Legacy of Astria started with the scene at Milngavie water treatment works – specifically the Craigmaddie Reservoir which is usually one of the most beautiful parts of it. I came across the location while researching for the Homecomers story. On the Wikipedia page there is a striking image of the reservoir drained for repairs some years ago which looks so much like an alien landscape it was begging to be part of a Torchwood story.
I also had an idea about something being hidden in the reservoir which never got used in Homecomers. So a wrecked alien ship complete with bodies worked easily into this plot.
But where should it go after that? It actually gave me a bit of trouble for a while. Then I hit on the idea of making it a story within a story. Owen actually has nothing to do at all except sit and drink brandy and listen as the alien in disguise tells him about the world he was an exile from. The important thing from Owen’s point of view is that he comes to understand that even ‘plug ugly’ aliens need his compassion. He comes to see them as a people struggling under terrible oppression and to sympathise with them.
Originally, the story was going to end with Owen helping to revive the dead aliens using some kind of Torchwood technology, possibly modified nanogenes that Owen had taken from Dougal Drummond’s bloodstream. It would have made for a happy ending with the heroes of Astria restored to life. I still think sometimes I ought to do that. But I settled on the more tragic ‘dead is dead’ scenario which I think makes a better story because it doesn’t have a happy ending. Besides, if Owen has the ability to bring anything and everything to life, where does it end? That was the problem with that glove way back in the first Torchwood episode.
Mind you, it’s a theme worth exploring, maybe? If I decide to rewrite this story, I’ll let you know.