Marion walked under a hot sun in a blue sky, a refreshing contrast to the yellow one of Gallifrey. She was wearing a sundress and a wide-brimmed hat of the 1920s period of Earth fashion since Kristoph had brought them to that era, and was thoroughly enjoying an afternoon where she didn’t have to be the wife of the President of Gallifrey.

Kristoph was enjoying not being the President of Gallifrey for a little bit. As much as he honoured the dignity of that great office and cherished the many things he could do to make the lives of all Gallifreyans better, he needed these kind of days with Marion to refresh his hearts and head and remind him that there were more important things than the documents contained on the data strips the Chancellor brought to his Chamber every day.

“Ancient Olympia,” Marion said as she looked around at the carefully preserved and protected ruins of former glory that the Mediterranean sun shone down upon. In her own time, some seventy years on from now, it was a tourist destination with purpose built museums and interpretive centres, trails marked out for visitors to explore and guided tours hourly. In this time there were a handful of tourists on some variation of ‘The Grand Tour’ but mostly it was still the preserve of archaeologists carefully sifting through soil that had been untouched for a millennia to piece together the history that those later museums presented to the tourists.

“These expeditions are funded by rich foreigners,” Kristoph noted as they watched a ‘dig’ in progress. “Anything of importance will end up in private collections in the Stately homes of England for a couple of decades, then perhaps become bequeathed to the British Museum, and just possibly come back here on loan to the exhibition at the Museum of Olympia.”

“That doesn’t seem quite fair,” Marion admitted. “I think it would be better if the things stayed in the ground where they’ve been all these years.”

“Not now it is known that some pieces have intrinsic as well as academic value. The entire site would be dug over by treasure hunters and the real history trampled on. At least these people know what they’re doing.”

He turned from the dig and looked over the wide view they had from where they were standing. The arena, the actual Olympic arena where the original Games took place was below them. It was an elongated oval clear of vegetation, parts of it protected from the sun by canopies while further excavations went on.

“I suppose we can’t go back in the TARDIS and see the first Olympics actually taking place there?” Marion suggested hopefully.

“Unfortunately not,” Kristoph answered. “There was a strict rule that only men could take part – and to ensure it the participants were all naked. There was an equally strict rule that only men could watch. To which end they, too, were naked.”

“Seriously?” Marion asked, not quite certain if he was teasing her or not.

“Seriously,” he answered. “Li and I once came here in 56BC looking for a Renegade. He was surprisingly easy to spot among the Olympiads. He had been born and raised in the Capitol and had never had a sun tan in his life. He stood out like a very pale sore thumb in the crowd.”

“You ARE joking me,” Marion accused him. “That is the silliest story about your Celestial Intervention Agency missions you have ever told.”

“It was the silliest mission Lee and I were ever sent on,” Kristoph insisted. “Ask him next time you see him. He’ll confirm that it was ALL absolutely true.”

Marion laughed again. True or not it was a wonderful story. She found Kristoph’s past life as an assassin for the Celestial Intervention Agency daunting and a little frightening, but even so, she liked it when he talked about it. She knew she was privileged to hear him relate adventures that were in sealed files within the Agency Headquarters in the Capitol and never spoken of elsewhere.

“I really shouldn’t tell you things like that,” Kristoph said. “Quite apart from them being classified, I don’t know what kind of idea it gives you about me.”

“It tells me that you are brave and loyal to your world. You don’t flinch from doing things that are hard and dangerous – and sometimes a little distasteful.”

“If you mean covert assassinations, then ‘distasteful’ is a wondrously polite euphemism for a bloody and dirty kind of work.”

“It’s the work you were on when I met you,” Marion reminded him. “I thought you were just an English literature professor, but you were an assassin, looking for a traitor. If things had worked out differently, you would have killed Li just as you killed all the other men you were sent to assassinate.”

“Yes, I would,” Kristoph admitted. “I was doing my duty. I would have regretted the necessity of killing a good friend, but I would have done it. There is barely a day that goes by when I don’t think about how close I came to an injustice. But if it had happened differently, I still would not have regretted doing my duty.”

“I know. I understand that,” Marion said. “Li understands it, too. I’m glad that it was just that one mission when I met you, and that you had put that life behind you. I was happier to be the wife of a Gallifreyan ambassador than a Gallifreyan assassin.”

“As an assassin it would have been more difficult for me to take a wife,” Kristoph admitted. “The Celestial Intervention Agency is full of young, single men who don’t expect to die in their beds. That is the plain fact of it.”

“Then I am even more glad that you gave it up.”

“My only regret is that I have travelled throughout the galaxy but there are few places I have been to for reasons other than duty. Even here among these ruins of Olympia, a place famed as the birthplace of sporting excellence and fair play, I have a story about tracking down a Renegade.”

“We’ve travelled to a lot of places together, since,” Marion reminded him. She looked around as their fosterling returned from her own little exploration of the ruins of Olympia. She had brought something for Marion. She placed it in her hand smilingly.

“Where did you find that, child?” Kristoph asked as Marion looked at the object in her hand. It was grubby and tarnished, but very clearly a gold coin. She used her handkerchief to clean off some of the dirt. It was very old, perhaps as old as the ruins around them. It bore the profile of a Greek king with a laurel crown.

“It was over there, in a hole,” Rodan said, pointing towards where Mount Kronos began to rise up over the ancient ruins.

“Near the old treasuries?” Kristoph commented as his eye followed the terrace where nothing but floors and a few courses of ancient brickwork marked the elaborate treasure houses in which the Olympians had kept untold treasures of gold, silver, precious oils in alabaster jars and more. Nobody now was entirely sure how valuable the contents of these vaults might have been since they were plundered long before archaeology became a careful science.

Rodan was dressed in satin and lace with a starched bonnet to keep the sun from her face. But the dress was grubby now and her hands brown with a rim of soil underneath the fingernails. Marion reached for a packet of scented wipes in her handbag but knew it was probably pointless trying to clean her up completely. She could have a bath later when they were in the TARDIS.

Rodan showed her foster parents where she had found the coin. There was a rabbit hole there originally, but signs of small hands widening the gap were obvious.

“But how did you know where to look?” Marion asked Rodan. “It is very beautiful, sweetheart, and thank you for bringing it to me. But….”

“I could feel it,” she said out loud. Kristoph listened as she gave a more detailed explanation to him telepathically.

“Interesting,” he said when she was done. “She was able to detect the presence of gold in the soil.”

“Really?” Marion was surprised at first, then she thought about it logically. Rodan was born and raised on the southern plain of Gallifrey, a place with rich gold seams beneath the soil. It was the source of the wealth of all the aristocratic families whose demesnes were on the plain, including the House of de Lœngbærrow. Gold was in her blood, it could be said, and now that her telepathic skills were being honed and perfected not only at school but in the lessons that Kristoph and Li both set her, it was no wonder she was able to detect the presence of precious metals by ‘feel’.

“It’s not just that,” Kristoph added, taking the coin from Marion’s hand again and holding it between his own palms. “This is Gallifreyan gold.”

He unfastened his shirt cuff and pushed the sleeve up to the elbow before kneeling by the hole and pushing his own arm in. Marion watched dubiously, holding onto the packet of scented wipes for when he was done.

“Ah!” he said triumphantly. “I think I can feel something….”

“A collection of very old rabbit droppings,” Marion suggested.

“No.” Kristoph pulled back and there was a shower of loosened soil as it gave way to something slightly bigger than the entrance to the rabbit hole. “Not unless the rabbits were in the habit of using inlaid boxes as a toilet.”

Marion laughed at his comment and passed him a wipe for his hands. She and Rodan both looked at the muddy and partially decayed box curiously. It was about the size of a shoebox, but made of fine wood held together with strips of metal – possibly silver. There was a lock, but that had long since decayed along with one corner where coins like the one Rodan had found were falling out.

“It is made of Gallifreyan oak,” Kristoph said about the box. “And Gallifreyan silver,” he confirmed. “And these are definitely coins made from Gallifreyan gold.” He opened the lid and took one of the coins out. “I don’t think this IS an ancient Greek king with his laurel crown. I think it might be an early Prydonian.”

“A… what?” Marion was puzzled, then she remembered Kristoph once telling her that the Greek alphabet, the letters the very word alphabet came from – alpha, beta and so on, were actually from the High Gallifreyan alphabet. Millennia ago a group of students from the Prydonian Academy had gone on a field trip to Earth and mischievously set themselves up as the gods of a whole civilisation. They brought the alphabet and a whole complex mythology, much of it made up on the spot. Eventually their mischief was discovered and they were recalled to Gallifrey in disgrace, but their impact upon that part of Earth society could not be undone.

“Yes,” Kristoph said using the wipe that was supposed to clean his hands to clear mud from the box lid. “Look at that symbol – don’t you think it resembles a Leonate?”

“Yes, but it could also be an Earth lion. Any archaeologist who found it would assume it was.”

“And then wonder, since lions were hardly native to Greece. Even the Romans imported them from the African end of their Empire to devour Christians in the arena. No, this box was the property of the son of the House of Rexanal. It is long defunct. Their lands were on the western side of what is now the D’Alba Estate.”

He wrapped the box in the jacket he had been carrying almost since he stepped out of the TARDIS into the heat while Rodan retrieved all of the loose coins and put them into the pocket of her dress. Marion thought they both looked grubby now, and the jacket would have to be dry-cleaned later. But that didn’t matter. Both Kristoph and Rodan were smiling widely, pleased with their find.

“Can she keep it?” Marion asked as they headed back to where the TARDIS had disguised itself as a small caravan among a group of such vehicles belonging to the archaeologists at work around ancient Olympia. “Are there any rules?”

“Not concerning Gallifreyan gold,” Kristoph answered. “It forms no part of the true history of Olympia. As for rules on Gallifrey, they basically amount to ‘Finders, Keepers’. And Rodan found them. I will lodge a statement of provenance with the Department of Gallifreyan Antiquities, but that is a mere formality. If Rodan wishes, the box and a few of the coins might be loaned to the museum in Athenica. But it is up to her.”

“So, she can keep her treasure?” Marion asked. “Is it valuable?”

“I don’t know the value of antique gold without consulting an index,” Kristoph answered. “But I expect it will pay for a young lady’s tuition when she is old enough to enter the Prydonian Academy.”

“So she need not go there on a scholarship,” Marion said.

“She was never going to need a scholarship anyway,” Kristoph responded. “I fully intended to sponsor her education with her grandfather’s permission. But now I won’t have to. She will be a student of independent means when the time comes.”

“Then this was a very good outcome of this afternoon’s day trip. Now let’s get both of you tidied up and respectable enough to visit a café for tea.”