“Wow, that is beautiful,” Wyn said appreciatively as she looked at the view outside the TARDIS. The colours were amazing for a start. The sky was a sort of red-orange and the sea below them a deeper red-brown. The TARDIS was perched at the top of a steep cliff that towered high above an ocean that was an even deeper brown-red.

“That’s how it looks just now,” The Doctor told her. “Wait half an hour and the colour spectrum changes completely.”

“Wow, really?” Wyn watched as The Doctor did whatever it was he did with the console when they landed anywhere. The colours did just as he said. Very slowly, the reddish colours were banished, to be replaced by blues. The sky was blue, the sea was blue, the cliffs were blue. The sun was blue.


“Huh?” Wyn looked at The Doctor. “Blue sun? But….”

“It’s a helium based sun,” he explained. “Helium burns blue, not yellow like the hydrogen suns you’re used to seeing. We’re in the middle of the Blue Star Galaxy. All the stars here are helium stars that burn blue.”

“Wow,” she said again. “That’s for real? I never thought it was possible.”

“Then travelling with me has taught you one thing,” The Doctor said with a grin.

“That you can get stars that are blue?”

“That just about anything is possible,” he said. “Anyway, keep watching and you’ll get another colour scheme in a little while. Yellow to green to oculamarine next, I think.”


“You’ll see. A colour not in your spectrum.”

“Let’s go outside and watch it.” She reached for the door opening mechanism, but to her surprise the door stayed firmly closed.

“The TARDIS is smarter than you are, Wyn,” The Doctor told her. “IT checked what sort of atmosphere there is out there.” He ducked under the console and pulled two strange looking helmets from a cupboard. “We’ll need these,” he said. Wyn took one of the helmets. It was a curious looking thing. If it was meant to provide air in an airless environment, she really didn’t see how. There was no air tank for one thing, and no glass in front of it.

“Gallifreyan design,” he told her. “For use in atmospheres such as this one. The main gas out there is carbon dioxide. Utterly unbreathable in that form. But this gadget takes the carbon dioxide and separates the carbon from the oxygen and gives you a sort of fresh air cloud around your face as you go along. It can also be adapted to do the reverse if an inhabitant of a planet like this visits our kind of atmosphere.”

“Clever,” Wyn said and put the helmet on. The Doctor did the same. “I thought you could recycle your own breathing anyway.”

“Only for a limited time. And it tends to make me light headed once the oxygen content gets REALLY low. Anyway, shall we go?” He operated the door mechanism and this time the doors slid open.

“Wow,” Wyn said again. Out in the open, standing on the cliff edge, with the sea stretching to the horizon she was even more impressed than before. She shaded her eyes as she looked at the blue sun. As the colour scheme for the world changed to yellow and green and, as The Doctor promised, an entirely new colour that she had no words to describe, the sun remained a pale blue with a green tinge. It really WAS a blue sun.

“Wow, just look at those birds,” she said as she looked down finally. That was something she had been avoiding, because these were very high cliffs. It was rather disconcerting to note that there were clouds actually BELOW where she stood, and birds gliding in amongst them. And they were big birds. At least the size of a sheep or some other animal that had no business being aerodynamic at all. “I hope they’re herbivores. Or fish eaters at least. Don’t fancy them fancying me.”

“Fish eaters,” The Doctor said as they watched one of them swoop down, becoming a speck on the sea far below, then rising up again until they could see the thrashing fish in its mouth. They watched it take it to a nest on the cliffside.


“And here come the natives,” The Doctor said looking out to sea. “And by the way, some expression of wonder other than ‘wow’ would make a change.” He grinned as she subjected him to one of her famous scowls, then she looked where he pointed, far out over the sea and he didn’t blame her one little bit for being unable to find a better word than ‘wow’ to express her reaction. Wow about summed it up for him, too.

They were humanoids, and clearly organic. But they were golden coloured, from head to foot. They seemed to wear some kind of figure hugging golden body suit that smoothed their contours and covered their modesty, but it was of a colour exactly matching their actual skin. They were all, male and female, tall and slender and beautiful in a way that tended to annoy Wyn, being short and slightly overweight as she was. She disliked perfect looking figures. And all of these were perfect.

All the same, they were enchanting. She forgot the birds as she gazed at them. The Doctor was fascinated, too. He stood with his hands in his coat pocket, trying to look casual and uninterested, as if he had seen it all. But his face was rapt with fascination.

The golden people were travelling towards them in what looked like a cross between giant soap bubbles and plasma balls that floated on the air and reminded Wyn of what The Doctor had told her a little while ago – that just about anything is possible.

“Did you ever really meet people who are made of smoke?” Wyn asked him as they watched the golden people approach.

“Come again?”

“Something Nine said once… though I think he said it before much earlier in his life…. there was more to it but I remember about people made of smoke and cities made of song…. I assumed it was a whatsit – metaphor, but looking at THESE people, I do wonder.”

“Yes, I’ve met several species made of smoke,” he said. “Or what looked like smoke. Really they are plasma entities. Their bodies are simply a looser consistency than ours. Cities made of song… well, maybe not. Sounded good though. Very dramatic, mysterious, enigmatic.”

“Yeah, that would be you, all right.” The golden people were close now. Two of them landed in front of them as they stood there on the cliffside. The others continued to hover.

“Greetings, strangers,” the female of the two said in a voice that seemed as golden as her skin. “Welcome to our planet. I am Gretal and this is my husband Roane.”

“Hello,” The Doctor replied cheerfully. “I am The Doctor and this is my friend Wyn.”

“You are in a very lonely place here. May we invite you to enjoy our hospitality in our city.”

“Is it far from here?” The Doctor asked. He looked out to sea. There were no islands of any kind. They must have come a long way. He looked behind and saw that the cliff they stood upon was only a very thin piece of land. A wedge of cliff high above the ocean that stretched as far as the eye could see on all sides. A haven for the birds and that was all. It was very beautiful, but definitely qualifying as one of the most peculiar landscapes he had seen in his life – and that was saying something when he considered the peculiar things he had seen in his life.

“It is beyond the horizon. But we can take you.”

“Doctor…” Wyn looked at them guardedly. “Are they… is this safe?”

“Safe?” he laughed. “Safe is boring. Staying in bed and doing nothing is the only safe thing to do. And even then you can’t be certain. Knew a man once who stayed in bed. He lived in Pompeii. Still in bed now, fossilised in a museum.”


“I think they’re ok,” he said. “They seem…” He wasn’t sure how to describe it. After so many years of meeting strange races he had an instinct for people usually. He could tell if they were likely to be good or bad. He was wrong occasionally, just to prove he wasn’t as smart as he thought he was. But mostly he knew. “I think they’re fine. And I think we ought to see their city. After all, we’re explorers. We came here to find out about this planet.”

“We came here because I dropped a chocolate spread sandwich on the console and some of the switches jammed up and messed up our co-ordinates. And I didn’t tell you what happened because I thought you’d be mad. And you’ve been really good at NOT being mad even though I’m pretty sure you’re boiling inside.”

“Just don’t do it again,” he told her. “Anyway, this is a great looking planet. And I think we ought to enjoy the local hospitality.” He turned to the golden woman and told her they would be delighted to join them. “If you give me the co-ordinates, I can follow you on in my ship.”

“No need,” she said. “We can take you.”

They raised their arms and pointed. Small bubbles of crackling static light broke off from their own bubbles and got larger and larger. The Doctor stepped away from Wyn as the two bubbles came towards them. Being caught up by them was a strange sensation. Wyn screamed as the bubble surrounded her, but as she felt herself lifted off her feet within it she laughed. It felt fantastic - like being tickled all over gently. She saw The Doctor caught up as well. She tried to call to him, but the sound just bounced off the walls of the bubble. He grinned and waved and she grinned back.

She never thought to ask how he knew this was ok, and that they weren’t been taken to some torture chamber or to be on the menu when these apparently beautiful people grew fangs and decided to eat them, or some other nastiness.

Despite her suspicious mind, she couldn’t help thinking it WAS ok. And it was a fantastic ride. The feeling of floating in a bubble across an ocean was something she knew she would never be able to describe to anyone else. It was even better than riding plasma storms in the TARDIS, and THAT was a fantastic high.

But this was great because there was no obvious machinery, no sails, no wings, nothing obvious that kept the bubble in the air, except, perhaps, something magnetic about the energy that arced around the bubble. She tried to think if that made sense. Would The Doctor laugh if she mentioned her theory to him? Or was she on the right track? It didn’t seem to be dangerous, and it wasn’t electricity, she was sure. Or if it was, it was a safe form of it, or she was insulated somehow.

Whatever was keeping her in the air, and whatever was moving the bubble, it was not random like a soap bubble would be. There was a definite direction to all of the bubbles. She looked at the horizon and saw what seemed from a distance to be two towers. They were headed towards them, and now that she had something to focus on to give perspective, she realised how fast she was travelling.

As they grew closer she realised that they were not towers but two giant statues made of metal of some sort that reflected the colour of the sky and sea as it changed from the yellow and green shades to purple and red. Scale was difficult to judge at first, but she eventually reckoned the tops of the heads were about a mile above sea level. And the sea came up to their metallic thighs, which must have been at least half as tall again if they were standing on the sea bed.

The statues were of two women, and the word voluptuous refused to leave Wyn’s mind. She couldn’t quite make out if they were meant to be naked or were in the sort of bodysuit that the people here wore, but either way not much was left to the imagination. She deliberately DIDN’T look at The Doctor as the travel bubbles glided up and over the chest of one of the statues. They appeared to be made of platinum, but Wyn doubted there was that much of it in existence in the universe. Perhaps it was a platinum coat on another metal beneath.

What happened next defied the imagination. As the bubbles rose up towards the head the mouth opened. The metal was able to move in a natural way, not hinged or anything like that. The mouth just opened and it drew in the bubbles like a reverse of somebody blowing bubbles.

“Wooowww!” Wyn cried out as her bubble was drawn into the mouth. It was not dark as she had expected it to be, but lit by the same sort of arcing energy around the walls.

So she saw quite easily that the bubble passed to the back of the mouth and down what looked uncannily like a throat.

She screamed again as the bubble began to descend rapidly in what she told herself was a lift shaft, NOT an oesophagus, again lit by the same arcing energy that made the walls seem uncannily alive.

“Not alive,” she told herself. “Not alive at all. It's a lift shaft. Just a lift shaft. We are NOT being eaten by a giant metal woman!”

But she wasn’t entirely sure that was true.

“Doctor!” she screamed. But she knew he couldn’t hear her in his own bubble.

She expected a bump when they landed, but in fact it was a soft landing, and at last the bubble, having moved forward out of the lift shaft, now dissipated, leaving her standing in a big room where a party was going on. An orchestra of golden people were playing music while golden bodies danced rhythmically or moved around chatting in small groups and enjoying the food and drink. Nobody told her to, but Wyn took off her helmet as she looked around. She judged right. There was plenty of good air. A golden man with a tray came to her and offered her food, while another hovered with a plate of drinks. She took one of them before The Doctor caught up with her. She WAS still six months off being eighteen and he was surprisingly strict with her about alcohol, even though English law on that matter had no validity in space. When she pointed that out he had just laughed and said he was 180 before he ever touched strong drink.

It was a nice drink, too, sort of fruity, and only a little bit alcoholic. And when The Doctor found her he didn’t even comment about it.

“Talk about a wild ride,” he said with a big grin. “Bit worried about the TARDIS being left so far behind though. We’ve travelled MILES. Bubble transport - the only way to fly.”

“Yeah, it's pretty neat,” she agreed, swallowing the rest of the drink before he DID notice. “The food is good.”

“Yes, it is,” he said. He had a look on his face, though, and Wyn wondered what he was not saying. “Oh, nothing. Just… He took a pastry from a passing tray and bit into it. “Strawberry shortcake. But where do the strawberries grow?”


“Ok, don’t worry,” he assured her quickly. “We’re not talking Soylent Green here. Either they have some kind of hydroponics system for growing fruit and veg or they’ve perfected simulating taste and texture of food made from a base protein. We used to do it on Gallifrey. We synthesised almost any kind of food from one kind of nut. But if you were used to fresh food you COULD tell the difference. That’s why I installed a proper kitchen on the TARDIS. After a couple of centuries of food made from cúl nut concentrate I got fed up with it. But this is good. Especially since THEIR protein base has got to be some sort of fish or possibly a seaweed. You can’t tell at all.”

“I think you’re just trying to put me off eating. Don’t forget my dad is the man who invented the vegetarian meat substitute made from a fungus.” She grabbed a pastry and bit in enthusiastically.

“Incidentally,” she said after washing down the pastry with another slightly alcoholic fruit drink. “Two questions. Who are these people, and where exactly ARE we?”

“The people are called Ghijivians,” The Doctor said. “The planet is called Rivocx. And we’re in an underwater city at the base of the statues. I’ve been tuning in on their thoughts while we’ve been mingling here. Apparently they party like this all the time. We didn’t just turn up on a special occasion, and it’s not a welcoming party just for us. Although we ARE the first extra-terrestrials they have met.” He thought about that for a bit and looked around at the golden people. “Which makes their behaviour quite unusual. They aren’t afraid of us at all. Mostly just curious.” He smiled as a group of the Ghijivians got over their shyness and came and touched them both, as if surprised anyone’s skin could be so different from theirs. Wyn touched one of them on the arm and was surprised to feel their skin was very cool, cooler even than The Doctor, whose body was a good thirty degrees cooler than hers. It felt like touching the sort of metallic wrapping paper that people put presents in when they wanted to REALLY show off.

People made of metal?

But not robots. She hadn’t met any robotic species in her travels with The Doctor, but she knew when she did they would not be like these. These were living people, just like her and The Doctor, but their bodies had metal in them.

“Well, so do ours,” The Doctor said. “Iron is one of the essentials of health in your species. Mine needs another metal with a name that would be meaningless to you. The Ghijivians just have it in larger quantities than we do.”

“Ok.” Wyn accepted that. It made sense. “And they ARE good guys? Only… just because they’re feeding us and smiling….” She looked around the room. The Ghijivians were all of them smiling and laughing, chatting amiably. Some of them waved. “You ever see the Simpsons Halloween special with the alien abduction?”

“Er….” The Doctor looked at her with a puzzled expression. He considered himself fairly well acquainted with Earth popular culture in all its worst and best aspects and he understood what she was referring to but not how it related to their present situation.

“The family are kidnapped by aliens who promise them they’re going to a nice place. Lisa finds a book called ‘How to Cook Humans’. The alien blows some dust off and it says ‘How to Cook For Humans.’ Lisa blows some more dust off and it says “How to Cook Forty Humans’ and so on….. Anyway my point is, are we here FOR dinner or to BE dinner?”

“We’re here FOR dinner,” The Doctor said. “These people have no evil intentions. I have been scanning their minds very gently. Don’t want to probe too deeply. It's not something I make a habit of doing. Telepathic violation of a mind without permission is something we frown upon. But with the TARDIS so far away and no way to get back to it without their goodwill I thought I’d better check. I don’t believe they even know what evil is. They are… they are in a State of Grace.”

“A what?” Wyn thought she had heard the expression somewhere, but she wasn’t sure.

“In Christian thinking, the first Humans in Creation – Adam and Eve – were without sin, without the knowledge of what sin was. A state of grace. But the serpent told Eve what it was, and knowing that sin existed they were both tempted by it. But imagine Earth if people had never known it was possible to hate, envy, covet etc.”

“Wouldn’t be EARTH,” Wyn said. “Not as I know it anyway. It’s not really about good and evil as an either/or option. Most people are just people, a bit of both.”

“Exactly. But these aren’t. These people ARE still in the state of grace. They live in a world without those negatives.”

“They live in a weird world.”

“It’s sort of nice though, don’t you think?”

“Yeah, I guess,” Wyn admitted. “As long as you’re right about them. But… if somebody doesn’t know a thing is a sin, is it still a sin?”

“That’s a theological question,” The Doctor said with a grin. “I’m a scientist, lawyer and all round good guy. But theology is not really my subject.”

“I was thinking, maybe they DO do mean and nasty things but they don’t know they ARE mean and nasty.”

“I think you just want there to be something wrong because it seems too nice and perfect,” The Doctor said.

“Don’t you?”

“Yes,” he said. “I’ve never trusted idyllic worlds. They usually have a dark side.” He looked around and waved at smiling golden people all around him. “Just for once I’d love to be wrong.”

“Would you like to see some more of our city?” Gretal asked. The Doctor looked around in surprise. He hadn’t seen her approach them. They all had such a quiet way of moving, almost a glide, as if their feet didn’t quite touch the ground.

“We would be delighted, wouldn’t we, Wyn,” he answered. “Perhaps you could tell us a little more about it. How far down under the ocean are we?”

“Approximately 400 pells,” Gretal answered.

“Ah,” The Doctor said. “And 400 Pels is equal to….” He looked as if he was calculating the figure. “Roughly two and a half Earth miles. Very impressive. The statues we saw as we approached are standing on the roof of the city?”

“They are.”

The Doctor and Wyn followed Gretal as she brought them to a long passageway which was partially metal walls and partially glass that curved around gracefully with no distinction between walls and ceiling. They looked up and they could see the feet of the giant statues and the legs rising up through the clear blue ocean. The scale of it was mind-boggling, even for The Doctor. For Wyn it was too much. She looked away.

“Where did so much metal come from?” The Doctor asked. “The city seems to be constructed of it, and the statues… there must be thousands of tons of…. What was it? Platinum, Lutanium…. No, not Lutanium, that’s for sure. I doubt there’s that much of it in the universe.”

“The statues are mainly platinum. So is the city. You are quite right that Lutanium is impossible to obtain in such vast quantities. The eyes are fashioned from Lutanium. The ore comes from the continent on the other side of this planet. You arrived on the ocean side -the most beautiful part. But the platinum was mined on the great landmass on the other side.”

“So there is more land than the little bit we landed on,” The Doctor commented. “And do your people live on the continent? Do they mine the ore?”

“No,” Gretal said. “Not now. The ore was depleted many decades ago. All the metal on Rivocx is in the walls of this city or the statues above.”

“Really?” The Doctor frowned about that. “You have completely asset stripped the planet?”


He said nothing more on that subject, but Wyn looked at him several times as they continued the guided tour around the city. She had a feeling he was thinking about the implications of a world that had completely run out of something most planets surely took for granted.

Even the enormous hydroponics chamber where they saw acres of food being grown in artificial light to feed the population of Rivocx did not seem to distract him, although he was pleased to see that both his theories were correct at the same time. They grew one crop, a sort of corn. And in another part of the city that was processed into all of the delicious food that the people enjoyed.

“You have remarkable technology,” The Doctor told Gretal. “Almost up to the standards of my people.”

“You’re just bragging,” Wyn teased him.

“Where is your space port?” The Doctor asked out of the blue.

“Huh?” Wyn looked at him and wondered why he thought they even HAD a space port. But she knew he was acting on instinct and she knew that he was not asking these questions out of idle curiosity.

“In the south sector,” Gretal answered.

“Ah. And may we see that?”

“I don’t think you would find that very interesting,” she said. “But if you would like to see it….”

“Yes,” he said “I would be interested. And while we are at it, I should like to see your education facilities, your children….”

“Children?” Gretal looked at him curiously. “We have no children. There have been no children born for many decades.”

“Oh.” Again The Doctor looked as if he was processing a lot of information. “Space port it is, then.”

Even Wyn, without any psychic abilities, knew that Gretal was worried. The Doctor said nothing. As they reached the south sector, she was met by her husband, Roane, and two other Ghijivians who, although they wore the same gold bodysuits seemed to have an air of ‘technicians’ about them.

And all seemed nervous.

Yet they showed The Doctor and Wyn their space craft. They had only one of them, yet - an impressive model, all the same. It was sleek, with swept back wings and a pointed nose cone like Wyn thought alien vessels were supposed to look like, and it was designed to rise up through the ocean itself before taking off for the stars.

“You’ve got hyperdrive,” The Doctor exclaimed, impressed, as he was shown a computer simulation of how the ship would travel through space. “Next best thing to vortex travel. If you know how to handle it you could even manage a bit of time jumping in a ship like that. But don’t go trying that yet. Learn to walk before you can run.”

The technicians seemed proud of The Doctor’s approval of their work. He asked a few more questions and discovered they had developed the space travel technology from the underwater ocean going vessels they had used for many generations. That, he thought, was why they seemed to have jumped a few steps in the development of space travel in the way Earth, for instance, went through. Instead of starting with the Apollo type programmes with one off rockets and capsules they had jumped straight onto a reusable supersonic shuttle.

“We have some entertainments going on in the great hall,” Gretal said when he seemed to have exhausted their knowledge of space travel. “Would you care to come?”

“Delighted,” he said. “Then again, on second thoughts, I wonder if there is a place where we could rest. Wyn is becoming rather weary. I think it could be the effects of the fruit wine she had several glasses of earlier.”

“No I’m fine….” She began, but then she caught The Doctor’s look. “Oh, yes, I’m really tired. I could do with a lie down.”

“Of course,” Gretal said pleasantly. “How remiss of us not to consider your comforts.” She snapped her fingers and a bubble was created out of the air. It caught them all up together and they were carried along. “We don’t usually travel this way within the city, but it IS more restful.”

“Very restful,” The Doctor agreed. So did Wyn. Again she thought that The Doctor was considering things deeply. She kept her own counsel until they were shown into a very pleasant looking room. One wall and part of the ceiling were glass, like a window into a great aquarium. Two long sofas with soft cushions looked very inviting, as did a table with more of the food and drink that there was no shortage of in the city. Wyn lay on one of the sofas and reached for the fruit bowl. She thought better than to touch any more of the drink.

“So… what’s….” Wyn began once they were alone. But The Doctor put his finger to his lips. She watched as he pulled out his sonic screwdriver and began to scan the room carefully.

“Beautiful people,” he murmured. “So innocent and free from guile. Completely trustworthy.” He stopped by the fruit bowl and lifted it up. He pointed the sonic screwdriver at the base of it and it emitted a low static noise for a few seconds. “So why….” He said. “Why have they got a bugging device in this room?”

“So there IS something funny going on here? I knew it. Gretal….”

“Is innocent, I am sure of it,” The Doctor said. “She has no idea even of the concept of deceit. But the idea of taking us to the spaceport bothered her. I don’t think she even realised why. And every time I asked a question about their technology it seemed as if they weren’t sure if answering me was allowed.” He stood by the window and looked out at the purple-yellow sea. “The people we have seen so far ARE as I said – in a state of grace. They don’t understand such things. But are they the ones in charge? And what is the problem with children? Why have they not had any children for so very long?”

“Do you suppose they MAKE babies the same way we do…. I mean… the way Humans do…. And Time Lords.”

“And just about most species in the universe,” The Doctor said with a half smile. “I don’t know. But I’m going to find out….” He turned and lay on the other sofa, though not in any way relaxing or lounging, and he wasn’t interested in food or drink. “Trying to reach out to them,” he said. “Looking at their minds.”

“Mind reading? I thought you had to touch people to do that? Or at least be in the same room.”

“Not mind reading, but looking AT their minds. Not their thoughts, but the way they think. I’m seeing exactly what I thought… gentle people with no guile, no deception, no ill-intentions. And yet, I feel as if there is a deception going on. Got to look deeper.”

Wyn watched him begin to drop into a deep meditative trance in order to free his own mind of distractions and concentrate on the minds of the golden people. She knew well enough to leave him alone when he did things like that. She poured herself a glass of the fruit drink and sipped it slowly while she waited for him to wake. He looked comfortable, anyway, she thought.

She felt tired now. She hadn’t before, when The Doctor suggested resting. But now she did. She finished her drink, lay down on the soft, comfortable sofa and closed her eyes.

When she woke she was neither in a soft nor a comfortable place. She was lying on a sort of table, and her hands and legs were fastened down firmly.

“The drink was drugged?”

“Yes,” The Doctor told her. His voice was close by her ear. She turned her head and saw him fastened to the same table next to her. “You ok?” He had some kind of sensors taped to his head and she realised that she did, too.

“Well… depends how you define ok. I’m tied to a table… And so are you. And seeing as I tend to rely on you to rescue me when I’m in trouble, on the whole that’s not really a good definition of it.”

“Found some stuff out anyway. The ordinary people here ARE innocent. They don’t know the meaning of hate, envy, greed, deceit. They take their world for granted and have no reason to believe there is anything amiss. But there is. Isn’t there?” He turned his head and addressed, not Wyn, but the Ghijivian who stood over him. “There is a higher echelon of the Ghijivian society, isn’t there - the ones who pull all the strings, and who deceive the people.”

“I am Martok, I am leader of the Ghijivian people. You have understood our society well, Doctor. What is the phrase you used to describe them…”

“State of grace,” he replied. “And it is true. They do not know how to lie, to hide the truth from me or from each other. That’s why they showed me everything about their space programme. They didn’t know how to hide it from me. Secrecy, even for the best of reasons is deceit. They do not know that you DO know how to do all of these things. And I don’t know why.”

“Metals,” Martok said. “The woman Gretal told you…. we have no metals left on this planet. Without it our society cannot progress.”

“You mean you can’t build any new cities?” Wyn asked.

“Not just that,” The Doctor said. “I understand…. Your gold colour… your skin… you need metal... You cannot reproduce without it.”

“You are very perceptive.”

“I am, that,” The Doctor replied. “But so… why are we captives? What is THIS about?”

“We have built our ship. We have the ability to travel to other worlds. But we have no knowledge of the universe. We do not know where to find planets with rich metal ores. We need information from you.”

“You didn’t have to do this to get information. If you asked me nicely I could have given you the locations of planets where you could trade for what you need – planets where your hydroponics systems would be valuable. There are a few uninhabited planets with metals ores – although not many. Humans have pretty much spread themselves across the universe for just that reason. They have mining colonies all over. But you could still negotiate.…”

“No,” Martok said. “No, we shall not negotiate with such lesser races. We shall take what we need. By force if we must.”

“What the heck?” Wyn looked around at Martok. “The rest of your people are like fluffy bunnies, they’re so nice. And you….”

“You are the serpent,” The Doctor said. “You will teach them the name of evil, of sin. There is more at stake here than the mining of metals. This is about the very fabric of this society. Yes, if you have no new children your society is in trouble. But if it thrives at cost to other societies, then is it worth it? The cost is the very souls of your people. They ARE good people, Gretal and Roane and the others I met. They’re beautiful people. They are the best. You would destroy them.”

“They will learn to be conquerors. They will learn that the greater good of our people is paramount and nothing else matters, no other species matters. They will travel to the ore rich planets. The energy that you have observed here… that we use for our transport and other peaceful uses… it can also be used as a weapon.”

“Weapon is not a word your people should even have heard of,” The Doctor sighed.

“Nevertheless we have a weapon – one that will destroy all life on the planet in a very short time. And then we can mine the ore we need.”

“See, Wyn,” The Doctor said. “That’s the downside of people who are pure good. They sometimes breed pure evil. Those of us who have both the dark and the light in us, we keep it in balance most of the time. But here, it is an either/or situation. Gretal and her sort are the good, Martok is the bad.”

“Enough,” Martok said. “You will tell me about your planet. Tell me what ores they have. Tell me how to get to your planet.”

“I don’t think so,” The Doctor answered.

“Same here,” Wyn added.

“You WILL tell me. We are skilled with drugs, as you saw. A simple sleep draught in the drink. But this…” Martok grabbed Wyn’s arm and injected her with a green tinged liquid. She yelped at the sudden pain. “It is a truth drug. You will tell me what you know.” Behind him a wall-mounted monitor flashed on. “You will tell me what I need to know, in words, or in your thoughts. Even if you try to lie the screen will show what you are thinking.”

“Drop dead,” Wyn replied and an image of Martok doing just that appeared on the screen to prove she was telling the truth.

“Tell me of your planet,” he demanded, and Wyn, despite her best efforts, found herself answering him. The Doctor was impressed by her knowledge. Of course, she came from a mining village. When she went to school she had learnt about such things, even at an early age. By the time she was a teenager she had learnt all about different kinds of mining, tin mining in Cornwall, gold mining in Australia, South Africa. And though most of it was subconscious, the truth drug allowed it to be brought to the surface.

The Doctor looked at Martok as he viewed Earth’s mineral bounty as envisioned in Wyn’s mind. Greed. The man epitomised that vice. It was as if all those negatives the others didn’t have were concentrated in him.

“Excellent,” he said. “And your world’s defences – what of them?” There Wyn was far from an expert. The only defence she knew Earth had was The Doctor. Her mind presented an almost entirely defenceless world. “And the co-ordinate of this world?”

There he came unstuck. Wyn hesitated. Her mind came up with pictures of the solar system, but that was the best she could do. She had never programmed the TARDIS’s controls for Earth. She had never piloted it even within the solar system. She had no idea of where Earth was in relation to this planet.

“Tell me!” Martok demanded. “Tell me the location of this planet.”

“I don’t know,” she answered, and her confusion registered on the screen as shimmering shadows. “I don’t know how to get to Earth from here.”

“You lie.”

“She can’t LIE,” The Doctor protested. “You’ve got her under your influence. She doesn’t know.”

“YOU know,” Martok changed his tactic. He turned to The Doctor and injected him with the same liquid.

“You will answer my questions. The truth drug will ensure no attempt at deception. You will tell me what I need to know or I will kill the female who is no use to me.”

“If you say so,” The Doctor murmured weakly. The “truth drug” made him feel sick and the light hurt his eyes. He had never felt less like the hero Wyn and others thought he was than he did right now. He would gladly give them the co-ordinate of his home world if they would just let him lie down in a darkened room.

“Would you indeed?” Martok smiled greedily. “And what has YOUR home world got to commend it to my use?”

“Oh, lots of things,” he said. “Rich planet. Lots of minerals. Gold, silver, diamonds… Lutanium… lots of Lutanium. Smothered in the stuff.” As he spoke, images appeared on a screen behind his head - images of a beautiful planet with lots of red desert but watered places too - a place of learning and culture and reason, a place rich in natural resources. “Lutanium toys in the breakfast cereal,” The Doctor giggled. Lutanium was a rare precious metal, valued by all who place a value on such things. That it was found in only small quantities on most planets made it even more valuable. Murder had been done for it many times. “Even on my peaceful world, people covet Lutanium,” he murmured.

“And there are defences on your planet, to prevent these riches being harvested by ones as enterprising as ourselves?”

“Transduction barrier. Nothing gets through the transduction barrier without a key.” Again his thoughts were translated to images on the screen of ships turned back by an invisible but very real barrier in space.

“And the key is…..”

“No,” The Doctor screamed defiantly. “No, you won’t have that. I won’t betray my people.”

Wyn looked at him curiously. What was he on about? Had the drug regressed his memory? Didn’t he KNOW his people were gone? His planet destroyed? Her heart went out to him. He was going to hurt so much when he realised.

“But you WILL,” the Ghijivian said calmly. “Oh, you will.” And he nodded to his subordinate who turned a dial. The Doctor felt his head spinning as more of the ‘truth drug’ was pumped into his bloodstream. He really DID think he was going to be sick soon. The images that appeared on the screen were far from pretty.

“The key,” the Ghijivian demanded. On the screen an image of an ordinary key appeared, against a starfield. It revolved slowly and then looked as if it was unlocking space itself.

“NO!” The Doctor screamed but the truth drug made it impossible for him to resist. The screen resolved into a long series of characters that made up the ‘key’ to the transduction barrier.

“Thank you,” Martok said with a smile. He reached and picked up what looked like a memory chip and slotted it into a hand held device. He aimed it at the viewscreen and it replayed The Doctor’s visions of his home as if they had been recorded on the chip.

“Just… go away now and leave me in peace,” The Doctor begged. “Please have that much compassion.”


The screen filled with definitions of the word ‘compassion’ – a mother with a child, a nurse tending a wounded man, aid workers feeding the hungry of a famine wracked region. Martok laughed.

“Ah, it is another word for weakness.”

“If you like,” The Doctor murmured. “Just let me sleep now.”

“We will permit you THAT much of your so called ‘compassion’. Yes, you may sleep, for as long as you can. But sleep in this knowledge. You have brought the downfall of your own people for nothing. The ship will be despatched at once to the co-ordinate where your mineral rich planet lies. It will be ours.”

“Whatever,” The Doctor said sleepily and turned his head away from the bright light. Wyn was astonished, and just a little disgusted, to hear him snoring lightly.

Martok turned and left the room.

There was a long silence, disturbed only by The Doctor’s peaceful snores.


“Ok, he’s out of the way. Let’s get this planet sorted out.” The Doctor sat up. The restraints on his arms simply ripped from their moorings. He reached for his sonic screwdriver and used it to free his own legs and then free Wyn.

“But….” she began.

“Oh come on,” he laughed. “Truth drug…. As if. I’m a Time Lord. You think I can succumb THAT easily.”


“I gave him the co-ordinate for Gallifrey, yes. But Gallifrey is gone. All that rich bounty… all that we were is no more. The co-ordinate, even if he could get there, is a piece of empty space with a black hole slowly pulling even that into oblivion. If he gets too close to THAT he’s history. But I don’t even intend to let him get that close. He’d take innocent Ghijivians with him and I can’t let him do that.”

The sonic screwdriver took care of the door, too. Outside The Doctor looked as if he was getting his bearings for a second then he set off at a brisk pace. Wyn ran to catch up with him.

“What are you going to do?” she asked him.

“Something I wish I didn’t HAVE to do,” he said. “I’ve got to show the golden people what evil is, bring about their fall from grace. Otherwise they will follow Martok into committing genocide and they won’t even know they’re doing wrong. What was it you said earlier – is it still a sin if they don’t know it is a sin? YES, it is. If I could protect them I would. But the only way to stop terrible things happening is to show these people the truth.”

“Maybe people aren’t meant to live that way, really,” Wyn said as if she was trying to make him feel better about what he had to do. “I mean, it's a sort of ignorance really. Not knowing about those things. I mean… you compared it to the Adam and Eve story. Well, the apple was on the Tree of Knowledge, and when they ate it, they gained understanding….”

“They gained a vale of tears,” The Doctor said. “These people will be changed by this. But I can’t help it.”

They reached the ‘great hall’ that Gretal had spoken about. Most of the people were gathered there. Martok was standing on a raised stage where musical instruments and backdrops for a play were idle just now. There was a large viewscreen beside the stage and The Doctor recognised the pictures that appeared on it. Martok was relaying them onto the screen with the handheld device and telling the people how mining the rich resources of this planet he had discovered would be the answer to their hopes. They would have new homes in an expanded city. They WOULD have children. That alone excited them.

“All we need is the courage to go and get these resources,” he said. “And I shall lead you to that end.”

“You will lead them to the destruction of their souls,” The Doctor said as he mounted the stage. Nobody thought to restrain him. That was one good thing about their innocence. They didn’t think to stop anybody from doing virtually as they pleased. “I am a stranger to you,” he said, addressing the crowd. “You have no reason to believe me above your own leader, but please hear me out. Please LOOK at what will happen if you do what he asks you to do.” And on the screen another vision appeared. Not from the memory chip, but from The Doctor’s mind. He closed his eyes and concentrated. It was not easy to project his thoughts like that. But he COULD do it. He showed them the people of Gallifrey, people of learning and culture and peace. And then he showed them the most terrible image there was in his mind - the destruction of Gallifrey. It shocked the Ghijivians. They had no concept of death other than as something that happened peacefully at the end of a long life. He felt their distress.

“That is what Martok wishes to do. He wishes to destroy people in order for you to have your precious metal.”

“It is a lie,” Martok said. “In any case, these are not OUR people.”

“They are sentient lives. They are people like yourselves.”

“They are NOT important. They are NOT our people.”

“They ARE people?” Roane moved to the front of the crowd. Gretal was beside him and he put his arm around her.

“Yes they are people,” The Doctor told him.

“Gretal and I could wish for nothing more than a child of our own, but not at such a cost. Martok, we did not build the space ship with the last metal on the planet, with metal extracted even from the bodies of our dead, in order to do such a thing. You cannot.”

Around him the people murmured in agreement with Roane. They looked at Martok with expressions on their faces that saddened The Doctor as he cast his gaze from one face to another - hatred, disgust, anger, disappointment. They didn’t even have words for those emotions in their vocabulary, but in one moment they had discovered that they HAD those emotions. The serpent showed them the meaning of sin and they had fallen from grace. They were tainted by the evil.

“I am leader,” Martok growled.

“You are only leader if we follow you,” one man said. “We will follow Roane instead. Roane will be our leader.” The cry went up. Roane stepped forward. The Doctor reached out his hand and helped him stand up on the stage.

“You seem to have been elected,” he told him. “Do you feel up to the job?”

“I will do my best for the good of my people,” he said. Then he turned to Martok. “You have wronged us,” he told him. “What must I do to right that wrong?”

And that, The Doctor thought, was the make or break moment for these people. How they treated the one who had fallen first would determine how far they would fall. Would they give in now to mindless and cruel revenge or would they be merciful?

They had no concept of cruelty or revenge. He wondered, indeed, where Martok must have got his evil intent from. It was not a true characteristic of these people. They looked at their former leader and puzzled over what should be done with him.

Then Martok decided the matter for them. He snapped his fingers and a glowing bubble descended and surrounded him. But he did not try to escape in it. Instead, he did something – nobody was sure exactly what, and the bubble began to fill with the arcing energy that he had already said could be made into a weapon. It could also, The Doctor realised with a shudder, be made into an execution chamber. The Ghijivian people turned their faces away in horror as they saw Martok’s body begin to melt within the bubble. The metals that made up part of him pooled around his feet while the parts of him that were flesh, blood, bone, charred and burned. Wyn looked as if she was going to be sick. The Doctor himself was perhaps the only one who kept his eyes on what was happening to Martok. He was horrified, but he felt unable to turn away.

When the bubble collapsed at last, all that was left of Martok was a pool of molten metal on the ground.

“May it be put to good use,” Roane said. He turned to The Doctor. “I thank you for preventing something we could not countenance happening. But what if Martok is not the only one with such ideas?”

“That is for you to sort out. I am not one of you, I am only a stranger. If I interfere, I may do untold harm. You must all learn how to deal with the challenges of your world.”

There was one thing he COULD do for them. When Gretal and Roane brought him and Wyn back to the TARDIS, parked safely on the cliff in the middle of the ocean, he asked them to come in for a few minutes. In the time it took them to come to terms with the interior of the TARDIS he put several useful co-ordinates onto a memory chip.

“These are planets where there are great mineral resources, but where food is hard to grow. You may be able to trade your hydroponics technology for a share of the ores you need. I make no promises. Diplomacy is something you will have to learn. You also need to learn the meaning of words like deception. I cannot promise that people won’t try to lie to you or take advantage. You must learn to recognise vices in others while trying to remain free of them yourselves. That won’t be easy. I hope you succeed. I wish you luck.”

With that he showed them to the door of the TARDIS. He shook both of their hands, a gesture he told them would be useful when they met with Human colonists. Then he closed the door. Gretal and Roane, a people who had mastery of so many wonders of their own, stared in astonishment as The Doctor’s own wonder dematerialised before their eyes.