(For the original story where the Doctor is turned black, click on "betawho" at the top of the page, then "Local Custom" in the story list that appears.)

Custom Evolution

"I meant to ask, are there black Time Lords?" Mandy asked.

"Of course. My planet had two suns, remember." the Doctor replied.

"I didn't know that. Then why are you white? Are there other types of Time Lords, like Chinese, Polynesian, American Indians on Earth?"

"Sure, we had regional variations just like any other species. We had arctic regions and deserts and forests and jungles, temperate and tropical zones. Our people evolved and adapted in all of them just like yours did."

"Then why have I never seen a black Time Lord before?"

The Doctor grinned. "Be fair, Mandy, you've never seen any other Time Lord before."

"True." she grinned.

"Any species that evolves in an environment will adapt to that environment. Basic evolutionary theory, yes?"

"Sure."

"Even animals look different region to region. For instance, a rabbit from China doesn't look exactly like a rabbit from Brazil. And that doesn't even count deliberate variations caused by breeding programs or genetic manipulation, like domestic white bunny rabbits." He grinned at her and twiddled with the Tardis controls.

"What you would call races among Time Lords might not look like the races from Earth. Different influences, different results. There's even the evolutionary adaptations to controlled environments, like the domed cities most Time Lords lived in. And we can consciously change our physiognomy, with things like the chameleon arch, controlled regeneration, and genetic planning. "

"Genetic planning?"

"Yes, well," he blushed. "Parenthood is a complicated process on Gallifrey."

"Why Doctor!"

"Oh, leave off. The point is, Time Lords can look like anything they want. Romana took forever to choose her first regenerated body, and some of her choices..." He rolled his eyes. "In the end she chose a copy of a body she'd recently seen and thought attractive."

"Time Lords can just choose what they want to look like? Naturally? Without a chameleon arch? Then why do you look like you do?"

"Oi!"

"No offense," she defended. "It's a nice body. Very cute."

"Yes, well. " grumble grumble. "I've never been very good at regenerating. " He scratched his ear. "In fact, my third body was chosen for me, when I was executed."

"What! You were executed? Who by?"

"The Time Lords. Mind you, they also elected me president. Twice. " he puffed up, proud.

"Didn't they also put you on trial once?" she said.

"Three times." he muttered, his expression a combination of shame and defiant pride.

" A really consistent lot, your people."

"Oh yes. " He spun the glass galactic map globe in its cradle. "they used to denigrate me as a renegade at every turn, then have me do their dirty work. That used to infuriate me. Now I sort of miss it," he said softly.

"Anyway!" he snaped himself out of his melancholy mood. "Yes, there were black Time Lords."

"Were there ever any problems because of it? Like what we just saw on Earth?" The Doctor had explained the history of Segregation to her.

"No. Time Lords never much cared about race."

"Yeah, I've noticed that about you. You'll shake hands with anything."

He glared at her wryly out of the tops of his eyes.

"So, there's no prejudice on your planet, all Gallifreyans are Time Lords."

"Ah," he scratched the back of his neck. "That depends on how you define Time Lord."