The sunrise was magnificent. The horizon had lightened slowly for about an hour, becoming gradually more pink and pale blue spread gradually, forcing back the deep velvet of the starlit night. Marion giggled as something came into her mind. Kristoph understood the joke before she even said it, but he waited this time.

“When we were doing the introduction to Greek literature last term,” she said. “In the Ilyaid, Homer keeps on using the expression ‘Rosy-fingeréd dawn’ and everyone in the class kept laughing like there was a really dirty joke in it. I didn’t GET it for about three weeks into the module.”

“It’s a rather lame joke,” Kristoph said. “Some of your fellow students lack something in their soul if they can’t get beyond it and see the beauty of the words. To say nothing of a splendid sunrise.”

They stood up. It felt appropriate somehow, as a golden sliver of light was just visible on the horizon. They both wondered how it must feel for those ancient people who worshipped the sun, waiting for their god to appear in the sky. They felt a little of that awe and anticipation as the sliver became a crescent, then a hemisphere. Kristoph’s eyes automatically protected themselves from the glare. Marion was too intent on watching to realise when he passed his hand in front of her eyes that he was ‘lending’ her the same gift. She didn’t realise that she was looking directly into the sun as the glowing ball rose over the horizon and its warming light spread over the red roofs of the sleeping town and finally reached them on top of the cliff.

“That was worth staying up all night for,” Marion breathed at last. “Thank you, Kristoph. For a wonderful experience.”

“Thank you, my dear Marion,” he answered. “I have never enjoyed a sunrise so much as this one in your company. I could wish there would be more.”

“I said daylight,” she told him. “I suppose we must talk.”

They sat on the bench again. Yes, he thought. It was time.

“I read your mind again last night,” he told her. “I know I shouldn’t. But… just so you know, Lady Lilliana D’Alba De Argenlunna is alive and well. Lord D’Alba is dead, but of natural causes. My hands are not wholly clean of other people’s blood. But the deaths I caused were in the line of duty… for Gallifrey.”

“As a soldier, you mean.”

“As a soldier, but also as an agent… a special operative. Some of the deaths I was responsible for were not as straightforward as a soldier in a uniform pointing his gun at another man in a different uniform.”

“I understand that,” she told him. “You’ve had to do bad things for your country. I’m glad you’re not a murderer anyway.”

“Is that really the most terrible thing you could imagine my secret to be?”

“Yes,” she said.

“So if I’m not a murderer, then the truth is not going to be so terrible, is it?”

“I suppose not,” she told him.

“Hold that thought.” He sighed and kissed her gently. He took her hands and placed them over his hearts. “Marion… this is NOT a birth defect. This is perfectly normal where I come from. We are all born with two hearts on Gallifrey.”

“Where IS…” She paused and took a breath. This was the question that would, she knew, explain almost all of the mystery. “Kristoph,” she said. “Where IS Gallifrey?”

“Where do you think it is?” he asked her in return.

“I don’t know. I thought it was somewhere in the Mediterranean or something like that. A Greek island. Something remote with a very different culture to everyone else. But then… The two hearts…. No. It’s more mysterious than that, isn’t it? It’s…. I thought… I wondered… Is it another planet?”

Kristoph didn’t laugh. She looked at him and her eyes widened.

“It IS another planet?”

“250 million light years from Earth, in the constellation of Kasterborus. In the south of England, if you look to the southern sky in summer, you can see our sun. The six stars on the bow of Sagittarius are where my world is. My planet orbits the star in the middle of his bowstring.”



She said nothing for a long time, but she didn’t take her hands away from him. She kept them pressed against his chest, feeling his hearts beating in syncopation.

“So you are an alien,” she said after a long pause.


“You look Human. Apart from the eyes. And most people wouldn’t notice that.”

“This pattern is a common one. I am afraid your TV and cinema have been rather over imaginative in their vision of other worlds. The reptilians and the pisceans and the aviarians are less common than the Humanians.”

“You come from another planet, that orbits another sun. Where people have two hearts.”

He nodded and let it sink in. She WAS taking it more easily this time. There was only a subtle difference in the way he explained it this time. But being an alien from another planet WAS better than being a convict.

“You do believe me, don’t you?”

“Yes,” she said. “I do.” She shouldn’t, she thought. It is crazy. If anybody else had said it…"

But it made sense. The physical differences, the Seal of Rassilon! The poetry in that book. The completely different world he seemed to be from.

Because it WAS a completely different world.


“Is it nice there?”

“I think so. Though when I am sitting in such a lovely place as this, I cannot really say much.”

“It isn’t so bad, really. Not as bad as if you were a murderer. It’s… nice in a way. You’re wonderful… you’re amazing. You’re from another planet and… and… I love you.”

“That’s all that matters, then,” he said. “Come here. Let me kiss you again.”

Willingly she let herself be held by him, her alien lover, from another world, with two hearts, both of them beating in fast time for her. She let him kiss her. She felt her own world move.

She fell asleep in his arms as he held her, as they kissed. He wasn’t upset by that. They had been awake all night, after all.

He was happy. He had told her the truth. She had accepted it. The second time at least.


Marion woke in the hotel bed. She felt warm and comfortable and happy. She turned over and was aware that Kristoph was lying beside her. He was fully dressed, and lying outside the bedclothes, but he was there with her.

“Good morning,” he whispered.

“Good morning,” she replied. “I fell asleep again?”

But this time she did remember everything that had happened before. She reached out and put her hands over his two hearts and felt them both beating.

“It is true? I thought I dreamt it. Up there on the cliff. You really did tell me...”

“It’s all true. Most especially that I love you.”

“That’s the most important thing right now,” she said. “Later, tell me more about Gallifrey and everything. But for now…”

“Now, it is nine o’clock. Let’s get breakfast and go for a drive along this lovely coastline, and we’ll find a quiet place and I will tell you some more about me and my world.”


They drove to Robin Hood’s Bay, and walked on the shingle beach. They held hands as if they never wanted to let go. They didn’t talk much at first. It seemed strangely hard to get onto the subject burning in both of their minds again.

They stopped for a while and sat on a big rock. Kristoph put his arms around her waist and Marion laid her head on his shoulder.

“How far away did you say Gallifrey was?” Marion asked after a while.

“250 million light years…. give or take a bit. Allowing for nebula and asteroids and such.”

“That’s…. How did you get here then? It’s so far away.”

“We have technology that is much, much more advanced than yours. I can travel that distance in about fifteen hours.”

“So you could go back there any time? You’re not stranded here or anything. You know… like ET.” She laughed. “Sorry that was a rather silly comparison. You’re not… you know.”

“I’m not ET,” he said. “Though technically, of course, I AM an Extra Terrestrial.”

“Why are you here? Not to teach English Literature in Liverpool, surely?”

The truth, he told himself. Now that she has asked the question, I can’t keep anything from her now.

“That is the other lie I had to tell you,” he said. “I WAS on a mission. There is an enemy of my world here on Earth. One I had special knowledge of. So the Agency re-activated me and sent me here to track him down. They knew it could take years, so I came with a cover story. To live here as a Human and gradually close in on the traitor.”

“Was?” she questioned. “You’re not on the mission now?”

“I resigned. On Friday afternoon. Before we came here. I told them I wouldn’t do it. I don’t want to kill any more. I had given it up. I had lived many years in peace. I have been a diplomat, travelling the universe making peace, preventing wars, settling disputes. I liked that work so much more than killing people. They made me return to that life. But then I met you….”

“I changed your mind?”

“Yes, Marion, you did. Being with you… made me want to give up being The Executioner, even being The Ambassador. I want to be Kristoph de Leon, professor of literature. I want to be a citizen of Liverpool, England, Earth. And I want… the woman I love by me.”

“Kristoph…” She frowned and looked at him steadily. “That isn’t really your name, then, is it?”

“It’s close,” he admitted. “My real name is Chrístõdavõreendiamòndhærtmallõup dracœfiredelunmian de Lœngbærrow.”

“Good heavens! Really. That’s your name?”

“Yes, though as long as I am here, on Earth, I shall be Kristoph de Leon. Don’t trouble your head with anything else.”

“Will they LET you stay on Earth? It sounds as if you are in a bit of trouble.”

“Nothing I can’t handle. Yes, the Agency are rather angry at me. They will have to send another man in and it will take so much longer. But as I said, they took me from retirement for this job. I simply decided to retire again. As for staying here… Well, there ARE some Time Lords who decide to live in exile without being considered Renegade.”


“One who turns against our world completely. Like the traitor I was seeking. I don’t mean to do that. I will always be a Gallifreyan. But I would NEVER be a Renegade.”

“Good,” she said. “I am glad… I am proud of you for that. If you did the other thing, I couldn’t love you as I do.”

“If I was that sort of a man I wouldn’t have the right to love you.” He put his arms around her and pulled her close to him. “Marion… I am sorry I had to lie to you. I hope you understand why…”

“Yes,” she said. “I understand that. I know you didn’t lie about one thing.”

“I DO love you, Marion. I know it has only been a short ti`me, but I am sure of it, as I have never been sure of anything in my life.”

"Tell me about your planet? What’s it like?”

“It’s a beautiful planet. A little like Earth in some ways. A bit smaller, and it is the second planet of its system, not the third. So it is a bit hotter than Earth. The sky is yellow-orange by day and burnt-orange or deep brown at night. We have a huge desert – the Red Desert – that covers all of one of the two continents. Most of the southern continent is rolling plains like your American prairies, not easy to live on without technology. But the Capitol sits on the edge of the desert. That’s our metropolis where a quarter of the population live. And on the southern continent where the rivers flow, and by the edge of the ocean, where it is cooler and greener, there are smaller towns and cities, great country estates, forests and plantations. We are a much smaller population than Earth. Only about half a billion, including the underclasses. But then that’s usual across the universe. Earth is remarkable for sustaining so many people. You are already the most successful species in terms of procreation even before you reach for the stars. One day, Human colony planets will outnumber every other species.


“When you learn to be one Human race and not fight among yourselves, you will be unstoppable. We Time Lords… well we pretend that you’re inferior to us, with your short life spans and limited capacity to learn, but I think we envy you really. The Human spirit is so indomitable.”

“That’s reassuring,” she said. “But tell me more about your homeworld. The Capitol. The city…”

“It’s magnificent. It looks like it is made of marble. Great white spires and towers. The streets look like marble, too.”

“No cars?” she asked.

“Our ‘cars’ fly. We use lanes in the sky above the city and land in special areas outside the buildings or on the top of them. The streets are for walking. And the whole Capitol is protected by a great protective shield that looks like a glass dome over it. The sun warms without harmful rays, the monsoon rains are deflected, the sandstorms and winds don’t erode the ivory towers. It’s a place of learning and culture. The great academies are there. The schools where the best become Time Lords. I was a Prydonian. The Prydonian Academy claims to be the best of the best, but I think we’re just a bit arrogant.”

“Do you live in the Capitol among the ivory towers?”

“No,” he said. “I’m from the southern continent, from one of the…”

He stopped speaking and looked around. They were so engrossed in each other and with dreams of Gallifrey they almost forgot they were on a beach and when they looked around the rock was an island in a foot of water. Marion shrieked in terror but Kristoph laughed as if this was an easy challenge. He scooped her up in his arms and then she gasped. Around her it looked as if time had slowed. The tide was moving like treacle and a seagull high over their heads was beating his wings in slow time.

And Kristoph ran with her so fast his feet hardly seemed to touch the water. When he put her down on the rocks above the tideline his shoes were barely splashed.

“Well!” she managed to say. “There was only one man before you on this planet who walked on water.”

“So I’ve heard,” he answered with a smile. “Let’s get back to the car. Try to stay above sea level for the rest of the day.”

Above sea level!” She laughed. “I’m way above that. I’m in my own personal heaven with a man who can read minds and perform miracles.”