The Means

A Doctor Who General/Angst Fanfic

Someone had once told him, 'The end never justifies the means.' It was a philosophy that rarely paid off, but it was worth it when it did.

Rated K+ for underlying angst.

Disclaimer: I claim Harla, the Karlins, and the Milfins. The rest is trademark of Doctor Who and therefore belongs to RTD (or I guess Moffat now).

A/N: I got to thinking about the phrase 'the ends justify the means' and how I don't agree with that, and how Ten especially didn't agree with that... and out came this bit of character-development.

(614 words)

Everything was ready. Harla was stationed in the control room, ready to throw the switch that would detonate the bombs that were placed in strategic positions around the Karlin ship. One call – one symbol in universally-understood sign language, to be precise – and the switches would be thrown, the bombs detonated, the ship's specialised containment field broken, and the Doctor would have twelve and a half seconds exactly to get to the TARDIS, which was 2.3871 metres away from his current location in front of the Karlin leader, whom he would be addressing in a moment. Then, all he had to do was trip over his own timeline a wee bit (presuming it took him the full twelve seconds to get to the TARDIS, and another seven to get to the correct controls on the TARDIS, and another two to engage them, and the explosion moved at the relative speed of two sub-divisions per second, and Harla had taken refuge somewhere out of the way of the incendiary after-effects and had taken a large lungful of air, he had a one- or two-second window in which to do this), grab Harla before the explosions properly reached the control room and she was basically Milfin toast, and leave.

This, of course, was only if the Karlins refused to be peacefully transported off the land. Which, being the foolishly optimistic person he sometimes was, the Doctor hoped would be the case.

* * *

Someone had once told him, 'The end never justifies the means.' He lived by this philosophy from the moment he'd regenerated into his current self, though he hadn't really noticed himself doing so until he really was living the philosophy. He hadn't really understood what it meant to 'live a philosophy' until the moment when he found himself asking his enemy if they wanted a way out. Sure, he'd always tried to find a way out, a way for them to live – but he'd never expressly asked them if they'd rather be saved before. It more or less hadn't paid off, just a waste of time that had gotten him into more trouble than it had gotten him out of, but there were times when buying into such a philosophy really paid off, and those made the complications worth the risk.

* * *

"What do you mean, you're just going to take them back?" she demanded.

"Exactly that," he replied. "They didn't choose to come here. They want to go home, and they're certainly not wanted here."

"So, that's that? You're just going to take them home and forget about the whole thing?"

Not forget about it, no. I can never forget when people make the right choice, the choice not to die. "Well..." He sighed. "Basically, yes."

She glared at him. "How could you? After everything that's happened to my people? After everything we've lost? After everything I've lost? I show you all that, and you do nothing about it?"

He gave her a truthfully questioning look. "What am I supposed to do? Take back my promise to bring them home? Deceive them? That makes me no better than them. I can't do that."

"Well, I can." She stormed out, back to the control room, he believed.

"Harla, wait!" he called after her, grabbing his overcoat before heading in the same direction.

"No!" she yelled back. "I've only got once chance to do this, Doctor!"


* * *

The one and only problem with adopting this philosophy, the one miniscule flaw that only really presented itself at the worst of moments, was that he couldn't remember whether the person that had originally bestowed this advice upon him had been a wise man or a fool.