Story: The Godfather Paradox
Author: Quean of Swords
Word Count: 78,865
Author's Summary: When you're in trouble, you call the Doctor, and Charlie Elliott is in trouble. Her parents have disappeared and it's as if they never even existed. Can the Doctor put things right again before the universe unravels?
Characters: Ten, Jack Harkness, cameos from other Torchwood crew, Original Characters
Recc'ed because: It's an adventurous, sprawling tale with mystery, paradox, action and some really cool original characters. One day, Charlie Elliot's life just starts erasing. I know some teens feel invisible from time to time, but in Charlie's case it becomes all too real, and she becomes the crux of a paradox that threatens to destroy all of reality in its wake. I like how Charlie is easily recognizable as a teen, but how the story rises above its teen adventure sensibilities in exploring her relationship with the Tenth Doctor during a stretch where he certainly isn't looking for companions. It's imaginative and fun, timey-wimey, nail-biting and has a really cool climax. What more could you ask for in a story?
"Let me at it!" shouted one man. In the dim red emergency lights, she couldn't see his face, but she could feel his hands pawing her. She swatted blindly and tried to smack him aside.
"Get off me!"
"Give it to me! I'll get us out of here."
The Doctor's face was intermittently lit by red emergency lights as he turned away from the door to see what the commotion was about. Jack roared in exertion as the doors started to part. Charlie suddenly realized what the man was trying to grab.
She fumbled, grinding the man's nose against his cheek with her palm, simultaneously trying to grab the floating rifle with her other hand and kick away from the crowd. But others had seen what she had and the same thought had entered their minds. Charlie was mobbed by hands groping and hurting her. She tried to fight them, but there was no way to push off of the thrashing mob. Her helmet was pulled off and glided away.
"Doctor, the gun!" she cried. "Help!"
He pushed towards her, but it was too late. Someone's hands–several people's–took hold of the rifle. They tried to aim. Charlie yanked on the strap, desperate to keep them from hitting the Doctor or Jack.
"Stop it! Don't shoot!" the Doctor shouted.
Someone's finger hit the trigger. Time stretched. Charlie screamed as the red-hot laser blast left the barrel of the rifle. It clipped someone's arm or leg, but most of it kept going. It fried the air, making the globs of sweat and blood floating there hiss as it passed. It hit a window. Charlie had an instant of wild hope that in the advanced and technologically wondrous Future, glass would be laser-proof. The Future let her down. For an instant it was just a tiny hole in the glass. Milliseconds after that, there were hairline cracks that became huge, very visible ones.
Time snapped back like a rubber band. The glass broke and air and commuters were sucked out the narrow window into space. Charlie was pulled down. Out of control, she put her hands out towards the Doctor, screaming for him and praying that his outstretched hand would reach her. Jack was in the open doorway, hanging on with his fingertips. The Doctor held onto one of Jack's shoes and desperately held out his hand for her. She couldn't reach him. Their eyes met and Charlie knew she was going to die, knew that he couldn't save her. She closed her eyes and thought of her parents, back home and safe with Attila the Hound, watching telly and fixing cars and going on with their lives. It was a hollow fantasy, but it was better than thinking about how her head was about to explode in the vacuum of space.
So much for escaping that thought.