Friday 19 August 2011

A Different Klein, by Matthew Clarke (my fan fiction)

At the end of Architects of History, we meet a different Klein who worked for UNIT. I see no reason for doubting that this is the 'proper' Klein who always existed in our timeline.

This chronology of this story presupposes that the UNIT stories are set in the 1980s. It also presupposes that Klein was born about 1935.

I apologise to fans of Liz Shaw for Klein's harsh comments. UNIT Klein hating Liz's guts is my weird idea. Characters in fictional worlds should not always like each other. Whatever personal connection Ace and Barbara Wright might have through the Doctor, the reality is that if they met, they would never become friends.

Rachel Jensen appeared in Remembrance of the Daleks. I just adore her character and Pamela Salem's performance. There are two conflicting accounts of what happened to her. Who Killed Kennedy says that she retired incredibly early, as she suggested in Remembrance. On the other hand, Craig Hinton's novel Millennial Rites states that she became Scientific Advisor to the Cabinet. I am going with the latter account.

Miss Hilda Winters appeared in Robot. I am almost as in love with her as I am with Klein! According to the Sarah Jane audios, she spent fifteen years in prison after Robot.

Surrey, 1997

The Doctor received many invitations to dinner, but given the complexities of travelling in time and space, it was not always that easy to accept them. Just for once, during his many visits to Twentieth-century England, he had managed to make a dinner invitation at the home of Elizabeth Klein.

This was not the Klein who had travelled with him in the TARDIS during his seventh incarnation. It was a different Klein, one who had witnessed the Allies win the war and believed that was the correct version of history. A Klein who had worked as a scientific consultant for UNIT. He had met this version of Klein before, after mopping up the temporal chaos caused by the alternate, Nazi version of Klein.

Klein lived in a small house in a leafy town in Surrey. It was an attractive location. Evidently Klein's scientific work had enabled her to enjoy a comfortable retirement.

The doorbell was answered by a woman in her early sixties. The Doctor immediately recognised her as his one-time companion and enemy, Elizabeth Klein.

This Klein was ten years older than the Klein he had known. Her blond hair was fading to white. Yet it was not just her age that was different. Something about her face was different. Perhaps it was the fact that this version of Klein spoke German a good deal less often. His Klein had been bilingual and had used German regularly in daily life. This Klein might also be bilingual, but he doubted she had used German so much working in UNIT. There was still something else that was different about her face. There was none of the hardness in her countenance that he had seen in the Klein who travelled with him. This Klein seemed altogether a much kinder, gentler person.

This Klein was certainly an attractive woman, despite her age. She wore a dark green dress and was in her stocking feet.

"Doctor, you have changed since I saw you last! You seem very handsome- in a Gothic sort of way," said Klein.

The Doctor smiled in amusement. The Nazi Klein had encountered his Eighth incarnation before and had described him in exactly the same way. He noticed, however, that this Klein spoke in a perfect English accent. The other Klein sounded more English than German, but her voice was still noticeably Teutonic.

"It's really delightful of you to invite me, Elizabeth," said the Doctor. "I wish we could have seen each other more often when you were still working for UNIT. Sadly, travelling in time and space tends to keep me at a distance."

He had called her Elizabeth. He had always addressed the other Klein as 'Klein.'

As he stepped into the house, Klein looked down at his feet.

"Would you mind taking your shoes off, Doctor?"

"Not at all," he replied and removed his shoes. One of his socks was orange, the other was green. He could well imagine the other Klein making the same request. This Klein had the same sense of orderliness. He could see that in the house; it was spotlessly clean and everything was neat and tidily organised.

The two of them sat down in Klein's lounge to enjoy a glass of sherry. However, they soon moved on to the dining room to begin the meal with some duck pate, washed down with a bottle of red wine.

"You know, after Liz Shaw resigned, I was convinced that I was the only scientist working for UNIT. I suppose I was a bit arrogant in that incarnation," said the Doctor.

"I didn't actually spend that much time at UNIT HQ while you were there. I was more of a consultant," replied Klein. "I spent most of my time at the labs in Cambridge. They used to send me special deliveries of alien debris to look at. The aftermath of all those incidents you got involved in. After you left earth, I got called in to work for UNIT more directly."

"How did you actually get recruited?" asked the Doctor.

"I worked with Rachel Jensen in the Intrusion Countermeasures Group back in the Sixties. She later recommended me to UNIT after she became Scientific Advisor to the Cabinet," replied Klein.

"I met Rachel in the Shoreditch Incident in 1963," said the Doctor. "A very intelligent lady."

"Oh, my admiration for Rachel is immense. She pushed so hard to get the extraterrestrial threat recognised. UNIT would never have been formed without her fighting tooth and nail for it all the way. She's also such a fun person to be around. You never felt uncomfortable or anxious in her company, even after she started moving in high circles," said Klein.

"I would have liked to have known her better, but it's so difficult to get the chance."

"I'm sure she would be delighted if you dropped in on her. She's finally retired now. I have no idea what she was thinking when she contemplated retiring before she was even forty. Still, she was married to a rich barrister. I'm so glad she changed her mind," said Klein.

Klein had prepared a Cassoulet for the main course.

"I always serve casseroles when I entertain, Doctor. What we don't eat, I shall save for tomorrow. It's what you do when you live alone."

"Have you ever been with somebody?" asked the Doctor.

"I did get married once. I'm sad to say it didn't last long. When I was younger you just couldn't have a scientific career and have a family if you were a woman. Things are changing, but it's still hard for women working in science. Dear old Rachel was married, but she never had children. It didn't hurt that her husband was a very wealthy man either."

They talked a little about the war and about how Klein's family had been interned.

"You know my experiences of being interned led me to become involved in fighting for the rights of asylum seekers and refugees, Doctor," said Klein. "Next week I'm going to London for a protest. I feel so angry when I read about how this country treats it's guests."

The Doctor was delighted to know that in this timeline, Klein was somebody who fought for the rights of others and for justice instead of supporting a system that violated the rights of millions.

"I wonder what your Nazi parents would have made of that," said the Doctor.

"I have no idea. My parents, like many Germans in those days, adored Hitler. The Third Reich meant so much to them, even though they did move to England. They never quite adjusted to what happened in the war. It was a subject they never liked to talk about."

The conversation moved on to various events in which UNIT had been involved.

"You dealt with the Giant Robot affair didn't you, Doctor?" asked Klein.

"Yes, that was a mad business."

"Miss Hilda Winters was one of my colleagues at Cambridge. I did like her. I visited her in prison quite a few times after the failure of her plans. She had some quite innovative ideas, but she never seemed to quite think very practically. I know it's cruel, but I can't help smiling when I think that she was going to be involved in repopulating the earth. I just can't imagine Hilda having lots of babies."

The Doctor smiled.

"You must have known my former assistant, Miss Shaw? She was at Cambridge as well."

Klein's face darkened.

"Yes, she was one of my physics students at Cambridge when I was teaching," she replied. "She was such a hussy; she seemed to be sleeping with a different young man every week. And then when she started her scientific career, she insisted on wearing miniskirts and kinky boots all the time. How was anybody supposed to take her seriously when she dressed like that? I'm afraid to say I never liked Liz at all. She always seemed to lack imagination and curiosity. No wonder she gave up being your assistant. The chance to study wonders from the other side of the galaxy and she just gave it up. She was a shallow careerist," said Klein.

The Doctor felt deeply saddened by Klein's harsh comments about Liz. While he had never been as close to Liz as he had to some of his other associates, he had trusted her deeply and counted her as a friend. Perhaps both this Klein and the Nazi Klein shared a harshness in their judgment of others.

Klein then served a dessert of Black Forest Gateau. After enjoying this, the two of them moved to the lounge for coffee.

"Elizabeth, there is something I want to talk to you about," said the Doctor. "Have you ever thought about the concept of parallel universes?"

"I'm aware of that theoretical concept, Doctor," Klein replied.

"Have you thought that in a different world, there might be another Elizabeth Klein, in many ways the same person as you, but with different experiences in life?"

Klein laughed. "I think most people have thought about that in some shape or form. I sometimes wonder what my life would have been like if I had married some of my past lovers or if my marriage hadn't been a disaster, or if I had become a mother."

"Elizabeth, when you first met me, you seemed to somehow remember me. I think I know why that was the case."

"You do?" said Klein.

"We had met before, albeit a different version of you."

"What in a parallel universe?" exclaimed Klein. "Surely that is impossible."

"Not exactly," replied the Doctor. "I once travelled to earth during the Second World War. Normally I never alter history, but this time, events took an unexpected turn and an alternate timeline was created. In this timeline, the Third Reich won the war and came to dominate the world."

"I was born before the war. I must have existed in that timeline," said Klein.

"You did. My TARDIS was captured by the Nazis in the alternate timeline. In this timeline you were also a scientist and you used it to travel from the 1960s to the Second World War."

"For what purpose?" asked Klein. She was becoming very disconcerted at the thought that there was an alternate version of herself who had lived a very different life.

"To capture me. I had been killed in the alternate timeline and your other self needed me to learn how to operate my TARDIS properly."

"I'm certainly curious about your time machine, but I can't imagine trying to capture you, Doctor."

"You were a rather more aggressive person in this timeline. You were also a fanatical Nazi."

"It seems bizarre to think about, but I suppose given my parent's attitudes I might have gone that way if things had been different."

"Your other self's intervention caused events to unravel and erased the alternate timeline. Your other self was then left stranded in the Second World War."

"This is just unbelievable," said Klein.

"We met about fifteen years later and managed to put our differences aside. We travelled together in time and space. I wanted to show your other self the wonder and beauty of the universe, to challenge your, I mean her, narrow attitudes."

Klein was starting to feel slightly jealous of her other self. This Klein had actually got to visit other planets, while she had lived all her life in England.

"Although your other self was a cold, callous and ideologically blinkered person, I saw moments when she showed compassion and a gentler side. I believed that she could come to see beyond her Nazi worldview. Things didn't quite turn out as I would have liked. I don't feel right telling you what happened to your other self, but she no longer exists. I want you to know that I'm so happy you are here and have had the chance to do some wonderful work with UNIT."

Klein found it hard to know what to say. It was such a shock to learn that she had lived an whole other life. It was so hard to take in.

The Doctor insisted on helping Klein to clear up after the meal.

Klein decided now was a time to ask the Doctor something.

"You gave the other Klein a chance to travel with you. It only seems fair you offer me the same opportunity. I'm getting old, but I would love to see another planet if the opportunity is there."

"Of course. I think we could manage a short trip, Klein." He had called her Klein. For just a moment he had forgotten this was a different Klein to the one who had been his companion.

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