At the end of ‘The Five Doctors’ the Doctor is told by Chancellor Flavia that he has been made President. To Tegan’s dismay the Doctor prefers to go on the run from his own people rather than accept the role.
What if the Doctor had decided to accept his responsibility?
The Doctor has certainly shown some loyalty to his home world in the past. He carried out missions for them in his Third Incarnation (begrudgingly), responded to their request to return in ‘The Hand of Fear’, spoke about the duties of a Time Lord and proactively prevented the conquest of Gallifrey in ‘The Invasion of Time.’
The former President has abused forbidden technology in a quest to gain immortality and it isn’t that long ago that the Doctor learnt about other dangerous artefacts hidden on his home world in ‘The Deadly Assassin’. What might happen if the Doctor doesn’t keep an eye on things?
‘Trial of the Time Lords’ has the 6th Doctor realising that Gallifrey has become corrupted and that the evil they display is far greater than either the Daleks or the Cybermen. The 5th Doctor could come to the same conclusion here and take steps to avoid it.
What is more the Doctor has just been brought face to face with his earlier incarnations. He describes his 1st incarnation as tetchy and that he has mellowed with age. It could be that the Doctor appreciates how maturity has changed him. Could he decide that running away is immature and that the right thing to do is accept the role handed to him?
Out of the all of the incarnations of the Doctor so far it is the Fifth who is the least rebellious. He is less a man of action and more of a thinker, letting others talk before deciding upon a course of action. A perfect incarnation to become a leader.
With the resources available to President Doctor it would be a simple matter to return Tegan and Turlough home. This shouldn’t be a hard decision for the Doctor, since he was never overly attached to either (abandoning Tegan once and Turlough had tried to kill him several times).
The Doctor is then free to shape Gallifrey in a new direction. He has more knowledge and experience of what dangers the universe holds than any other Time Lord. He has learnt when it is appropriate to intervene in events and when it is better to show restraint. He knows what problems need to be dealt with and how things can be made better.
It is likely that the Doctor wouldn’t stay for long on the home world. He’d much prefer to go on fact finding or diplomatic missions. The council would probably insist that he have a full compliment of Time Lords to pilot the latest model of TARDIS with security guards on hand to protect him.
The Doctor could approach various races to open up a relationship with Gallifrey for mutual protection. In exchange for peace the Time Lords could offer to protect the timelines of their respective allies.
Humans, Ice Warriors and Draconians are the obvious candidates to join the alliance. Recent episodes of Doctor Who have demonstrated that not all Sontarans are bad. They might only need direction for their eternal thirst for battle.
‘Resurrection of the Daleks’ works perfectly in this new time line since it involves the creation of clones to assassinate the High Council of Time Lords (amongst several other storylines).
The story could focus on the kidnapping of various past companions, which will force the Doctor to choose between his responsibilities to Gallifrey and his personal interests. It could also have past companions arrive on Gallifrey and the Doctor suspecting that something is not right with them.
This could provoke the Doctor in launching a war against the Daleks, either to eliminate them or at least dissuade them from making any further attacks against the Time Lords. It is possible this would either ignite the Time War or nip it in the bud, since at this point in time the Daleks are far more disorganised and still weak from their conflict with the Movellans.
In this timeline the events of ‘The Caves of Androzani’ are unlikely to occur which means that the 5th Doctor could experience a much longer life. He may live longer than any previous incarnation, enjoying the benefits of protection on Gallifrey.
‘The Trial of a Time Lord’ could occur with a more political edge. The Doctor could start to unearth scandals such as the Time Lords involvement in Ravolox. Those members of the council who wish to hide their secrets would have to find a way to place the Doctor on trial since his Presidency offers him some protection.
This could lead to an inquiry or political manoeuvres to remove him from office. The advantage here is that the Doctor could have supporters who can try to reveal the conspiracy against him. He may even call upon past companions, the only people he can really trust, to help gather information in the field.
A consequence of these events is that the Doctor could decide to expose all of the secrets of Gallifrey and make amends for the sins of the past. This could incorporate several 7th Doctor adventures such as ‘Remembrance of the Daleks’, ‘The Happiness Patrol’, ‘Silver Nemesis’ and ‘The Curse of Fenric’.
It could be that his longer life and weight of responsibility naturally changes his personality to be closer to the cosmic manipulator and game player he’ll become as the 7th Doctor. He would become the man that makes the hard decisions because they need to be made.
Making the Doctor President of Gallifrey creates a perfect gap in your campaign for player characters to fill. While the Doctor is dealing with the bureaucracy of keeping the universe safe the PCs are his hand picked agents despatched to carry out missions.
President Doctor would act as their patron, providing them with a sense of purpose, support and resources. PCs would have much more leeway than they would under the rule of any other Time Lord, since the Doctor knows that sometimes rules need to be broken to get the job done.
This allows a campaign in which the Doctor has a lot of interaction with the PCs but doesn’t overshadow them. They are still the ones who are actually saving the day and making the important decisions. PCs just have the peace of mind that someone they trust is keeping an eye on Gallifrey and the rest of the universe.
The Doctor would likely pick Time Lords who have a similar outlook to the universe. He could also select past companions to accompany them, since they helped him view the world in a different light.
In this campaign setting Gallifrey becomes a much more important part of the universe while still giving the PCs the freedom to explore.