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'Doctor-less' Who AU
Inspired by this photoset and the Series 5 episode The Big Bang, here is a head!canon AU I dreamed up where, after the Doctor disappears into the crack in time during The Big Bang, history rewrites itself so the show is about a series of remarkable human women traveling the universe in a borrowed alien time machine that is passed down from mentor to student. Each new assistant eventually becomes the senior-most traveling companion and must select and train her replacement.
- Susan Foreman is an orphaned alien runaway with no blood relations. She bequeaths the TARDIS to her two human teachers, Ian and Barbara, in gratitude for all they’ve taught her. As her departing wish, she tells them to pass it on to others with a childlike sense of curiosity and wonder.
- Barbara and Ian train Vicki and Stephen. Vicki and Stephen train Ben and Polly. Ben and Polly train Jamie. Jamie trains Victoria and then Zoe.
- Jamie McCrimmon and Zoe Heriot are apprehended by the Time Lords, who can not abide the idea of two uncivilized humans bouncing around space interfering in history unsupervised. Jamie argues that there are evils in the universe that must be fought, but his plea falls on deaf ears. The Time Lord judges decree that the humans’ memories will be erased. Having planned for this possibility, Zoe remotely activates the TARDIS’s “fast return” switch and sends the unoccupied time machine to an undisclosed destination beyond the Time Lords’ reach. Because the Time Lords have already started the process to erase Jamie and Zoe’s memories, the secret is lost forever.
- The empty TARDIS delivers itself to Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart, whom Jamie had met previously and trusted. The Brig immediately hires a scientific advisor to study the machine: Dr. Liz Shaw. For a time Liz and the Brig battle alien threats on Earth using gadgets that Liz is able to backwards engineer from her studies of the TARDIS.
- Liz’s workload grows and the Brig insists on hiring her an assistant: Jo Grant. Though Jo is hardly a scientist, Liz is far more fond of the young girl that she admits.
- The episode “The Three Companions” features Liz Shaw teaming up with Jamie McCrimmon and Susan Foreman to save the Time Lord’s asses from a black hole.
- As reward, the Time Lords grant Liz the knowledge needed to get the TARDIS flying again. Liz and Jo take off on adventures in time and space.
- After Liz retires to Cambridge, Jo adopts reporter Sarah Jane Smith as her new traveling companion. Sarah Jane’s professionalism contrasts well with Jo’s hippy-ish enthusiasm and the two become fast friends.
- After Jo leaves to pursue her social and environmental interests, the friendly and unconventional Sarah Jane takes on proper military doctor Harry Sullivan and teaches him to be a bit more relaxed and open minded.
- After saying a fond farewell, Sarah Jane accidentally leave Harry in Aberdeen instead of Croydon when the TARDIS relays a summons that whisks Sarah Jane away to Gallifrey.
- Sarah Jane accidentally becomes President of Gallifrey for a day and a half while trying to unravel a deadly assassin’ plot.
- The thoroughly modern Sarah Jane meets the thoroughly uncivilized Leela and both learn a thing or two while traveling together.
- When Leela must embark on a quest for the Key of Time, the White Guardian assigns her an assistant: a recent young Time Lady graduate of aristocratic bearing named Romana. The instinctive Leela teaches a cerebral Romana the virtues of flying by the seat of one’s pants.
- Before departing for E-Space, Romana trains the lonely boy genius Adric to be her replacement.
- Adric adopts two surrogate older sisters, Nyssa and Tegan.
- Tegan trains Turlough. Turlough trains Peri. Though at first Turlough seems arrogant and slight untrustworthy, eventually his friendship with Peri reveals a warmth and hidden humor underneath.
- Peri trains Mel. Mel trains Ace. Though at first Mel seems cheerful and harmless, through their travels together Ace comes to see that the analytical mind that made Mel a good computer programmer also makes her inclined towards scheming strategies and manipulation, sometimes at a terrible cost.
- When Ace is shot stepping out of her TARDIS onto the streets of San Francisco on New Year’s Eve 1999, her life is saved by the surgical expertise of Dr. Grace Holloway. Overjoyed to find herself alive, Ace kisses her surgeon on the lips, breaking one of the unspoken taboos that had previously governed the behavior between TARDIS traveling companions.
- Time War breaks out on Gallifrey. In desperation, the Time Lords draft anyone who can fly a TARDIS to help in the war effort. Exiles like Susan Foreman and Romana are called home. Former agents like Jamie McCrimmon and Liz Shaw are forced back into service. Ex-Presidents, including Sarah Jane Smith are summoned. Associates like Leela, who married a Gallifreyan guardsman, are recruited. Ace and her companion, Grace, race to help as well.
- The Time War proved too terrible for any one human being to stop. It would take a truly wonderful and impossible sort of person to single-handedly stop the Time War, …and no such person exists. The former companions sacrifice themselves one by one to position Ace in control of The Moment, ready to set off the biggest bang in history.
(Cough… So, uh, fair warning: in this AU, New Who becomes very femslashy very quickly… which I find hilarious, to be honest.)
- As the conflict’s sole survivor, Grace Holloway emerges from the Time War emotionally scarred and changed forever. However, the friendship and optimism of a young London shop girl named Rose Tyler teaches her to live again.
- When Rose absorbs the time vortex energy at the heart of the TARDIS in order to save Grace from the Daleks, Grace kisses Rose on the lips, absorbing exactly half of the time energy, which is just enough so that Rose won’t die. Both women are changed by the experience and thereafter their relationship becomes more that between equals rather than mentor and pupil.
- When Grace is trapped in a parallel universe before Rose can tell her how she truly feels about her, Rose is heartbroken. She takes on a new companion, medical student Martha Jones, whom she insists is not replacing Grace. Martha is obviously smitten with Rose Tyler, but Rose is too traumatized by the way things ended with Grace to really notice.
- When Rose is forced to stop traveling to take care of her family after they are traumatized by the Master, Martha declares that she is “getting out” and departs to start a new chapter traveling alone in the TARDIS.
- Martha quickly picks up a new companion, the irreverent Donna Noble, with whom she shares a refreshingly platonic, sibling relationship.
- When the walls of reality start to break down due to a plot by Davros to detonate a Reality Bomb, former companions team up and Rose and Grace are finally reunited. In order to foil Davros, Donna is forced to absorb the time vortex energy stored in Rose and Grace’s heads. This allows Rose and Grace to retire and live a normal human life in the parallel universe. However, the time vortex energy threatens to cook Donna’s brain.
- Donna manages to have a few more adventures even though she knows she’s doomed to die soon. Eventually she is unable to stave off the inevitable, though, and just after she stops the return of the Time Lords and saves her grandfather, the knowledge she absorbed overwhelms her human brain.
- Donna sends the TARDIS to sit on a street corner somewhere collecting dust, ignored and forgotten and the wondrous story of the blue police box that was bequeathed to the plucky human race by the unearthly child, Susan Foreman, comes to an end.
…until Amy Pond’s wedding reception, when Amy starts to remember an impossible, bow-tied man and history completely rewrites itself again.
What I really want out of a Doctor Who anniversary special is that it not be written by Steven Moffat.