elisi: (Stepping Sideways)
[personal profile] elisi
Chapter 1 and explanations here.

Summary: “Travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living.” – Miriam Beard (or: The Seeker takes some time out to travel and think things over)
Setting: Between A Good Day and The Death and Life of Rodageitmososa. (This is AU, but within New Who between Name of the Doctor and The Day of the Doctor.
Spoilers: A Good Day. But can easily be read on its own.
Rating: PG-13.
Characters: This part: The Third Seeker, TenToo, Rose and a few others.
Beta: Um... That would be a no. All mistakes mine.
Feedback: Would be amazing. :)

Stepping Sideways: Pete's World

“I soon realized that no journey carries one far unless, as it extends into the world around us, it goes an equal distance into the world within.” – Lillian Smith


There were times when, despite everything, Allison questioned her own intelligence. But this day had effortlessly made it to number one.

The offer from Torchwood had been almost irresistible; but only almost.

NASA looked outwards, towards the stars, trying to map the Earth’s future… But Torchwood dealt with all the stuff that came the other way. And not just the technology (which she was keen on), but also actual aliens, sometimes wanting to destroy the world.

She had calculated the odds, and come up with an 18% chance of an alien invasion whilst she was stationed there. 18% hadn’t seemed much when she’d accepted the offer. But now, standing on the top floor of Torchwood tower, with purple lizards holding the Earth to ransom, trying to force Torchwood to open the portal to other dimensions, those 18 percent loomed large in her mind.

Allison herself had been hauled along as a ‘chief scientific advisor’, although she’d tried to protest that this was far from her field of expertise. But big scary guns were really quite a compelling argument.

When she and the other scientists had arrived at the top floor, with the white blank wall guarded by yet more lizards, they’d found Yvonne arguing with the aliens through a rather awkward translator, although Yvonne had been standing her ground extremely well, keeping her cool as always.

That said, she had faltered somewhat when the lizards had shortly thereafter come along with the Doctor and Rose, who had apparently been trying to enact some sort of terribly clever counterattack, using - in the Doctor’s words - ‘a kettle and a bit of string’. Allison had of course heard many stories about the adventures of Torchwood’s most famous couple - quite a few told to her by Rose herself - but she had never wanted to actually feature in one herself.

By now it was the Doctor arguing with the aliens, pointing out that ‘Open the portal or we destroy the world’ was a very bad gambit, as opening the portal would probably destroy the world anyway, so it was a lose-lose situation for humanity. And if the lizards destroyed the world, they’d take the portal with them, so really, the whole thing was very very stupid and maybe they could talk it over?

The lizards, sadly, were not in the mood for chit-chat.

Yvonne at this point coldly stated that Earth had plenty of weapons, many of them more than capable of destroying spaceships, and the lizards smiled long sharp toothy smiles, explaining that they had twenty thousand ships, all of them heavily shielded.

Allison felt her heart sink, trying her best to fight against the nausea. Seven years since the cybermen, five since the stars had been going out… (Goodness knew what else had happened that had been covered up - she’d found out a few things she wished she didn’t know.) And so many people had died… She thought of her family, knew they’d be worried about her, wondered if she’d ever see any of them again.

Where was the magic way out that Rose had said always presented itself? The miracle that appeared from out of nowhere and saved the day?

At that moment there was a sudden gust of wind, and a Greek column materialised against the white wall.

As everyone stopped and turned towards it, a door opened in the side of the column and out stepped a young man. The sheer incongruity (coupled with the Doctor’s distinctly muttered ‘Why you little...’) made her unable to do more than just stare, trying to wrap her head around what she was seeing.

She guessed he was not much more than thirty, with black hair and a neat beard, and very distinctive green eyes, and he was dressed in what had to be the sharpest black suit she had ever seen, his white shirt practically gleaming, his shoes brightly polished. In one hand he held a lit cigar. Overall he looked as if he had stepped out of an exclusive gentlemen’s club, not a… whatever the column was. Some sort of teleport booth? But where had it come from?

His eyes fastened on the Doctor with what could only be described as exasperation.

“How do you do it Doctor? I come back for the sole purpose of asking a girl - or young woman, rather - to have a cup of coffee with me, and find you in the middle of an alien invasion. You know, I actually went and checked whether you’d painted a big target on the planet, because I wouldn't put it past you. But no - clearly you are just a trouble magnet.”

Turning to the rest of them, he made a sweeping motion with the cigar.

“For the rest of you, then I’m afraid I was somewhat economical with the truth. Yes I went to Cambridge, and I have several professorships, but I’m also a Time Lord from a parallel universe. Just passing through, taking in the sights…”

He sighed, finally sizing up the lizards, most of whom were now pointing their big scary guns towards him.

“And you. Wanting to jump into another dimension. Do you have the slightest idea how complicated that is?”

Taking a drag of the cigar, he studied them with narrowed eyes.

“And holding the Earth hostage. Well it was a nice effort.” A cold smile. “There are three people in this room who have committed genocide. Guess what? None of them are a lizard. Has the Doctor suggested sitting down and talking things over yet? Because that’s an offer you should take him up on.”

“Who are you?” the head lizard asked (in English? How come she suddenly understood lizard-language Allison wondered), and the stranger smiled pleasantly.

“You may call me Alexander the Great. And I’m afraid I’m here to stop your fun.”

The lizards smiled, and fired their guns.

Allison was too shocked to even scream, instead grasping the hand of the scientist next to her - and then realised that this Alexander was apparently shielded, as the lasers (or whatever they were) merely created silvery patterns across a globe of air surrounding the column. Alexander calmly kept smoking, as he pulled out a metallic tool, reminding Allison of the thing the Doctor called his ‘sonic screwdriver’. She’d tried to get it off him several times so she could inspect it, but he always mumbled stuff about ‘Time Lord technology’ and wouldn’t let her near.

Holding up the tool, he tilted his head.

“Now listen carefully. If I press this button, all your spaceships - all twenty thousand of them, yes - will go ‘boom’.”

He cast a glance at the Doctor.

“Laser screwdriver. Who’d have sonic?” he remarked cheekily, and the Doctor looked as if he was torn between nearly fainting and incoherent fury.

Turning back to the lizards, he smiled politely.

“So. I believe we can now have a pleasant little chat, am I right?”

Half-embarrassed Allison let go of the hand she was holding, although she still felt somewhat light headed. It had actually happened: A miracle had appeared from out of nowhere and had saved the day.

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