It was nice to be back on Earth for a while, Wyn thought. She didn’t think she would be tired of adventures with The Doctor. She wasn’t, she told herself. She meant to make the most of her year with him. But it was NICE, for once, not to be scared of anything. There had been a couple of trying times, recently. And a fortnight of relaxation in a country hotel with indoor pool, sauna, and of all things, horse riding, was really nice. She was surprised to find that The Doctor could ride, really well. And he taught her. She was never going to win the Grand National, but she got to really enjoy going out across country with him. And when they weren’t out riding she had made the most of the pool.

“You ok,” The Doctor asked when he joined her in the breakfast room on their last morning. “You’re not eating very much.”

“I’m ok,” she replied. “Just don’t feel like a big cooked breakfast today.” She pushed the plate away untouched. “You have it,” she added. “I’m going to get a last swim and sauna before we leave.”

“Ok,” he said. He watched her as she left the room. There was something different about her, he was sure. But he couldn’t put his finger on it. He turned back to the table and pushed the plate of food away. If she didn’t need it, he certainly didn’t. He poured himself another cup of coffee and spread marmalade on another slice of toast. Marmalade was one of the things HE loved about Earth. He wondered how his society ever managed without it, especially the extra tangy sort with big pieces of peel. He would even go so far as to say his planet was socially stunted because it didn’t have marmalade.

“Ok,” he said as he dematerialised the TARDIS and set their course among the stars. “We’ve got a couple of hours till our next destination.” He looked at Wyn. “Ready for a workout in the dojo?”

“Sure,” she said. “Meet you in there.”

The workout didn’t go as well as it should. Granted they hadn’t done any training during their holiday, but she was worse than he expected. Her reactions were slow and her co-ordination was all over the place. The Doctor backtracked a little from the level he thought she was at, letting her get back to speed in her own time, but still something seemed to be missing.

Then he aimed a fairly basic Gung Fu punch at her face, one she ought to have blocked easily. She didn’t and he connected hard. He felt dreadful as he raised her up from the floor. Her cheek was badly bruised from under the eye to her lip, which was bleeding, and he was surprised that she was crying. She had taken plenty of punches before in training, and she had never cried. She had taken it as an incentive to try harder and had even planted a few on him from time to time.

“Come on,” he said, taking her by the hand to the console room where he set the sonic screwdriver to its basic medical repair function that eased minor bruises and cuts instantly. “Feel better?” he asked.

“Yes, thanks,” she said. “I’d better get showered and dressed. I don’t really feel like doing any more today.”

“Yeah, sure,” he told her. “Wyn… I am sorry. I never meant to hurt you.”

“I know that, Doctor,” she assured him before she slipped away.

He was busy when she came back to the console room. He didn’t immediately notice her. When he did he was rather surprised.

“Where did you find that outfit?” he asked.

“The wardrobe,” she answered. “Do you like it?”

“It's….” He was at a loss to know what to say. He reminded himself that he was once a diplomat. But all of his training in how to say the right things to the right people at the right time, how to tell white lies, and downright lies with a straight face in the name of intergalactic relations, didn’t prepare him to give an answer to that simple question.

No, he thought. He didn’t like it. Not on her, anyway. What in the world was she thinking? Granted, she had lost a lot of weight since she came to join him in the TARDIS. The workouts and a healthy diet dictated by what the TARDIS decided to put into the fridge, had been good for her.

But she REALLY didn’t have the figure yet for a pink ra-ra skirt and a crop top.


Even Rose would have thought twice about something quite that garish, he thought. And she LOVED colourful clothes.

Wyn with legs and a midriff?

His diplomatic credentials wobbled.

“It’s different,” he said. The only thing he could say that was in any way truthful. Yes, it WAS different. VERY different. “Why the change of style? Have you been watching old episodes of What Not To Wear?”

“Just felt like a change,” she said. “No need to make a federal case out of it. Anyway, it’s your wardrobe, after all. Might wonder how come you have so many girl’s clothes in it.”

“The TARDIS provides for the people who travel with her,” he said. “It read your needs and provided.”

“I like the TARDIS,” she said then went and sat on the sofa with a magazine. Again The Doctor went back to what he was doing and for a long time he didn’t even think about what she was doing. She was doing it quietly and he was able to concentrate. And that was fine.

Then he looked up and focussed on the magazine. It was one of the glossy, fluffy magazines that girls of a certain sort generally read - pop stars and make up tips and free gifts of plastic jewellery with glitter liberally glued on. She was wearing this week’s ‘bold and brilliant bangles’ on her left wrist.

Well, that was ok, he figured. It was a magazine for her age group. But he had never figured her for that type. He wondered exactly where she got it from.

But he was more worried for the time being about why he’d been sent a message by an old acquaintance who said there was something he ought to check out. Knowing the particular acquaintance it would probably be something that would land him in jail for a stretch and the acquaintance in profit! But he had no other pressing engagements so he let his curiosity get the better of his judgement.

“You might want to think about those shoes,” The Doctor said as Wyn came to his side ready to step out onto the space port that was his rendezvous with certain mayhem. “This place is HUGE. Your feet will be killing you by the time we’re done.” He looked closer at her. “Are you wearing lipstick?”

“Yes. Is that a problem?”

“No, course not,” he answered. “Only… Where did you GET lipstick?”

“The pink bedroom,” she replied.

“Rose’s room?”


“I thought that was locked. I think… I’d rather you didn’t go in there.” He never had. Even when she was there, it was her feminine domain and he never went into it. Afterwards… he just sealed the door and left it. He knew the room was still there. The TARDIS’s mechanical soul was a kind one, and it knew he wasn’t ready, yet, to jettison that room. But he didn’t go in.

He’d never told Wyn she couldn’t. He had no reason to chastise her.

“Here,” he said, handing her what looked like a memory chip. “Intergalactic credit card. If you want stuff like that… there’s a shopping mall.”

“Wow. Thanks,” she said. “What’s the credit limit on this?”

“I’m not entirely sure,” he told her. “But I think it could survive a few space port fashion boutiques.”

She smiled at him, the sort of smile that reminded him that he used to be a dad once, and that there WAS a simple, quick way to the hearts of teenagers, no matter what planet they were born on.

Even so, he was a little puzzled by this sudden transformation. Maybe it WAS nothing to worry about. He remembered when Susan first started to take an interest in clothes and shoes and make up, and the sort of music that set his teeth on edge along with most of the adults of the generation he was pretending to belong to at that time. She had been about thirteen, and the wandering life had been really chafing her. She had begged him to let them stay put in London in the 1960s for a while. So she could be an ordinary girl.

Maybe Wyn was just a late bloomer. After all being the youngest girl with three older brothers was a big disadvantage in that sense. Even Jo, who he remembered as a regular 1970s fashion victim, probably couldn’t influence her too much in the face of all that male domination of the family.

Leave her to it, he decided, and went to keep his appointment with havoc.

“Sabalom Glitz, you rogue,” he said as he stepped out of the turbo lift and onto the noisy, busy, gaudy casino deck. “Trust you to find a place like THIS to hang out. How many of the games have you managed to lose money on so far?”

“He only needed one,” Mel Bush noted glumly. “Hello, Doctor. I like your new look. Very snazzy. But how did you get past the doorman in those old trainers? They have a dress code.”

“I have a diploma in advanced hypnosis,” he replied. “Come here and give me a hug and tell me all about the horrible things this old reprobate has done to you.”

“He’s not so bad,” she admitted as she hugged him. “He only lost a BIT of money anyway. I keep hold of the purse strings when we’re in places like this.”

“She’ll spend more in the hair salon later,” Glitz grumbled. “I ask you… I even offered to put up shares in my space fleet and they still wouldn’t give me credit.”

“Space fleet!” Mel coughed significantly. The Doctor grinned knowingly.

“Your reputation goes before you, Glitz,” The Doctor told him. “You should take it as a compliment. You’re famous throughout the twelve galaxies.”

“Yeah, right,” Glitz growled. “Anyway, shall we find somewhere more salubrious to talk business? There’s a very good bar….”

“The Family Food Court, if you please,” The Doctor said. “My latest travelling companion isn’t old enough to go into Earth bars, let alone the sort of establishments they have around here.”

“It’s not Alterian vodka,” Glitz complained as he drank iced tea at a table not too close to the children’s play area. “But I suppose it will do.”

“It’ll do fine,” Mel said. “Now, tell The Doctor what it was that you dragged him across the universe for.”

“Planet below,” Glitz said. “Kalaania Beta. It’s got this princess, right. Only she’s got this disease and nobody can cure her… and they’ve offered a reward. I was thinking… you being a Doctor and all… You know, a mutually beneficial arrangement… We get the undying appreciation of a beautiful woman who owns three planets, five moons and a highly profitable space port and a nice fat reward into the bargain.”

“He never changes, does he,” The Doctor said with a grin at Mel. “Ok, Glitz, I’ll check it out. But only out of compassion for the princess. I’m not interested in rewards.”

“All the better,” Glitz said and The Doctor knew if they were cartoon characters there would be little dollar signs in his eyes right now. He looked around and saw Wyn come into the Food Court and waved at her. He and Mel both looked in something like dismay as she drew closer and they viewed the new outfit she was wearing.

That about confirmed it. If Mel, a girl who LOVED bright colours and always dressed for impact, was disturbed, then he knew it wasn’t just him being ‘old’ about it.

“I hope that’s a wig,” he said as he viewed the mass of blonde ringlets she had suddenly acquired.

“Bio-hair extension,” she told him. “Semi permanent. They can do that. Five minutes under this hair dryer thing and you come out with the style and colour and length you want.”

“It’s… nice…” Mel said diplomatically. “Only… I’m not sure blonde is your colour. Tell you what, while Glitz and The Doctor are doing their thing, why don’t you and I have a girls afternoon at the beauty salon. And I bet you haven’t found any of the BEST clothes shops this place has, yet.” She looked at The Doctor and gave him a reassuring smile. He nodded gratefully. Mel would look after her.

He couldn’t help wondering about something else as he headed to the flight deck with Glitz to take a scheduled shuttle down to the planet. The food court had cuisine from almost every corner of the galaxy to tempt the palate, everything from Kentucky Fried Chicken through Big Macs to a superb Epicarian restaurant – arguably the finest food in the universe. But Wyn had gone to the salad bar and got a low fat Salrian goat cheese and pineapple salad. For desert she had gone for a no-sugar fruit salad with fat free yoghurt.

Well, he couldn’t exactly WORRY just because she had decided to forego saturated fats and chocolate.

And he had to admit that Mel had done a good job showing her what was feminine and pretty but suitable for her body shape. The outfit she wore when they met up again later was MUCH better. He still found the idea that Wyn had legs surprising. But the thigh length fuscia coloured skort – a skirt with shorts combined which he thought eminently suitable for an active teenager – and capped sleeved tunic top in pale mauve didn’t shock the senses as badly as the last two outfits she had been seen in. Mel had gently suggested that auburn was a more suitable colour for her hair if she really wanted a change from brown, while the hair extensions were straight and unfussy. The make up she was wearing now was light and expertly applied to cover the odd teenage blemish without being over the top. She actually looked, he thought, pretty.

But it was still a bit of a shock to the senses to find that the tomboy he had got used to had turned into a girl so quickly and so completely.

“I like Mel,” Wyn said as they left the space port behind. “Where did you meet her?”

“Oh, somewhere in the universe,” he replied.

“She is a nice girl,” Wyn continued.

“Yes,” The Doctor said with a nostalgic smile. “I’m lucky. I’ve known a lot of nice girls down the years.”

“Am I one of them?”

“Course you are,” he assured her.

“So, anyway, you cured the princess?”

“Oh yes,” he said. “Nothing to it. She’s right as rain now.”

“And Glitz got the reward? That doesn’t seem fair, somehow.”

“I don’t mind. The Hippocratic Oath binds doctors to relieve suffering to the best of their ability. It says nothing about being paid for it.”

“You’ve taken the Hippocratic Oath? You really are a qualified medical doctor?”

“No,” he said. “Had to leave Earth in a hurry, never took the final exam. But I try to abide by the principles.”

“Ok.” That seemed to exhaust that part of the conversation. “So… where are we going next?”

“Oh, I don’t know,” he said. “Second star to the right and straight on till morning.” He smiled as he set the TARDIS to a random co-ordinate from its vast database of places and times. The freedom to go where he wanted, and not care how long it took to get there, or where they might stop off on the way, was the one great compensation of his life. As long as there was somebody to share the adventure.

When he was done he came and sat next to her on the sofa. He had the manufacturer’s manual for the sonic screwdriver and was adding notes in the back. It listed 10,000 different uses for it. But he had added at least 1,000 more since he’d first started using it.

Suddenly they were pitched sideways and wound up in a heap on the floor. The Doctor felt something warm and sticky on his face and as he stood up he reached in his pocket for a handkerchief. Pink nail polish? There were very few things more unpleasant to unexpectedly find dripping on your face. But the TARDIS was still struggling to maintain itself in the vortex and he dashed to the console.

“Wyn… come on,” he said. “I need your help.” He looked at her and she was dabbing at her nails with a cotton bud. “Wyn…”

“I broke one of my new nails,” she complained. She came to the console anyway and did as he said as he struggled to stabilise their course. But she did so with one hand. The other she was holding as if it was injured, the nail extension hanging loose from her middle finger. As soon as they were on course again she ran back to the sofa and dug out the special glue for fixing the nails on and spent ten minutes filing it neatly so there was no obvious join before reapplying the polish.

The Doctor decided enough was enough.

“Wyn, for heaven sake!” he shouted. “We were in REAL trouble there. I needed your help…. And you were more interested in your NAILS. Snap out of it.”

“I thought you’d like me this way,” she said, tears welling up in her eyes. “You like all the other girls looking pretty. Mel, Rose… even my mum. Why do you expect me to be fat and boring?”

“You were never either of those things,” he told her. “You WERE a unique individual. A wonderful individual, a fantastic personality….”

“Oh, yeah, sure. Fantastic personality…. Good sense of humour. That’s what people ALWAYS say about the fat girl. But when it comes down to it, men don’t care about personality. It's the skinny blonde they want to DATE.”

“You don’t like men,” he reminded her.

“That’s not the point. It’s true. Even you. You’re no different. Would you have been so stuck on Rose if she looked like me?”

The Doctor paused and looked at her. He breathed in deep and swallowed a lump in his throat. That question hurt him a lot more than she could possible realise. At least he assumed she didn’t realise. If she did, and she asked him that anyway, then she wasn’t the girl he thought she was.

“Do you want the honest answer to that?” he asked eventually.


“Ok.” He shrugged his shoulders. “Yes, I would. Whether you believe me or not, it was NEVER about looks. I loved Rose from the first day I met her… or the second at least… because of what was inside. Because of her spirit. She saw a mystery and she kept on plugging at it, though my first instinct was to push her away, because I knew she was putting herself into danger and I wanted to stop her getting hurt. And… and I’d do that for anyone. The princess back there on Kalaania Beta – she was about 28 stone, with at least four chins. But I didn’t refuse to help her because she didn’t look like Princess Diana.” He breathed in again and continued. “I loved Rose because even when she didn’t really know who I was, when she had no reason to trust me, when she could have just as easily run for it and saved herself, she risked her own life to save me. That proved she was more than blonde hair and make up and fashion jewellery – the things anyone would see in her at first glance. And that was what I loved about her. Believe me, or don’t believe me. I… I really don’t care if you do. I know my own mind. And I would never love anyone just because they look pretty. I would never consider any being more important than another just because they were more physically attractive. And empty headed prettiness is the last thing in the universe that would interest me.”

“Yes but…”

“Wyn, you’re my favourite kid sister, and I think you’re fantastic no matter how you dress. But… let’s just not lose track of what REALLY matters. That’s all I’m saying.”

“Ok,” she said, wiping her teary eyes with the back of her hand. He smiled.

“You’d best go fix your eye make-up. It’s a bit runny.”

She went off to the bathroom to fix her face. He turned and looked at the navigation console. He frowned as he looked at the co-ordinates. They weren’t the ones he put into it. They’d been altered – and altered badly. They were a co-ordinate that assumed the point of origin to be Earth. That’s why they’d had so much trouble. From where they were in space when it was inputted they would have wound up in the heart of a star. The TARDIS automatically tried to reject such a dangerous location and the hearts-stopping wobbly they just had to deal with was the result.

How did the co-ordinates get changed? He frowned and looked at the closed door to the inner part of the TARDIS. Could Wyn have done it? After the upset just now he wasn’t about to go accusing her without more to go on. Besides, how would she even know how to input a co-ordinate, let alone the WRONG co-ordinate, let alone the RIGHT co-ordinate in the WRONG place.

The point he was trying to make to himself was that it was A co-ordinate. And he was not aware that Wyn knew any co-ordinates at all.

It couldn’t be her. It must be a glitch in the TARDIS. He put them into a stable orbit around the nearest innocuous planet and set a diagnostic check on the navigation console. Then he took himself to the dojo for a quiet hour kicking hell out of a couple of hologram opponents.

It was early in the morning by Human time. The lights were down and most of the TARDIS systems on standby mode. The Doctor was lying down on the sofa in a light meditative trance that allowed him to fully relax and refresh his body. He was aware, though, when Wyn came into the console room. He felt her presence subconsciously. He opened his eyes and looked at her without saying anything. She didn’t seem to know he was there. Something about the way she was standing, the way she was moving, made him wonder if she was even awake. He’d never known her to be a sleepwalker. But then again a lot about her in the last day or two was unusual.

What really surprised him was what she was doing. He heard the console bleeping as she operated what he knew to be the navigation panel. When she was done she turned away and went back to her room. He got up and went to the console. He studied it carefully.

The same co-ordinate again, he noticed. This time the TARDIS had accepted it. The destination would be a random piece of empty space that was no threat to it so it had not queried it. Even so, he had no desire to visit a piece of empty space. He changed the co-ordinate back to the planet he was planning to visit and locked the console. She would need his own 16 digit alphanumeric code to reset their destination again.

“You’ll need walking shoes today, for definite,” The Doctor told her when she came into the kitchen in the morning, dressed in another of the outfits Mel had helped her pick out. “And something a bit less skimpy than that little number.” He put a plate of food in front of her. Scrambled eggs and wholemeal toast with sunflower oil spread. Healthy protein. She tried to refuse it but he put a second plate on the table for himself and insisted on her eating. He watched carefully to make sure she did. He reckoned that yesterday she had eaten one bowl of bran flakes without sugar and with skimmed milk and that cheese salad on the space station, and that was it. He added it up in his head and made that about 700 calories. With the active lifestyle she led with him, martial arts workouts and plenty of exercise on the various planets they visited, she could have had at least three bacon butties on top of that and still be within a weight reducing regime.

After breakfast she went and changed into a pair of pastel blue shorts and a t-shirt and walking shoes and socks. He made her go back and pick up a foldaway rain mac to put into the rucksack he gave her and they set out.

It was a beautiful planet. He had parked the TARDIS beside a crystal clear lake and set off at a brisk pace up the mountain that sloped down to its shore. The path brought them through a dense pine forest for about a mile. Or something like pine forest, anyway. The Doctor explained that these were, in fact, no relation to the trees she knew on Earth, but they grew in similar conditions and had a similar arrangement for producing seeds.

They had a wonderful smell just like Earth pine trees, but more so. The Doctor talked enthusiastically about it as they walked. Wyn, was uncharacteristically silent. Usually she would have ASKED about the trees before he volunteered the information. And she would have shown more interest in the subject.

They came out of the forest onto a steep stretch with scrubby grass and outcrops of grey-white rock. By one of the outcrops, which shaded them from the sun, The Doctor sat down and said they would have lunch. He had put picnic meals for lunch and tea into their two rucksacks - balanced meals that would give them the necessary energy to walk up a mountain.

He couldn’t help noticing that Wyn ate only one hard boiled egg and an apple.

He decided not to force the issue. But he did wonder what he ought to do. His experience of bringing up girls had never had to include eating disorders.

Was it an eating disorder? She’d only been like this for two days so far. She was far from underweight. A temporary loss of appetite wouldn’t do her any harm, surely.

As a parent and as a doctor he knew that it COULD do a lot of harm. And the fact that her change in eating habits had gone along with a change of personal habits was strange.

Strange for her, anyway. The perplexing thing was that these changes were still within the parameters of all he knew and understood about teenage girls. She was doing nothing unusual in that sense. Watching her weight, being fussy about clothes and hair and make up, those were all perfectly normal for any other girl.

The mountain hike was enjoyable, anyway. And they made it back down tired but content. When they were back on board the TARDIS The Doctor made a meal and watched Wyn eat it.

But later, as he passed along the corridor to the console room, he heard the unmistakable sound of her being sick in the bathroom.

NOW he was worried. And now he DID feel out of his depth. She had asked him a day or two back about his medical qualifications. Like everything else in his life, they were collected at different times and in different places. He had never been handed a piece of paper qualifying him to practice medicine. He had never actually earned a living by it. He had a lot of experience of field medicine. He had patched people up in the midst of battles, he’d delivered about a hundred babies, give or take a few, most of them Human or at least humanoid. He had some experience of operating on the internal organs of Humans.

But although he knew about disorders like anorexia, he was not sure he knew how to begin treating somebody who was starting to show the symptoms of it.

He wondered if the signs had begun earlier and he hadn’t noticed. But he dismissed that. Until these last few days Wyn had been the one who actually made most of the meals on board the TARDIS. His metabolism didn’t actually need as much food as a Human or as often. It had usually been her telling him to finish his plate, not the other way around. And he almost never saw her inbetween meals without a chocolate bar and a fizzy drink within arms reach. He would have questioned it except that, as he had noted already, their active lifestyle meant that she did burn off a lot of what would otherwise be excess calories.

In short, her previous lifestyle had more or less been ok. Now it was far from ok. It was the start of a slippery slope that he didn’t want her sliding down.

Over the next few days he watched her carefully, but, he hoped, discreetly. He made sure each day they came to a planet where they could spend their time in healthy activity, and he made sure he provided food that would sustain her in those activities. But he couldn’t make her eat. He couldn’t stop her throwing pieces of the picnic away when she thought he wasn’t looking. He couldn’t stop her going to the bathroom after the breakfast and evening meal and throwing up what she had eaten. Not without physically restraining her in a way he didn’t want to have to do.

There WERE clinics for that sort of thing on Earth, of course. If it got to a certain point, he might have to consider the possibility.

Better be back in her own time, he thought. Then he could call her parents and let them know she was ill. The idea saddened him. Jo wouldn’t blame him, of course. Not to his face, but he would feel he had let her down by not looking after her little girl as he had promised to do.

Oh, Wyn, love, he whispered to the empty air of the quiet console room. “What can I do for you?”

Where WAS Wyn? He looked around from where he stood by the console and noticed that she was missing. He was more concerned than he usually would be. If she had reached the point where she might faint from lack of food…

He checked her room. He checked the library, the kitchen. Reluctantly, and discreetly, he checked the bathroom. Even more reluctantly he checked Rose’s old room then sealed it with a deadlock seal that even he would not be able to release easily. One day he would feel sufficiently ‘over’ her to jettison that room and let the TARDIS reclaim the energy it used to sustain it. But not yet.

The dojo was the last place he thought to check, because the way she had been lately he doubted she would have gone in there on her own to practice.

He was surprised to find her there. Even more surprised to find that she was not wearing a gi and practicing martial arts, but that crop top and ra-ra skirt he had disliked the first time, and was dancing to some bland pop music that played on a CD player sitting on the edge of the exercise floor.

“Ok,” The Doctor said firmly as he switched the machine off. “This has gone far enough. My TARDIS is a Backstreet Boys Free Zone.”

“But A.J. rocks my universe,” she replied as she stopped dancing and turned to face him. “You can’t take him away from me.”

The Doctor was on the point of saying something suitably cutting about A.J. and boyband members in general then changed his mind. Instead he took hold of Wyn by the shoulders and looked into her eyes.

“Who ARE you and what have you done with my Wyn?” he asked.

“I AM Wyn,” she protested.

“No you’re not,” he answered. “I’m nearly 1,000 years old. I DO have trouble remembering being 17. And anyway, it's different in my culture. 17 is more like 170 in terms of emotional development. I suppose I might be accused of being out of touch with young people, of being an old fogey and all that. So my opinion of the Backstreet Boys is irrelevant. But I know one thing for absolute certain. WYN HATES BOYBANDS. So I repeat… who ARE you and what are you doing in her body?”

He’d had a fair bit of experience of people’s minds being taken over by entities. In recent years there was Cassandra using Rose to escape her stretched skin existence, and poor lonely Chloe and the Isolus spore. Further back he recalled Sarah Jane taken over by the spider queen of Metebelis Three, Jo, and many other people, hypnotised by the Master, Polly and Dodo both used by the WOTAN computer. Not to mention, he thought, grimly, his own brain being invaded more times than he could remember.

But an entity that invaded somebody’s head in order to put them on a crash diet, change their clothing style and introduce them to a musical genre they regarded as anathema….

That was a new one.

“Well?” he said. “Are you going to own up or do I have to come in there and make you admit the truth?”

“My name is Stella,” said Wyn in her own voice, but with a different cadence to it, as if she was used to speaking with a different accent than her soft Welsh. “I am a traveller, like you, from a far away planet. I have been living on Earth for several years. I took on the form of a teenage girl. We can do that, but it takes a lot of energy and we have to prepare for the procedure carefully. We have to renew the body every so often with a new burst of energy.”

“Yes, ok. So that explains the obsession with the colour pink and the Backstreet Boys. But why are you in Wyn’s head and why are you turning her into an anorexic? You’ve been making her throw up all the food she’s eaten in the last few days, haven’t you. Even though what I made her eat was all healthy and well within the limits for her to lose weight safely and gradually.”

“She’s a fat useless lump of lard,” Stella answered. “She was the first body I found that was a traveller. I was desperate. But yukk….”

“If you were not in Wyn’s body I’d slap you for that,” The Doctor answered angrily. “I made it perfectly clear the other day that personality counts first and foremost with me. And I’m not at all impressed with you so far. You take over her body without permission and then you abuse it like that.”

“I had no choice,” Stella said, in a rather different voice now. She began to cry – through Wyn’s eyes at least. “I should have gone home two years ago. There was some sort of problem, I think. The shuttle never came for me. Without the recharge, the body was starting to break down, and I had to find somebody. Then I sensed you two… people who had travelled in space. Your mind was too difficult. You’ve got all kinds of protective walls. But she was easy. I just wanted to get home. I put the co-ordinate in your ship.”

“You put the co-ordinate in wrong,” he told her. “But never mind that. Where IS Wyn? Is she ok?”

“She’s fine. Her personality is sort of sleeping it off. I have her memories. That’s how I was able to pretend to be her. But her personality, the thing you’re so fond of… is fine. For now, at least. If you don’t get me back to where I come from soon, it might not be. I’m not sure how long I can do it for.”

“Get out of her mind right NOW!” The Doctor yelled. “RIGHT NOW.”

“I can’t,” Stella said. “I’ll DIE.”

“I don’t care,” The Doctor said. “I won’t let you harm Wyn. If it's her or you, then YOU lose.”

But he knew he didn’t mean that. He couldn’t mean that. He was NOT that sort of a man. Never could be. He HAD to help Stella, even if he didn’t like her.

“If you’d ASKED me, I could have helped you before now,” he said. “You tried to deceive me. You messed with my ship, you messed with my friend. You don’t deserve my help. But I will help you. That co-ordinate. It will never work from any point in space except Earth. THAT is the problem with it. But lucky for you, I’m a VERY smart person. I can work out the correct co-ordinate in a couple of shakes. I’ll take you home. Your own people can sort out whatever you need to form a new body to occupy. And you can give me Wyn back, before it’s too late.”

“Ok,” she said.

“Right. Meanwhile, go and wash your face and take off those nail extensions, and the hair if that can be done. And put Wyn’s proper clothes back on. And as for that CD…. Seriously? AJ rocks your universe? You REALLY need to see a bit more of the universe.”

She went and did as he told her. He went to navigation and recalculated the co-ordinate. It took about three minutes, and then only because he double-checked it. If time was of the essence he didn’t want to waste it getting it wrong.

Stella, in Wyn’s body, wearing Wyn’s clothes, and looking like Wyn again, apart from having long, auburn hair in a pony tail because the extensions wouldn’t come off, stood beside The Doctor as they came out of the vortex at the destination. When he saw the planet, even though he disliked Stella, he reached out to her. He empathised with anyone’s grief.

“That’s… that’s why the shuttle didn’t come for me,” she sobbed against his chest.

“I’m afraid so,” he said as he looked again at the dead planet on the screen and the schematic on his life support monitor that registered the levels of deadly radiation in the atmosphere. “I don’t know if it was some kind of sub-atomic accident, or if your people had a war….”

“What will happen to me?” she sobbed. And it was a fair question. She couldn’t go back to her own planet. By looks of things there was no possibility of survivors. She was alone in the universe.

He knew about that. He sighed as he felt, not irritation or anger, but empathy with Stella. They had a grief in common that few other people could begin to understand.

“But you can’t stay there,” he told her. “You can’t. I need Wyn back.”

“But I’ll die…”

“I can’t let that happen, either. This energy you need to build a body…”

“I don’t know,” she said. “I’m just a teenager on my world, too. I don’t know the technical stuff.”

“Ok,” he said. “But maybe it's in there somewhere. Let me…” He reached and touched Wyn’s head and made contact with Stella’s mind inside. He searched for the race memory that was innate in all creatures, the thing that told birds how to fly south for winter, told earthworms which way was up, told Humans and other sentient creatures the basic functions of life before their parents began to teach them everything else they needed.

He found the key to how Stella’s species created bodies for themselves.

“Yes!” he cried as he withdrew from the mind. “Yes, I can do it. With Artron energy. It’s not QUITE the same. But it will do it. Might even do it better.” He took her by the hand. “Come on, Stella, let’s sort you out.”

He led her down to the Cloister Room, the place where the heart of the TARDIS was. And the heart of the TARDIS was a fragment of a star called the Eye of Harmony that radiated Artron energy. It was the energy that his own body used during regeneration. It didn’t make a whole body from scratch, though. It reused his own dying cells. This would be trickier.

“We need some cells to start off the process,” he said. “I hope Wyn will forgive me for this.” He took the sonic screwdriver from his pocket and he applied it to her forearm. Wyn’s face screwed up in pain as he took a layer of her skin, less than a micro-millimetre thick, but three inches across, like skin taken from one part of the body to perform a skin graft to another, damaged part. He carefully put the piece of skin into a Petri dish. Wyn would probably have asked where he got a Petri dish. Stella didn’t. He held it in one hand while he changed the setting on the sonic screwdriver to tissue repair mode and handed it to her.

“This will repair the skin where I took the sample cells,” he said. “Apply it carefully.” She did so while he set to work. He placed the Petri dish on the floor before he opened the cover on the Eye of Harmony. He took the sonic screwdriver back from her now she had mended herself and pointed it first at the actinic white glow of the Eye of Harmony in its apparently bottomless well, and then at the Petri dish of cells. An arc of the Eye’s energy flowed between the two. The cells glowed. The Doctor put the sonic screwdriver back in his pocket and stood back.

“I dislike the very concept of cloning,” he said as he watched a miracle occur before his eyes. The cells were growing and dividing and forming a proto-life, partly Wyn’s Human DNA, partly Artron energy. “The idea of forming a life that has nobody to love and care for it, no concept of family, no SOUL, is against the very precepts of the universe itself. This is only JUST acceptable because we have no choice, and because you will be the soul within the body I am creating. It won’t be an empty being with no heritage.”

Stella said nothing. There was nothing to say. He was giving her a chance to live. What could she say? Apart from thank you.

“It will take a few hours,” he said. “Meantime… in case Wyn doesn’t HAVE a few hours, I’m going to put that body and your mind into a slow-meditation. Humans can be sustained that way for a short time.”

Again, what could she say in answer to him. He was doing his best for her, despite not even LIKING her. That he didn’t like her had been obvious when he probed her mind. She had felt something of his mind. She felt his disgust at the way she had taken over his friend. Despite his sympathy for her loss, his main motive in doing this was to save his friend, not her.

And she was sorry for that. Because she had felt, too, what a wonderful person he was, what a good soul. She had experienced in the past days what it was to BE his friend. And she wished she could be.

She sighed as she felt his mind lulling hers into unconsciousness. He did it gently, of course. He didn’t mean to hurt her. She knew he would never do that. But still, there was no feeling in him for her, only for his friend whose body she had used.

The Doctor sat on the floor of the Cloister Room and watched the clone grow. It took two hours, the growth rate accelerated by the Artron energy and the charged atmosphere of the Cloister Room. But there was a point where it would grow no further in that way, when it was ‘ready’ to become a real person, not just a living shell.

He woke Wyn’s body and Stella’s mind.

“It’s time,” he said.

She looked at the cloned body and made an outraged noise.

“But that’s…. it’s a baby.”

“Yes,” he said as he held the tiny life in his arms. “About three months old. Just about the point where Human babies are self-aware. Come on, do your thing. This body will actually last you much better than the one you had. It will live the normal span of a Human being. So be grateful.”

“Will I.... will I know who I am?”

“I’m not sure,” he admitted. “I think you MIGHT regress to a baby. That might be for the best, really. You’ll get a chance to grow up a little less self-centred and shallow.”

“Is that really what I am?” she asked.

“Yes, you ARE,” he said.

“I might turn out that way again,” she pointed out. “Who will look after me if I’m a baby? You?”

“No,” he said. “I’ve done my share of that. I’ll find somebody to look after you. But come on, no shilly-shallying. Get on with it.”

“Ok,” she said. “I suppose I have to.” She breathed in deeply and then out again. But instead of air something else came from Wyn’s mouth. An energy stream not unlike the one that grew the clone. It went into the clone baby’s mouth and The Doctor looked at the eyes as it looked up at him. It WAS a real baby now, with a mind, a soul. He reached in and touched it gently. As he suspected, Stella HAD regressed. She WAS there, somewhere, but her understanding of herself was that of a three month old baby.

“Doctor?” Wyn stared at him. “Where… what… why are you holding a baby and why am I here… and why am I SO hungry?”

“Kitchen,” he said. “You and the baby need feeding. And you need an explanation.”

“You look so cute doing that,” Wyn told The Doctor as he fed the baby Stella from a bottle that had materialised in the fridge when he looked. “I can actually believe you’ve been a dad.”

“Yeah,” he said. “But I don’t really want to be one right now. We’ve got to find her somewhere to live. I’m trying to think who I know who could look after a baby. If she’d been a teenager I could have seen if Ace would take in another stray, like she did with Dodo. And I was wondering about Sarah Jane. But she’s a single working woman. I’m not sure I could expect her to become an instant mum.”

“You used MY cells… my DNA to create the clone…” Wyn said slowly.

“Yes,” he said. “I had no choice. My cells… well, for one thing the clone would have been male, and Stella would not have liked that. And it would have been part Human, part Time Lord AND a clone. I really don’t think that would have been a sustainable form.”

“No, I don’t mind, honestly. But I was thinking… doesn’t that sort of make her my sister? We’ve got the same DNA….”

“Yes, I suppose so.”

“Take her to my mum. The baby is hers, sort of. Genetically. Just like I am. And she LIKES babies. She’ll LOVE her as soon as you get there.”

The Doctor stared for a moment. The answer seemed so obvious he wondered why he hadn’t thought of it himself.

“Just as long as mum and dad understand I’m coming back with you after and it's just a visit. It would be cool…. When I do go back for good… to have a little sister. I wouldn’t be the baby of the family any more.”

“Ok,” The Doctor said. He handed the baby and bottle to her. “In that case you start bonding with her while I set the co-ordinates.”

He could see a couple of problems ahead. The fact that he was a different Doctor than the one Wyn’s mum last met was one of them. But it was the best solution he could think of. He wondered idly whether Stella, in a body that was made of Wyn’s cells, and brought up by Jo and Cliff, would end up more like Wyn than Stella. There was one for the nurture versus nature debate! Perhaps he’d nip back there in 17 years time and find out. It would be nice to think that he’d created a child that was going to grow up to be as nice a person as Jo and Wyn both were. Maybe he could LIKE that child the way he hadn’t liked Stella.