Happy New Year.
I don't own Doctor Who in any way, although if I did there would be more alternate versions of the Doctor travelling through time and space.
To clarify, in this timeline the Doctor is forced to select one of the faces during his trial and is exiled to Earth, much earlier in history. Between moments like the sinking of the Titanic, to the Kulan invasion in the 21st century, the Doctor has a long exile ahead.
Stranded: The Trial.
In the High Court of the Time Lords of Gallifrey, the trial was coming to an end. The accused, a renegade Time Lord known as the Doctor, was standing on the dock platform.
The Doctor looked out of place standing amongst the Time Lords; where the Time Lords were dignified, in their robe-tunics of black and white, the Doctor was a small man currently in his second incarnation. He wore an ancient black coat which was battered and torn and a pair of check trousers. He had a gentle, rather comical face and a shock of untidy black hair. But there was a keen intelligence in the Doctor's eyes.
Currently, the Doctor was smiling, as he watched his former companion Jamie chase after an English redcoat. It was typical really of his old companion and friend to chase after any enemy who shot at him, especially with something as primitive as that musket. But now Jamie, and Zoe, were back in their own worlds and their own times with no knowledge of him save their original adventures together, and that was it. As far as they were concerned neither of them had walked into the TARDIS and travelled with him. The Time Lords had taken those moments from them.
Perhaps they might have weird moments where they'd realise something was wrong, but they would be brief. The thought saddened the Doctor, but there was nothing that could be done.
None of them had wanted to leave or say goodbye, but the Doctor knew it would do little good. He had no doubt whatever punishment the Time Lords had in store for him, it would not be good for his two friends to go through.
The Time Lords had been generous, they had allowed the Doctor not only the moment to say goodbye before Jamie and Zoe were sent home, but they also showed them getting on with their lives.
"They will continue their lives as if nothing had happened," one of the Time Lords calmly said.
The Doctor's smile faded. Put like that neither Jamie nor Zoe had grown after they'd met him, but the Time Lords didn't care about that, and there was absolutely nothing he could do about it. "Yes, very efficient," he nodded before he sighed, accepting the fact it was all over.
He took a moment to think about the recent past towards this point, amazed that it had only been a few days ago, he and Zoe had laughed as Jamie stepped into a puddle when the TARDIS had materialised, before finding themselves in a war zone, and he found it hard to believe he had gone from there, to here.
Gallifrey, a world he'd hoped never to see again until he was nearing the end of his final incarnation. A world he had hoped to continue avoiding while he travelled the universe, pushing the thought of seeing what was waiting for him next as soon as he left the TARDIS to the forefront of his mind while holding back the despair at the thought of being forever on the run, forever looking back over his shoulder. Sometimes, he wished he had done what the Corsair had done and left Gallifrey with permission from the High Council, although he wondered what it had cost the other Time Lord.
For a long time, the Doctor had been travelling the universe to explore it, travelling from planets and times and having adventures in the TARDIS. Over the course of two of his lives, the Doctor had gradually grown from a traveller whose only priority was to see the universe while keeping Susan safe with him, before he had met Ian and Barbara and stumbled across a Dalek occupied Earth and later came face to face with the man who'd murdered an entire species, just to save himself.
After reaching the epiphany, the Doctor had gone through time and space, righting wrongs…. And then he had stumbled across a plan put into action by the War Lords (he still didn't know too much about the alien race beyond that name; he was nonetheless curious about what would make an alien race become dependent on the idea of transforming the soldiers of another race into its brainwashed warriors, instead of coming up with a plan of their own to achieve the same ends) to conquer the galaxy.
The scheme was organised, the Doctor would give them that, and aided and abetted by one of his own people, who had supplied them with time travel technology to kidnap the soldiers from various times in Earth's history, and taking them to an alien world which they'd prepared in advance to make it appear to be Earth, so the humans would kill one another until they found the strongest warriors and transformed them into a fighting force to conquer the Milky Way.
Only it would never work.
The War Lords had brutally subjected the humans to barbaric methods of brainwashing, but while it had worked perfectly well on some humans, reinforced by routine conditioning from War Lords masquerading as officers, such as General Smythe, the War Lords' conditioning had left cracks in the minds of the humans.
All those particular humans like Carstairs, Lady Jennifer, Arturo Villar, and so many others had formed a resistance strong enough to fight the War Lords.
The Doctor was still tired from the relentlessness of the recent adventure, he and Jamie and Zoe had only spent a few minutes out of the TARDIS before they were being shot at and bombed at while being threatened in farcical court-martials by alien warmongers who were so narrow-minded it was not even funny, and who didn't imagine others would take their story seriously. He was tired from discovering the vista of a war-torn 1917 was just a simulation on some alien world, and there were other simulations just like it, separated from each other by time-zone barriers disguised as mist. He was tired from all the work he'd done, from trying to work on the barriers and the brainwashing machine.
After such a long battle, victory was right in their grasp…. Only for the Time Lord working with the War Lords to tell him the TARDIS-travel machines he'd offered his alien allies were falling apart. Decaying. The Doctor was amazed by the timing, and at the time he had wondered if the War Chief was even telling the truth.
Yes, he'd known the TARDIS machines were nothing like a functional TARDIS, and he wasn't surprised they were dying. It just surprised him at the timing. But even so, they were just not capable of sending the soldiers back to their own times. He had promised to send them back home, but none of the soldiers had even an inkling of the problem facing him at the moment.
Zoe had realised quickly that even if all of the soldiers had been ordered to stop fighting, there was the problem of getting them home. The Doctor had hoped to make use of the War Chief's TARDIS-travel machines; they were basic, but that made them simpler to manage. And then he had learnt they didn't have the life needed to do what he'd wanted.
Option one, he would just simply tell the humans there was no way back. As soon as the option had entered his mind, the Doctor had the cruel image of himself waving goodbye to the humans, leaving them to fend for themselves on a world which was not their own.
Option two; he could still attempt to send the soldiers back to their own times by using the War Chief's basic TARDIS machines, but going inside each ship and then finding out which of them were working, and which ones were on the point of dying out completely would take too long and the War Lord's might very well come back, putting short work to the hard-won victory.
Option three, he could have taken all of the stranded human soldiers inside his own TARDIS. Unfortunately, that was not a good idea. The navigational circuit of his TARDIS was faulty, and as a result, his TARDIS had never made an exception, and visited a place and time of his choosing, although he had noticed the TARDIS taking him to places where there was a crisis taking place, he didn't think the old girl would take him to the Mexican civil war, or even the American civil war for those soldiers. Oh yes, he could have travelled through time and space forever, but the chances of arriving where he'd wanted to go for a change were low.
To make matters worse, the Doctor was faced with another problem; helping the soldiers mentally, and he quickly realised he was out of his depth.
He had then come up with another option, which not only terrified him but terrified the War Chief.
He would summon his people, the Time Lords. The War Chief was right, and the Doctor had known it. The Time Lords, despite their complacency, did not take misuse of time travel lightly. They would show no mercy to him or to the War Chief, never mind other renegades like the Monk (they'd certainly show no mercy for him; the fact he carelessly tried to change even fixed history would make them more determined to catch him), but he'd had no choice.
He had called in the Time Lords, sending them a Hypercube with a detailed account of everything that had taken place on the war games planet and the War Chief's involvement, and an appeal for help in sending the soldiers home to their own times but also to undo the damage the aliens had done to their minds.
The Time Lords had acted quickly, arriving on the planet and sending them back to their own times and ensuring they remembered nothing of the horror they'd been through. The Doctor was thankful towards his people for that. Even better they had dealt with the War Lord's leader, although it was mostly because the idiot believed the Time Lords would be easy to conquer.
Didn't the War Chief warn him of the dangers of attacking the Time Lords?
Just because the Time Lords hadn't defended themselves when his men had come, what had possessed the War Lord's leader to think the Time Lords would just let him go? It didn't matter now; the War Lord leader had been dematerialised, erased from history, so he would never have existed while the Time Lords on Gallifrey mitigated the worst of the changes to history. But at the same time, the Doctor was currently waiting for the judgement from his own people.
It was his own fault. He had never told Jamie and Zoe about his past, so when he had sent off the Hypercube to the Time Lords and he had tried to get away as fast as he could while the High Council went over everything he had sent them, but he had received question after question from Russell, Carstairs, and Villar, to say nothing of Jamie and Zoe. If he had only told them of how he'd left Gallifrey, perhaps not the ins and the outs, but enough to let them know going back home would be a bad idea, they would have agreed with him.
The Doctor grimaced as he remembered how the Time Lords had seized control of the TARDIS, throwing the ship from one dangerous time zone to another while he tried to give them the slip, knowing deep down his efforts were in vain, but he'd needed to try before the Time Lords lost their patience and drew the ship to Gallifrey. By that time Jamie and Zoe had finally realised the seriousness of the mess they were in, but it was too late. In any case, the pair of them had been sent home, following witnessing the War Lord being removed from history.
And now it was the Doctor's turn. He honestly didn't know how the Time Lords would deal with him, but he knew his interfering in the affairs of the universe would be used against them. This was why he always tried to leave as soon as the crisis was averted, not only to ensure he didn't interfere more but also so then the Time Lords wouldn't be alerted.
Deep down, the Doctor had known it was only going to be a matter of time before the Time Lords got involved. It was ironic; he had spent much of his first incarnation believing he could never be caught, especially when taking in the state of the TARDIS's navigational systems which meant because he didn't know where the ship would land, the Time Lords wouldn't be able to.
The ironic thing was he had never once imagined actually summoning his people because of an emergency. It had never occurred to the Doctor it would happen, he had always assumed one day the Time Lords would have caught up with him by chance, which was the reason why he'd always been on the move.
Now it was all over. The Doctor looked up at the three Time Lords presiding over the trial, wondering what they had in mind for him, despite being thankful they had given him the chance to see Jamie and Zoe returning to their lives, and were safe despite the many close calls over the years.
"Now then," the Doctor said, gazing anxiously at the three Time Lords, terrified of what they had in mind for him, "what about me?"
"We have accepted your plea that there is evil in the universe that must be fought," the fair-haired Time Lord who seemed to be in charge replied calmly, surprising the Doctor; he'd assumed the Time Lords would take his defence and just dismiss it, but the Time Lord went on before he could properly process what the implications of this could be, "and that you still have a part to play in that battle."
The Doctor stared up at the three well-dressed figures in front of him, scarcely able to believe his ears. "Wha-what you mean, you're going to let me go free?"
The Time Lords exchanged a look. "Not entirely. We have noted your particular interest in the planet Earth. The frequency of your visits must have given you special knowledge of that world and its problems."
"Yes, I suppose that's true," the Doctor agreed cautiously, wondering where this was going while seeing the Time Lord had a point; ever since he had first arrived on the planet to deal with the Hand of Omega (he had no intention of bringing that up, it would lead to all kinds of problems which he didn't need right now) and ended up kidnapping Ian and Barbara, he had made the mistake of hardwiring the coordinates for the planet, and the 20th century into the TARDIS despite not doing a good enough job, but he had arrived frequently in that point of Earth's history to get involved with so many problems - negating the potential future with WOTAN, the Great Intelligence's second attempt to conquer Earth, the Cyberman invasion sprang to mind. "Earth seems more vulnerable than others, yes."
"For that reason, you will be sent back to that planet-."
"Oh, good," the Doctor said slowly, not seeing what the problem was although he was still curious about why the Time Lords were taking this step.
"In exile," the fair-haired Time Lord finished.
The Doctor glared at the Time Lords in disbelief, realising what they planned to do. They were going to confine him to a place and time they knew he'd never be able to escape and likely would send him out to do their bidding if they wanted a probable future to come about. "In exile?"
"You will be sent to Earth in the 20th century and will remain there for as long as we deem proper. And for that time the secret of the TARDIS will be taken from you."
The Doctor was indignant. "You can't condemn to one primitive planet, in one particular time. Besides I'm known on the Earth, it might be very awkward for me."
"Your appearance has changed before. It will change again. It is part of the sentence."
The Doctor gazed at the Time Lords in indignant horror, remembering how painful it had been before to regenerate, and how long it had taken for him to adjust to his new incarnation, and he forswore to not regenerate again for a very long time although it seemed his efforts were in vain if his people had their way. He had to try and stop this, although he knew it would do no good. "You just can't change what I look like without asking me!" He continued to protest.
"You will have an opportunity to choose your new appearance," the Time Lord said with remarkable patience.
"Oh, well, that's not too bad, but I must warn you; I'm very particular!"
The Time Lord ignored him. "Here is your first choice."
Childishly the Doctor started to cause trouble, dismissing all of the choices on the screen. "Oh, he's too old. He's too fat, isn't he? No, he's too thin. Oh, that one's too young-."
The fair-haired Time Lord sighed. They were giving the fellow a chance to live, and instead of being grateful, he was just kicking up all of this fuss. After another choice, the Doctor lashed out at them, and the Time Lord lost his own patience.
The Doctor jumped in surprise, the anger in the Time Lord's voice reminding the renegade of where he was.
"You will either choose your new appearance, in a humble manner, or we will do it for you. Now, choose! And, for the first time in your lives, act like a proper Time Lord, or we will change our minds about your verdict. It does not matter to us!" The fair-haired Time Lord spoke harshly, telepathically sending out potential possibilities for what he meant to show the Doctor he was being serious.
Suitably humbled by the outburst, and his eyes wide with fear as he saw a potential timeline where he had been removed from history in a similar manner to the War Lord's leader, the Doctor went silent with the realisation the Time Lords would really do what they promised if he did not grow up and choose.
He turned back to the screen silently, watching as more faces replaced the ones he had seen earlier.
"No," he muttered, "no."
Another picture replaced the one before, and the Doctor stared at it closely. It was the picture of a man with a young/old face, greying white hair. The Doctor studied it closely, believing that this face was not completely too dissimilar from his own face in some ways. He was partly tempted to look at the other faces, other choices available to him from the Time Lords, but he hadn't liked the previous choices and this one seemed to be his best option.
He didn't want to regenerate. The last time had been painful enough, but he knew if he didn't make up his mind, and soon, the Time Lords would take the law into their own hands and force-regenerate him into a random body, and he did not want that. It was bad enough his own control over regeneration and indeed what he looked like was virtually nonexistent, but he did not the Time Lords to force a body onto him.
"This one," he nodded.
And so his fate was sealed.