AN: So, I very recently became obsessed with Hetalia (the history nerd rejoices!), and after seeing the movie Paint It, White... well, all I could think of was, This needs a little more Doctor Who. And then I had this idea.
I do not own Doctor Who, or Hetalia, but I do own this particular intersection of the two.
The year was 2017, the time was the end of the world, and the Doctor was running.
And fast; his feet kept slipping on the waxy floors, his shoulders kept slamming into the sides of the hallways like a careening car as he dodged past soldiers and hurtled down the corridors of the captured battlestar.
"Sir!" shouted a man. He had some stripes on his shoulder, so this meant if the Doctor didn't listen to him, important people would get whiny. The Doctor skidded to a near stop.
"Have you got a spare moment?" the Doctor asked.
The man blinked. "Er, yes. I have to ask you to-"
"Well, I haven't," interrupted the Time Lord. "You see, Russia's got nukes pointed at Japan, France is threatening to bomb England and England wants to invade France, America's trying to arrange a coup in China so they don't have to pay their debt and god know what else has happened in the last-" He looked at his wrist. "-nineteen minutes? Maybe the Ukraine has decided to send millions of crates of bad eggs to Poland! Maybe Alaska has seceded from the union and Bristol Palin's declaring war on the bit of Russia she thinks she can see from her house! Who knows?" He laughed in a slightly hysterical way. "So I've got my hands a little bit full here!"
The stripy important man trembled. "Have you got a plan, sir?" he quavered. "Because gathering up all the UNIT troops and taking the battlestar like this, sir... well, that was all very dandy, sir, and clever of you, but we're at wit's end and we can't seem to make any two countries agree on anything unless it's a military alliance... Even inside each country all the parties are fighting. Earth's become a madhouse! There's nine billion angry people down there and no one country can seem to just... hold it together long enough for them to look up and see the-"
"... elephant in the room..." the Doctor finished. "Or, say, the great whopping spaceships hanging over the planet." His eyes seemed to glow in the dim light. "Do you want to hear something very secret..." He looked at the stripy man's shirt. There was a label. "... Commander Clay?"
Clay saluted. "Yessir!"
The Doctor grinned. "That's going to change." And then he pushed past the startled man and raced out of sight.
The Proeliites fed off of war.
That was their trade, food, and sport. Not their own war. Of course not. Centuries earlier they had discovered a secret that led to world peace, but instead of sharing it with everyone, they decided to have fun with the other worlds that hadn't figured it out yet.
This is why world peace is not always such a good thing, when it comes to the wrong people. The kind with starships.
Because other people's war is very profitable. People make weapons, they make rations, they get all worked up and distracted and that makes them very easy to exploit. The Proeliites knew all about war. Not that they were good at winning them. Conquering whole planets was for the people who wanted to get killed. But it was very easy to make planets conquer themselves, so to speak. That was where the profit lay.
So they found Earth. A planet with so many different people - and just plain so many of them - and it really took a very conservative use of bioweapons and neurotransmitters, and only a bit of backroom dealing and rumor-spreading, and soon the nations of the world were just itching to tear each other apart. Cultivated like genetically modified fruit fields, the masses of people were about to become masses of graves.
Nothing helps a butcher like having a heifer cut itself into steaks.
So they hung above the planet in a great eager swarm, hidden by their invisibility shields to the world's inhabitants, and all had been going to plan until a strange blue box had materialized on one of their battlestars.
The Doctor ran with a purpose. His side ached, but he ignored it. He chased after the glimmer of hope that had flown in front of his eyes like an elusive faerie.
"You there!" he shouted. "Stop what you're doing! It's not important anymore!" He was pointing to a woman in the green and red-beret'd outfit that all the soldiers here wore.
The soldier seemed star-struck at the sight of him. They all knew who he was. She saluted ever so smartly, precise as a clockwork doll. "Doctor, sir!"
"Can you do me a personal favor... otijoJ? Sorry, what kind of name's that?"
Private Lolito turned pink. "Got dressed in a bit of a hurry, sir. The shirt's inside out. Name's Lolito, sir."
"Ah. Glad to hear it, Lolito, because what I said would have been a bit racist otherwise. Right, I need access to the census bureaus of any country that's got one. All their records! Get it up here!"
"Well... that's a rather large request, sir..."
"Oh, come on," the Doctor protested. "Only several billion terabytes of data... and you've got a 6G network... just reroute it all to my TARDIS in blocks. She can process it... probably... And make sure the HGP samples are part of it! That's the most important thing!"
Lolito blinked, but didn't protest. "Yes, er, sir." She saluted a bit less smartly and watched the Doctor scamper away.
"I'll be in the birthing bay!" he shouted over his shoulder before the sliding door shut behind him. "Allons-y!"
The private frantically looked around for the nearest officer. She had heard so much about the mysterious Doctor, and felt that no matter how strange his orders, there would be no question as to whether they should be followed.
"Sir!" Lolito called frantically to the figure that had just entered the control room. "Captain Thompson! Sir! I've got orders from, er, the Doctor, sir..."
The captain gritted his teeth. Of course the Doctor would be ordering everyone about... The blasted E.T. ended up as the de facto head of UNIT whenever he showed up, no matter the circumstances. "What does he want, Private? A bag of jelly babies, perhaps? Command codes to all our country's nukes?"
"Well, he's already got those," Lolito said without thinking, then shut up fast.
"What, then?" Thompson growled. "What does he need?"
"DNA, sir," said Lolito, shrugging at Thompson's blank look. "That is, all the Human Genome Project archives. All the census data. Everything. From every country."
The captain's mustache quivered as he tried to think of a reason not to do this. "But... but... we can't just hack all the national archives! That's impossible! The security is immense..." He realized that the private wasn't looking at him anymore, but behind him. He turned around on his heel and saw a screen flashing through windows that popped up and then vanished as fast as they came. Access granted, access granted, accès accordé, accesso consentito, zugriff gewährt, access granted...
The captain blanched, then went red. "I hate that man," he grumbled, but he saluted the screen. "Yes, sir."
An unearthly siren sound filled the birthing bay as the TARDIS materialized. It was a large ship, and sometimes taking the lazy shortcut is the best.
The birthing bay was empty of people - that is, until the Doctor stepped out. He looked around to examine the equipment available. Yes this was just right.
The walls were lined with pods the size of caskets, but they were in fact the exact opposite of caskets. Proeliites had done away with infancy and childhood and adolescence, because in their opinion that was a waste of time. They were by nature somewhat marsupial, but the birthing chambers had done away with all the nuisance of giving birth and keeping the child in the pouch until they were strong, and then keeping the child safe until they metamorphosed into adults.
Now, they just made new adults. That was quick and simple and non-sentimental. Sometimes, if they bothered, a Proeliite couple might implant some nice childhood memories in the fetus through the neural interface feed.
It was a far from perfect system for the children, but for the Doctor, it was exactly what he needed. He had a bit of experience with chambers like these (there had been an accidental daughter once), and what he didn't know, he'd figure out as he went along. The Doctor was good at that. Famous for it, in fact.
He thought, as he hurried through the maze of round chambers, looking for a set that hadn't been destroyed by the soldiers, that this was probably his craziest idea yet. But this was the time for crazy ideas. This was very nearly the end of human civilization. And the Doctor liked the human civilization. Homo sapiens was his favorite species.
And then the data began to stream into the TARDIS computer. The Doctor jumped as the interface drive in his coat pocket started to hum with power. That had been one of the trickiest parts of this whole operation. His thumb still hurt from when he'd jammed it trying to pull the interface out of the TARDIS console. If only he'd had an actual screwdriver, he reflected, as he extricated the drive from his coat and flicked on its screen. "Now..." he said portentously.
It was a trait that carried over through all of his regenerations. The Doctor really liked to say things portentously.
(Even when no one was listening.)
And he glanced up and saw unbroken glass, and green lights. He'd found a chamber room that was still functional. About twelve pods in all, arranged around a central control stand. The Doctor checked his interface. Yes, twelve would be more than enough for what he had right now. "So, here we are..." He clicked the interface into the panel and typed a string of commands into the screen. "Now, then, old girl... give me what you've got about these countries up until 2017... I want history. I want culture. I want speech patterns. Strengths, weaknesses... Clothes, even. Everything."
And then he pressed the button on the control stand. "Give them the memories," he said softly. "Give them the history. Make it a life to them. Make it a story."
Lights flickered on inside of the birthing pods. One, two, three... all the way to the eighth one. The Doctor checked his list. It looked like the eighth country had overloaded the system. China, he swore. Too big. So he was stuck with those first eight. For now, at least. And how long would the process take? He checked the signs on the pods.
Estimated time to maturation... eight hours... eight hours five minutes, eight hours thirty minutes, nine hours, eight forty-five... Nine was the most. So he could wait...
Oh, come on. Why wait? He had a time machine. Nine hours was whatever he wanted it to be.
The Doctor turned away from the panel, and headed for the chamber door. Before he left, he took one last look at the pods.
What had he done? This was going to be insane and stupid and bound to fail...
But there were red skies over planet Earth. His planet Earth. Storm clouds would rain blood over blue and choke it out until there was nothing left. The Doctor's own planet had died, just like this, but Gallifrey wasn't his home anymore.
So yes, yes to the stupid plan, the plan that might save all humankind. Earth was all he had now. And all Earth had was him.
It was a very simple stupid plan, when all the pieces were fitted together the right way. The Proeliites wanted to create chaos. Mistrust. Discord. Disharmony. They wanted all the people in all the countries to be so terrified of one another that they would lash out at each other. And how can you convince any one nation, which could have millions to billions of inhabitants, that the real threat was, ooh, invisible monsters in the sky? Go door to door? Arrange a really biiiiig town hall meeting? Make a blog about it? Like that would ever work.
How could you convince all the countries of the world to get along? See that they weren't shadowy figures looming to snatch away resources? Understand that they're really all very alike? You can't ask millions of people something and expect one answer.
Only in here, you could. In nine hours you could. You could have the whole world (a lot of it, anyway) together in this ring of pods.
Contemplatively, the Doctor traced the shape with his finger. "Draw a circle... that's the Earth. Mad, isn't it?"
And then he was gone.
In the soft lights of the birthing pods, shapes began to form. At first they were very small, but as time ticked by, they filled their allotted space. It would be hard to see through the fogged-up glass, but the shapes were becoming more and more defined, less like shapes and more like figures. The features on these figures appeared, and the synthetic threads of cloth stitched itself together over their bodies. Synapses began to fire and thoughts began to form. Memories. Personalities.
At the seven and a half hour mark, there was a sudden shockwave through the room. There was the sound of shouting and gunfire from decks above. There was the echo of screams. There was silence.
There was a long, terrible silence.
At the eight hour mark, a pair of brown eyes opened wide.
A hand pressed itself against glassy plastic. Then it became a set of knuckles, tentatively rapping on the hard surface from within. It made a hollow klock klock klock sound that reverberated in the chamber. And then came a squeaky, fearful, tremulous voice. It had an Italian accent.
"Veh... could somebody please let me out?"