoilers: Sound of Drums, any eps that reference the Time War, City of Death
This factory of war was unlike those of other species, and for good reason. No sparks flew here, no cranes hauled steel or timber, no fires roared. Everything here bore the silence of the grave.
President Romana walked around, examining engines of creation, verbs of destruction, and all other manner of devices being firstmade for this, the Greatest War. For a few things, she had to squint to see the entirety of a weapon. The Safety ID on her bare wrist (that sleeve rolled up just enough) measured outputs and would alert her should things become too dangerous for her).
Overhead, space coiled like a patient serpent. Line of sight was not always a straight line, and a plot of air could all-too-easily be bigger than the open space surrounding it.
"One hopes these will suffice," she said under her breath. At present, the Daleks were winning, but they did not as yet have a sufficiently strong hand to collapse the Time Lords into nonexistance.
"Madame President," said the only other person in this factory (the security systems wouldn't even permit Leela entry). The Cabinet and War Council both agreed with the other august bodies (unanimousness! a novelty, that) that this Time Lord could not be trusted, and not simply because she changed names with each of her regenerations. No, she was to them the Rebel, the Traitor, the Turncoat, the Intolerable One. The more daring of Romana's advisors suggested that the President had pardoned her because of the Doctor.
No, that's not it at all. She's a brilliant mind. "Anything new, Miner?" You are still Miner, yes? or have you ducked back to being the Foreman?
"I have put the finishing touches on the Void Ship, though I know what you'll say to that." 'No! No! We are Gallifreyans. We do not flee. Ever!' Even in the presence of the August President, Susan rolled her eyes.
"We have no need for a Void Ship."
"To pursue the Daleks, we do."
"We will win." That should be enough. That is enough. Susan was smiling. "What?"
"You should know."
"Yes? Know what?"
"I took a commission," said the Miner. One which dovetails nicely.
Romana took a step back. "From the Daleks?"
"Nothing so fortunate for you, Madame President," taking a half-step towards her, ripping the ID off Romana. "I'll be needing that."
"Someone needs to be you."
"Who?" she demanded. "Who paid you to be me?" spitting the foul word out.
"Oh no, Susan replied. "That part is all my own. My commission is to dethrone you. Don't worry, I'll remove them from the populace shortly."
"So... are you going to kill me?" Romana asked quietly.
"I've no need to."
"I don't follow," slightly curious despite herself.
""On Earth, there's a belief that good works and increasing self-knowledge in successive reincarnatioins lead to the individual's liberation...impressive for people without our distinctive biology. I've devised something built to that basic principle," and pulled a gauze patch from her pocket."
"No chameleon arch? No handheld objects for identity storage?"
"Humans, no! Objects can be lost or stolen. And chameleon arches are too restrictive. Look at it this way, Romana, if you're killed, you reincarnate just like any other Time Lord does - but you will be automatically transported to another point in time and space."
"It's simple enough to escape from -- simply know who you are, who you were," and slapped the gauze onto Romana's wrist. "Bye-bye," and fired the gun she'd produced. "You'll outlast the rest of us."