“So…. That was Victorian London!” Donna walked on The Doctor’s arm happily. She had spent a very pleasant time in his company. They had begun with a day at Kew Gardens, then dinner in the West End, followed by the opening night performance of Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Ernest. She had enjoyed it all thoroughly but she was starting to feel a little tired now, and she would be glad to get out of the Victorian dress and the layers of foundation garments beneath and into a nice hot bath.

“What you need is a nice cup of tea,” The Doctor said as they turned into the side street where he had parked the TARDIS.

“Yes, I do,” she answered. “And you’re making it. You haven’t had to wear a corset all day and these shoes.”

“Fair enough,” he said. Then he froze as he looked at the TARDIS. The door was ajar.

“What?” he exclaimed as he stared at it. “What… no… what… no…. that’s not possible.”

“You didn’t shut the door properly,” Donna told him. “You were the last one out, because you went back for the theatre tickets.”

“But I DID close the door,” The Doctor protested. “I would never forget to do that. Somebody has broken in.”

“No, surely not,” Donna responded. “How could anyone…”

“I don’t know,” he answered. “But….” He pushed the door open carefully, holding his sonic screwdriver in his hand like a weapon, even though it was only in penlight mode. He waved to Donna to keep back, but she kept on going anyway, following him into the console room.

“Everything looks ok,” she said as she glanced around. Not that there was anything much to steal in the console room. It was a very sparsely furnished room when all was said and done.

“It seems to be,” The Doctor answered as he checked the console. “That’s a relief. I was half expecting…”

“What? Burglars?” Donna laughed. “Who would be daft enough to burgle something that says ‘Police’ in big light up letters all around it?”

The Doctor laughed and conceded that point. He closed the door and dematerialised the TARDIS. Donna told him she was going for her bath. The Doctor said he’d make the tea and leave it in her bedroom for when she was done.

This is the life, Donna thought as she soaked in a hot bath full of sweetly scented bubbles. She could just hear and feel the vibrations of the TARDIS in flight as she relaxed. If she let herself slide under the water it was a bit louder and interestingly distorted.

She was in a bath, in a time and space machine that was as big as a hotel inside and the size of a walk in cupboard on the outside. And she took it all for granted. That was the most amazing thing about it. She actually didn’t even think about how fantastic it all was any more. She was starting to think that being in the TARDIS was normal.

The first time she took a bath, she had wondered where the water came from, and listened in amazement as The Doctor explained that the TARDIS actually manufactured it from the simple recipe of two parts hydrogen to one part oxygen – H20 – plus some trace minerals to make it taste nice for drinking and soften it for bathing. It got the hydrogen and oxygen and the other elements from the atmospheres it passed through in the course of their travels.

“Clever TARDIS,” she thought as she pushed the hot tap on with her toe and replenished her bath. She indulged herself for as long as she wanted. The thought of the pot of tea in her bedroom was the only thing that tempted her out. She dried herself with huge, soft bath sheets and wrapped one around her body and a smaller one, turban-style around her hair before slipping her feet into a pair of flip flops as she headed down the corridor to her bedroom.

When a strange man stepped in front of her, she screamed like she had never screamed before. He looked at her in a stunned way and then turned and bolted in the direction of the console room. He ran straight into The Doctor, who felled him with a quick, unsophisticated, but very effective punch in the jaw.

“Who… the heck… is he?” Donna managed to ask.

“I’ll ask him when he comes around,” The Doctor replied bending over the unconscious figure. “You’d best go and get dressed, seeing as we have company.”

She went to her room and threw on a long nightdress and a wrap around kimono style dressing gown and then headed to the console room. The intruder was starting to come around from the knockout punch. He was sitting in a chair, and didn’t seem to be fastened to it in any way, but when he tried to rise up he found it impossible.

“Haven’t used that for ages,” The Doctor said. “Magnochair. Holds the occupant down until I release him. Got it out of the old lumber room and it still works a treat.”

“Magnochair?” Donna repeated. “Magno-chair?”

“Not really magnetic, of course,” The Doctor added. “It’s completely wrongly named. Should really be Gravitychair or Gravchair or… Gravochair?” Donna gave him a look. He grinned. “Anyway, sorry about the fright. It’s my fault, I’m afraid. See that little light, there. It ought to have flashed to tell me there was an intruder aboard the TARDIS, but the bulb was burnt out, and I never changed it. Half the lights on the console need replacing but I never seem to get around to it… Anyway, my fault, completely. I am really sorry.”

“You must be,” Donna told him. “You said sorry twice.”

“And I mean it,” he told her. Then he turned back and looked at his prisoner. “Who are you and what were you doing roaming the corridors of my TARDIS?”

”I’m… I’m…” the man looked at The Doctor fearfully. “Please, let me go, guv’nor. I won’t… I won’t pick another lock. So help me, I’ll go straight. I will… just let me go… I’m sorry. I’m really sorry… I didn’t… didn’t mean to… I didn’t know this was…. Was… Oh my gawd… where am I? What is this place? What are you?”

“I’m The Doctor,” The Doctor told him. “This is my friend Donna. You can call her Miss Noble, very politely. And what do you mean, you’ll never pick another lock? Are you telling me you picked the lock of the TARDIS?”

“He never!” Donna exclaimed. “No! Really?”

“He says he did,” The Doctor said. “But that’s even less likely than me leaving the door ajar.”

“It’s better if you want to make an insurance claim,” Donna pointed out. “Breaking and entering is ok. But leaving the door unsecured invalidates the claim. I temped at the Prudential last year.”

The Doctor smiled at Donna’s aside and then turned back to the intruder. His smile faded into something much sterner.


“I… saw the box… I thought it must have something valuable inside…” the burglar said.

“And it was locked?” The Doctor asked again. “You opened it?”

“Yes,” he answered. “But… if I’d known… if I had known it was… What is this place? Please, guv’nor… please tell me what’s happening. Where am I?”

“You are inside my time and space ship,” The Doctor said. “Do you understand the concept? 1895… Wells has only just published The Time Machine. You probably wouldn’t have read it…”

“Read…” the burglar looked up at The Doctor. “I can’t read. Never learned.”

“That explains a lot,” Donna noted. “Like why he didn’t notice that the box says ‘police’ on it.”

“It does, indeed,” The Doctor agreed. “Good deduction there, Miss Noble.”

“Police!” the burglar struggled against the ill-named magnochair. “You mean.., you’re a peeler… and this is…”

“I’m not police,” The Doctor said very calmly. “Settle down and stop panicking. I don’t mean you any harm. You’re nothing to do with me. I just want to know how you broke into my TARDIS. I want to see you do it again.”

He moved across to the console and initiated a landing. Donna was surprised when she looked at the viewscreen and saw a grey moonscape with planet earth shining in the sky. The Doctor pressed several more buttons and then reached for the door release.

“No!” Donna yelled. “Doctor… it’s the MOON. There’s no air.”

He carried on opening the door, but there was no sudden decompression. Donna looked at him curiously.

“I’ve extended the TARDIS’s protective field. We have air for about two metres beyond the door.” He reached for another switch and the burglar gave a surprised gasp. He jumped up from the chair now he had been released. He ran straight for the door. Donna and The Doctor looked at each other and grinned as they anticipated what would happen next. Sure enough the burglar ran back in.

The Doctor put out his foot and tripped him.

“Ok, Sonny Jim,” he said hauling him to his feet. “Now you know just what I can do. Yes, this is the moon. That’s planet Earth up there. And I want to know just how clever a burglar you are. That isn’t just any door. It’s the TARDIS door and the lock is a very special one. So how did you do it?”

He pulled the reluctant burglar back outside. Donna followed him. He locked the door.

“Ooops,” he said. “I’ve left my keys on the console. And… three of us, breathing hard… this tiny bubble of air… we haven’t got long, so want to show me your stuff?”

Donna wondered if The Doctor was bluffing. There was nothing in his expression to tell her if he was or not. The burglar looked at him, then looked around fearfully at the moonscape. Then he reached into the pocket of his coat and took out a picklock. He worked on the TARDIS lock for several minutes. It looked like an ordinary Yale lock from the outside. The keys that fitted it seemed to be just that. But The Doctor had said time and again that it was a special, electronic lock that couldn’t be opened by just anyone.

So when the lock snicked and the door pushed open, he was impressed.

“Ok, everyone inside. I wasn’t kidding about the air,” he said. He prodded the burglar and made him enter first. Donna followed before The Doctor closed the door behind him and went to the console. The burglar hovered uncertainly by the door ramp, looking around at his unlikely jail and his even more unlikely pair of warders.

“So… what did that prove?” Donna asked. “That we need to improve security in the TARDIS?”

“It proves that he is a really good thief,” The Doctor said. “He beat the TARDIS.” He turned to look at the burglar. “What’s your name?”

“Ben,” he said. “Ben Carpenter.”

“Ben?” The Doctor smiled faintly. “I used to know a Ben. But he was an honest man. I could trust him in a tight spot.”

“What are you going to do with him?” Donna asked. Ben looked worried as The Doctor went to the console once again and prepared to dematerialise the TARDIS.

“What do you think I should do? Chuck him out of the door when we’re in space? Materialise inside Newgate and leave him where he belongs? Issue an ASBO?”

Ben didn’t know what an ASBO was, but there was something in The Doctor’s tone when he said it that scared him.

“Relax,” The Doctor said to him. “I told you before I’m not the police. I don’t care what you’ve done. I’m taking you back to the street where we found you, about two minutes after we left. What you do after that is your business. Get a job, earn an honest living, or go back to lock picking and sooner or later end up in a jail cell. Up to you. It’s your life. I’m not responsible for you.”

“You… you’d let me go?” Ben’s eyes looked hopeful for the first time since The Doctor caught him. “But… why?”

“Well, partly because it would be difficult to explain to the police just what you broke into, but mainly because you’re not worth the trouble. You’re a thief. I don’t need the likes of you around here. It will take ten minutes to get back. Just sit down and be quiet. No, not on the magnochair. You can use the sofa as long as you keep your hands where I can see them.”

Ben sat, gratefully. Donna looked at him. He wasn’t a bad looking man, or he wouldn’t be if he had a bath, a shave and some clean clothes. As it was, he just looked shabby. But he was tall and broad-shouldered and Donna wondered if he really was as worthless as The Doctor thought.

It was strange that The Doctor was so dismissive of somebody. Yes, he was a thief, and perhaps worse. But The Doctor usually tried to see the best in people. It really wasn’t like him.

“He's not our problem,” The Doctor said in a low voice so only Donna could hear. “He’s living the life he chose to live. Only he can change it, if he wants to.”

“I suppose you’re right,” she admitted. “All the same…”

“He’s NOT our problem,” The Doctor repeated. Then he frowned. “THIS is my problem.” He pressed buttons and pulled levers and sighed in exasperation. “Something is pulling the TARDIS off course.”

“What sort of something?” Donna asked.

“Something powerful. And that narrows it down a lot. Very few things are powerful enough to affect the TARDIS in any way. And it’s deliberate. We’re not just being knocked about a bit like in an ion storm or a solar wind. We’re being pulled as if… as if the TARDIS was on a tow rope.” He looked at his navigation console “A very long tow rope – about 120 million light years long.”

“Do you have any idea where we’re going?”

“No,” The Doctor answered. Then a schematic came up on the navigation monitor. “Ah, yes, I do.” His expression was half angry, half amused. “We appear to be have been summoned by the Architects of the Shaddow Proclamation.”


“Not what you’re thinking of,” The Doctor told her. “They’re a sort of intergalactic special branch.”


“Yeah… but don’t tell our friend over there. This is going to be strange enough for him. I should have taken him straight back as soon as we found him, instead of all that business on the moon. He shouldn’t be with us.”

“Because he’s a criminal? Or because he’s from the nineteenth century or… or is it that stuff about timelines and taking people out of them?”

“It’s about him being a ‘captive’ in the TARDIS, brought along against his will. I asked you to come with me. You accepted the challenge. You didn’t completely know what would happen, but you chose to take the risks. He’s here by accident. And if anything happens to him it’ll be my fault…”

“You said he wasn't your responsibility.”

“When he was going straight back to Earth, he wasn't. But now he’s caught up in something mysterious with us. That changes everything.”

The TARDIS materialised. The environmental monitor told The Doctor that it had done so inside a building with artificially manufactured air. That was all well and good.

It also showed that there were no lifesigns of any sort in the immediate area.

“I don’t like the look of this,” The Doctor said. “I don’t like the look of it at all. This is the Hall of the Architects. It should have people in it. There should be somebody coming to find out why I’ve made an unauthorised landing on their pristine marble floor.”

He grabbed his coat and headed towards the door. He looked back. Donna had made to follow him. Ben was still sitting on the sofa, watching them.

“I can’t leave you here on your own,” The Doctor said. “You’ll have to come with us. But keep your hands to yourself. No stealing or you’ll regret it very briefly. If you think London magistrates are tough, you’ve seen nothing yet.”

Ben followed The Doctor and Donna out of the TARDIS. He was far too bewildered by everything to protest. He certainly wasn’t going to try running again. He very clearly wasn’t home in London. And the place he emerged into was strange and alien to his eyes. The room was bigger than anything he had ever seen in his life. The roof was high above his head and made of glass through which a diffused, purplish light came through that didn’t seem to be daylight. The walls were a white so bright it was almost dazzling. The sparse furniture and the long, wide staircase that seemed to go nowhere were in a style that The Doctor could have told him was ‘post-modernist’ if he had asked and if furniture and interior decorating were at the forefront of his mind right now.

He was more concerned by the bodies that were strewn around the room, bleeding all over the pristine marble floor.

“What… are… they?” he asked fearfully as he and Donna watched The Doctor kneel beside one of the huge, bulky forms. He had lived all his life in London. He had never been to a zoo. He had never read a book about wildlife, so the word rhinoceros wasn’t in his vocabulary.

It was in Donna’s vocabulary. But the sight of a creature with a head like a rhinoceros and a thick, leathery, paramilitary uniform lying in a pool of its own blood left her speechless.

“Miss…” She heard Ben’s voice beside her. “Maybe you ought to go back into the… the box. You shouldn’t be looking at… at…”

“I’m ok,” she responded. “Doctor…. What are they? And what killed them?”

“They’re Judoon,” The Doctor replied. “They’re the… the guards… the… police… of the Shaddow Proclamation.”

“And somebody killed them?” Ben was startled. “They killed peelers… That’s a hanging offence.”

“It most certainly is,” The Doctor agreed. “Though whoever did this has no intention of being brought to trial.”

He stood up and looked at his two companions.

“It would be better if you both went back to the TARDIS,” he said. “I need to find out what happened here, but you don’t have to be involved. And it would be far better if he wasn’t involved. I know I told you both to come, but I didn’t expect this.”

“I’m not leaving you in a room full of dead… dead… rhino things,” Donna said. “I mean… what can you do on your own against something capable of killing THOSE?”

The Doctor wondered what Donna imagined she could do to help.

“Ben,” he said. “I have no reason to trust you. But I am… Take Miss Noble back into my ship and close the door. Stay there until I get back.”

“Doctor… no…” Donna protested as Ben put his hand on her shoulder and said something to her. “No…”

“Donna, please,” he said. “Do as I ask.”

She was still protesting as Ben firmly guided her back to the TARDIS. The Doctor stood his ground until she was safely inside. At least he hoped she was safe. He had left her locked in the TARDIS with a man he knew nothing about except that he was a thief. He could be many more things, besides that, and Donna was at his mercy. He had every reason not to trust Ben.

Except one.

The TARDIS seemed to trust him.

Nobody could just pick the lock of the TARDIS. He shouldn’t have been able to get in. The TARDIS let him, twice. It was as if she actually wanted him to be there.

He had to trust the TARDIS’s judgement. Because right now he had bigger problems.

“What is this place?” Ben asked Donna. “And those… creatures…”

“I don’t know,” she answered. “The Doctor said something about the Shaddow Proclamation. He said they were a sort of police. But…” She went to the console. The Doctor had shown her how to use the database just so that she didn’t have to keep asking questions beginning with ‘what’ and ‘where’. She looked up Shaddow Proclamation. She read what she needed to know.

“The Proclamation was a sort of Treaty, originally,” she said. “To keep peace between different planets. It was signed by… wow…. Two thousand, one hundred and thirty signatures. And… The Doctor is one of them. He actually helped draft a Treaty that keeps thousands of civilisations from making war on each other. And this… this place is where they keep that peace.”

Ben looked at the words on the screen. He realised that it was something like a book or newspaper, but it was meaningless to him.

“How come you didn’t learn to read?” Donna asked him. “1895 – They had schools. I remember doing something about the history of schools when I was at… at school.” The sentence sounded silly, but she knew what she meant.

“What use is school? Doesn’t buy bread.”

Donna was sure there was a story to tell. But he didn’t seem inclined to tell it. She wondered if he was an orphan. Maybe he had grown up in a workhouse, or on the streets, learning to steal to live. Maybe he had no choice but to be a criminal.

Or maybe she was just being sentimental. He wasn't Oliver Twist, after all. He was a grown man, in his mid-30s. The Doctor was right. He had choices. He wasn’t a helpless victim of society.

“What about those creatures out there?” he asked. “What do you think killed them?”

“I don’t know,” Donna answered. “The Doctor doesn’t either. Which is the really scary thing. Especially when he’s out there, on his own with nothing but a sonic screwdriver to protect himself with.”

“And the Guv’nor… The Doctor… who is he, anyway?”

Donna laughed.

“That could be the title of his biography. I don’t know. Nobody does. But I know I can trust him. So can you, as long as you’re here with us. You can depend on that. So can the people who sent for him. If… if that’s what they did. This might be some kind of trap. I wish I was with him. I don’t like this at all.”

“He wanted you to be safe. He wanted me to look after you.”

“He wanted YOU safe and me to look after you,” Donna replied. “But I’m worried about him.”

The Doctor was worried, too. He had found another dozen more Judoon bodies. There was evidence that they had made a fight of it. The glittering white walls of the corridors he explored were marked with burn patterns from their disintegration rays. From some of those patterns he deduced that the enemy was roughly humanoid in shape, and about the same bulky size as a Judoon. That, at least, ruled out Daleks. An examination of the charred fragments he found at the site of one particularly fierce pitched battle showed that the enemy was organic. That counted out Cybermen, too.

Sontarans? They were bulky humanoids and more than a match for the Judoon. What else was there that could kill all of the Judoon guards that protected the home of the Shaddow Proclamation?

He was scared. He didn’t mind admitting it to himself. The Hall of the Architects was always a quiet, tranquil place. But this was the silence of death, not the silence of intergalactic harmony, and it was frightening. The Architects protected themselves by more than just the Judoon foot soldiers. They had automatic shields around their base; the strongest anti-transmat shields it was possible to have, heat shields that could survive thermic torpedoes, the works.

And something hostile had penetrated all of those shields and all of that protection and caused death and devastation.

Where were the Architects? Where were their servants? The only bodies he had seen so far were Judoon. What had happened to those they protected? Was there anyone left alive here? If not, where were their bodies? There was no indication that the intruders had used disintegrating guns. The Judoon had all been shot by armour piercing projectile weapons. All the deaths, he noted, had been calculated aim shots through the chest or between the two horns, penetrating the thick hide and the brain within the huge skull. Most had been shot again where they fell, just to make sure they were dead. There were no wounded, and he doubted any Judoon allowed himself to be taken prisoner.

“Halt!” A commanding voice called out to him. The unexpected sound echoed in the corridor. He slowly turned, his hands out at his side as if to show that he was unarmed and not hostile as he faced four live Judoon. He was almost relieved to see them.

“Put up your hands and do not move,” the Judoon platoon leader ordered him. The Doctor started to do so, then something occurred to him about that order.

The Judoon language was unusual for two reasons. First, because it contained only two letter words with a vowel following a consonant, giving them the smallest vocabulary in the universe even though their language had fifty five consonants and eighteen vowels. Secondly, it was one of the few languages that the TARDIS’s low-level telepathic field never automatically translated. The Judoon themselves, having identified the language of the species they were policing, would operate portable translation devices.

But this one had spoken to him in Intergalactic Esperanto, the language used by diplomats and consuls among those planetary systems that recognised the need for a common language that didn’t favour any one culture. The TARDIS, of course, automatically translated that into English, which was not The Doctor’s first language, but it was the language he used most frequently now that his own language was a dead one and he spent his life among Humans.

Anyway, the point was…

“You’re not really Judoon,” he said. “Those are not really Judoon weapons.”

But they were almost certainly real weapons and he was still in trouble.

“Wow!” Donna exclaimed as she looked at the picture that illustrated the database entry on the Shaddow Proclamation. “That’s incredible.”

“What is that?” Ben asked. “I have never seen anything like it.”

“It’s where we are, right now,” Donna answered. “I thought we were on a planet. That would be the usual thing. Or a space station. But… this is sort of… inbetween. We’re somewhere in that building with all the spires that look like crystals. And it’s built on that rock – those three rocks joined by those two bridges. And… somehow it floats in space, and has gravity of some sort, and it exists. But… wow. Totally impossible.”

“We are there…” Ben shook his head. “I can’t believe it.”

“Good job The Doctor isn’t here right now.” Donna said. “He’d be really annoyed. He hates it when people waste his time with ‘I can’t believe it’. We’re in a time and space travelling ship that is huge on the inside and the size of a large packing crate on the outside. We went to the moon first, and then came here, millions of miles from Earth, in about ten minutes. What’s left to believe?”

“Am I dreaming?”

“Do you usually dream about things like this?”

“I usually dream that I am back in Pentonville, doing hard labour,” he replied before he realised what he had said and who he had said it too. He sighed. “You might as well know. I have been in prison three times. I am exactly what the Guv’nor thinks I am. A thief, a criminal.”

“Yes… but…” Donna looked at him. She wasn’t exactly the best judge of men. She always fell for the wrong ones and got her heart broken when they turned out to be less than they promised to be. There were, she calculated, only three men in her life who had never disappointed her. Her granddad, her father, and The Doctor. The rest fooled her every time.

But all the same, she thought Ben was all right. He looked rough. But he had done nothing to hurt her. He had done what The Doctor asked him to do, come back to the TARDIS to protect her. And somehow, she felt safe being protected by him.

“Wait a minute,” she said, moving around the console. The lifesigns monitor was still turned on at the environmental console, and she could see five lifesigns moving towards them. “There’s somebody out there.”

Then there was an unmistakable sound of bullets hitting the door. Ben dived for cover behind the console. Donna did the same. The Doctor had assured her many times that nothing could break through that door, and that the TARDIS could survive plunging into a volcano. She wasn’t sure she wanted to test that theory, and right now, ducking felt like a good idea.

She looked up at the viewscreen from their hiding place. She could see the humanoids that surrounded the TARDIS. They were all at least seven feet tall, stockily built. They had shaggy, coarse hair and leathery faces that reminded her of apes. They were dressed in tough, leather jerkins and were, of course, armed with space age guns that seemed to have an endless supply of bullets.

“Such creatures…” Ben said as he looked at them. “They are even uglier than the other ones.”

“What about The Doctor?” Donna wondered.

“If he ran into those… then… what chance would he have? They could shoot him to pieces.”

“No,” Donna said. “No, he can’t be dead. He can’t be.”

The Doctor stared as the Judoon features blurred and changed into something else entirely. Something even more ugly, and even more fearsome.

Something he hadn’t seen for more years than he cared to remember.

Something he never expected to see again.

“What’s happening?” Ben asked as the TARDIS rocked and crashed and swung wildly and he and Donna held onto the console.

“I think they’re stealing the TARDIS,” she answered. “And us with it. That’s an irony for you, sunshine. You tried to break into the TARDIS to steal. They’re stealing the whole thing.”

“Where are they taking us?”

“I don’t know. But wherever it is, I don’t think we’re going to like it.”