Three years earlier…
Phaze walked into her CO’s office, wondering why she was called.
“Ah, Miss Phaze,” Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart said as he looked up at her entry. “We have found a new device that we would like you to look at. UNIT recovered it from the sunken wreck of a crashed spaceship.”
“Why do you want me to look at it?”
“Because you are the best that UNIT staffs in this area. Our experts believe that it might be some type of time travel device. Last I knew, that was your area of study.”
Phaze nodded. “Yes Brigadier. Where is it now?”
“Our American division was the one that found it. You will be going to Nevada to a special air force base there.”
“Yes, sir. And thank you,” Phaze said.
“I know that you are interested in finding the Doctor again,” he said, standing up. “But you don’t really need to be searching for a method of time travel to find him; just wait a bit longer. He always turns up.”
“Thank you, Brigadier, but I have been waiting long enough, I think.”
The Brig sighed and said, “I’m sorry, Phaze. I keep forgetting just how long you have been here.”
She nodded and said, “Thank you again for assigning me to this one, Brigadier. I’ll go at once.”
“Good girl,” he said as she left.
“I was in that base for a few months working with a team. We were making progress, but the systems seemed to be damaged pretty badly from the crash.”
“What technology was it? Where did it come from?” the Doctor asked.
“I don’t know. It was unlike anything that UNIT, or, as far as I could tell, the SGC had encountered before.”
“Why didn’t I hear about this?” McKay demanded.
“Because UNIT and SGC are two different organizations. Besides, don’t you think you’ve done enough damage with what you were given to work with?” Phaze replied.
McKay was about to argue but the Doctor stopped him. “Let’s keep with the story please.”
“Like I said, I was there for a few months. We finally were able to power the device but all that we were able to manage was a non-interactive stabilized chrono field. I was the one in it testing it apparently at just the right moment.”
“Ah,” the Doctor said. “You created your own version of temporal grace, protecting you from the paradox wave. Of course you realize that you are an anomaly within this little paradox?”
“Yes, which is why it is even more perilous that there is another version of me around here somewhere. Creating a second paradox within this already unstable time zone could be disastrous.”
“I see what you mean. But let me guess, this is where Rodney’s story takes over?” He turned his head questioningly to the other doctor.
“It wasn’t my fault!” he protested.
“I wasn’t saying it was. But Phaze seems very adamant that you had also been tampering with alien technology and, whether or not your meddling created our current situation or not, I need to know everything.”
“And just who are you? What exactly are you a doctor of?” McKay demanded.
“Of many things,” he said casually.
“What matters is he is probably the only one who is going to be able to fix this!” Phaze snapped.
“Hey! I could have easily put everything back the way it was if I hadn’t lost power. And I could have even fixed that problem if it hadn’t been for the Jaffa who swooped in when I lost stabilization of the time field.”
“Rodney!” the Doctor snapped. “I am not trying to say you are incompetent, quite the opposite. I am fully aware of your skill when dealing with advanced alien technology. I just need you to tell me what you know.”
“Alright, alright,” he said, throwing his hands up. “Yes, we found a new piece of Ancient technology. I was having difficultly figuring it out, when last night I suddenly had an epiphany and went to see if I was right straight away.”
“And were you?” the Doctor asked
“Yes! I realized that it was something that must have been some type of training device that the Ancients used to begin exploring time. It could allow for manipulation of any given planet’s time stream. I could take anyone out of history at any time from any place!” he said excitedly.
“But what would be the point of that?” Kenshin asked.
“Like I just said, it was a training device. An Ancient who was going to begin time exploration would be shown this device and they would be allowed to do whatever they wanted and observe the consequences. All with the understanding, of course, that it would be a simple process to reverse it all.”
“Actually, it would make a fascinating teaching tool,” the Doctor said. “It would be very eye opening to see what damage one could inflict on the entire timeline just from one false step.”
“So what did you do, exactly?” Phaze said, glaring at McKay.
“I just had it pick someone at random,” he said. “All I wanted to do was see what would happen, I knew how to reverse it. At least, I was pretty sure I knew. But as soon as I activated it, the power gave out.”
“Leaving Earth and, by association, the rest of the galaxy, with a fractured timeline.”
McKay looked horrified, as he seemed to finally realize exactly what it all meant. “But we can still fix this,” he protested. “We just need to power it up again.”
“Provided we can get out of here,” Phaze muttered as she leaned back against the bars, arms folder.
“That doesn’t sound like the Phaze I know,” the Doctor admonished.
“Well, the Phaze you knew has been gone for a long time.”
The Doctor wanted to ask more; he wanted to know what had happened to her and why they had become separated in the first place. But they were already in the center of a paradox with an anomaly that was threatening to create another paradox if she encountered her past self. Pushing for a third paradox by learning too much about the future was not going to help much here.
He sighed to himself and pressed on. “Ok, the only thing that I would like to know now is how you got here, Phaze. And why you and McKay are in here.”
“Well, that would actually be her fault,” McKay said smugly.
“Oh would you grow up!” she snapped.
“Alright, alright, alright…Please, just tell me,” the Doctor said, throwing his hands up to stave off another argument.
Phaze sighed and said, “It was fairly obvious when the world that I now found when I left the chrono shield was crawling with Goa’uld that the first place I needed to head to was the SGC. I made my way here and had just started to investigate when I was caught.”
“Whatever changed to allow Yu to come here had to have happened after the SGC was set up because everything is pretty much as it was here, just crawling with Jaffa. So Yu, naturally, took over and made his base as close to the Stargate as possible,” McKay provided. “Of course she wound up triggering the alarms which alerted them to both her and my presence while I was still working on a way to charge it up again.” McKay concluded.
“But this does not make sense,” Kenshin said. “Miss Phaze says that she took some time to get here but Rodney had only just created the problem?”
The Doctor sighed and turned to Kenshin, “I know this is very difficult for you to understand right now. All that you need to keep in mind is that time can change at any point. What Rodney did, sent a paradoxical wave through the time line and changed everything. Phaze and he were inside a protected area that kept them from being changed. Phaze was at a slightly earlier point in time from when Rodney activated the machine so she actually arrived here when he switched it on, but really it had already happened for her.”
“Really Doctor,” Kenshin interrupted. “All that this one needs to understand is what we need to do to put things back the way they were and to get our friends back.”
“Friends?” Phaze said. Suddenly she gasped and asked, “Fitz and Anji? They were caught in the wave?”
“I’m afraid so,” the Doctor responded. “As was Kenshin’s friend, San…” but he trailed off as he thought back to what happened. “Wait a minute, Sanosuke disappeared first, right?” he asked, turning back to Kenshin.
“Doctor?” Phaze asked.
“I’m just speculating, but it might be possible that it was Sanosuke that Rodney took out of time which triggered all of this.”
“Sano? But how would he have altered everything so much?” Kenshin asked.
“Any one person can have a tremendous effect on the time line. I’m not saying that it’s what happened, but it is my current guess.”
“And you just happened to be there to witness it,” Phaze said as she shook her head in wonder. “It never ceases to amaze me how wonderful your timing is, Doctor.”
“I’ve seen better…” McKay muttered before moving on. “Well that’s great that you might have tracked down some of the intricacies of what happen, how about we figure out what needs to happen now?”
“Getting out of here would be the first step,” Kenshin replied.
“Well, I think between the four of us we can come up with something,” the Doctor said with a smile.
Phaze smiled back at him. “Have I told you how much I missed you?”
“So I gathered…” he said as he went to examine the lock on the cell door.
“Do you have any idea how to power the device when we get out?” McKay asked.
“One step at a time, please,” he answered.
“So, what’s the plan, Doctor?” Phaze asked. The Doctor was up and moving about the cell. He noticed that it was an electronic lock that could be activated by a key card. This was on the outside of the bars with a laser-activated alarm to complicate things.
“It would be nice if they could have been kind enough to leave me with my sonic screwdriver. This would be a lot easier…” He was examining the lock from behind the laser beams.
“But you can open it, right Doctor?” Phaze asked.
“Most probably. But first I have to get around these beams. Do any of you have anything reflective on them?” He glanced back.
Everyone looked from one to another. “They took everything,” Rodney grumbled as he crossed his arms and leaned back on the bunk he sat on. “Even my watch.”
“Hmm,” the Doctor mused as he tapped his lip. “These aren’t the most efficient beams; it would be possible to work around them, just a little more difficult.” He turned back to examine the lock. Carefully, he slipped his hand between two beams and then through the bars. “I think I can do something with this if I could open the mechanism. How about something that I could use on these screws?”
“You think that they would have left us with a screwdriver if they took my watch?” McKay quipped.
“Would you stop being so negative and help with this,” Phaze snapped.
“Where does that go?” Kenshin interrupted as he pointed up above the bunk at a vent.
Everyone paused and looked up. “What, the vent? How’s that going to help?” McKay asked.
“It looks like it might be a second exit to this room.” Kenshin answered.
The Doctor looked at it and climbed up on the bunk to see if he could remove the cover. McKay scoffed and said, “That is far too small to be of any use. I’m certainly not going to be able to get through there.”
“No, you’re right, Rodney,” the Doctor said as he managed to pry the cover off. “But I do believe that Kenshin would be small enough to fit,” he looked down at the swordsman and said to him, “It will be pretty tight, but you should be able to get through.”
Kenshin nodded and climbed up on the bunk beside the Doctor. “Follow this duct, ah, passage, and head towards the left. You should come to another panel like the one I just removed that leads to the hall way outside.”
“But what is he going to do?” McKay argued.
“That’s the tricky part,” the Doctor said seriously. “There should be a guard outside the door. He’ll have one of those cards on them that you saw that they used to open the door. You’re going to have to get it from him.”
“Understood,” Kenshin said with a nod and climbed up into the duct.
“What, that little scrawny, unarmed I might remind you, guy is going to manage to take down a Jaffa?”
“Shut up, McKay!” Phaze snapped at him.
“I’m sure that Kenshin is quite capable,” the Doctor said calmly.
“Who is he, anyway?” Phaze asked. “I don’t remember him.”
“The way time is right now, I’m not surprised. But he just saved your life not too long ago,” the Doctor said with a smile. “He’s quite capable, trust me.”
“Where’d you pick him up?” McKay asked. “He doesn’t look like he’s from around here.”
“No, he’s not. Japan, early Meji era… the TARDIS was a little vague on the exact date,” the Doctor replied.
“What is he, some kind of samurai or something?” McKay asked but was interrupted by Phaze.
“Japan?” Phaze said as she looked like she was thinking. “You mean, he’s the one that pulled me out of the water? I always thought that it was you… wait, I don’t remember what happened after that.”
“That’s because time doesn’t know what happened next at this point. We have to sort this out soon or the Paradox could get completely out of hand.”
Just then the door opened. They all looked up and saw Kenshin slip in with the card in hand. “Who is this guy,” McKay whispered to the Doctor.
“A legend,” the Doctor answered and Kenshin came forward and swiped the card. The lock clicked and the door slid a few inches apart as the laser kicked off. “Good work,” the Doctor said to him as they filed out of the cell.
Stopping at the locker just inside the door, they took out their belongings. The Doctor seemed quite happy to have gotten his sonic screwdriver back and Kenshin his sword. McKay only had his watch to retrieve and Phaze apparently didn’t have anything.
As they left the room, they noticed the guard that was passed out outside the door. “Nice,” Phaze complimented.
“He will not be unconscious for long,” Kenshin told them.
“Then we better make a quick get away,” the Doctor said and strode down the hallway, leading them away from the detention area. “Alright, Rodney, where did you leave that device?” the Doctor asked as they carefully made their way down the corridors once they were out of sight of the unconscious guard.
“It was in Carter’s lab. This way,” he said, taking the lead.
“Hold on,” the Doctor said, holding him back. “You know how to reverse this, yes?”
“Yes. I just don’t know how to power it.”
“Phaze, do you think that you might be able to help him with that problem?”
“I think so,” she replied. “But I’m sure that you could do it much quicker than us. What are you planning?”
“I think that I need to have another chat with Lord Yu. He wasn’t very forth coming last time and there are a few things that I need to understand.”
“Doctor, this is no time to sate your curiosity,” Phaze admonished. “Yu is a Goa’uld. He’s not to be trusted and he’s most likely just going to throw you right back into the cell as soon as he sees you if not out right kill you.”
“I know that, so I’ll just have to be a little more convincing this time. Time is wrong and is fracturing. I need to know what caused it and how the Goa’uld got here in the first place.”
“This is stupid!” McKay spat. “What does it matter? We don’t need to understand it all. All I have to do is get to the machine and reverse it and everything will go back the way it was.”
“And if it does not?” Kenshin asked.
“What do you mean, if it does not? It just will!” McKay said.
“Not necessarily,” the Doctor replied. “I want to be sure. If anything has happened to the device then I want to be prepared. The more information that we have, the better. Now, I want you three to go and get to the device and do what you can. I’m going to go and do what I do best and poke my nose where it doesn’t belong.”
“This one is not needed where the scientists go and shall accompany you, Doctor,” Kenshin declared.
The Doctor opened his mouth to object but quickly closed it as he thought better. “You’re right. Of course I could use your help, thank you,” he said. “Now, let’s get moving.”
“Wait just a second,” McKay said. “If we’re going to split up, the least we should do is have a way to communicate.” He set off and stopped at a storage room a short way down the hall. After a second of doing something to the door control he was able to open the door and took out two radios and four zats. “Here. Just in case,” he said, handing the Doctor one of the radios and two zats.
The Doctor took the radio but shook his head to the weapon. “I don’t care much for those and I’m sure Kenshin would prefer his sword.”
McKay shrugged and put the two back and then handed Phaze the radio and one of the zats, keeping one for himself. “Suit yourself.” He began to head off in his direction.
“Doctor,” Phaze said but paused.
“I’ll see you soon, Phaze. When this is resolved, we can take a few minutes to talk about things. But time is a little too twisted right now to risk that chat at the moment.”
Phaze nodded and said, “Alright, just… be careful.”
He smiled at her and said, “I always am. And you try and keep him in line,” he inclined his head towards McKay who was slowly making his way down the hall way, looking slightly more nervous with each step he took.
She smiled back and nodded before turning and following McKay.
“You worry too much about her,” Kenshin said as he noticed the Doctor watching Phaze leave.
“I worry too much about all of my friends. They always have a knack for getting into trouble, just like me,” he replied as he turned and began heading in the opposite direction. “You, for instance, you would have been better off going with them than me. I’m walking right into the lions den, so to speak.”
“That is why my presence is needed more with you.”
“Thank you, Kenshin. But you may regret your choice before too long.”
They continued on in silence, moving carefully through the hallways and ducking around the corners. There were surprisingly few Jaffa about as they made their way back to where Yu had made his court. The Doctor had never been to the SGC before, but he was fairly certain that it had once been the mess hall before Yu had it redecorated.
But when the room was in sight, the Doctor let out a frustrated sigh. “What is it?” Kenshin asked.
“There is no one guarding the door. Either he’s not there or this just isn’t going to be the challenge that I had hoped for.” With that he went over and entered the room. Kenshin was fast behind him, but the Doctor’s suspicion proved to be true. There was no one there, except Oshu.
“I see that you are worthy opponents,” Oshu said as he approached them. The Doctor tried to position himself in front of Kenshin, but the samurai would have none of that and he actually placed himself in front on the Doctor.
“I have no intention of challenging you again,” Oshu told them. “I found the Jaffa that had been guarding your cell a while ago and thought this is where you would go. The others have returned to the time machine. I have just called my men back from there,” he said.
“You know about it?” the Doctor asked, rather confused at the turn of events.
“I do. I also know why it is that my master would not hear your pleas to set time back on its rightful course. He prefers the course that he is on.”
“And you don’t?” Kenshin asked.
The Jaffa sighed and answered, “No, I don’t. Please, let us talk,” he said, indicating a few chairs. The Doctor immediately took one and Oshu sat opposite him. Kenshin remained standing beside the Doctor, hand resting casually on the hilt of his sword. Oshu acknowledge him with a nod of understanding as he took his own seat.
“My lord Yu is… Well he is the oldest of all of the system lords and so he has gotten a little…” Oshu trailed off.
“He’s going senile?” the Doctor asked.
Oshu didn’t answer but his expression showed that this to be the case. “For some time now I have had to take care of much of the running of his empire. Unfortunately, I was unable to dissuade him from invading Earth when the summons came.”
“Summons?” the Doctor prompted.
“Yes. I believe it would be best if I go back to the beginning, though in the matters of a paradox, that can sometimes be difficult.”
“Yes, that I can understand,” the Doctor said with a smile as he relaxed back into his chair. “Please, continue”
“You apparently are aware that this time line was created by that machine that is in the lab. It took someone out of time, sending a cascade effect throughout the time line.”
“Yes, we are aware of that.”
“But are you aware of who was taken and what the consequences were that brought my master here?”
“We have a theory on who, but not the consequences,” the Doctor answered simply.
“We have since figured this out. Lord Yu was aware that something had happened which allowed him to be able to invade Earth. He set about to understand the phenomenon shortly after we were ensconced. We had received a summons from a small cult like group that had preserved some of the artifacts from Yu’s first reign on this planet. In the original time line, this group was supposed to have vanished, along with its artifacts and secrets about 200 years ago. But the change in the time line left the group in tact and able to use the artifacts about three years ago, just as the Stargate program was beginning.”
“So you were summoned here and began your invasion before the SGC had acquired its allies and knowledge that would later repel attacks,” the Doctor said.
“I don’t know what the original time line held, but I am certain that Lord Yu was not supposed to take Earth. He sees his recapturing of Earth as a sign of his invincibility and will not listen to me when I remind him that he is inviting other, more powerful, system Lords to come and take it from him. Though it was a great victory, I fear that it will be his greatest lose very soon.”
“And you’re willing to take a chance with the other timeline that things won’t work out even worse?” Kenshin asked.
Oshu nodded. “At least that is what things should have been. There is little honor in taking advantage of a false set of circumstances. I wish to help you set things right.”
The Doctor got up and began to pace slightly as tried to work out this new information. “So, we saw Sanouske disappear. Assuming that he was the one that was taken from time, somehow his disappearance caused a cult to not die out when it should have,” he stopped and looked at Oshu, “I’m still missing a few pieces.”
“Is it really that important, Doctor?” Kenshin asked.
“It may be. That will depend on McKay and what he can manage with the Ancient device.” Turning back to Oshu, he said, “Do you know what happened?”
“I don’t know how the person directly affected the outcome, but we believe that there was a man in Japan that was supposed to have been defeated before he was able to come to power. For some reason he wasn’t. This left Japan a violent and tumultuous place. The cult that had been in hiding, had they not faced the hard times that came about, would have died out. But the new Japan drove more followers to them and they eventually escaped to China.”
“And then a few years ago they decided to actually use their artifacts and they sent a subspace message, calling Yu and… you, here,” the Doctor finished.
“Who was this man that came to power?” Kenshin asked.
“Shishio Makoto,” he replied.
Kenshin looked completely shocked and horrified.
“Do you know him?” the Doctor asked.
“It was my mission to defeat him,” Kenshin answered, still slightly shocked.
“Did you succeed?” the Doctor asked.
“Then was it you who was taken from time?” Oshu asked, confused.
“No,” the Doctor said as he quickly thought through it. “No, it was his friend, Sanouske. Did he help you with the battle, Kenshin?”
Kenshin nodded. “Sano helped in locating him and provided a distraction while I recovered some of my strength to be able to continue fighting him. Shishio eventually died because he fought for too long. He had been severely injured in the revolution so that he was unable to sweat.”
“He overheated and died,” the Doctor said. “And if Sanouske was not there to distract him and draw the battle out longer, then he apparently would have won.”
“It would seem so,” Kenshin replied, rather subdued.
They were silent for a moment before Oshu asked, “Now that you know, what do you plan to do with this knowledge?”
“I’m not sure. But we needed to get back to McKay and Phaze. If we are still able to be having this conversation, then that means they haven’t been able to figure out how to reverse things on that device.”
“I shall take you there,” Oshu said as he stood up and led the way to the door. But as they approached, a figure stepped through and stared at them. It was Lord Yu himself.