Written for the Tardis Gen ficathon! <-go visit! so many great fics! There
Prompt: “Pete’s world” – what happens in a universe where the Doctor never existed?
Characters: Dr Liz Shaw, Owen Harper; mention of Ian Chesterton and of the Silurians.
.- Doctor Who: The Daleks, And the Silurians, …and any episode that mentions Gallifrey existing at the dawn of time.
.- Torchwood: Fragments.
Summary: Without the Doctor’s presence, the Earth acquired new masters. Lucky us that it was not the Daleks.
Owen Harper! Liz Shaw! And a very nice compliment.
‘they were damnably human in general outline despite webbed hands and feet, shockingly wide and flabby lips, glassy, bulging yes, and other features less pleasant to recall.’
.- ‘Dagon’ by H.P. Lovecraft.
“Lovecraft was wrong.”
To the Baseth, time unfolds as it always should. The Baseth savor every revelation their property experiences, and as they feel they own the entirety of the universe…
There had, at one distant point, been a rival to the Baseths’ claims. A tenant on the Baseth’s home world – the Time Lords, the Gallifreyans – who were met in battle and defeated. Even on an intellectual level, it was on the same as on the instinctive level: the Baseth could not tolerate rivals; a pity therefore the Gallifreyans could not accept the fact of their inferiority to the great Baseth.
The Time Battle had kicked the homeworld to the dawn of stable time, just following the Universe’s horrid instabilities. It was from that so-fitting point that the Baseth spread throughout the universe to behold the glories of their realm.
To the Baseth, the conflict between the Thals and the Daleks held nothing that possessed any savory newness. The only novelty – and thus the only reason any Baseth bothered to notice the endless Wars of Skaro – was the lengths the Daleks had endured, with how much physical change had been wrought.
The Baseth watched as the participants exterminated one another, until Skaro was empty of anything able to think.
The Baseth were everywhere, and had been for billions of years by now.
They watched Earth as well, though with disinterested boredom: nothing of interest happened there. Extinctions and replacings were commonplace in the long view of Baseth experience, so neither the end of the dinosaurs nor of the neandertals was cause for Baseth involvement. Reason could not even be found for Baseth interaction for those events.
But then came a civilization from the depths of Earth’s history, come to claim-reclaim their birthright of the world - this drew Baseth interest, this caught Baseth attention. It was lively, it was rare, it was for that reason fun!
And because it would be unseemly to interrupt, the Baseth did not prematurely unseat the new (resumed) lords of Earth.
Owen Harper was a tool and he knew it. He also didn’t care.
UNIT had saved his fiancé’s life, safely removing the alien from her brain; in return, Owen had signed over his life to the service of defending the Earth. He didn’t mind becoming a cog, not with her health assured.
He and Suzie Costello held court over the Torchwood teams and sub-teams in the British Isles. Torchwood: the enforcement arm of UNIT. Torchwood, the ones whose job it was to rein in or kill any aliens found in violation of the Treaty of St George or, worse, violating the Aisha Concordance.
“Still playing with that glove?” Owen asked, having stopped by Suzie’s doorway.
She gave a what’s-it-look-like? look, not looking up.
Owen didn’t say anything checkered or bawdy about his colleague’s interest in the Glove – it wasn’t in his nature. “I’m off.”
Early, Suzie knew, and knew why. Looking up, “Anniversary tomorrow, isn’t it?”
“That it is,” Owen said.”
“I’ll hold down the fort, Owen. You two just have fun.”
Grinning, Owen said, “Will do.”
“And tell her I said Hi.”
“Not a problem,” Owen said, and left for the day.
Suzie looked back down at the Glove. And she smiled.
Doctor Liz Shaw sighed at the latest iten to cross her desk. As the head of UNIT, such requests were not uncommon, not with UNIT being all that stood between humanity’s existence and extinction.
And she suspected she knew why the Bangladesh Ambassador was petitioning her – and not the UNIT regional head in Bangladesh proper – to convince the Silurians to increase his country’s agricultural coast: she was the king of the mountain, the best hope of out-manuvering someone who might possibly say No.
Because she was Liz Shaw.
She was in charge of UNIT in part because she’d risen through the ranks, and in part because the Silurians preferred her over the other canidates. Yet not even that preference had been enough for them to let her in on the big Why - why had the Silurians abruptly halted their conquest of the Earth?
They’d begun with germ warfare, expanding into manipulation of the weather and of shorelines. Then, one day, they undid all they had done; everything but bringing back everyone who had died in the assault. All the germs they’d released, suddenly harmless and inert. All the land they’d sunk and drowned, suddenly risen and dry. All the hurricanes instantly fell harmlessly apart.
The Silurians said they were willing now to share the Earth with the apes, and there was no question who they were referring to.
Dictatorships accepted the announcement, viewing it as evidence of a power struggle amidst the leather-plated creatures that resulted in a coup. At least three American nations saw it as simply a change of President, boasting of that view in their domestic press. Parliaments and Diets, older and sager than their fellow human forms of governance, reflected that it proved – whatever their benevolence proved to be worth – that the Silurians were as flexible and politically-shifting as mankind was.
And that was that. You couldn’t push the Silurians – because, as foreign and alien as they might seem, they at least had arisen in the same cradle as humans, and were willing to tolerate their younger siblings. You couldn’t assert the same would be true with the actual aliens out there.
The various Empires and other Powers in the galaxy were willing to cede the Earth to the non-expansionist Silurians. Dealing with the Powers was UNIT’s job now, reduced to running interference so the Silurians were undisturbed.
Unit did the diplomacy. Torchwood (originally “torched wood” – Silurian humor referenced aeons-ago events) was the big stick to handle violators. And the CIA, MI6, KGB, and all the others, well they stuck to dealing with humans.
When it came to the reaction in non-governmental groups to what the Silurians had to say, it was varied. Dankenites took Silurian mentions of “apes” as evidence that aliens resembling humans had been to Earth within the long span of a Silurian’s living memory. Creationists took “apes” to mean their worldview of monkeys and stem-tetrapods coexisting was correct. And everyone was looking for the fossils of the proto-Silurians.
Humanity was thriving in the global civilization…at least, among those nations that didn’t antagonize the ancient lords. There had been unease at the beginning, and it lingered in many pockets of the world, Liz knew. But for now, poised on a knife edge for balance, Earth was in a steady state. And it would remain so if she had any say in it.
Because if the Silurians went bye-bye, humanity would not be long in following: there were too many things now that her species depended on the Silurians for (good weather, for one; food, for another), so independent survival, ideal a thought as it was, was impossible. And the extinction of humanity was an intolerable fate so far as she was concerned.
Hence her toast when she wanted to make a point at meals: “God save the Queen. God save the British Empire. And God save the Silurians.”
Author’s note: no, the Baseth are not in any way related to the beings from Pyramids of Mars.’
Author’s note: without the Doctor, the Daleks never hit upon the idea of escape by time travel. Without the Doctor (and by extension Rose), Jack never headed Torchwood when Owen’s fiancé needed help; so far as I could see, it was the loss of her that made Owen into what he was in the other episodes.