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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 - 097. Writer's Choice (Explain).
I Am Clever
Title: Too Little, Too Late
Fandom: Doctor Who
Characters: Mike Yates, Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart
Prompt: 097. Writer’s Choice (Explain)
Word Count: 713
Rating: K
Summary: “I never thought it would come to this.”
Disclaimer: I own nothing but my own OCs, should I create any for these stories.
Author’s Note: You have no idea how hard this story was to write. I never like thinking about this serial, because I didn’t like to see Mike go, especially like this. But when you get an idea, you need to get it out.

Inspired in part by Gary Merchant’s story If I Should Fall…, which covers the same subject. I’ve tried to make mine different, and no plagiarism is intended, so my apologies if I’ve done so unintentionally.


As much as the Brigadier had tried to delay it, the time had finally come for the dreaded talk. “I really don’t know what to say, Captain. I never thought it would come to this.”

Inside the storeroom-turned-cell, Mike Yates sat with his shoulders hunched. “Neither did I, Sir,” he muttered, not meeting his CO’s eyes through the bars on the door.

“My only question is why you would think that this was at all benevolent to the Earth. The human race would have been completely eradicated.” The Brigadier folded his arms.

“Not eradicated, Sir. Everyone inside the field would have been safe. And as I told you before, it would have been a much more peaceful and prosperous time, untouched by the filth of pollution and chemicals.”

“But you knew not everyone would survive. You said so yourself; that you didn’t care if you were inside the field or not, as you ‘weren’t important’. So others would have died as well.”

Yates straightened his shoulders and looked directly at the Brigadier. “Sometimes sacrifices have to be made for the greater good, Sir. And would they have really died if they’d never existed to begin with?”

“That’s not the point, Yates!” the Brigadier roared. “The point is that no man has the right to play God and decide who gets to live or die; not Sir Charles Grover, not Professor Whitaker, not General Finch, and certainly not you!”

Yates flinched. He hadn’t been expecting that sort of outburst. He opened his mouth to speak, but the Brigadier continued, pulling some photographs of the fake spaceship out of a folder. “Also, does this look familiar to you at all, Captain?”

He handed the photos over to Mike, who studied them curiously before shaking his head and handing them back. “No. Should it, Sir?”

“This was a fake spaceship, created by Grover to con some people into believing they were traveling to a new Earth. They, as well as Grover, Butler, and Whitaker, would have been the only survivors of this little debacle of yours.”

Yates’ eyes lit in sudden understanding. “I remember Grover mentioning something about colonists, but I didn’t realize that this was what he had intended.”

“Exactly. Now, you may try to explain away all their misdemeanours as acts for furthering the ‘greater good’, as you seem so fond of putting it, but what you were involved in was essentially an act of attempted genocide.”

Mike’s face went pale at this realization. He shook his head, his conviction failing him. “I never wanted anybody to suffer; you must know that, Sir. I only agreed to sabotage items here and there; just enough to slow down efforts to stop the project.”

The Brigadier remained unswayed. “The fact remains that you still knew that people would have been killed. And while you may not have wanted it, the fact that you didn’t stop Sir Charles and Professor Whitaker upon realizing what the consequences basically makes you an accomplice to attempted murder. Not to mention you’ve completely undermined my own authority and that of UNIT’s in general. In most cases, the combination of these charges would most likely lead to a court-martial and dishonourable discharge.”

Mike was stunned, only now realizing the severity of the situation he was in, and just how far he had fallen. After a moment, he spoke: “I realize that this is probably too little, too late at this point, but I am truly sorry.” He lowered his eyes to his hands again, then straightened up. “I’ve let UNIT down, I’ve let the Doctor down, and I’ve let you down. I accept any and all consequences that I receive due to my actions in this incident.”

The Brigadier nodded. “Thank you for the apology, Captain.” Then he sighed. “I’ll see if I can do anything for you when the inquiry takes place, given your spotless record and years of service, but I can’t make any promises. There’s a line, and you most definitely crossed it.”

“That’s better than I could expect, Sir. It’s certainly more than I deserve.” The young Captain went back to looking at his hands. “Again, I’m very sorry.”

The Brigadier shook his head sadly before leaving the makeshift cell block. “As am I, Captain… as am I.”

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

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Poor Mike. It's a difficult one, I agree. I should love "Invasion Of The Dinosaurs", because... well. Dinosaurs! I love those wobbly models they used, too. Mike is one of my favourite Who characters though, and it does hurt that his career ended the way that it did. I can never quite decide how true to character it is, too. He did seem quite impressionable - witness how readily he always accepts the Doctor's word, in contrast with the Brigadier's constant scepticism. Plus there's the excuse of BOSS and the Metebelis crystal. It still seems to come out of nowhere, though. Thank goodness for "Planet Of Spiders"!

Nice job here though. I imagine that this is very much how that conversation went.

It really did seem to come out of nowhere - the only way things would actually seem to gradually build up to it would be if you read Deep Blue to find out what's been going on with Mike between The Green Death and Invasion of the Dinosaurs. Otherwise, it just feels like a really abrupt jump between the two serials for him/his personality.

And thank you! I'm glad you liked it and that it seemed realistic. Believability is my goal when I write these stories, and I'm never all too sure if I've gotten the characters' voices accurate enough.

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