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I Am Clever


A Fine Line - Between Chaos and Creation

Everybody seems to think I'm lazy; I don't mind, I think they're crazy...

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UNIT!100 - 096. Writer's Choice (Topsy-Turvy).
I Am Clever
Title: Captain No Longer
Fandom: Doctor Who
Characters: Mike Yates, John Benton, Third Doctor
Prompt: 096. Writer‘s Choice. (Topsy-Turvy)
Word Count: 796
Rating: K
Summary: When is a Captain not a Captain? When he’s Benton, of course.
Disclaimer: I own nothing but my own OCs, should I create any for these stories.
Author’s Note: Story idea is inspired by the lovely jennytork, based off of the same premise as her Who the Hell… and Identity Crisis stories. She pointed out that the plot point isn’t her own, but regardless, her stories were the inspiration for this story, and I hope this does justice to it. Also, any ‘non-canonical’ references made regarding the Trickster/the Trickster’s Brigade are my own creative licenses, due to never having seen The Sarah Jane Adventures.


It had been a Tuesday, Captain Mike Yates remembered. A Tuesday when his world had suddenly gone topsy-turvy.

UNIT had been dealing with the latest alien invasion of the week, and everything was going surprisingly well. It wasn’t a violent race, interestingly enough, but a group that called themselves the Trickster’s Brigade, intent on wreaking havoc in the world by making changes to peoples’ timelines and altering history.

Right before they’d sent the leader, the Trickster himself, back to wherever it was he’d come from, he apparently couldn’t resist one last attempt to cause chaos. He’d sighed and said, “I wouldn’t usually do this, but… needs must.” and he’d suddenly reached out and touched Benton’s head, causing him to collapse. Then he’d laughed, and stepped through the time fissure before it closed, leaving them all to puzzle over what he had meant by that statement.

They’d taken Benton to the infirmary, where the on-duty medical staff had declared him to be healthy, just unconscious. “He should wake up at any time,” the doctor had told the Brigadier, shrugging. “There’s no physical reason for him to be unconscious.”

It took three days before Benton finally woke; three days in which they’d all looked in on him periodically. Jo had spent time sitting by his bedside, telling him stories about what the Doctor had done to niggle at the Brigadier this time, the Brigadier and the Doctor looked in every so ofter to inquire as to whether there had been any change in his condition, and even Mike had paid several visits - despite their working relationship, he and John Benton were good friends, so naturally he was concerned about the man’s health.

It was during one such visit that Benton finally woke, and Mike’s world turned upside-down. Mike had been talking about the latest escapade Benton had missed out, involving he and Jo swapping the Brig’s tea for the Doctor’s stash of Morotivan sleeping draught, when he’d seen the still form twitch. As Mike had watched, Benton had come to, groggy but otherwise unharmed. Then he had turned to see Mike sitting there, and said the words that changed everything: “Sergeant Benton, why do you look like me?”


Mike had tried to convince Benton that he was Captain Yates, but to no avail. Benton was completely convinced that he was the Captain, and Mike was the Sergeant, possibly gone a little mad. Strangely enough, he’d accepted the fact that he still looked like ‘Benton’ relatively quickly - he’d simply figured that some alien life form had caused them to swap bodies. He didn’t remember anything but vague memories of the Trickster, and from those memories, seemed to believe that it was his doing that had caused them to inhabit each others’ bodies. If it hadn’t been for the seriousness of the situation, Mike would probably have laughed at the irony.

Benton had also asked for Mike to relinquish the Captain’s pips and forage cap a day or two later, as “constantly being mistaken for you by the enlisted men and junior officers is only funny for so long, Benton”.

So Mike had reluctantly given them up, feeling vaguely like he was losing a part of himself in the process. In return, Benton had given him his Sergeant’s stripes, telling him to be sure that they were sewn on his uniform as soon as possible.

And as if that wasn’t bad enough, any attempts that Mike made to try and convince Benton who he really was didn’t help; they only put the man into a semi-catatonic state. When he vented these frustrations to the Doctor privately (because he seemed much more likely to be able to fix this than the Brig), the Doctor had seemed sympathetic, but had told him that unless another crack in time occurred to let the Trickster back, things would likely never change.

Mike had asked if the Doctor could open up a time fissure to bring him back, to which the Doctor had gotten angry. He started telling him that one couldn’t just start opening cracks in time whenever it suited one’s needs, and besides, opening one wouldn’t guarantee that they’d be able to find the Trickster. If the Trickster didn’t want to be found, he wouldn’t be found. The only thing to do would be to wait it out, as he and his Brigade were bound to make their way back to this dimension on their own eventually.

As for Benton thinking he was Mike, apparently the only solution was to act like Benton in the meantime, and hope that he either snapped out of it on his own, or that the Trickster would come back and fix this.

So with a sigh, Mike resigned himself to his immediate future as Sergeant John Benton.

The End?

X-posted to FF.net, Teaspoon, AO3, and unit_family.

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WHEEEEE!!!!! ALWAYS love this trope!!!

I'm doing one now called "Triptych" where an addled Benton thinks he's the Doctor. Eerie thing is....sometimes he IS.

I'm glad you liked it. :)

When do you think you'll be finished it? I really wanna read it now. :D

Oh dear, poor Mike. I can see Benton being horribly embarrassed when it all gets sorted out, too.

I have to admit, I'm rather enjoying this little AU I've created. I've even written a couple more stories (at least for now) for it. We'l just see where it goes. :D

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