Subject: PPC deep lore: the "Tangled Web" fiasco
Posted on: 2021-08-25 18:00:39 UTC

I never know what's going to randomly jump up and seize hold of my brain. This time, a conversation with Lily about STWWX prompted me to be curious about the first megacrossover on record, the one that required the intervention of the entire DIC at the time ("some dozen" agents) and the transfer of Jay and Acacia to the DIC to handle crossover missions while the rest of the department was *ahem* tied up.

This is referred to in TOS mission 17, "Darkness Awakened," as "the Tangled Web fiasco." Yes, "Web," singular. I double-checked. It's been incorrect on the wiki forever, probably due to association with hS's better-known website, Tangled Webs, which was named after the fiasco. Whoops! I've now corrected that, and I've also corrected the year said fiasco took place. It was said to be in 2003, but since we discovered publication dates for so many TOS missions, we now know that "Darkness Awakened" was released on June 29, 2002, so the fiasco surely took place in 2002.

Knowing that, I couldn't help but wonder if it might be possible to track down the story. I checked, and there are several existing fics from about the right time period with about the right name, but none that look like good candidates at a glance. To qualify, the fic has to involve Doctor Who, Touched by an Angel, Xena: Warrior Princess, James Bond, and all the Star Trek series. Undaunted, I turned to Google, and I found the page Mega Crossover/Fanfic Recs on a wiki called The True Tropes Wiki. Near the top of the page, you'll find a description of a series called "A Tangled Web."

Right off the bat, the summary ticks off half the boxes: Doctor Who, all the Treks, and Xena. The links are broken, but I plugged them in to the Wayback Machine, and I was not disappointed (see below). Turns out parts 1-4 and the first chapter of Part 5 all existed as of mid-2002 (tick), and that first chapter of part 5 includes both James Bond (tick) and Touched by an Angel (tick).

This looks like a mighty promising candidate, folks. My one reservation is that, in my quick skim of parts 1-5, I haven't yet spotted more than one Doctor in play (the fourth one). This isn't necessarily a deal-breaker, though. Here are the relevant lines from TOS:

For the first time in five minutes (a fair duration, with Jay), her partner spoke. "That's Doctor Who!"

"Eh? Where?"

"There! Ooh, there's another one."

We've assumed Jay was referring to the Doctor, when she says "Doctor Who," but that assumes Jay is unaware or doesn't care that he isn't actually called "Doctor Who." If we instead assume that Jay would know better, she may have been referring to the continuum or a character from that continuum. In that case, "another one" could refer to another continuum or another Doctor Who character. The Fourth Doctor, Leela, and K-9 are all present in the story.

That said, I feel like my reinterpretation is a bit of a stretch. I would really like this fic to be THE fic, but it may not be possible to definitively confirm it unless someone actually remembers it from 20 years ago.

If you want to check it out, here are the Wayback links:

And, as a bonus, the author is still active and has rewritten versions of parts 1-6 on his account. I can't speak to whether or not they're an improvement on the originals, or indeed whether the originals are even bad, since I haven't read them closely.

I was very amused to spot the mini-Reaper TARSIS at one point, though. It reminds me of the tarsus, the collection of small bones in the foot, but apparently Tarsis is also the name of fictional locations in Dragonlance and Warhammer 40,000. So that's fun. ^_^

If you do look into it, let me know what you think!


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