A TALE OF TWO WARS
The Tenth Doctor meets Q, and similarities between the Time Lords and the Q are explored. Inspired partly by Rassilon's plan in "The End of Time."
(I realize that on Voyager, the suicidal Q was supposed to be older than our usual Q, but for the purposes of this fic, they're the same age. I also realize that Rassilon wasn't going to let the Master evolve with the rest of the Time Lords, but for the purposes of this fic, he did.) I own neither
I own neitherDoctor Who nor Star Trek.
Sometime after the Doctor married Queen Bess, but a bit before he would name a galaxy Allison, a visitor appears in the TARDIS.
"Well!" says the visitor indignantly, "I step away from this universe for a few mere centuries and look what happens. How do you stand it in here? The very fabric of spacetime hurts."
The Doctor's first instinct is to tell off this bloke for traveling between universes, but two things stop him. One, he can't sense any dangerous disturbances in time. Two, the visitor is wearing Time Lord clothes, Prydonian chapter, and yet - he's not a Time Lord. The Doctor catches a whiff of something familiar, something as ancient and forever as time itself.
"You're an Eternal," says the Doctor. His brow furrows and he adds, almost accusingly, "Where were you during the War?"
The visitor rolls his eyes. "And you call your humans stupid and shortsighted," he complains. "We had a War of our own, Time Lord, and I might add it was much bigger, much more dangerous, and much more important than yours." He leans lazily against the TARDIS console, ignoring her squeak of protest. "And we cleaned up from it better, too."
"I'm the only Time Lord left. How d'you expect me to tidy up the entire universe?" the Doctor protests. He adds, more humbly, "I'm sorry, sir. It's been difficult for me."
"I'm not one of your Guardians," the visitor remarks. "Just call me Q."
In that single letter, the Doctor perceives a confusing ball of wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey stuff. It's five billion years strong, and so vast and intricate that even the Doctor can't pick out more than a strand or two here and there. It reminds him of Koschei, for some reason, Koschei written in enormous letters across the multiverse. But of course it isn't the Master. It can't be.
"And I thought Time Lord names were hard to pronounce." The Doctor's joke falls uneasily. "So, Q, what happened in this War of yours?"
"One of my fellow Q committed suicide."
Perhaps the Doctor is just imagining things now, but the telepathic undercurrent of this utterance of "Q" is not only distinct from the first, but it carries hints of Theta, of Doctor.
The Doctor wonders how one single suicide could cause a War, but he says merely, "What happened?"
"I helped," says Q. "That's what happened."
The Doctor glimpses a starship, caught in a childish tug-of-war between two ancient beings. Infinitely hopeless ennui-half-human-clone-suicidal Q-he became human-guilty hypocrisy-he refused to regenerate-he killed the other Q. Twisted time-broken cosmos-sickening. Started with a suicide-ended with a genocide-the Daleks marched against the Time Lords and the Time Lords became...
"It was rumored that Rassilon had a plan," says the Doctor. He shakes his head to try to clear it. Timelines are crossing and tangling, mirroring each other in a mocking, funhouse fashion, sometimes parallel, sometimes inverted, always paradoxical.
"And?" says Q, sounding mildly interested.
"I stopped him," says the Doctor.
"In this universe," says Q.
The Doctor doesn't need reminding that every decision that could be made, is made. Every possibility is played out in one universe or another. The Time Lord and the Q are silent for a moment.
At last, the Doctor tells Q, "You're not Koschei."
"And you're not Q."
The Doctor looks at Q intently, though the entity's complexity strains the Doctor's senses. The Master is caught in the snarls; so is the Doctor, and the dead Q whose name carries undertones of Theta. Two Time Lords. Two Q. Two Wars that were really one War, or one War that was really two. One Theta who lost his Koschei. One Koschei who lost his Theta. The Q started the Time War. The Time War started the Q. The Doctor's head aches.
"Why did you come here?" he asks quietly.
Q smiles and shakes his head. The gesture says, "You know why."
"It's not over yet," says the Doctor. He knows that's only part of the reason. The other part goes without saying.
"We both started it," says Q. "We both have to finish it."
The Doctor nods. He understands. Q starts to snap his fingers, and the Doctor realizes that Q is about to leave.
"Wait!" The Doctor, the man who makes people better, can't resist trying to help. "You should find someone. A companion."
Q looks amused. "Like who?"
"A human," says the Doctor, fighting back his own loneliness and nostalgia. "Find a human, and take her traveling. It helps, truly."
"Maybe for a lower lifeform like you," Q sniffs, but he looks thoughtful, like he's actually considering the idea. He reaches to snap again.
"Goodbye, Kosch," says the Doctor, with a sad smile.
"See you in the Continuum, maybe," says Q wistfully, and he vanishes.
A universe away, Vash says to a Q in a safari hat, "You want to show me the wonders of the universe? I think I just might take you up on that."