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FIC: The Children of Time Will Gather (4/6)

Title: The Children of Time Will Gather (4/6)
Rating: PG
Characters: Jack, Martha, Sarah Jane, Ianto, Gwen, Mickey, Wilf
Genre: Gen, drama
Spoilers: MAJOR spoilers for Stolen Earth and Journey's End, references to various older episodes from Classic and New Who.
Summary: After the events of Journey's End, the Doctor's friends and companions gather together to remember the past and to prepare for the future.
Disclaimer: The sandbox belongs to RTD and the BBC. I'm just playing here, in the corner, making little sand-TARDISes.


“Have you brought word from Him?  Or are you here to kill me?”

 

Jack pushes his way into the room, snapping at Martha to shut the door.  He slams Turner against the nearest wall, and frisks the unresisting man for weapons.  Nothing.  With his own gun in hand, he gestures at the shabby sofa.  “Sit.”

Turner sits, folding his hands in his lap.  His face is watchful but calm.

“All right, you worthless son-of-a-bitch,” Jack growls, “we’ve got questions for you.”  He holsters his weapon, but makes sure that it’s still visible.

“Do you know who we are?” Martha asks.

“You mean, do I know your worldly names?  Martha Jones and Jack Harkness,” he recites, like an obedient schoolboy.  “I also know who you truly are.”  He smiles at Martha.  “The Messenger.  The World-Walker.  The Bringer of Hope.”  Turning to Jack, his voice becomes more solemn.  “And the Angel of Death.  The Warrior.  The Eternal Sacrifice.  And you two are the greatest servants of  the Lord.”

“The Lord?” Jack asks, though he already knows the answer.

“The Lord of Time.  The Healer of the World.”  Turner’s voice drops to a whisper, as if he is saying something improper.  “The Doctor.”

A voice echoes in Jack’s mind, a dry, sardonic voice with a northern accent.  “Don't worship me - I'd make a very bad god.”

“Chris….”  Martha’s voice is gentle.  “The Doctor isn’t a god.”

Turner blinks in confusion.  “Of course not, ma’am.  He’s the Archangel Raphael.”

…..

It takes a while to understand Turner’s convoluted religious cosmology, tangled as it is with bits of metaphysics, occultism, pantheism, and other isms that Jack barely recognizes.  The essence of his belief is that the Doctor is an avatar of Raphael: the archangel whose name means “God heals”.  He was sent to free the Earth from Apollyon the Destroyer (“Three guesses who that is,” Martha whispers to Jack).  According to the Book of Revelation, Apollyon would unleash a plague of monstrous locusts with lions’ teeth, scorpion stings, iron armour – and human faces.  Allowing for poetic licence, it’s not a bad description of the Toclafane.

Raphael was taken captive by Apollyon.  Turner explains. “For a year, the Lord of Time suffered, and his servants and all of humankind suffered with him.  And on that day which would’ve been the day of destruction, our faith restored him.  His strength was renewed, and he struck down Apollyon.  He would have forgiven even the Destroyer, but the Wicked One rejected him, and perished.  Then the Lord Raphael loosed the bonds of time, death itself was undone, and all our sorrow was turned to joy.”

Jack gives Turner a hard stare.  “You conveniently forgot to mention all of this when you were debriefed.”

“I didn’t know it then.  I was still in darkness.  It was only when my memory returned that I started to think about what all of it really meant.  No job, and a lot of free time, so I did a ton of reading.”

“You read a pile of books and decided that the Doctor was the Second Coming.”  Jack deliberately releases some of the frustration and anger he’s been feeling.  “He’s an alien, Turner.  Not a god or angel or devil or Father Christmas – an alien!  He’s more intelligent than a whole think-tank full of geniuses, he’s telepathic, and he loves this planet way more than we deserve, but he’s from another planet, not Heaven.”

Turner lowers his head and hunches his shoulders, as if shrinking from a physical blow.  Out of the corner of his eye, Jack can see Martha begin to speak, then snap her mouth shut.

“How do you know?”  Turner’s voice is barely audible.

“Know what?”

“How do you know he’s not from Heaven?”

Jack ticks off the reasons on his fingers.  “He feels fear.  Loses his temper.  Likes to show off.  Cracks really bad jokes.  And he makes mistakes – sometimes, big ones.”  The kind of mistakes that lead to the death of innocents.

Turner shakes his head.  “Sir, being sent by Heaven doesn’t mean that someone’s perfect.  The angels are ascended beings – on a higher plane than humans – but they can make mistakes.  How else could some of them have fallen?”

Jack is sure that there must be a fallacy in there somewhere, but religious debate is not his forte.  He’d much rather do a problem in fifth-dimensional quantum geometry.  In his head.  While drunk.

“Look, I know you think I’m a nutter, but I’m not stupid,” Turner says with a sudden burst of defiance.  “I was in UNIT – I’ve seen aliens before.  Sycorax.  Cybermen.  They’ve got all kind of weird tech and weapons, and some of them have got psychic powers.  But what kind of alien looks exactly like a human being and can change reality for an entire planet?”

A 900-year-old Time Lord, fuelled by desperation and the psychic energy of several billion humans.  Jack decides to save his own energy for what really matters.

“Okay.  Setting aside the whole angel business, there’s just one tiny little thing I don’t understand, Turner.”  Jack’s voice is quiet, but acidic enough to melt a Slitheen.  “If you believe the Doctor saved this world – and he has done, more than once  – why did you betray him?  Why did you sell him to a damned reporter?  Whatever he paid you, I hope you enjoyed spending it, because from this moment on I’m going to make sure that your every waking moment is spent in misery.”

He strides forward, looming over the younger man.  “You called me the Angel of Death.  Before I’m done with you, you’re gonna—“

“Jack!”  Martha is beside him, laying a gentle hand on his arm.  “Jack,” she repeats, softer this time.

 

He controls himself.  Over a century of waiting for the Doctor has taught him one kind of self-control.  The hellish year on the Valiant taught him another.  He shakes off Martha’s hand, but not roughly.  He stills his racing thoughts, and switches from fire to ice.  “Why did you betray him?”

Turner is visibly trembling now.  Jack can’t match the Doctor’s Oncoming Storm glare, but he can do a damn good imitation, with more a century of anger and violence to draw on.

“I didn’t—  I wanted—  I did it for him.”  Turner fixes wide, pleading eyes on Martha.  “Ma’am, you walked the Earth – you told everyone about him.  About all he’s done for us.  And then they forgot!”

“They were supposed to forget, Chris.  That was part of setting things right.  And the Doctor doesn’t want to be famous.  He’d hate it.”

“When the Daleks were destroyed, and the Earth was returned, I knew it was him again.  Healing us.  Saving us.”  He bows his head for a moment.  “And I did it for the human race.  For a moment, he brought the whole planet together.  I know a miracle like that can’t happen again, but I thought, if people knew about him, they’d remember some of that unity.  ‘Cause we need it.  We need it so much.”

“We do,” Martha agrees, “but it’s not that simple.”

“Did you stop to think what else people might remember?” Jack demands.  “Coventry?  Denver?  Frankfurt?  Mombassa?  Japan?”

Turner squeezes his eyes shut, as if doing so could block the images from his mind.  Entire cities in flames.  Japan burning, in the largest firestorm the planet had seen in aeons.  “No!  I didn’t want— didn’t mean—”

“You had good intentions,” Jack says, spitting out the last two words, “but memories can be dangerous.”

Martha tells the tale, pared down to essentials: the beloved companion who helped to save the worlds, stripped of thoughts and memories that could kill her if allowed to return.  She does not speak Donna’s name, and says nothing of a Human-Time Lord metacrisis. 

The young man listens to her, pale and silent.  At the end he stammers, “Oh, my God.  Oh, merciful God and blessed angels.  I didn’t— what can I do?  Please, what can I do?”

He can make a retraction, Jack says.  He can go to Gareth Linton and tell him it isn’t true.  Tell him that it was a joke, a hallucination, a publicity stunt – anything that will make him pull the article.

Turner becomes even paler.  “No… I can’t lie, can’t deny him.  Knowing about the Lord Raphael is the one thing that’s saved me since UNIT gave me the boot.  He’s given me a reason to keep going. A purpose.”  It isn’t easy to strike a stiff, defiant pose while sitting on a battered sofa, but Turner manages it.  “You can kill me or throw me in prison, but I won’t lie for you.”

“But you’ll let an innocent woman die so you can keep your morals clean and tidy?” Jack demands.

Martha says with quiet urgency, “The Doctor wouldn’t want that.  I know him – we both do.  He wouldn’t care what you said about him, so long as it saved his friend’s life.”

Turner shakes his head.  “He’ll save her.  The Lord Raphael will save her.  This is a test of my faith.  God, help me.  Help me stay strong.”  He shuts his eyes, and his lips move in silent prayer.

Jack glowers at the younger man.  Despite his threats, his options are limited.  Turner’s retraction must seem genuine.  If he has visible injuries, if he disappears or dies in a sudden “accident”, Linton will be suspicious.  They need more than Turner’s compliance; they need his cooperation.  Jack mutters under his breath, and the words that emerge are not prayers. 

…..

Ianto stands in the centre of Storage Room 4.  The concrete walls are nearly invisible, lined as they are with shelves, cupboards, and boxes.  Torchwood has one of the largest collections of alien artefacts in the world, but much of it is useless for his purpose.  He can eliminate anything tagged as broken, purpose unknown, hazardous, or “likely to destroy the planet”.

He rejects other items because they are too large, or need to be connected to a power source.  “Scuse me, Mr. Linton.  Mind if I plug into your outlet here? Ta!”  Some operate noisily, or have flashing lights that would be difficult to conceal.  One emits odours that suggest a polecat drenched in cheap perfume.  His hand wavers over the Grasken levitation belt, then withdraws.  Works well enough, but it looks like something out of Fireball XL5.  A moment later, he reaches up to one high shelf.  That might do.  In a drawer in the next room, he finds a piece of jewellery that makes him pause, then laugh out loud.  There’s lovely.  Just what Jack was wanting, isn’t it?

After much consideration, and searching two other storerooms, Ianto has a dozen possibilities for Jack to look over.  He packs them carefully into a strongbox, and leaves it on his own desk.  He want to be there to see Jack’s face when he opens the box of possible props.

…..

Dr. Martha Jones paces the floor of a shabby flat in Hackney, frustration growing with every step.  The “good cop/bad cop” routine hasn’t been working.  Bloody miserable failure is what it is.  Jack has threatened; she has pleaded; Chris Turner cannot be swayed.  Stupid git sees himself as a martyr, suffering for his daft beliefs.  How could a man with a sharp mind and a technical education come up with such a load of rubbish?  And how could a savvy journalist like Gareth Linton swallow it?  Apollyon and the Archangel Raphael, battling for the fate of the Earth.  The very sound of it is ridiculous, and she mentally substitutes their “worldly” names: the Master and the Doctor.  “Oh, my God!”

Jack is instantly on alert.  “What?”

She waves away his concern as she looks at Turner.  “Chris, when you talked to Linton, did you use worldly names or heavenly names?”

He shrugs listlessly.  “Worldly names.  Had to, didn’t I?  He wouldn’t have listened otherwise.  Most minds have to stretch to let in spiritual truth – too much at once, and you wind up with breaking strain instead of enlightenment."

She says carefully, “So you talked about aliens instead of angels?”

“Yeah.  It’s not a lie.  It’s just a surface truth.  Angels are alien to this world.”

“You won’t lie to Linton—”  She holds up a hand to forestall his protest.  “Would you tell him the truth?”

The bewilderment on Jack’s face quickly transforms into a smile.  “The truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth!”

“He won’t believe me,” Turner objects.  “He’ll think I’m barmy!”

Dr. Martha Jones (also known as the Messenger, the World-Walker, and the Bringer of Hope) grins.  “Yep.  He will.”

 

continue to Chapter 5

Comments

( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
torn_eledhwen
Aug. 23rd, 2008 11:31 pm (UTC)
I love Martha's plan at the end - brilliant! This is great. I genuinely feel sorry for Turner, because of course he's suffered too. Excellent chapter.
lindenharp
Aug. 24th, 2008 12:50 am (UTC)
Thanks!

There's a quote in one of Robert Heinlein's books that the best way to lie convincingly is to tell the truth unconvincingly.

I didn't want Turner to be a villain or a cliche religious nut. I wanted to portray him as a damaged person who is doing his best to make sense of the impossible. If you feel sorry for him, then I've succeeded, at least in part.
persiflage_1
Aug. 24th, 2008 05:03 am (UTC)
This is lovely stuff, as usual!!




Small typo:

Our of the corner of his eye, Jack can see Martha begin to speak, then snap her mouth shut.

"Out" not "Our"
lindenharp
Aug. 24th, 2008 05:10 am (UTC)
Thank you. And thank you.
persiflage_1
Aug. 24th, 2008 05:19 am (UTC)
Welcome!

I'm looking forward to seeing where you're going with this.
ancientcitadel
Aug. 25th, 2008 12:53 pm (UTC)
Interesting. I love them all working together. :)
lindenharp
Aug. 26th, 2008 01:56 am (UTC)
They do make an interesting group, don't they? As the Doctor said, he only picks the best.
mickeyk
Oct. 4th, 2008 07:10 am (UTC)
CoT Part 4
Jack is sure that there must be a fallacy in there somewhere, but religious debate is not his forte. He’d much rather do a problem in fifth-dimensional quantum geometry. In his head. While drunk.

Hee! Love this line. Ditto, this one:

Jack’s voice is quiet, but acidic enough to melt a Slitheen. Great description!

Jack can’t match the Doctor’s Oncoming Storm glare, but he can do a damn good imitation, with more a century of anger and violence to draw on.

Damn, poor Jack, makes me feel very badly for him along with how good his imitation would be.

In a way, I feel sorry for Chris Turner and what he's been through, but in a way I don't, that he's willing to let Donna die rather than tell Linton that he lied or something else. His new-found religious fervour scares me, especially since it's based on a fallible alien.

The bewilderment on Jack’s face quickly transforms into a smile. “The truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth!”

“He won’t believe me,” Turner objects. “He’ll think I’m barmy!”

Dr. Martha Jones (also known as the Messenger, the World-Walker, and the Bringer of Hope) grins. “Yep. He will.”


::runs to Part 5!::
lindenharp
Oct. 4th, 2008 07:17 am (UTC)
Re: CoT Part 4
I'm glad you're enjoying it. Just remember: I'm not offering prizes for fastest read-through. :-)

And you can certainly feel sorry for Chris Turner. He's a broken personality -- a broken person -- trying to put himself together. And he's not willing to let Donna die. He has ever faith that the Lord Raphael will heal her mind.
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )

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