“Up on the moon
We'll all be there soon
Watching the earth down below
We'll journey to Mars
And visit the stars
Finding our breakfast on Pluto…..”

Stella and Wyn grinned as they watched The Doctor dancing around the console and singing along with what they both thought was a pretty mundane pop song.

“Mars is boring,” Wyn told him. “Went there with Nine once. And Pluto doesn’t look anything special to me.”

“Your mum used to sing that song all the time,” The Doctor answered. “In my lab at UNIT HQ. It was a new song back then, when I was exiled to Earth and she came to work as my assistant.” He smiled nostalgically. Wyn and Stella looked at him and laughed, though not unkindly.

“That’s the thing about OLD people,” Stella complained. “They WILL keep harping on about the good old days.”

“Well, they WERE good days,” The Doctor said. “And now we’re having MORE good days. Pluto may look a dull blue-grey rock on the edge of the solar system, but this is the year 2629 and it is hosting an Intergalactic Performing Arts Festival. I thought it might be entertaining.”

“Sounds cool. Unless its all a load of old Shakespeare,” Stella commented.

“Don’t knock Shakespeare. He’s a genius. Mind you, he owes it all to me. I pointed him in the right direction when he was a youngster….”

The two sisters recognized the signs of The Doctor going off on a tangent and just waited for him to finish.

“Ok, so what’s a good outfit for Pluto in 2629?” Stella asked finally. “Are hemlines up or down?”

“I haven’t a clue,” The Doctor answered. “Try the wardrobe. It will have something appropriate readily to hand.”

“Yeah, well, 2629 can take as it finds me,” Wyn said as Stella rushed off to try on outfits. “And I don’t suppose you’re changing anyway?”

“Brown is the new black,” he said nonchalantly and hummed a few more bars of that song that he alone seemed to remember from the early 1970s as he programmed their landing in the hanger bay of the Pluto Arts and Culture Centre.

“Strange building,” Stella commented as they made their way from the hanger bay where the TARDIS had puzzled the squat little man with an orange face and a hump who took the berthing fees. He hadn’t been able to make up his mind whether it should be classed as a craft or as freight.

They travelled on an electric tram car from the utilitarian hanger bay through a well-lit tunnel with a glass roof that looked out at the Plutonian sky beyond the protected habitat with its artificial atmosphere.

Strange building was fair comment. It was also a very beautiful building. It was a huge hexagon made of opaque crystalline substance that had its own internal luminance. The whole place was bathed in diffused white light. It was as if a cloud had been shaped and set in a mould to construct the walls and high ceiling.

“The hexagon used to be regarded as a power symbol on Gallifrey,” The Doctor said. “That’s why there’s a hexagon motif to the TARDIS. The console is six-sided, and the walls used to have hexagonal panels. I suppose it’s just a coincidence. But it’s sort of… homely.”

“He’s on one again,” Stella laughed. “But are we really here for breakfast time?”

“Yep. The restaurant is this way.” The Doctor steered them towards the source of the usual sort of sounds people make when eating and drinking publicly.

The usual sounds, but not the usual people. At least not as Stella understood the term. Intergalactic also meant inter species.

“Don’t stare,” Wyn told her as they took in the different definitions of ‘people’. It had been a while since she had been in such mixed company herself and it was hard not to seem rude, but Stella was totally overcome.

“Wow, aren’t THEY beautiful,” she breathed as she looked at a group of people with golden skin and hair seated around a table together. She gasped all over again as one of them, a male who looked like a golden statue of a Greek god, stood up and stretched huge golden feathered wings. “Wow, can they actually fly?”

“Yes,” The Doctor said. “They’re from a planet called Oriaia, where they have no solid land, only a thick mantle of something like cold molten wax. They live on anti gravity islands which float about eighty to a hundred feet above the surface. They cultivate their food, build their homes, live life to the full and if they want to visit a neighbour they just spread their wings.”

“Sound beautiful,” Stella said. “Have you been there?”

“Once,” The Doctor answered. “It was… a bit embarrassing actually. I missed the islands, landed on the surface… Sunk about eighty feet before I got the co-ordinates right. It took all night to get the sticky stuff off the outside. Oriaian hospitality is unsurpassed, of course. Wonderful people. But they do have a tendency to treat anyone who doesn’t fly as physically handicapped. The pitying looks get a bit tiresome.”

“What about that lot?” Stella continued as they gave their breakfast orders to the waiter and she tried to look casually around. The focus of her attention now was on a group of tall humanoids with flowing red hair down to their waists, male and female alike. They were all dressed in leather and chain mail and spiked helmets.

The Doctor looked puzzled at first as he took in the clothing.

“Ah,” he said at last. “They’re Priminians. The leather is just stage costumes. They don’t USUALLY dress like that. They must be performing one of their all day operas. Sort of Wagner meets Attila the Hun at Glastonbury 5,000 BC.”

“All day opera?” Stella wrinkled her nose at the thought. The Doctor smiled and said they had operas where he came from that lasted as much as fifty-two hours – two Gallifreyan days. They were very rarely performed all at one sitting, though. Usually over five or six nights.

“Yeah,” Wyn commented. “You’re a long-winded lot, you Time Lords. I think I’d rather see something a bit less intense than Wagner meets Attila. What else is on the programme?”

“There’s a list of events over there,” The Doctor told her, waving towards a large screen set in the opaque white walls. It was like a very hi-tech version of the touch-screen information panels at bus stations. Wyn ate her Plutonian breakfast omelette and drank some Plutonian coffee before wandering over to have a look. The Priminian Ne-Jio-Ri-Har-Ring-Um was the main attraction in one of the five theatres of the Hexagon. In another, the Oriaian National Dance Corps were performing an aerial ballet. Golden people with huge golden wings dancing in the air. She could go for that. She thought Stella would enjoy it, too. She would probably prefer it to The Plutonian Macbeth, anyway.

“Excuse me, are you done with the screen?” asked a soft male voice. Wyn turned and looked at a pair of piercing blue eyes. The face that went with the eyes was good looking. Blonde-brown hair and a square jawed hero look that would have made him a good candidate for the next James Bond back on Earth in her era.

A straight woman’s dream.

She wasn’t straight. The only man in her life apart from her dad and her brothers was The Doctor, and her affection for him was indefinable in the simple labels people put on relationships.

Normally a man like this would do nothing for her. Yet, for some reason, she found her mouth turning up at the corners to smile at him, and when he smiled in return she was thrilled.

“I’m Wyn,” she said. “Blodwyn Grant Jones of Earth.”

“Jamie Gar Jass,” he answered. “Pleased to meet you. Are you going to see the ballet?”

“I thought I might. You?”

“Absolutely. They’re going to be performing a brand new ballet. Everyone’s talking about it.”

“I’m not, I’m afraid. I’m kind of new to all this. They’re such beautiful looking people, though. The Oriaians.”

“They are, that.” Jamie Garr Jass cleared his throat and then went on speaking. “Have you seen the Oriaian ballet costumes on display in the gallery? Its well worth a visit.”

“No, I only just got here,” she answered. She wondered later why she said ‘I’ and not we. But something in her wanted to pretend she wasn’t with her sister and The Doctor. She was hoping….

“Would you like to… the ballet starts in an hour. There’s time….”

“I’d love to,” she answered, and when Jamie offered her his arm she smiled broadly and didn’t even look back at The Doctor and Stella still sat at the table.

“What’s with her?” Stella demanded as she watched Wyn and Jamie leave the restaurant together. “I mean… what is this? We’ve only been here an hour and she scored…. And a real muffin, too.”

“Scored? Muffin?” The Doctor pretended he didn’t understand the terms. He did, perfectly well.

“She’s not even INTO men.” Stella looked suspiciously at the remains of their breakfast. “What is it? Something in the water?”

The Doctor didn’t answer this time. He was thinking. It was the sort of thought even his mind needed to take time over.

Relationships! Living a thousand years didn’t make him any better qualified than a human in that field. But two things struck him.

First – Wyn’s smile as she walked away was the brightest he had ever seen her smile.

Second – She WASN’T into men. So what DID that guy have to make her smile like somebody who has just discovered the meaning of love at first sight?

“Well,” he said to Stella, having failed to answer either question satisfactorily to himself. “Seems like Wyn is happy. So it’s just you and me for the morning.”

Stella smiled. The Doctor was going to take her to the theatre. It was practically a DATE.

She enjoyed herself. She didn’t expect to. Most of the ‘performing arts’ on display were ‘highbrow’ stuff like opera, ballet, modern space age versions of Shakespeare, poetry readings and more, that a teenager whose regular reading matter was Smash Hits and Seventeen wasn’t really meant to enjoy. She had been fully prepared to be bored by it.

She wasn’t. She actually enjoyed it, especially the ballet. She noticed that they took seats quite far away from Wyn and her new friend, but not so far that The Doctor couldn’t keep an eye on them. And when, in the interval he asked her if she would like an orange juice, she wasn’t surprised to see that Wyn’s friend had gone to the vending machine, too, while Wyn stayed in her seat.

The Doctor stood behind the man and studied him carefully. He tried to read his mind, but found it was blocked. This was a man skilled at putting up mental walls. He didn’t seem to BE telepathic himself. That meant he had been TRAINED to resist telepathic invasion of his thoughts.

Well, The Doctor thought. Lots of people were in these days when criminals could get hold of mind reading devices and obtain privileged information. He might work in a bank and have to hide the combination to the vaults behind a psychic wall.

Or he might BE a criminal, hiding his own real intentions.

There was something else. Standing this close to him The Doctor was aware of it very strongly. He understood now why Wyn had been attracted to him.

“I know what you are,” The Doctor said. The man turned and looked at him in surprise. “Yes, I know what you ARE, and I’m warning you. Don’t play games with my friend. If you hurt her, you’ll answer to me.”

Jamie Garr Jass didn’t say anything. He looked at the controlled ire in The Doctor’s eyes and knew there was nothing he COULD say. He turned and went back to his seat with the drinks he had obtained for himself and Wyn. The Doctor slid credit discs into the machine and picked up the carton of orange juice it dispensed. He took it back to Stella and settled down as the lights went down for the second act. But he kept an even closer eye on the stranger with enough personal attraction to persuade Wyn to go against her nature.

At lunchtime, The Doctor and Stella found the restaurant again. Wyn and Jamie were already there, sitting at a table, talking and laughing together. Stella looked at them and huffed in outrage at the sheer blatancy of it.

“Don’t worry,” The Doctor said. “I’m watching him. I’m not sure what his game is exactly, but I’m watching him.”

“Wyn isn’t exactly a dog,” Stella pointed out. “It’s not like anyone wouldn’t fancy her. And they’re about the right age and all. But why did he make a beeline for her in a room full of beautiful people. And why is SHE interested in him?”

If even Stella was thinking about that question, then it was time to GET an answer, The Doctor decided.

“Come on. There’s room for four at that table. Let’s interlope.”

“Interlope?” Stella giggled at The Doctor’s use of a word she understood the meaning of but had never used in her spoken vocabulary.

“Interlope. Good word. I should use it more often. Always good to use a new word. Should use a new word every day.”

“Oh, shut up!” Stella answered with a laugh. They were still laughing as they moved around and sat down at the two empty seats either side of the table, interloping completely.

“So, when’s the wedding?” The Doctor asked unashamedly.

“Don’t be silly,” Wyn answered. “I just spent a bit of time with Jamie, that’s all.”

“Jamie?” The Doctor spoke his name slowly as if trying it out for size. “James, Jimmy, Jameson, Jammie…”

“Just Jamie,” Jamie answered. “And you’re The Doctor? Wyn has told me a lot about you.”

“Has she indeed?” The Doctor glanced at Wyn and then back at Jamie. “I deny everything. I wasn’t there. Never saw the woman in my life.”

“What ARE you talking about?” Wyn demanded, a little angrily. “I just told Jamie what a great bloke you are, how we’ve been friends since I was Stella’s age and you showed me loads of cool stuff.”

“That was my fault,” Jamie admitted. “I asked her about you. You ARE a bit of a talking point, Doctor. The last Time Lord of Gallifrey etc.”

The Doctor glanced at Wyn again and seemed on the point of saying something, then changed his mind.

That he was a Time Lord was NOT a secret, especially. Nor the fact that he was the last. The destruction of his planet was legendary. There were poems written about it. There was an opera nearly as long as one of the Priminian epics about the Time War, with the fall of Gallifrey as the dramatic finale.

But his world had enemies other than the Daleks, and he had many more personal enemies. On the whole he preferred to CHOOSE who he revealed his identity to.

He wasn’t exactly annoyed at Wyn, just a bit irritated by the whole situation.

“I’m just nipping to the loo,” Wyn said when they were drinking coffee after lunch and Jamie had been talking about the afternoon’s programme of performing arts, suggesting that they watch together. Stella said she’d go with her. The Doctor grinned and joked to them about how Human women always went to the toilet in pairs. When the two were out of earshot, though, and he turned back to the table his grin faded very quickly, and even more quickly his hand reached out and clamped down on Jamie’s arm.

“Ok, sunshine,” he said in a voice laden with menace. “You know who I am, but I don’t know who you are. Until I do, I’m not going to decide if I trust you. And if I don’t trust you, then I’m not going to leave you alone with Wyn again.”

Jamie looked at The Doctor and found himself unable to turn away from his eyes. They burned into his soul while giving nothing away of The Doctor’s own soul. Jamie shuddered as he tried to break eye contact.

The Doctor relented and he sighed with relief.

“Ok, cards on the table,” he said pulling out a wallet and showing The Doctor his identity card. “I’m a time agent.”

“So you ARE,” he answered. “Real ID, too. Not psychic paper!”

“Got that, too,” Jamie replied. “But I figured you’d be the sort who would see right through it.”

“Damn right I would,” The Doctor responded. “So… Mr Time Agent…. Where does Wyn come into this?”

“Into this… she doesn’t. I saw a lady standing at the info-screen. She smiled at me. She has a nice smile….”

“That she does. Are you telling me you just wanted to take her to the ballet? You’re NOT using her as part of your cover for whatever you’re here for?”

“I would never do that,” he protested. “I really DID want her company and it IS enjoyable. And since you and her aren’t together, then I don’t see why you have a right to tell me I can’t have her company.”

“Don’t challenge me,” The Doctor answered. “I protect my friends. Have you told HER that you’re a Time Agent?”

“No.” he answered. “I’m undercover. I don’t know why I told you.”

“Because you had no choice. I didn’t know the Time Agency recruited non-Humans.”

“They’re an equal opportunities employer. Besides, my particular ‘skills’ are useful sometimes.”

“Oh, you’re the one they call when they want a target seducing into submission!” The Doctor answered sarcastically. “A pheromone zone that extends three yards away from you.”

“My OTHER skill,” Jamie answered. “It’s useful for covert operations.”

“Yes, it would be,” The Doctor conceded. “So what ARE you here for? Or WHO?”

“That’s classified,” Jamie answered. “I can’t discuss it with a civilian.”

“I’m not a civilian. I’m The Doctor. If there is something here that a time agent is interested in then it interests me, too. So spill the beans, now.”

Again, Jamie felt he had no choice in the matter. He sighed and leaned close to The Doctor, speaking quietly so that he would not be overheard.

“We had information that a high profile retrospective assassination was going to take place here. One that would have far reaching implications. VERY far-reaching. Unfortunately the information is pretty sketchy. I don’t know WHO the target is. There are a lot of high profile people here for the Command Performance tonight - a couple of crowned heads and presidents, ambassadors from countless planets and systems and convexes.”

“There are about five thousand ordinary people,” The Doctor observed. “Any one of whom might be important in the future. Somebody might be creating a Grandfather Paradox by poisoning that woman over there, or that man in the corner, or that waiter, the sous chef….” He stopped before Jamie’s eyes totally glazed over. “They should have sent more than just you.”

“You could be right. But….”

“Well, it’s lucky I’m here,” The Doctor told him. “But before we go any further, you explain things to Wyn.” He looked around as the two sisters returned from the bathroom. He waited until they had sat down again.

“Jamie has some things to tell you,” he said and looked pointedly at him.

“Wyn,” he said. “The Doctor has it wrong. Believe me. I never meant to use you. He thinks I am. Yes, I’m a Time Agent. I’m here undercover. But you aren’t part of that cover. I... I saw you standing by the screen and we talked, and I thought… I thought it would be nice not to be alone for a while. Time Agents… It’s a lonely life. We travel the universe, time and space, mostly on our own. Getting to know people, friendships, are difficult. And just for once…”

“Yes,” The Doctor felt himself understanding those motives fully. It was the reason he had companions in the TARDIS after all. Because the wonders of the universe were all the more wonderful for seeing them with somebody else. But he was still not convinced.

“Tell her the complete truth,” he said with a cold, terse cadence to his voice. “WHY did you approach her? I’m not saying Wyn isn’t a fine woman and why wouldn’t somebody decide they would like her company. But I don’t buy it. Eyes meeting across a crowded room. Instant attraction. You’re a Time Agent. You’re looking for a retrospective assassin – so we’re talking about somebody who has travelled in time.” He reached and pushed back Jamie’s arm and noted the complicated wristlet that could be a lifesigns monitor, radiation detector and much more. “Time travel gives people an aura – the residual energy of the vortex – which you could easily detect. You saw Wyn as a potential suspect and turned on your ‘natural’ charm in order to spend time with her and rule her out of the investigation.”

“He did WHAT!” Wyn looked at him indignantly and with tears pricking her eyes. “I thought you liked me. And… and I liked you. Even though… usually.…”

“And that’s another thing. Go on, Agent Jass. Let’s have it all. Your SECRET weapon.”

Jamie sighed again. He looked at Wyn pleadingly.

“He’s right. That WAS the initial reason for talking to you. But I knew within about 10 minutes that you WEREN’T who I wanted. The REST OF IT was REAL. Please believe me.”

Wyn looked at The Doctor and Stella. Neither were giving her any helpful signals about whether she SHOULD believe him. She WANTED to do so, though.

“What does The Doctor mean by ‘secret weapon’?” she asked.

Again Jamie was uncomfortable. The Doctor’s expression towards him was clear. Nothing less than total truth would do.

“The reason why you were so captivated by me…. My species have a unique ability. We can produce pheromones that attract people to us at will. You were hit by a blast of it. But believe me, I only did it because.…”

“Because I might have been a suspect and you wanted to rule me out?”

“NO! Yes… I mean… at first. But later… NO. By the time I knew it wasn’t you I wanted to KNOW you better. I wanted to be with you.”

“That explains that,” Stella said. “That’s why you went gaga over him when you’re not even into men.”

“I did not go ‘gaga’,” Wyn responded. “But… ok, so if you can turn it on, can you turn it off, too?”

“Yes,” Jamie answered glumly.

There was no obvious physical or visual sign. But Wyn looked at Jamie after a minute or two and shook her head.

“You’re a nice bloke. Good looking, and I had a great morning with you, before I found out about the suspect thing at least. But… thing is, I’m NOT into men. And looking at you now, without the juice switched on… it’s not the same.”

She looked sad about that. So did Jamie. The Doctor looked around the restaurant. It wasn’t too busy now. They were almost the last customers still lingering at the table. Most people had already headed away to get the best seats for the afternoon performances.

“Go on,” he said. “Very quickly. Show her.”

Jamie nodded and reached out his hand to Wyn. She looked at him and gasped as he shimmered before her eyes and transformed into a woman of about forty, still attractive, with long brown-blonde hair and the same bright blue eyes. She was wearing the same casual suit that Jamie had worn, but the shirt buttons strained as female contours filled it.

She shimmered and became male again.

“I’m a gendermorph,” he explained. “I am both male and female at the same time. And… And I’m not into men, either.”

“Really?” Stella interrupted. “You mean even on other planets people are….” But The Doctor laid a hand on her arm and quietened her. This was between Jamie and Wyn.

“I would like us to be friends. I’m sorry I deceived you. It was necessary for me not to break cover. But later… when I’ve wrapped up this case… I would like to… spend some time with you.”

“You want to date me?” Wyn asked. “AS the female version of you?”


“That’s… nice. But… I don’t know if we’ll be around when you’ve wrapped up your case. I don’t know how long we’re staying here.”

“We’re staying here as long as it takes,” The Doctor said. “Agent Jass here is on the trail of a potential grandfather paradox and that’s my business. More mine than the Time Agency, actually. So I’m in on this whether he likes it or not.”

Jamie looked as if he didn’t like it very much. But again he also looked like he didn’t have much choice about it.

“I can’t DO anything until I find out either WHO is the target or WHO my suspect is. They have to have used some kind of time travel and The Doctor is right. Every method of doing that leaves a trace. But…..”

“But this place is huge, it’s busy. Nobody is in one place for more than five minutes, and we were the first and only time travellers you’ve detected since you got here.”

Jamie nodded.

“Ok, we need to start thinking a bit bigger,” The Doctor told him. “For a start, let’s get back to the TARDIS and put this search on a more professional level.”

That was a put down. “Professional”. Jamie was on the verge of protesting but The Doctor was on the move. He walked fast, purposefully, but at the same time managed to look like he WASN’T in a hurry to get somewhere, wasn’t urgent in any way. The effect was ruined by the three of them having to gallop after him.

Inside the TARDIS, Jamie reverted to female again, explaining that it WAS her usual look. Gendermorphs could be male or female at will, but often they chose a preferred ‘default’.

“And AS a female you prefer women, still?” Wyn asked.

“Yes, I do,” she answered. “And I DO like you a lot, Wyn. Please forgive me for using you even for a minute.”

Wyn looked at Jamie. She reached out her hand to her and it was clasped gratefully. Their eyes met and something unspoken, something beyond even telepathy, passed between them. The next moment they were embracing each other and Wyn gave a soft sigh as Jamie turned her head and kissed her.

“One word of teenage flippancy and you will invoke my deepest ire,” The Doctor said as Stella turned away from watching them with the same sort of embarrassed expression people of her age usually get when they see their parents kissing. “Come on, down to the workshop. You can help me. K9, you come along as well.”

A half hour later when they returned, the two were STILL engrossed in a passionate clinch. This time The Doctor DID have something to say about it.

“Ok, time to let each other breathe,” he commented. “Besides, we have work to do. And pressies for Wyn and Stella.”

“Our own sonic screwdrivers!” Stella announced, positively bouncing in excitement. “Sort of anyway. Yours is a sonic pen and mine is a sonic eyeliner pencil.”

The Doctor held up the two slimline gadgets. Wyn beamed happily as she reached out to take the one that looked like a fine gold pen. It even had her NAME on it, she noticed. Stella took the other one and pulled the top off it to reveal a very small blue light.

“They’re not as multi-functional as mine,” The Doctor admitted. “But you CAN do a few things. They don’t write or apply eyeliner. Try to remember that. ESPECIALLY the latter. I don’t want to be responsible for the consequences of a mistake like that. For today, function Sigma J7 will detect anyone who has travelled in the time vortex by any means whatsoever, ESPECIALLY anyone who has done it without the protective dampening fields of a fully functioning TARDIS. If they’ve only recently travelled you’ll spot them anyway. They’ll be the ones who look like they want to be sick and aren’t quite sure which direction to be sick in because they haven’t got used to the local gravity yet.”

“Yuck,” Stella said for all of them. “So what’s the plan? We split up and search?”

“Yes,” he answered. “There are five different theatres plus the grand arena. Stella, I want YOU to stick with me. K9, old chap, are you comfy with that vortex recognition chip I interfaced with your brain?”

“Affirmative, master.”

“Ok, you take all the main public areas and the backstage and staff only corridors. Nobody will pay much attention to you. They’ll think you’re a messenger droid paging somebody.” Wyn, Jamie, you take theatres one, two and three. Stella and I will take four and five and the main auditorium.”

“I would have thought the TARDIS could scan the whole lot,” Wyn pointed out as they made their way back to the Hexagon.

“It can’t penetrate the walls. The Hexagon hosts important diplomatic conferences and trade negotiations. It has all kinds of shields and barriers against any kind of probing or surveillance and I’m not about to damage any of that to save us a bit of legwork.”

Jamie looked at The Doctor and seemed about to point out that SHE was the Time Agent around here and The Doctor just a freelancer. Then she thought again. There was something about The Doctor. He LOOKED like an impoverished mature student who didn’t know how to use a steam iron, but beyond that mere physical appearance was an overriding authority. In any situation The Doctor was in charge.

“By the way, you’d better revert back to being a bloke for the afternoon, otherwise Wyn will never be able to concentrate on the job and I’m not sure your shirt buttons will take the strain much longer.”

They both laughed and Jamie transformed again. They held hands as they went on their way towards Theatre One, where they managed to sit through a full act of the Priminian opera while scanning the rest of the audience. Over on the other side of the Hexagon The Doctor and Stella watched part of the Plutonian Macbeth and a very fine contemporary dance from the seven foot tall, stick thin and ethereal troupe from Aleria V. K9 wandered unmolested through the arena where the massed choir of Galena IX, three thousand individual voices, were making beautiful harmonies that were lost on a robot dog who had never been equipped with an ear for music.

“Are you sure this thing is working?” Stella complained as she waved her sonic eyeliner with a satisfying ‘swish and flick’ that in a more peculiar universe than this one might have summoned demons. She had tried it on about three hundred people watching a ‘dance’ performed by a species who were best described as coloured smoke inside a thin, flexible and see-through skin. Every one of them came up negative for time travel residue.

“It’s working,” The Doctor told her. “We just haven’t found who we’re looking for yet. It’s possible they’re not HERE yet. The festival continues for two more days.”

“What do we do when we FIND who we’re after?” she asked.

“We STOP them, obviously,” The Doctor said. “This sort of thing can’t be allowed.”

“What IS a Grandfather Paradox anyway?” Stella asked.

“The classic example is a person accidentally killing their own grandparents and writing themselves out of existence. It’s very dangerous because they not only wipe themselves out, but their entire lineage. The time continuum doesn’t like it. Nor does it like assassins coming back in time to mess with other people’s futures.”

“Oh, I get it. It’s like Terminator.” Stella said. “Like the robot Arnie coming to kill the girl who’s son was going to be the Human rebel leader in the future.”

The Doctor nodded grimly.

“Another film you’re not old enough to have seen! But yes, that sort of thing. My people used to stamp hard on it. Any Time Lord who tried it would face the death penalty. Unless of course they ORDERED it to be done. Like when they wanted me to do it to the Daleks. They could be a bit hypocritical, my lot. Bit like the American government in your day. Do as we say, not as we do. But still….”

“Doctor?” Stella turned around, wondering why he had stopped talking in mid-sentence.

He was gone.

“Doctor?” She turned around and around, searching for him, thinking he had just dashed off into the crowd on a whim. She couldn’t see him. Nor could her sonic eyeliner. Before, it had managed to register the two of them as vortex veterans. But now it just showed her.

The Doctor had left the building!

She was just about hysterical by the time Wyn and Jamie and K9 reached her. Wyn comforted her as best she could, but her own heart felt like lead as she tried to work out what had happened.

“Oh, no,” Jamie groaned. “Oh, I am an idiot. I am a bloody idiot. I should have seen it.”

“What?” Wyn asked.

“The Doctor has been kidnapped. HE is the one. He’s the victim I was sent here to protect. And I let him be taken. I didn’t THINK. He’s the last Time Lord in existence. The race that ruled all time and space before most other races discovered that their worlds weren’t flat! He’s unique and amazing and I should have protected him.”

“HOW?” Stella pointed out. “If he couldn’t protect himself, what could you do?”

Jamie conceded that point.

“Show me exactly where he was when he disappeared,” he told Stella. “I might be able….”

Stella showed him. Jamie tapped the very small keys on his wristlet and then held his arm up high as he read off the data on the screen.

“There was some sort of transmat beam involved. He was grabbed by it. It MUST be local, because the Hexagon is shielded against external transmats.

“Then he MUST be in the building somewhere,” Wyn said with something like relief. “He’s not far away?”

“Yes, but I can’t get a trace with this. It can pick up residual transmat energy but it can’t trace the source.”

“The TARDIS could,” Wyn exclaimed. “Stay here, both of you. I’m going to get it.”

She turned and ran before either could ask how she planned to ‘get’ the TARDIS. She was out of breath by the time she reached the station and saw the tram pulling away.

She was not, by any stretch of the imagination, an athletic person. She wasn’t the fat kid of seventeen any more who almost never left her bedroom. She walked regularly in the hills around her home and spent at least a couple of hours a week practicing the martial arts The Doctor taught her years ago. But she was STILL a short, size 14 woman in her thirties, and wearing an pencil skirt, to boot.

Nobody expected her to jump for the back of the moving tram. If she had thought about it she wouldn’t have expected it of herself. But she wasn’t thinking about herself. She was thinking about The Doctor, and how much danger he might be in. So she jumped and scrambled aboard. She jumped off again before it stopped at the other end and raced past the hump-backed toll-keeper, reaching for the TARDIS key around her neck as she found the aisle where it was parked.

She and Stella had always teased The Doctor about talking to the TARDIS as if it were sentient. But this time she put her hands on the console gently and spoke to it in a low voice, pleading desperately.

“I know you’re not supposed to work for anyone else. I know about the imprimatur and all that. But please, make an exception. HE needs you. He needs you to let me do the flying for this once.”

The Time Rotor glowed a brighter green for a long moment.

It had replied to her.

It had said YES.

She reached for the flight controls. She didn’t intend to dematerialise. That WOULD need The Doctor at the controls. In any case, the same shields that prevented transmats from getting through the Hexagon walls would prevent the TARDIS from getting in that way. But she knew the TARDIS could move in a more conventional way. She hesitated for a moment, working out how to do it, and was surprised when a button lit up in front of her. She pressed it and felt the TARDIS engines kick in and a forward momentum.

Other levers were illuminated just in the nick of time. On the viewscreen she saw the hunchbacked man running away as the TARDIS pursued him erratically. It was a bit like a computer simulation, with left and right and forward and up. She pressed up gently and felt only a slight bump as the TARDIS clipped the top of the tollbooth where the poor man had hidden. She missed the top of the tram, too, as she rose over it and got in front, racing it along the track back to the Hexagon. She aimed for the plate glass entrance doors and hoped the sensor would trip and they would automatically open before the TARDIS smashed through them.

They DID open and she flew through, skimming a foot off the luxuriously carpeted foyer and into the corridor that led her back to Jamie and Stella. People were screaming and scattering and she figured that security would be along soon, but she thought only of getting back to them.

Her landing was a little bumpy, but it was right where she wanted it to be. Right on the spot where Jamie had taken the energy reading. The TARDIS engines went quiet as she let go of the controls and reached to open the door. Jamie and Stella ran inside and she closed it again. Security could scream and shout and hammer at the door, but they had other things to do.


Wyn nearly jumped out of her skin as she heard The Doctor’s voice through the speaker on the console. He sounded echoing and far away and at the same time very close.

“Doctor!” she cried out. “You’re alive. Where ARE you?”

“I’m here. I’m everywhere. I’m nowhere. Wyn, I need your help. I’m trapped.”

“Trapped where?” she asked. “And how come I can hear you?”

“I’m trapped in the transmat,” he said. “My body was disassembled ready to be instantly transmatted and re-assembled. But I blocked the transmat from taking me to the source location. I’m floating around as molecules, just about holding onto myself by mental force. But I can’t do it forever. You have to get me back. Or rather, Jamie will have to. He’s a Time Agent. He’s used transmats before.”

“Is it dangerous?” Wyn asked, looking at Jamie.

“Yes, very,” The Doctor answered. “And I’m sorry to ask somebody I hardly know to put his life on the line for me.”

“Jamie,” Wyn said. “Please. Help him.”

“Just tell me what to do,” Jamie answered. “I know you thought bad of me, and maybe I was at fault. But let me do this. Let me prove myself to you, and to Wyn.”

“Thank you,” The Doctor said. “Wyn, listen carefully. I want you to lift the top panel of the environmental console. There’s a round object… it looks like an old fashioned fob watch, but it’s more than that. Detach it carefully. Give it to Jamie. He’s going to bring it through to me. He’s going to get me inside the watch.”

“How?” Wyn asked as she did as he asked. The watch fitted in her palm and had the satisfying weight of something made of metal. “How can you be inside this?”

“Doesn’t matter how. Jamie, your wristlet acts as a teleport. All Time Agents have something that can get them in and out of tricky situations. I know you lot. Take it off. You’re not travelling with it. You’re going to interface it with the TARDIS. Do exactly as I say now.”

The Doctor’s voice gave instructions and Jamie followed them exactly. He seemed to be getting weaker and fainter as they worked, though.

“Doctor, how long can you stay like this?”

“I don’t know,” he answered. “Maybe an hour at the most. Sooner or later my molecules will just scatter too far to be retrieved.

Stella looked at her watch. It had been nearly that, now.

“Doctor,” she cried out. “Hold on, please.”

“I’m trying,” he answered. “If I can’t… If… Jamie… Time Agency… They can… get you home.”

“Don’t talk like that,” Stella protested. “Doctor, you’ll be all right. We’re nearly ready.”

“We’re ready,” Jamie said. “Just one thing….” He shimmered and changed to the female form. “If I’m going to risk my life, I want to do it this way.”

“All right….” The Doctor’s voice was still fainter. “Hold the watch. Wyn, on the count of three, flip the switch. On three, Jamie, open the watch. Wyn, keep counting to ten and then flip the switch the other way. Ready….”

“No,” Wyn murmured. But she had to be ready. She counted to three. On three she flipped the switch. Jamie opened the fob watch a fraction of a second before

She disappeared. Wyn kept on counting steadily until ten and flipped the switch again.

Jamie appeared. She was still holding the watch, but it was closed. It was glowing with a golden light. Wyn thought she could hear The Doctor’s voice coming from it in a hoarse whisper. It wasn’t something she heard with her ears, but with her heart. She KNEW that he was in there.

“Open it,” she cried. “Jamie, open it.”

Jamie blinked and looked at the fob watch in her hand.

“I can feel him. His soul… in my hands. Everything that he IS. He’s… he’s not just a man. He’s the universe itself made flesh… He….”

“Open the watch,” Wyn cried. Jamie held it at arms length and flipped it open. The Doctor’s voice escaped from it. The same whisper she thought she had heard before, but now the whisper filled the console room, and so did the golden light. They were all bathed in it. Wyn and Stella both gasped out loud as they, too, felt The Doctor’s very being, his fantastic, incredible soul, enfolding them briefly before the light began to coalesce in a pillar of golden light that slowly took on the shape of a man, and ever more slowly The Doctor’s features began to form. The light faded to a pale yellow aura around him as he stood there, smiling. Wyn stepped towards him, then stopped, uncertain.

“Is it safe? Can I touch you?”

“Course you can,” he answered. “Come here… all of you.”

Wyn reached him first. Then Stella. He hugged them both, and grinned at Jamie as she held back.

“Come here, you, as well. Our molecules got mingled in the ether. We can’t NOT like each other after that. It’s practically grounds for marriage.”

“Hands off,” Wyn told him. “She’s mine.”

“That’s really what happened?” Stella asked. “You and Jamie were mingled together, your molecules and hers?”

“Yep. But she had the watch. It’s not a watch at all, of course. It’s a special bit of Time Lord kit. In certain special circumstances it can contain a Time Lords entire existence. My molecules were pulled towards it, and hers stayed outside. So when we came back all she had to do was open it up and let me out.”

“You do realise that doesn’t make any scientific sense at all,” Wyn told him. “At least not the science I know. It’s totally outside the laws of physics. But I don’t care if the flower fairies did it. I’m just so glad you’re alive.”

“We’ve still got to work out who did it and why,” Jamie pointed out. “Doctor….”

“Wait a moment,” he said. He stepped towards the console and put his hands over the navigation console. “I still have some of the residual energy in me. I think I can get a fix on where the transmat was going. Ahah…. YES! Got it.”

“Is it catching?” Wyn asked. Now he was back, safe and sound she was glad to make a joke.

“No, but we’ve got a good chance of catching the one responsible. You’ll get your man, Jamie. Or woman, you never know your luck.”

“Why would a woman kidnap you?” Stella asked as The Doctor moved around to the drive controls and kick-started the engine. He was going to drive the TARDIS the way she had, earlier, all the way to the co-ordinate. Outside, security staff were shouting loudly as they chased after the TARDIS.

“What? You don’t think I’m enough of a ‘muffin’ to kidnap? There’s one at least who would love to get me in her clutches. B’Talia Vance.…” He groaned. “No, it had better NOT be her. She can’t have got out of jail already. If it is, I’ll wring her bloody neck!”

The TARDIS was in the vanguard of a chase through the corridors of the Hexagon and down the stairwell to the basement, where the walls were not opaque and shining, but rather a dull pale green.

“Hold on tight,” The Doctor called out as they rapidly approached a locked and bolted double door. He pushed the forward lever hard and the TARDIS smashed straight through the door.

It was a practice studio for the performers upstairs, a wide room with mirrors along one wall. In the centre of it was a portable static transmat receiver around which four hooded figures were gathered. They turned and stared as the TARDIS crashed through the door. One of them had the presence of mind to pull a gun and fire but the bullets didn’t even scratch the paintwork. Meanwhile the security staff were pouring into the room, their own weapons drawn.

“Now is a good time to produce that psychic paper,” The Doctor said to Jamie as he got ready to step out of the TARDIS.

Not that it was needed. Again, The Doctor’s mere physical presence was enough. The security guards disarmed the four men, but were happy to stand off as The Doctor approached and pulled back the hood on one of them.

“Soooo…” he drawled slowly. “What’s this all about? Who are you? Do you work for B’Tallia Vance?”

“I serve The Master,” the man answered.

“You… WHAT!” The Doctor stared at the man. He looked like an ordinary Human, middle aged, going a little grey. “THE Master?”

“The greatest Lord of Time, The Master,” the man repeated.

“He’s DEAD!” The Doctor answered. “He’s dead and gone. What are you talking about - SERVING The Master?”

“I serve him. He is to be regenerated by the blood of his enemy and rule the universe.”

“Is he for REAL?” Jamie asked. “Who is this Master?”

“The Master is DEAD,” The Doctor repeated. “And this is…. This is an insane cult who know nothing of who he really is or who I really am.”

He reached out his hand and touched the mind of the Master’s adherent, reading the memories that were at the forefront of his mind. He saw something there that almost froze his hearts.

This man and his fellow hood-wearers - had been there when The Master had been executed on Skaro - prurient witnesses to the sad, shocking event and recipients of a souvenir that ought to have been atomised with him. He looked at the transmat receiver and asked Jamie to search it for anything that didn’t belong to the machine.

“Doctor!” She held something in the palm of her hand. The Doctor looked and then recoiled from it as if it was contaminated.

“It’s just a ring?” Jamie looked at The Doctor in surprise.

“Not just a ring,” he answered. “It’s a ring made on Gallifrey. Pure Gallifreyan gold set with a red diamond – the most valuable and rare diamonds in the universe. The Master put a piece of himself in the ring. A piece of his soul. Where was that?”

“In the receiver mechanism,” Jamie replied. “It looked as if it had been ‘wired up’ as part of the process.

“Yes,” The Doctor drawled slowly. “If the transmat had completed and I had been brought here, the essence of him within the ring would have been fused into my body. He would have begun to take me over. He’d have had a struggle. I would have fought, but eventually he would have weakened me enough to take my mind. I would be him, not me. By then I would probably have murdered my friends and I could have begun to destroy the Earth and everything, everywhere, that ever mattered to me, because he would have taken such pleasure in doing that, just to spite me. Especially if there was still enough of me left to grieve over it first.”

He would not touch the ring. The evil at the black heart of The Master’s soul tainted it. The pure evil. Any good that might once have been in him, any chance of redemption, was atomised. Only the evil lived on, carried by fools such as these who saw glamour in the worship of his darkness the way some people were attracted to the idea of vampirism or satanic crafts.

“You are fools, all of you,” The Doctor told them. “Lucky fools, because you didn’t succeed. He’d have killed you all sooner or later, you know. He cares for nobody. Jamie... put that back where you found it, please.”

Jamie did as he said. The Doctor stepped towards the transmat machine, programmed in a co-ordinate then switched it on. There was a glow within the mechanism and the ring disappeared. The Doctor took out his sonic screwdriver and aimed it at the machine. He turned to Wyn and Stella as they hovered by the door to the TARDIS, taking in all of the incredible story. Both knew of The Master as his legendary arch-nemesis and had seen only too easily the same awful vision of the future if this desperate plan had succeeded.

“Setting B-Psi-18,” he said to them. “Makes a sonic disrupter. Let’s be certain this thing is never going to work again.”

They all three aimed at the transmat machine. It fizzed and sparked and then blew up with the sort of bang his old companion Ace would have been delighted with.

The explosion was self-contained. Nobody was in any danger from it, but the security guards recoiled from it instinctively. One of the cultists saw his chance. The Doctor saw it in an eyeblink. The man turned and wrenched the gun from the guard who had detained him and swung around. He saw the muzzle flash and the bullet coming towards him. Then in the same instance he saw Jamie dive in front of him.

“No!” he screamed and pulled her down. He hadn’t even attempted to slow time, but it all felt as if it WAS in slow motion. And then there was a frozen moment in which Wyn screamed out loud.

“Nobody takes a bullet for me,” The Doctor said as he straightened up, pulling Jamie to her feet with one arm while he held up his other hand. Out of the corner of his eye he saw the would be killer disarmed and restrained. He opened his hand. The bullet fell to the floor with a small metallic sound. “Never do that again. Your life is too precious to waste.”

“So is yours, Doctor,” she answered before Wyn rushed to embrace them both.

“Is it over?” she asked. “Where did you send him… the remnant of him….”

“He’s everywhere and nowhere. In the air. Slowly dissipating. I set the co-ordinate for beyond the Hexagon, but the anti-transmat shielding would have bounced it right back to source. And we destroyed the source. He has nowhere to go.”

“So it IS over?” Jamie said. “Apart from me taking those four back to the fifty-first century to stand trial for abuse of time travel.”

Wyn looked disappointed at that. Jamie looked at her, then at The Doctor.

“It’ll take a few days to arrange transportation. They’ll have to be held in custody here on Pluto. We’ll all need to make full statements, of course. For the extradition papers.”

“Plenty of time to enjoy the festival,” The Doctor said. “And that date you promised Wyn when you wrapped up the case.”