“Prepare him for investigative surgery.”

Li didn’t flinch. But it was more than Marion could bear. She strained against the restraints, even though it hurt her to try. And she mustered all her strength to cry out in protest.

“No! Marion screamed. “Leave him alone. Leave us all alone.”

Her scream was the distraction Li needed. His hands were no longer pinioned. He took down his two guards in a flick of his wrist. He had their weapons in his hand. With another flick, both guns fell apart, their component pieces dropping to the floor with a clatter.

One of the people in the hazmat suits tried to challenge him, but he, too, ended up on the floor unconscious a moment later. Li crossed the floor and looked at the door. He stared at it hard and Marion was not the only one startled when the lock fused itself. She didn’t know Time Lord telekinetics were THAT good.

He moved quickly again while those of his enemies still standing were all too stunned to react. He picked up Rodan from the examination table where she was lying, still under the influence of the drugs injected into her. He brought her to where Marion was lying and placed her in her arms.

“You take care of her,” he said. “Don’t worry. Everything is going to be all right.”

“But we’re trapped in here. We’re still prisoners.”

“Don’t talk,” he said. “We’re going to be here for a little while. But everything will be just fine. You lie still. Are you in pain?”

“A little,” she answered him. “But I’ll be all right. Don’t worry about me.”

Li smiled and caressed her cheek, then he turned and looked at the man who had been prepared to subject him to investigative surgery. He wasn’t carrying a weapon, but the expression in his eyes was enough to make him back away fearfully.

“I’m not going to hurt you,” Li said. “You’re not worth the effort. But you are going to stand over there. All of you. Stand by that wall. Don’t worry about that camera up there. It’s running a false image of everything going perfectly well in here. Nobody is going to come to your rescue. You’re going to stand right there and wait until WE are rescued. Which we will be in a very short time. And in the meantime you’re going to listen to me explain why you are so very wrong about everything you believe about the world you live in.”

He turned again and looked at Marion. She was trying to disguise the fact that she was in a lot of pain.

“One of you, help her,” he demanded. “Give her pain relief. Don’t try to do anything else to her or I’ll make you very sorry.”

Again, he was unarmed, but nobody thought to challenge him. The woman in the hazmat suit moved slowly towards Marion and administered the medication. She quickly drew away again afterwards, backing against the wall along with everyone else, glancing nervously at Li.

“How do you feel now, Marion?” Li asked.

“I’m… I’m all right,” she answered. “I think. But… where are we? Who are these people?”

“We’re in London,” Li replied. “You’re in a holding facility for an organisation called Torchwood. They’re an organisation set up by royal charter in the reign of Queen Victoria to investigate the existence of alien beings on planet Earth.”

“Never heard of them,” Marion commented.

“I have,” Li answered her. “I’ve lived on Earth for a very long time. I know about Torchwood, and U.N.I.T. I know about the organisations the Americans and Russians have that do much the same thing. Australia, too. And China! All around this planet there are government funded organisations. Torchwood is unique only in that it occasionally gets ‘lucky’ and comes across real, genuine extra terrestrial life. But what it does to that life when it finds it…”

“We have to protect the Human race from hostile…”

Li turned his gaze on the one who had made that protest.

“Yes, you do,” he conceded. “There are hostile races out there who would destroy life on this planet in an eyeblink if they thought that humanity posed a real threat. Be grateful I’m not one of them.”

He paused and looked at the faces of his captors, now turned hostages.

“I have lived on this planet for longer than you could begin to imagine. I am not the only one. There are millions of us – people who came to this planet seeking peace and security, because the planets we came from, for whatever reason, offered neither of those things. Extra terrestrials who come here and live among you are not your enemy. If you let them, they could be your most valued allies. Because we could tell you who your enemies are. We could tell you their weaknesses and prepare you to fight what will inevitably come to planet Earth. I have seen so much. I know more than you will ever know about life beyond this planet. And you could have had the benefit of that knowledge.”

“Then… tell us….”

“No,” Li answered. “You COULD have had all of that. But when you took an innocent woman and a child as your prisoners you lost any chance of my goodwill. You have proved that humans are still not mature enough to know what lies beyond your own solar system. You are not safe with the knowledge I could give you. You would not use it to defend your planet. You would be looking for ways to become the aggressors, to be conquerors of the galaxy.

“No,” they protested. “No, that isn’t…”

“Perhaps it isn’t,” Li conceded. “Not your first intention, at least. But I don’t think it would be long before your original purpose was corrupted. You simply cannot be trusted. That is why in a few minutes now, Marion and the child, and I, are going to be leaving here and the chance you might have had to further Human understanding of the universe will be lost forever.”

“Leaving, how? This room is sealed. We’re locked in here with you.”

“We have your details in our databanks,” somebody pointed out. “We can come and take you… by force…”

“By force, again!” Li smiled coldly. “And you think you could hold me? You think you could make me talk? Don’t bother thinking about it. You won’t be able to find me. Your databanks, including backup servers, have suffered a major crash. You’ll recover most of the information after a week or two of desperate reconstruction, but nothing of today’s events will remain. The hospital where Marion and her little girl were treated has suffered a similar setback.”

“You really have such power?”

“Yes, I do. So don’t test me any further.”

Then he smiled widely. A sound gradually faded in, one that was half mechanical and half organic. A gust of displaced air blew the clipboard on which Rodan’s medical tests were recorded off the desk. Then the Torchwood people stared as a gunmetal grey cabinet materialised in the middle of the room.

“Kristoph!” Marion managed to call out joyfully as her husband stepped out of the TARDIS. He went straight to her. He was visibly shocked by her injuries, and turned angrily towards her former captors.

“No,” she assured him. “They haven’t done anything. This was all because of the car that hit me. They scared me. And Rodan. But they’ve done me no other harm.”

“Just as well,” Kristoph responded darkly. “If any one of these humans had harmed you, they would know why I was once called The Executioner.”

“Leave them be,” Marion pleaded. “I just want to go home.”

“You will,” Kristoph promised her. He leaned down and kissed her once before preparing to push the hospital trolley into the TARDIS. “You just sit tight, Marion. Hold onto Rodan and don’t you worry. This is all over. I’m just sorry I took so long to reach you.”

“Look….” The man who had led the proceedings from the start stepped forward tentatively. Li stepped closer. “Please… let me just… I understand that the patient… Marion… she is Human. I need to be sure… that…”

Kristoph looked defensive, but Li nodded to him. The man moved towards her. She turned her face away from him.

“Marion,” he said. “Please tell me one thing… tell me that you have not been made to do anything against your will… tell me you are happy among these… aliens.”

“Of course I’m happy,” she replied. She reached out and grasped Kristoph’s hand. “This man… is my husband. I love him. I chose to be with him… on another planet. If you can’t understand that…”

“I think I do understand,” he answered. “I am sorry… I was wrong.”

He stood back. Li and Kristoph between them pushed the trolley into the TARDIS. Li turned and glared one more time at the Torchwood people, still looking stunned by the arrival of the TARDIS. He held up his sonic screwdriver and aimed it at the door. There was a smell of melting metal and the door opened. He turned and went into the TARDIS and it dematerialised presently.

Marion slept. When she woke again, she was in another hospital bed. It was a very different hospital. It was very modern and bright. Beside her bed, Rodan was napping in a cot. She had a doll in her arms and looked happy.

“Hello, sweetheart,” Kristoph said. She turned and looked at him and smiled. “How do you feel, now?”

“A lot better,” she answered. “I don’t hurt so much. My legs don’t hurt at all.”

“This is the SS Marie Curie,” Kristoph explained. “A 25th century hospital ship. Broken legs are easy. They’ve dealt with them. Your other injuries will take a little longer. You need a few days resting up here. Then we’ll go home.”

“Home!” Marion sighed. “Yes. Home… to Gallifrey.”

At Torchwood’s holding facility in London, while the staff were desperately trying to get their computer database back online, there was one after effect of the encounter with two angry Time Lords. A man in an eclectic outfit consisting of a blue shirt and grey trousers, held up by both a belt and a pair of braces, covered over with a long, WWII Air Force coat swept through the corridors. The coat swung open to reveal a hip holster with a gun in it as he walked purposefully, flashing his Torchwood Identification card at anyone who challenged him.

“You let them go?” he stormed as he finally found the man he was looking for. “You had two Time Lords here and you let them go?”

“I didn’t LET them go,” responded the man who had been most closely involved in the whole proceedings. “They… went… in a grey cabinet that appeared out of nowhere and then disappeared.”

“A TARDIS!” Captain Jack Harkness breathed heavily. “It had to be a TARDIS. But…” He held up paper copies of the information that had been flagged up on his own computer. “The man was definitely a Time Lord. And the child… it was definitely a girl, not a boy?”

“It was a girl.”

“And the woman?”

“The woman was Human… She… She said that she was married to the alien man… that she loved him and wanted to go with him. I couldn’t stop her. It would have been wrong to try.”

Captain Harkness looked at the picture on his printout of a woman with grey eyes that looked hauntingly familiar to him. As he dashed by helicopter from his base in Cardiff he had looked at her picture again and again, and he thought he knew who she was. To have missed a chance to talk to her was a bitter blow.

“Beautiful woman,” he said, to himself, rather than to anyone else. “His mother was a beautiful woman.”

Then he turned and put the pages into a metal waste basket. He set light to them and watched the picture of the grey haired woman burn, ignoring the protests from his London colleagues that he was destroying the only hard copy of the information lost in the computer crash.

“Funny,” he added as he looked into the red glow of paper conflagration and briefly saw the image of Rodan before it turned to ashes. “I never knew he had a sister."