I don't own Doctor Who.
I've always wondered why the Doctor doesn't do something about Jack Robertson, whether because she believes he's not worth her attention or because she doesn't want to get involved, I don't know. So I decided to do something about it.
The Downfall of Jack Robertson.
Ordinarily, she would not do something like this, especially since she was never certain of consequences. But with the way things had changed now Gallifrey was gone - again - there was a chance the timelines could shift, change, and warp if the right circumstances appeared.
And they were.
The Doctor and Yaz had both returned to Earth where they learnt an old friend of theirs was restarting his run for President of the United States of America. They had only planned to visit Graham and Ryan while Yaz spent some time with her family, but as they did they found Najia ranting and raving about Jack Robertson, and not in a good way; the woman had a long memory about those who had crossed her, especially in the worst way possible. When the Doctor had seen the smug face of the arrogant businessman, and she had learnt of his plans, she had immediately begun preparing a plan.
Jack Robertson was going down. She'd had enough, she was tired of seeing the interviews of the slimy businessman where Robertson, who put on a facade of being a responsible, modest hero when he was nothing more than a cowardly fake, talked about how he had 'saved humanity' whereas the truth was very different.
This was the man who had tried to bargain with the Daleks. This was the man who had stupidly turned a blind eye towards a toxic landfill buried underneath a hotel which had allowed for the mutation of spiders until they reached enormous size. The Doctor was glad the authorities and the resulting scandal which had come out of it, especially since there were many people, not only in Britain, but in America and in other parts of the world who believed Robertson, if he had become the next President of the United States of America, would become an even bigger disaster than Donald Trump (the Doctor had taken to eating popcorn as she had watched one of the worst presidents of the USA be voted out of office, and how he had embarrassed himself repeatedly by claiming he had 'won,' and she had told Yaz and the others Robertson would do infinitely worse given his track record).
The only reassurance the Doctor had was Robertson was never going to become the next president now or any time in the future; she had visited so many times in Earth's timeline even before her exile to the planet in the mid-seventies when she had been frills, capes, Edwardian roadsters - she needed to take Bessie for a spin sometimes, give Yaz and Ryan something to enjoy, especially now her friend wasn't travelling with her anymore, and he and Graham were still up for brief visits - where her third incarnation had finally opened up the console and learnt how it worked before they had become better at understanding the time and space machine, she had soon learnt the correct order of presidents until the whole thing had come to an end, and was never used again although the American model became a golden example to humanity in centuries to come.
However, at the same time, she had to accept the horrible possibility her history might be wrong, and the timelines could alter so then Robertson did become president, and time would be rewritten.
To say this was complicated was an understatement, especially in a universe with the Time Lords no longer keeping watch over the timelines; ever since she and her fam had jumped into that alternate timeline where Earth became an Orphan planet due to humanity's stupidity, the Doctor had been increasingly aware of how the traditional barriers Gallifrey's presence had placed on the Time Vortex to prevent entry to different timelines, and possible timelines to interact with the mainstream timelines, had begun to weaken. She had dealt with that during her travels with Anji and Fitz during her eighth incarnation after the 'original' destruction of Gallifrey during that complicated mess with Faction Paradox and when the TARDIS had revealed what she had done with the 'false' regeneration during that mess with Dust, but she had been curious about why the same thing hadn't happened again later on when her 'ninth and tenth' selves had both found themselves alone in the cosmos following the fall of Gallifrey when she'd assumed she had destroyed the planet in the final battle with the Daleks.
Normally the Doctor wouldn't interfere with timelines since she knew if she meddled with one it could cause incredible damage to history, and not even her own personal dislike for Roberson or other politicians would make her go this far - the time she had deposed Harriet Jones still made her ashamed, especially since her tenth self had caused damage to future history without looking to the consequences, but hypocrisy was something she had known she was always guilty of; her tenth self had always preached goodness, launching terrible rants about weapons, but when pushed she had not hesitated to kill despite her telling Cobb she never would, and she knew her current self was not innocent either - but when she had seen Robertson and learnt of his plans to become the next President, especially as he journeyed from state to state to call up support for the votes, she had realised there was a loophole.
The history she had known when the Time Lords had been around hadn't featured Robertson, but it was in flux. That meant she could change the timeline anyway she chose; she had seen the future and learnt Robertson had never sat in the Oval Office in the White House. She was not going to let him, either, and she was not going to let time change.
But still, the Doctor had journeyed into the future into a timeline where Robertson did become the next President with Yaz. And she was appalled. They both were.
"Are you really sure you wanna do this, Doctor?" Jack asked uncertainly while he looked at her with an expression which made it clear he was wondering if she had finally flipped her lid and gone insane. The Doctor wasn't surprised her old friend was asking her that, since this was out of character for her, but she was prepared for it.
The Doctor had arranged a meeting with herself, Jack, and Yaz in a park in Cardiff, which was not far from where Gwen Cooper's home was, so if the former Time Agent wanted to visit his old Torchwood colleague at some point, then he could. But at the same time, the Doctor had wanted to meet somewhere other than Sheffield.
"I have to. You'd better take a look at this, Jack," the Doctor handed the former Time Agent the mobile phone. She and Yaz had spent over two hours in the alternate timeline where they had seen the kind of world Robertson's lack of responsibility would create, and when the Doctor had decided to change the timelines, to change the potential course of history, she had begun making a plan.
She had realised it was too dangerous to take the TARDIS back to the moment where Robertson met the Death Squad Daleks and was taken on board of their ship to tell their leader who'd summoned them. No, she needed something a bit more versatile and would not set off half a dozen different alarm systems. Jack's vortex manipulator was perfect, and since Jack was still hanging around Gwen and her family, finding him was not difficult although the Doctor had expected the task to be harder than it needed to be.
When the Doctor had realised she would need Jack's help, she and Yaz had taken dozens of photos and videos of the landscape; pollutants being pumped into the atmosphere, the oceans becoming a toxic, boiling soup, massive landfill sites, culminating in terrorists detonating explosives of increasing power in the remaining cities, more out of some thoughtless plan rather than any kind of logic, and ending lines and lines of people heading for hastily constructed rocket ships which launched into space as the human race abandoned their scarred, heavily polluted world.
"My God," Jack whispered, aghast, looking straight into the Time Lady's face in horror. "T-that never happened, not-."
"That's an alternate timeline, Jack," the Doctor explained grimly, "it has the potential of happening like that."
"But the human race doesn't evacuate Earth, not for centuries. How did this happen?"
"It happened after Jack Robertson took power in a timeline which was never meant to be. Donald Trump might have been trouble especially considering his blatant racism and the lack of consideration to the environment, but he set-up the scene Robertson would find himself in. The most horrific thing about this whole timeline is that Robertson's policies only provided the spark which set the whole thing up, culminating in a mass evacuation of Earth when it was never meant to happen."
Jack sighed. "What do you need?"
"We need you to take us back in time, to the point where Robertson made contact with the Daleks," the Doctor answered.
"Why then?" Yaz asked since she hadn't heard this part yet.
The Doctor glanced at her friend. "When I let him stay on the bridge, I'd expected the idiot to be shot. I didn't expect him to succeed in convincing the Daleks to let him live - either group - but I checked the TARDIS's time-space visualiser, and I heard him blatantly admit to wanting to betray humanity to the Daleks."
"But if you have that, why do you need my vortex manipulator?" Jack asked. Yaz frowned, thinking it was a fair question.
"I considered it, but the TARDIS is too noticeable; the Daleks and Robertson might realise she's there, and then the whole thing is a disaster especially since Robertson will have known we'd left him," the Doctor turned back to her old friend.
Jack shook his head. "I still think it was a bad idea to leave him there in the first place, Doctor, especially since you had known he would try to speak to them. I can see why you'd expect him to be killed considering how brutal the Death Squad is, but it was still a risk."
The Doctor nodded, biting her lip. She didn't like being criticised about her mistakes, but she knew she deserved it - the mess which had gotten her thrown into prison had been a massive example of just how foolish her ill-thought-out plans and ideas could be - however this time she knew she needed to be extra careful. "I know, Jack. I wasn't thinking straight; I was trying to think of a way to clean up a mess which I should have done properly in the first place instead of just leaving it. But will you help us?"
Jack looked thoughtful for a moment before he nodded, but he fixed the Doctor with a scarily serious look. "Okay, I'll help you, but you had better be right about this. And this time, please stop rushing about with your plans; I heard stories of Time Agents who accidentally set off the Blinovitch Limitation Effect; you need to be careful with this one."
While the Doctor seethed at the perceived slight against her knowledge of time travel, Yaz looked confused. "The Blinovitch…what?"
"The Blinovitch Limitation Effect. Its a temporal paradox; you and you meet each other across time," Jack explained, although his description of the paradox was more basic than what the Doctor had listened to when she had been at the Academy on Gallifrey, and what she had learnt about Drax's Blinovitch Limitation Effect Limiter during that business on Altrazar. "I've heard stories where Time Agents were so freaked out because they were unprepared and they accidentally shot their past selves, making the paradox worse."
While the Doctor frowned and shuddered at this newest sign of how stupid and careless the Time Agency was, Yaz shuddered herself. She had been brushing up on her knowledge of time travel, and while a lot of it was likely false and Jack wasn't elaborating on how worse the paradox had gotten, she guessed enough to know things would have been truly bad.
"I'm not going to do that. I've already thought about it, Jack. I've checked which bridge Robertson met the Daleks on, and because he travelled in the TARDIS briefly, I've got a nice sample of his biodata - his temporal DNA, documenting his entire life - and I can use that for a more precise location, but I want to do more than that; I want to dig up all of his skeletons and reveal them to the public," the Doctor said while Yaz was wondering just how bad the paradox could have been.
Jack rubbed his chin thoughtfully, and he nodded when he reasoned the plan out in his head. "Okay, but I wanna come with you. I'm rather attached to that manipulator."
The Doctor raised a brow. She had the feeling there was more to Jack's wish to come with her than met the eye and considering what he had said to her before about her badly conceived plans, she had the feeling Jack wanted to keep a close watch on her. She wasn't sure whether to feel flattered or annoyed. "Okay, you can come, the pair of you can."
Yaz felt sick as she watched how Robertson's Daleks argued with the Death Squad Daleks before the inevitable began; she could understand the need for any creature to survive, especially with her limited knowledge of the gene pool, but while she had heard from the Doctor how far Daleks were in racial purity which made her uncomfortably remember her lessons in history about the Nazis and that encounter with Krasko when they found him trying to change history so Rosa Parks wouldn't spark off the civil rights movement, seeing it for herself and how the Death Squad Daleks just wiped out Robertson's Daleks without a thought, it put things into perspective.
She turned to look at her fellow travellers.
Jack and the Doctor were looking at the scene stonily without any kind of emotion. The Doctor's expression, however, was resigned, and once more Yaz wondered just how long she had known the Daleks for. She knew the Time Lady was thousands of years old, so she probably knew a lot, but how far did that extend with the Daleks?
The trio of them had been travelling up and down Jack Robertson's timeline for a short time. Yaz had known Robertson was corrupt, careless and a coward, but she hadn't expected to see what she had. Robertson's mess with the landfill in Sheffield was but one event, there had been others at various other pleasure sites, like golf courses, swimming pools, gymnasiums, and the Doctor and Jack had learnt the man was a cheapskate. Instead of building his precious resorts with top-grade materials, he had them built cheaply so then they could be assembled quickly, but unfortunately you could only bury something for so long before there was an accident.
Yaz had thought the landfill had been bad enough, but when she had seen with her own two eyes the amount of toxic waste, some of it having been there for decades with their corroding barrels, she had realised Robertson had once more proven to be the careless idiot ever. The fumes had been horrendous, and she had begged the Doctor to check her over to make sure the toxic gases hadn't done anything to her; the last thing she wanted when she came to have a family of her own was to find she was rendered infertile because she'd breathed in toxic gases.
But this scene at the bridge…
The Doctor and Jack had both programmed the vortex manipulator to materialise them onto the bridge half an hour before the Dalek creatures were transported into the casings, and before the Death Squad Daleks had been called in; hearing the sound of the Doctor's TARDIS as it landed and took off was disconcerting, especially since it was in a past moment.
And… she had to admit Jack did have a point, about how careless the Doctor had been summoning the Death Squad, coming up with that last-ditch plan to destroy that second TARDIS, but most of all letting Robertson out of her sight and even allowing him in the TARDIS in the first place!
She glanced at the Time Lady and Jack as they recorded the scene of Robertson bargaining with the Daleks; it was inflammatory enough, but the wording behind it, the careless way Robertson just dismissed his world, his people…
The Dalek attack had shaken the Earth up. Too much of the security drones and the debris from the Dalek ship had proven the incident was not faked; the Doctor and Jack had both told her the governments of the world have relied on organisations like Torchwood (which had apparently been Jack's organisation) and UNIT to cover up the truth; with them gone now, the options for covering up the truth, especially since quite a few people had spotted the organic remnants of the creatures inside the shattered Dalek casings, and because the government had already undergone so much turbulence with the death of the new PM, and so many people, denying aliens was something not on their minds. At least not much.
Finally, when the Daleks took Robertson back to their ship, the Doctor spoke softly, "I think that's enough, don't you?"
Yaz and Jack could not agree more.
As the Doctor stood in front of the console in the TARDIS, the phone connected to the screens, she took a moment to reflect on what she was about to do. Manipulating time was dangerous, but using it like this was even worse. As she had told Grace when they had left the Institute in San Francisco after retrieving the atomic clock to repair the time mechanism of the TARDIS to close the Eye of Harmony, the universe was full of possibility that it was pointless to meddle with it, unless of course, you were a Time Lord. But even with that power, it was a bad idea to misuse such a gift.
The Monk had misused it. The Master had misused it… she had misused it, especially when she had used the connection she had with the TARDIS to ensure Harriet Jones was kicked out of office, destroying the Golden Age. When she had later been shown how stupid she was, the Doctor had sworn never to misuse the gift of the Power of Creation ever again, but this was different. She was looking to the bigger picture this time, and she refused to let anyone like Jack Robertson become so powerful.
She clasped the telepathic circuits, pleased and grateful for the silence - she had told Jack and Yaz she needed peace and quiet to do this, or more accurately she had just wanted them out of her hair so she could focus her thoughts, so what she'd told them was more or less true. The Doctor focused on the Power of Creation, feeling the TARDIS's automatic systems kick in although she sensed her ship's wariness about her using this; the TARDIS knew how she felt about using this power, but she felt the resolve in her timeship. The TARDIS didn't want the timelines to unfold the way they had any more than she did.
The TARDIS, obeying the Doctor's Rassilon Imprimataur, helped her to change the timeline.
Jack and Yaz were sitting in Ryan and Graham's house as they watched the harried form of Jack Robertson on the screen. The man was surrounded by a gaggle of reporters as he was being led away.
"Mr Robertson, do you have any comments about how the casino in Paris suddenly sank due to subsidence because of the use of poor construction materials?"
"No! My casinos are built of the most high-class materials, and by top contractors-!" Robertson's face was indignant.
"Oh, so why are so many of your former contractors coming forward with evidence and proof of poor, substandard electrical systems, and two of your gyms suffered from flooding and sudden power cuts. Oh, speaking of which," the reporter added, a malicious glee entering her voice; clearly she did not like the man anymore than Yaz or the others, "what do you say about the toxic fumes which nearly killed a family at one of your luxury hotels?"
"Now, hold on a minute-!"
"Is it true they're suing you, and you are now under investigation following the release of a number of documents?"
"Yeah, Doctor, what documents?" Jack asked suspiciously.
"I found a number of documents in his mansions; every shady deal he's ever made, everything. I handed it to the media on a platter."
"And that family, did you have to do that?"
The Doctor closed her eyes and sagged. "I hadn't wanted that to happen, and I gave them an inoculation before it happened when I knew it would, they should be okay."
But Yaz was not so sure.