Disclaimer: I do not own Doctor Who. It belongs to the BBC.
Author’s Note: Okay, the events in this story use the tale of the Timeless Child with a few small changes. I don’t have a problem with a female Doctor as long there is a story need for it and not just a case of do it because we can. I quite like the idea that some Time Lords we met in the series switching gender. The Rani is a good example because I can see the type of amoral scientist she is when female is very different to how it would be when male. Missy and the Master are another example. Some Time Lords however I could see taking steps to avoid changing gender, going so far as to force regeneration to get back to what they believe is their true form.
However, when all is said and done the true origin of this story was very simple: What if the Timeless Child who became the Doctor had been the Doctor all the time?
Time Lords: Dawning of Gallifrey
Universe Zero, Prime Reality.
The Fifth Age of Existence.
The Celestials completed their assigned task to finish the rough shaping of existence that had been accomplished by the Power at the will of The One. Their mission complete, they prepared to return to their creator for an assessment of their collective efforts and new instructions. But, before they left they realised that some of their work would continue to evolve in their absence and that some of the more volatile planes such as the physical plane, could even collapse if left without their guidance. They had expanded a great deal of their time and efforts to the physical plane, the so-called Mortal Realm to make it suitable for the vulnerable forms of life that they knew would exist there. They had gone so far as to implant worlds with the means to support life in what they admitted was a harsh and unsuitable environment. But their time had expired and they needed to move on. They needed a solution.
They decided to use the life-forms that had started to emerge, as their agents to preserve the work they had completed. They selected races that possessed the traits they needed and gifted them with the means to evolve and become masters of their environment. They provided them with the tools and knowledge they could use if they had the intelligence and will to do so. And if they reached the level the Celestials expected of them, they would possess everything needed to maintain the fragile universe and even make changes.
The Celestials did not give their aid freely and they did not opt for the simple approach. If their chosen races were to achieve the level of evolution that the Celestials desired, they would need to reach that level on their own. It was not a case of wave an almighty hand and watching their test subjects advance overnight. The Celestials wanted their chosen races to prove themselves worthy and so aside from a few hints and odd pieces of technology, the constructs remained hands-off.
Of course, self-preservation prevented them from simply making the changes . they did not simply elevate their chosen races to the level of the Celestials. Despite their desire to preserve their work, a small part of them balked at the idea of providing their creator with an easy alternative if he was disappointed with their efforts. Instead they gave them the means to develop and left the rest up to evolution. Some would rise and succeed, taking on the roles the Celestials wished of them. Others would fail and be forgotten as time moved on. They would grow, compete, struggle and thrive, proving the Celestials correct and preserving their work for inspection.
And after they had completed that small task, the Celestials departed.
One of the races that the Celestials selected lived on a world known as Gallifrey and were known as the Shobogans. The Shobogans held the appearance of being humanoid, an appearance they would later attempt to make the default shape for all intelligent life in the cosmos. Although they had started out as a very primitive race, the intervention of the Celestial had caused the close proximity of their world to a tear in the fabric of time to result in a rapid evolution. Their minds had been radically altered by the temporal energy around them, allowing them to learn and discover at an amazing rate. They had been perfect for the Celestials’ purposes.
As time passed the ancient Shobogans discovered more and more of the secrets of the universe. And through their discoveries they learned about the existence of the vast pool of energy that existed in another dimension. They even used it to light their early cities and cool their homes. There were even some among them who could channel that energy and use it to perform incredible feats that could not be explained by their conventional understanding of science.
Their forced evolution made the Shobogans fast learners. They developed technology that allowed them to reach the stars and beyond. They used the energy they had barely begun to understand to power their ships as they sent out fleets to learn more about the universe and to secure their place within it. The colonies they established would remain long after the race discovered its greatest secrets and due to their use of magic, would become an embarrassing secret that they tried to cover up.
Eons later, civil war on Gallifrey had seen the planet divided between those that could use the strange energies they referred to as magic and were willing to do so, and those that either could not access the energy in that way or favoured the highly praised arts of science. The ruling factions had been overthrown countless times as dominance shifted back and forth. Neither side had yet to gain the power to completely subjugate the other. Although they were more powerful at the time, the magic users lacked the desire to slay their enemies, preferring to be merciful. Sadly that meant further uprisings and more bloodshed as those favouring science and logic continued to seek the complete removal of magic first from Gallifrey and then rest of the universe, by any means…
However, some did not involve themselves in the war and chose to continue exploring the cosmos. Space flight had evolved to the point of being about to cross galaxies in a matter of months. Tecteun was one of the planet’s greatest explorers had already gone further than many of her peers. She was an ambitious woman, always seeking to go further and achieve more than those around her. It was said that if she ever managed to see the entire universe she would start looking for ways to reach what lay beyond its walls.
With the help of another engineer, Tecteun had built a new type of craft capable of crossing galaxies in a much shorter time, without the need for deep sleep. It was her latest flight that would attempt to reach the limits of known space as observed from her homeworld.
The flight was a success, crossing known space in a matter of hours. At her destination, she landed upon an empty world to refuel. It was there that she was drawn to a strange building and a child. There was no sign of other life forms on the planet, not family for the child. There seemed to be no logical way for it to have gotten there and no way for it to return to where it came from. It possessed no food or drink and was hardly dressed for the environment.
Tecteun did the only thing that she could, gathering the child and carrying him back to the ship. In her haste, she forgot to look for the source of the light that had drawn her attention in the first place and therefore never discovered that the child had been placed there by the Celestials in an attempt to accelerate the Shobogan race even further. Together the explorer and her newly adopted son made a return to Gallifrey.
Time passed and Tecteun postponed her plans for exploration to raise her son. Although intelligent it was noted that he often seemed vacant and unaware of his surroundings. He had difficulty fitting in with the other Shobogans. He was not as physically strong as they were. And one day his weaker body seemingly cost him his life when following a falling out with a friend he suffered a head injury and died.
Only the son did not die. Instead, he glowed brightly and when the glow faded, the son had been replaced by a stranger. Research proved that the child and the older boy that had replaced him were the same despite the difference in appearance. Further, the effect of changing had been to heal his injuries, leaving him fit, healthy and alive.
For decades Tecteun sought to unlock the mystery of what had happened to her adopted son and to replicate the results. She conducted experiments upon her child, sometimes forcing the change to occur to gave data. As time passed, Tecteun grew old and fragile while her child remained young and healthy. It was only as her life was drawing to an end that Tecteun made the breakthrough needed to isolate the parts of her child’s DNA that caused the effect; coincidentally the removal of such genetic sequences from his blood led to his DNA resembling that of a Shobogan.
Having finally unlocked a serum that could duplicate the effects of her son’s ability, but knowing she did not have the time for formal testing, Tecteun injected herself with the spliced genes. The effect was an instant change of appearance as the genetic sequences altered the connection between her physical body and the life energy it contained. At the moment of change, the DNA triggered a cascade of spiritual energy to flow through the body, tearing it apart and then recreating it in a new form.
Years more research followed to perfect the method of splicing the DNA into the Shobogan body and making the changes genetic. Realising that immortality could prove a disadvantage, she altered the serum so that after a set number of changes it would break down allowing death to follow. At that point, she was satisfied with her efforts and shared the secret of her discovery with the rest of her people.
Her discovery was welcomed by the enigmatic leader of the Shobogan’s anti-magic faction. He could see the benefit of an extended life to push their race onward. He was not made aware that she had changed the original nature of the serum, only that in its current form it would work twelve times. Tecteun was acknowledged as one of the greats of their newly formed society, along with their leader and the great engineer that stood at his side.
More time passed. The Shobogans mastered the art of space travel and turned their attention to the mysteries of time. They used their discoveries to continue their leader’s war on magic, attacking magical societies throughout history and forcing the universe to become the logical place they desired. They kicked the magical leaders off of their own world and rebuilt their cities to function on purely scientific principles. They proclaimed themselves the Time Lords and set out to record history in a way that would secure their importance and place in the cosmic hierarchy. Eventually, they even went so far as to move their world through time and space so that it appeared to have been one of the earliest worlds to evolve, placing them as part of the elder races. But that is another story.
As for the child that had brought such fortune to the Time Lords. His contribution to their society was concealed to enhance the Time Lords’ standing in society. They did not want it known that their near-immortality came at the expense of a child forced to die over and over so that they could unlock his secrets. Nor did they want the population of Gallifrey to realise that the mighty Time Lords were no longer the same race. They were different, better in many ways, but still different. And for a race that didn’t favour such changes, it was something best forgotten. It was a shame that in a universe filled with secrets, such things had a way of leaking out eventually.
End of Part
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