Unfinished Business, Doctor Who, Dr. Who, Chris Eccleston, Christopher Eccleston, Doctor who Fiction

The Doctor had suffered the London Transport System to go shopping with Rose. They returned home to the flats exhausted, he wondering why he didn't use the TARDIS. There was no reason except he had long ago vowed that, no matter how domestic he got in the hands of the Tyler women, he would NEVER turn his time and space travelling machine into a little runabout for up town shopping.

"I don't know why you don't buy a car," Rose said as they took the lift to Jackie's floor. "It's not like you couldn't afford one."

"Driving in London! I'd rather take the TARDIS at impulse power through the asteroid belt." She laughed as he said that. They were still laughing as they came into the flat. The Doctor smiled as he saw Maureen Grey sitting with Jackie in the living room.

"Hello, Doctor," Maureen said. "It's good to see you. I was hoping for a word."

"Is Mark well?" The Doctor asked.

"He's fine. But… Doctor…. I've been offered a lot of money by a journalist who got hold of the story about you rescuing Mark - and about you being an alien and your ship and all."

"Ah!" He looked at her with a slightly different smile to the friendly one he had greeted her with. Now he looked mischievous. "How much money?" Maureen told him. It was a lot of money for a single mum with a growing boy to turn down. He could see the conflict in her face, loyalty to him, versus really wanting to take the money.

"Take the money. Tell him everything you know. Don't forget to get him to spell TARDIS correctly. Once the cheque clears there is nothing they can do about it. But the story will never get into print. I have friends in high places. If anything to do with me reaches any news media a D-Notice slams down right away and the writer gets a quiet word in his ear from some persuasive people."

"That… seems a little dishonest," Jackie said.

"No, not really. This journalist wants to pay her to tell the story, not to print it. Two different things. And if he doesn't know that it's his problem."

"He's right," Rose said with a grin. Maureen smiled and thanked him and left.

"Doesn't seem right to me," Jackie said. "But Maureen could use the money."

"Happens from time to time. People get nosy about me. I suppose really I've got too familiar around here. The 'parking space' is pushing it. But if a story gets squashed it should discourage them for a decade or two." He grinned and crossed his long legs as he lounged back on the sofa and picked up the newspaper that was lying nearby. Rose thought he looked so comfortable, as if he belonged there. Then she felt the ring on her finger and looked down at the sparkling solitaire. He DID belong there, in her world, just as she belonged in his. And there was a contract to prove it.

She went with her mum to make coffee. When they came back he was looking far from relaxed. He was looking very agitated and she could hear a choice selection of Low Gallifreyan swear swords mixed in as he read the offending newspaper article under his breath.

"What's up?" Rose asked as she handed him a coffee cup. He took it absently and swore again.

"No way," he said aloud. "I've got to stop them."

"Stop who?" Rose took the paper from him and read it. "Soap stars to wed?"

"Well that's going to end in tears too. But I was referring to the article underneath."

"Nobel Prize Winner Fights Against Tourist Attraction." She looked at him for confirmation before continuing to read. "Plans to turn a South Wales mine, closed in 1973, into a major tourist attraction, have been opposed by Professor Clifford Jones…" She looked up. "Jo's Cliff?"

"The very man."

"…Professor Clifford Jones, the youngest ever recipient of the Nobel Prize for chemistry, in 1972, and the only man to win two Nobel Prizes, is strenuously opposing the plan by London born millionaire entrepreneur, Brian Delane, to turn the Llanfairfach mine into an underground theme park. Professor Jones has pointed to the environmental impact of the project as well as to respecting the memory of three miners who died in a freak accident shortly after the mine was closed. Mr. Delane accused Professor Jones of being an aged hippie who still lived in the 1970s and lacking in entrepreneurial spirit…."

"They died in a freak accident AFTER the mine was closed?" Rose looked at The Doctor. "Was that a misprint or…"

"That's why I love you, Rose. You think about these things. No, it's not a misprint, and it is everything to do with why that mine must not be re-opened."

"You're going off on another of your adventures?" Jackie looked at The Doctor who seemed animated by the prospect, and at Rose who seemed equally excited. "I hoped you would stay a while longer."

"We'll be back," Rose told her. "You know we will. But it's maybe for the best if we get away from here for a while if journalists are poking around."

"That's true enough," Jackie admitted. "But still. I like having you around. Both of you."

"We'll stay till after tea," The Doctor promised. The ‘both of you’ that Jackie had emphasised there was not lost on him. "Only takes an hour to get to Llanfairfach by TARDIS, after all."

They stayed to tea. Then both hugged Jackie and promised to be back and soon they were on course for South Wales. The Doctor seemed in a good mood despite the fact that he was heading for potential trouble - or perhaps BECAUSE of it. Rose's general observation that he was happiest when there was a fight to be fought was holding true. She smiled. She wouldn't change that about him even if she could.

The TARDIS landed in what seemed to be a farmyard. The Doctor looked pleased with himself as he crossed to the kitchen door where light and the sound of a radio playing spilled out.

"This is where they live?"

"Yep. This is the headquarters of Wholeweal."

"Wholeweal?" Rose looked at him. "Like the company that makes all the vegetarian food in the supermarket."

"Yep. This is where it all began, with a nutty professor growing mushrooms."

"That's Cliff and Jo?"


"But they must be millionaires. This place is… well, just ordinary."

The door was part open. They stepped inside. Jo looked up from where she was pulling a home made loaf of bread from the oven and dropped it down on the hob before flying to embrace The Doctor.

"Oh, it's lovely to see you," she said, hugging him tight and standing on her tip toes to kiss him. "You should have told us you were coming."

"When have I ever phoned to say I am arriving anywhere?" The Doctor laughed as Jo's overwhelming display of affection began to be a problem to anyone who couldn't recycle their breathing as he could.

"Mum?" The man sitting at the kitchen table looked up at her. "Does dad know you're having an affair with a younger man?"

She stopped hugging and kissing The Doctor and turned to her first born.

"This is not a younger man. This is The Doctor."

"Who's sick?" he asked. Then he looked again. "THE Doctor? The one you used to tell us about when we were kids?"

"YES!" she laughed. "Doctor, this is my oldest son, Rhys." They shook hands politely. "And this is Rose," she added. "She is…"

"My fiancée," The Doctor said proudly and Jo gave a squeal of delight and hugged him again and hugged Rose and formal introductions were forgotten. They were ushered into the dining room where Cliff himself, the twice Nobel Prize winner, was humbly setting the table. When he heard the news he pulled a bottle of wine from the dresser.

"1975," he said proudly. "Our first year producing our own wine from grapes grown in the organic greenhouses. We don't have many bottles left, but this is something special."

"Where's Wyn?" Rhys asked as the room began to fill with people, including his two younger brothers, introduced as Drew and Kian, two more strong young men with Jo's bright eyes and Cliff's burning intelligence and thirst for life.

"Down the town eating bacon butties on the sly, I'll bet," Kian said. Cliff and Jo nodded gloomily.

They knew the progress of the tardy Wyn through the house from the way each of the intervening doors was slammed. Finally the dining room was graced with the presence of the youngest Jones child with short black hair, streaked with blonde, round face, red from running, Che Guevara T.Shirt, baggy combat trousers and extremely muddy trainers.

"Four boys," The Doctor said with a smile. "Quite a family you have there, Jo."

"Wyn is a girl," Jo said and her youngest scowled at her and slumped into a chair. "She likes people to think she's a boy."

"So who are they then?" Wyn pointed a fork at The Doctor and Rose as they all waited to be served supper. Jo explained while Cliff carved what looked like a joint of meat. Rose was surprised. This LOOKED like a vegetarian kind of house and the comment about bacon butties more or less confirmed it.

"Oh! Right!" Wyn looked unimpressed, unlike her three older brothers, who were all excited to meet a legend of their childhood, The Doctor.

"It's true, about the time travel and going to other planets?" Kian looked like a kid in a sweet shop. "Daleks and what was it… Autons?"

"You know I forgot," The Doctor said with a nostalgic smile. "Jo first joined me in the middle of an Auton invasion and so did you, Rose! Quite a coincidence."

"Did you blow up her job?" Rose asked.

"You're never going to stop blaming me for that, are you? You didn't even LIKE that job." Rose gave him a disgusted look even Wyn would have had a hard job emulating and then smiled, because he was right.

"I was assigned to him by U.N.I.T., as his assistant," Jo explained. "I was trained to be a spy. I expected to go undercover in Russia on assignments for the British government. Instead I got taken all over the universe on assignments for the Time Lords."

"YOU?" Wyn said sulkily. "A spy?"

"Jo was a fantastic spy," The Doctor said. Jo beamed at him, but that just seemed to set Wyn's scowl in for the night.

"Anyway, how old were YOU?" Wyn demanded of The Doctor. "You look younger than mum. How could you have done all that stuff?"

"I'm older than I look."

"630 when I knew you," Jo said.

"951 last birthday," Rose added.

"How's that?" Drew asked. "It's only been thirty-six years."

"Don't even try to work it out," Jo said. "He's lived longer than us because he doesn't live in ordinary time."

"I gave up working that out long ago," Rose said.

"It's cool," Kian said.

Wyn scowled again. "I don't believe it. I think mum's having us on. And I don't know WHO he's meant to be."

"He's The Doctor," Jo insisted. "And he's my oldest and dearest friend and you can stop being so rude or go to bed without any supper."

"I don't care. I hate this rubbish. I ate at Dave's. Bacon and sausage and black pudding and fried bread - done in LARD. REAL food. REAL MEAT."

"Well, what's THIS then?" Rose looked at the forkful of "meat". It looked and felt and tasted just like beef as far as she could tell.

"That's our Amazonian fungus prepared and cooked to taste like a joint of meat," Cliff explained. Rose looked alarmed and put the fork down.

"You were perfectly happy with it before you knew what it was," The Doctor told her, laughing. "Anyway, three quarters of this country eats this stuff every night in frozen pie fillings. Even some that claim to be real meat. You've probably eaten it before loads of times without knowing it."

Rose picked up her fork again and carried on eating. It WAS nice. But knowing it was really a fungus was strange. Wyn, she noticed, DID eat her food but sulkily and afterwards she left the table without speaking to anyone.

Rose went outside to the TARDIS after supper while The Doctor was talking to Cliff about the mine.

"Hey, WOW!" As she came back into the console room with the carrier bag she had left in her bedroom earlier, Wyn was standing at the TARDIS door staring around. "What IS this?"

"The TARDIS," Rose said. "It's our time and space ship."

"What, you and him - The Doctor?" Wyn came inside fully and looked at Rose. "So are you like 900 years old, too?"

"No. I'm 23. But the TARDIS is my home. The Doctor is my bloke. We're engaged." It was the first time she had ever actually said that to anyone. It felt good. Telling somebody, even a kid like Wyn, made it feel REAL. She and The Doctor really WERE together, they were an item, and the TARDIS really WAS her home. Forever. She felt sure of that now.

"So… he's like an alien or something."


"And you're Human."


"And… you and him are…"


"Weird. But cool, I guess."

"I think so."

"So can you drive this?" She looked closely at the console.


"Cool. Go on then."

"I don't do joyriding," she said. "Come on. I need to lock up for the night." She picked up the carrier bag and her overnight toiletry case and ushered Wyn out of the TARDIS. She locked the door behind her and went into the house. She told The Doctor she was tired and was heading up to the room they were staying in.

It was a nice bedroom, with an en-suite bathroom and a nice big bed with a patchwork quilt over it. Everything in Jo's house had a lovely old-fashioned, home made feel to it. She rather liked it. A contrast to the ready-made throwaway life she lived in London or the hi-tech future life she had in the TARDIS. She left the lamp on by the bedside and lay quietly.

The Doctor came up to the room after about an hour. He smiled at her and slipped into the bathroom. She heard the shower running and then the sound of him humming tunefully as he shaved and rather less tunefully as he carried on humming while brushing his teeth. She thought it strange in a way. He WAS an alien, and yet he was so Human in all the ordinary things he did.

When he emerged from the bathroom she was surprised. He was dressed in a pair of black satin pyjamas. They reminded her of the martial arts outfit he wore for practice in the dojo. They suited him very well. His tall, rangy figure looked sensational in black. He pulled back the blankets and slipped into the bed beside her.

"Hey," he said. "What happened to the bunny pyjamas?" He looked appreciatively at the deep red silk nightdress she was wearing. It was a long one, and it covered everything perfectly appropriately, but still it did the opposite to the bunny pyjamas. They made her look like a little girl. This nightdress made her look like a woman - and a desirable woman at that.

"Don't you like it?" she asked. "I bought it for you."

"Not my size," he joked. "But I thought you might appreciate me in these," he added, referring to the satin pyjamas.

"Oh, I do. Are you going to stay the night with me?" she asked as they cuddled close, satin pressed against silk, his freshly shaved and smooth cheek next to hers.

"Yes. You're my fiancée now. I want to be close to you."

"You could have been close to me any time as far as I'm concerned."

"No," he told her. "Not until we were 'official.' And it's only because I know you're not going to ask me to do anything that would be against my honour as a Gallifreyan that we are able to be together this way."

"What if I DID ask you to do something that was against your honour as a Gallifreyan?"

"Then we COULDN'T be like this," he said. "So please don't. I just want to hold you, feel you next to me. Listen to you breathe as you sleep."

"It's not real is it? You DON'T sleep. You're just doing it to please me."

"I CAN sleep like a Human if I want to," he told her. "I prefer to meditate. It restores my strength in less time, so that I can get on with other things, and I don't get nightmares."

"Nightmares are a problem for you?"

"Yes," he admitted. "I know, I'm the saviour of the universe. I've been there, seen it, done it. That's the problem. Sometimes in my dreams it all gets too much. So I'd rather not dream."

Rose tightened her arms around him. "Don't dream then," she whispered. "Just sleep safe beside me."

"Sleep in a little while," he said. "I want to enjoy being next to you like this. That's a very NICE nightdress. Feels nice, silk, touching you through it."

"Mmm," Rose said. Touching him through the black satin was nice, too. She was so used to cuddling up to him in that woolly jumper and the leather jacket. Not that she minded. The slightly scratchy feel of the wool, the smell of the leather, his clean skin and sometimes just a hint of an aftershave she had never been able to identify were all wonderful. They were HIM. They made her feel warm and comfortable and loved.

But now the leather jacket was hanging on a chairback and she ran her hands over his chest, through a thin layer of satin fabric and he caressed her through silk, and they kissed passionately at first, then slow and indulgently as sleepiness began to overtake them.

In his arms she slept safely and warmly, dreaming soft dreams.

In her arms he slept more soundly than he could remember doing for a long time, and he had no dreams, but he had no nightmares either.

He woke early the next morning and slid out of the bed, leaving Rose asleep under the warm covers. He went to the window and sat looking out over the valley of Llanfairfach. The mountains rose up over the wheelhouse of the old mine and the roof of the Wholeweal factory. He remembered, thirty-six years ago in Earth time, nearly three hundred years ago for him, when it had been the site of Global Chemicals, a company that promised pollution free oil, but ironically turned out to be responsible for the most devastating pollution even he had ever seen, a toxic sludge that created giant mutant maggots with a venom that killed painfully. The stuff of nightmares to be sure.

And now it was the site of one of the most successful alternative lifestyle plans the world had ever seen. Clifford's dream of an alternative food source to feed the world's hungry became a commercial success in the lucrative market for vegetarian substitutes for meat. It gave full employment to a community that would otherwise have died in the wake of both the mine closure and the disaster that was Global Chemicals. And Cliff used the profits to feed the world after all. That was why they didn't live as millionaires.

Of course, Cliff had no more chance of ridding the Earth of hunger than HE had of ridding the universe of injustice. They were both of them Don Quixote's tilting at windmills. But neither of them would ever give up trying.

Jo had once said Cliff was like him. She meant it as a compliment. And it was. She fell in love with Cliff because he was a Human with his qualities. That was a compliment, too. But it had hurt to let her go. He and Jo had been like father and daughter. When she left it was as hard as when he had let Susan go to David. But it had been the right thing to do, both times.

And now he had Rose. He went back to the bed. He had told her he would stay the night. If she woke alone it would seem as if he hadn't kept his promise.

He was lying there, cuddled close up to her, pretending to be asleep, but really thinking over old days and old stories when a frantic knocking was heard at the door outside. With his superior hearing he caught far more of the conversation than Rose did but even she was heading to the bathroom to dress herself when the frantic knocking was echoed at the door of their room. He opened the door to Drew, the middle one of the Jones sons.

“Doctor…. Mum and dad are missing. Their car was found run into a ditch but they’re nowhere to be seen. The police are searching, but it looks like kidnap…”

They didn't do it deliberately, Rose knew, but the end result was the same as if they had. The Doctor and the three sons all went off together to see what was going on and she and Wyn, the only FEMALES, were left behind, sitting in the kitchen, just to add stereotypical insult to injury.

"They treat me like I'm a kid," Wyn complained.

"You ARE a kid," Rose told her. "I get fed up of being treated like a useless girl."

"You ARE a girl," Wyn countered.

"So are you. Anyway, I'm not useless." Rose glanced at the rack of kitchen knives and grabbed three at once. Wyn watched open mouthed as all three knives flew through the air and thudded into the cork notice-board by the back door.


"What is the point in him teaching me these things if he doesn't let me get involved?" Rose complained. "Why did your parents go out this morning anyway?"

"They got a call from the night-watchman at the factory to say he'd seen people hanging about by the old mine entrance. That's where the car was found."

"Bet they're down there somewhere," Rose said. "The Doctor will figure that out, of course. He'll find them."

"Why don't WE find them?" Wyn suggested.

"What the hell?" Rhys Jones stared as he stopped his car at the place where his parent's Land-Rover had run off the road into the ditch. In addition to the Land-Rover there was a very flash looking Range-Rover, the sort driven by city people who think they are country people just because they can afford to buy rural property, and two police cars. All were empty, and left in such a way that they looked abandoned.

"That's Brian Delane's car," Drew said, looking closely at the Range-Rover. The Doctor jumped down into the dry ditch to examine Cliff's Land-Rover closely. The Jones sons looked at the strange instrument he was using and were suitably convinced that it was alien technology. But even that technology drew a blank as to what had happened to Jo and Cliff.

"The car DIDN'T crash," Drew said. "There would be skid marks."

"Well done." The Doctor looked up from the ditch at the middle son. "Smart thinking. My guess is that this was a very lame effort to make it look like an accident."


"That is a harder question." He jumped out of the ditch and put the sonic screwdriver in his pocket. He looked at the three young men. They had been born and grown to manhood in the thirty-six years since he last set foot in this valley. He wished he'd met them before now. If he regretted anything in his life, it was not staying in contact with people like Jo who had once meant so much to him. He had power over time and space but he was lousy at going back and visiting people. Rhys was 30 years old. His brothers were 26 and 22, and he only met them the day before.

They had known about him all their lives. Jo, bless her, had made him the hero of their bedtime stories. They had spent their childhood playing games about Autons and Silurians and Daleks being defeated by a hero called The Doctor.

And now they were counting on him to be the hero again and save their parents.

Which would be a lot easier if he knew what had happened to their parents. This was meant to be about building a theme park in an old coal mine. It was a moral issue. It was an environmental issue. It was local politics, it was business. How did kidnapping come into it?

She DID know how to pilot the TARDIS. The Doctor had taught her a lot since the time she and Susan and the boys had flown it by themselves to rescue HIM. And she knew how to bring up a map of their immediate area - including the whole underground mine workings. It was easy to set the co-ordinates to take the TARDIS into the mine.

Even so she was quite surprised when it worked. She would have breathed a sigh of relief but she didn't want Wyn to know she WASN'T a regular pilot of the TARDIS and didn't EXACTLY know what she was doing.

"Ok," she said. "We're in the mine. Let's go find your mum and dad." They stepped out into the dark, dank tunnel. Rose turned on a torch. It shone off walls that glistened with dampness.

"Creepy. I've never been down here before."

"Never?" Rose asked. "I mean, if I lived near a place like this when I was a kid, I'd have had a den or something."

"Never could get in. It was always locked up tight. And mum and dad - actually ALL the parents - were pretty strict about us not going anywhere near."

"I always did the opposite of what my mum told me to do."

"Yeah, me too. But the mine - well - everyone knows something bad happened here. I mean, I never believed the story my mum told us…but…"

"What DID your mum tell you? What's the story about this place?"

Wyn shrugged. "I stopped listening when I was twelve. Something about giant maggots and a glowing green slime that killed people, and The Doctor had something to do with it."

"Well, I guessed that. If anything weird happens he tends to be there. I guess he fixed everything. He usually does. He's fantastic that way."

"So everyone else around here thinks. Mum is nuts about him. And my brothers think he's Superman."

"He doesn't fly and never wears a cape. But that's not far wrong." Rose smiled. Funny the effect he had on people. She loved it. She loved being engaged to the man everyone thought was so fantastic.

She wondered if she'd still be engaged to him when he found out she had borrowed the TARDIS - would he stay stolen? What had seemed like a good idea at the time suddenly didn't seem so smart now.

"It IS rubbish about the green slime and the maggots isn't it?" Wyn asked a little uncertainly as they went deeper into the mine.

"If The Doctor was involved, then I reckon it's all totally true," Rose answered. "The things I've seen since I've been with him. “If The Doctor was involved, then I reckon it’s all totally true,” Rose answered. “The things I’ve seen since I’ve been with him. Slitheen, Gelth, shop window dummies that come to life and start killing people. Daleks…”

“Daleks?” Wyn fixed on that word as one that was familiar to her.

“They’re the creepiest things in the universe. They destroyed The Doctor’s planet. Killed everyone. They tried to destroy this planet too, lots of times. But he stopped them.”

"They're the creepiest things in the universe. They destroyed The Doctor's planet. Killed everyone. They tried to destroy this planet too, lots of times. But he stopped them."

"Why didn't he stop them destroying his own planet?"

"I don't know. He doesn't talk about that. He doesn't talk about the other stuff either really. Other people tell me about it. Like your mum and other people who have known him. But the Time War is something only he knows the truth about. And he won't even tell me."

"You're really getting married to him."

"Yeah. When he can sort some stuff."

"Can you do that? An alien and a Human."


“He’s kind of good looking for a bloke – specially an OLDER bloke. But… he’s an alien. That’s weird.”

"You don't know him. If you did, you wouldn't think that. You'd think there was a lot of weird things in the universe. You'd think nothing was simple, nothing can be taken for granted. But him… No… He's the LEAST weird thing in the universe. He's what makes the universe less weird." Rose smiled. "And he's mine."

"You can have him." Wyn said. "He's not my type."

"Do you have a boyfriend?" Rose asked, changing the subject.

"Hardly. I'm fat, and I live in the back end of nowhere."

"You're not that fat," Rose told her.

"Next to you I am. And you're really pretty. I'm not."

"I thought you wanted to be a boy."

"Only because nobody treats me like a girl," she answered. And Rose honestly didn't know how to answer that. It wasn't many years since she was an awkward, unsure teenager who didn't know how to get/keep a boyfriend. But she felt utterly inadequate to tell her anything.

She didn't have to. The conversation stopped abruptly as they turned a corner and saw a light ahead. Rose switched off her torch and moved forward slowly and carefully.

There was another police car at the farmhouse when they arrived back. "What's happened?" Rhys was the first out of the car and immediately asked the question the brothers all wanted answered. "Is there any news about my parents?"

"No," the sergeant told him. "We're here following up the initial investigation. Do you know if your father was planning to meet Brian Delane this morning?"

"No," Rhys answered. "They weren't planning to meet anyone. They had a call from the factory. But Delane's car is in the same place as my parent's car. So I'd guess they're all the same place, wherever that is."

"Rose and Wyn are gone," Kian interrupted him. He had been into the house and came back to the yard quickly.

"The TARDIS is gone," The Doctor added.

"Sorry, sir," The sergeant looked at him. "Did you say your car is gone?"

"Yes," he answered, quickly steadying his racing thoughts. "But it's nothing to worry about. My fiancée must have it. And I expect young Wyn is with her. Apart from not leaving us a note to tell us where they were going that's not a problem. When did Brian Delane go missing?"

The sergeant blinked twice and had a momentary feeling that he was actually meant to be the one asking the questions before he replied to The Doctor.

"This morning," he said. "At about the same time as Professor and Mrs Jones. He also had a phone call and went out. We're treating the two incidents as connected. As well as the disappearance of four of our officers."

"Their cars are in the same place," The Doctor said. "But that still leaves us none the wiser." The Doctor looked hard at the police officers and they decided they had nothing more to do here and left.

"Ok, that's them out of the way. Let's get on with finding everyone."

"Are you sure Wyn and Rose are ok?" Rhys asked as he came back out of the kitchen after looking at something his brother had drawn attention to. "There is no sign of a struggle in there, but there are three kitchen knives stuck so hard into the noticeboard that they've gone into the wall as well."

"That's not a sign of a struggle," The Doctor told him with a wry smile. "That's the sign of Rose feeling frustrated at being left out of the loop. She was probably pretending to aim at my head."

"She often throws knives at you?"

"Throwing stars usually. I've been teaching her." He reached in his pocket for the TARDIS key. Moments later it materialised in front of them all. The Jones brothers smiled despite the urgency of their situation. Seeing the TARDIS appear before their very eyes was something they had dreamt of for much of their childhood. Despite the worry, The Doctor rather enjoyed making their day that way.

"You'd all better come in," he said as he opened the door. "But the first one to comment about it being bigger on the inside gets thrown out in temporal orbit. After 700 years of Humans poking about in here that's getting a very boring first impression."

They didn't say anything. They just stood looking around as he went to the console and retrieved the last co-ordinates.

"Oh Rose, you silly girl," he whispered. "They're in the old mine," he told the brothers. "That's where Rose took the TARDIS. They must have guessed that Jo and Cliff are down there somewhere."

"Bloody fools," Rhys said. "Trust a couple of girls to go off half-cocked like that."

"Actually, it was pretty good thinking," The Doctor said. "When there's an abandoned mine on your doorstep where else would seven kidnap victims be, after all."

"There is no way into the mine," Rhys told him. "The pithead was blown up and collapsed in 1973 and every other exit was sealed by the military."

"Yes, I know that. I was there, remember. Even so, after thirty-six years, SOMEBODY will have found a way in. How was Delane planning to explore his new bit of real estate?

"No idea," Rhys shrugged. "All I know is that dad was determined nobody was ever going to set foot in the place."

The light came from a large man-made cave. Jo and Cliff were down there. So was Brian Delane the millionaire entrepreneur who was definitely falling out of love with the Llanfairfach mine. So were the four policemen. Rose and Wyn both looked in alarm at the sight before their eyes. All the victims were shackled to one wall of the cave. In front of them was a kind of computer - a mixture of every advance in Information Technology since the early 1970s. Rose was reminded of the TARDIS console's rather ramshackle and cobbled together nature. But she knew that the TARDIS was the most powerful ship in the universe and its console part of an almost organically living thing. This computer - or whatever it was - seemed like its evil twin.

What made it seem evil? She wasn't sure, but she instinctively knew that it was.

Just how evil became clear as they watched. A screen slid mechanically into place directly opposite where Jo was shackled. She became bathed in a pulsating green light that emanated from the screen. At first she struggled against what it was doing to her, but gradually she became quiet.

"What are you doing to my wife?" Cliff screamed. "Steevens, you madman, you ungrateful swine. After all we did for you."

The green light snapped off. The screen swivelled towards Cliff. He recoiled from it, but the light that pulsated from it was white and seemed to be in rhythm with the voice of the computer.

The voice was the most evil thing about it. Rose knew that when she heard it speak. If the TARDIS had a voice, she thought for sure it would be a kind one, a loving one, like a mother, a teacher and a nurse rolled into one. This computer reminded her of a Dalek. It didn't have a Dalek's strident, staccato and murderous near hysteria, but it was monotone and merciless like they were. It thought as a machine and considered Humans as things for it to use.

"Steevens IS grateful for what you did for him," it said. "You gave him his second chance to serve me. I was no more dead than he was when the factory was destroyed. He had dreadful injuries and he seemed to have lost his mind - that was because I was occupying most of it. When he came out of the mental institution you took pity on him and gave him a job in your new factory - built over the foundations of the old one - where the only entrance to the mine was to be found. Where he could rebuild me."

"Steevens!" Cliff yelled. "This is insanity. Release us."

"He can't," the computer replied. "He cannot release you. He cannot release himself." Another green light suddenly illuminated the other side of the cave and Cliff stared in horror. A man - Steevens, Rose guessed - was also shackled to the wall, but he was wearing some kind of metal brace around his skull and wires that seemed to bore into his head trailed across the floor to the computer. She had the strangest feeling that he was the power source of the computer. His brain waves or his life force, were being used like a battery in a laptop.

"This is insane," Cliff continued. "Release us."

"Oh, I am going to release you," the monotone voice drawled. "But only to be my instruments of death." The shackles holding Jo suddenly snapped off. She slumped to the ground and then stood up, but even from where they stood Rose and Wyn both knew she was not right. Her eyes were unseeing and her face seemed twisted into the kind of malevolent hatred the computer emitted. "There are two intruders in the tunnel," it said. "Kill them."

Rose and Wyn looked in horror as Jo mutely obeyed the computer's command. Cliff screamed to her not to do it, but the green light pulsated again and his struggle against its mind-altering hypnosis was brief.

"Run!" Rose whispered loudly to Wyn. As they turned and ran it occurred to her, as inappropriate thoughts often did in times of stress, that "Run!" had been the first word The Doctor ever said to her. "Good advice, Doctor," she thought.

"We're going into the mine?" Rhys asked nervously. The Doctor looked at him.

"The giant maggots are gone," he assured him. "And the toxic sludge was neutralised. Nothing down there now but tunnels through a depleted coal seam."

"You sure?"

"I'm sure."

"Ok, but… if it IS sealed up, how can mum and dad or anyone else be down there, unless they ALSO have a TARDIS."

"Nothing is ever completely sealed. thirty-six years - SOMEBODY will have got curious. There's a way in. Believe me. And we'll find your parents down there."

Rhys looked at The Doctor. He WAS The Doctor after all. His mum had said he worked in strange ways, but that the end result was always the right one. He decided to go along with what The Doctor thought was right.

They ran, tripping over the rough ground, both of them grazing hands and knees from falling, but they kept on running until they reached the passage where the TARDIS was.

Except it was not there. Rose stared at the blank space with her heart sinking.

"She's coming," Wyn said. "She's going to kill us. Rose… My own mum wants to kill us."

"I know. Oh hell! Did we take a wrong turn? Where is the TARDIS?"

It was the right turn. She knew it was. The TARDIS was not there. She had lost it.

She had lost the TARDIS.

The Doctor was going to be so angry.

Angry? He was going to be devastated, Rose thought. The TARDIS was his home. It was his only piece of Gallifrey left, and his only way of reaching his family in the 23rd century. It was like writing off her boyfriend's car, but WORSE than that. A million times worse. She felt as if she had utterly betrayed his love and his trust.

"She's going to kill us," Wyn screamed. Jo - her mum - was nearly upon them. She, too, had fallen several times, because in that strange trance she didn't seem to be able to see where she was stepping, only the murderous intent that was in her mind. That was the only way they had got ahead of her so far. But this tunnel was a dead end without a TARDIS in it as a means of escape. "Oh mum! Please, mum. It's me, Wyn. Don't kill me. Please."

"She'll kill herself in a minute, Rose said, looking at the mess Jo was in. Her head was bleeding from the last fall and her legs cut and bruised. But she kept on coming, and she meant to kill them. "Oh! Doctor! I'm sorry. I'm sorry. Please help us."

It was coincidence, she knew, but even as she said that she felt the key in her hand become hot and she felt the familiar breeze of displaced air before a sound that made her sob with joy. The TARDIS materialised in the very spot where she had left it.

As they backed up towards the familiar door, Jo stumbled forward and grabbed at Wyn by the throat. Rose didn't want to hurt Jo, which was why running had seemed a better idea than standing her ground. But now she had to stop her killing Wyn.

"Sorry Jo," she said as she sprang forward and knocked her out with a well executed karate 'chop' at the pressure point on the neck that The Doctor had taught her as the most efficient - if not the kindest - way to send a Human to sleep for a few hours. Jo slumped onto her daughter, who held her tightly.

The TARDIS door opened and The Doctor's arm reached out. He grasped Wyn by the shoulder and pulled her and Jo inside. Rose gratefully followed before the doors that the assembled hordes of Ghengis Khan couldn't get through slammed shut.

"Jo!" The Doctor took her from Wyn's arms and held her gently. "What happened to her?" He asked.

"She was hypnotised," Wyn told him with tears pricking her eyes. "She tried to kill us. Doctor, help her, please."

"I am helping," He pulled out his sonic screwdriver and used the setting that revived unconscious people. But her eyes were still glazed over and her face still looked murderous and she had only one instruction clear in her confounded mind. Her arms reached out and her fingers closed around The Doctor's throat.

"Oh, Jo, no," he said as he pried her hands off him. "You don't want to kill me. You couldn't. I know you couldn't." But she seemed as if she did. He held her hands from his neck with one arm. He stared at her blank, unseeing eyes for a moment and then adjusted the sonic screwdriver so that its beam seemed to pulsate hypnotically. Rose thought it looked like the beam that had made her go like that in the first place, except a cool blue rather than green. The Doctor shone it into her eyes and the mad, murderous expression relaxed into her usual friendly, gentle face and her eyes became normal for a moment before she fainted. He caught her in his arms and called to Rhys and Drew to take her. Kian was already holding onto Wyn who was crying. Having your own mother try to murder you is rather a shock even for a tomboy, The Doctor reflected as he looked at her. The older sons put their mother down on Rose's cabin bed.

"First aid kit there under the console," he said to Drew who went and fetched it to treat the injuries she had sustained. Then he turned to Rose. She had been too relieved to be rescued to worry what he was going to say to her. But now she saw the steely glitter in his eyes and knew he was angry at her for taking the TARDIS.

She burst into tears. He still had said nothing, but she cried as if he had raged at her for an hour.

And then his arms were around her and he was kissing her. And that was so unexpected it was a few minutes before she stopped crying.

"You're not mad at me for taking the TARDIS?" she asked.

"I'm mad at you for not telling me you were doing it," he told her. You could have left a note, sent a text message to my mobile." He grinned. "I got the message that you were angry with me from the three knives in the wall. But something a bit less cryptic about where you were going would have been handy."

"I thought you'd…. I'm sorry. It seemed like a good idea at the time."

"You got the TARDIS into an enclosed underground space. That was brilliant piloting. I'm impressed. First time I tried it I ended up with a ton of rubble materialised in the console room. Rose, the TARDIS belongs to you as much as to me now. You and me - we belong together and we belong with the TARDIS. I'm glad you are able to handle it. I was just worried about where you were, that's all."

If he ever needed any proof that she was the right woman for him it was that the TARDIS LET her pilot it. Nobody - at least nobody who was not a direct blood relative of his like Susan and the boys - ought to be able to do it. None of his other companions had ever done more than hold down switches when he told them to. But Rose - the TARDIS had accepted her as part of him, as part of the symbiotic relationship he had always had with his ship. It loved her as much as it loved him. No, he was not mad at her. He WAS proud of her, and proud of the TARDIS, too.

"Come on now," he said, his mood changing abruptly again in the way she had come to recognise of him when they were in the middle of crises like this. "No time for chin-wagging. We have more friends out there to turn back from murderous zombies."

"Zombies?" Kian looked at him in alarm. "My dad…."

"Sorry, that was a bad choice of word. A zombie is a re-animated dead body and the only thing you can do with them is send them back to the quiet of the grave. Your dad isn't dead any more than your mum is." He went to look at Jo. She was starting to come around from the faint, and not surprisingly she was very disorientated. He set the sonic screwdriver to another setting that apparently monitored brain waves and took a reading. "She's fine now. Perfectly normal. Somebody had used a fairly simple electronic hypnosis on her. It interrupted her normal brain patterns and made her their 'tool' for murder." He looked at the gash on her head and the bruises on her arms and hands and legs. "Whoever did this cared nothing for her life. She was just there to be used. If she'd killed herself he would have used another."

"Doctor?" Jo opened her eyes and looked at him. "My head hurts."

"I know. I'm going to make it better." He made yet another adjustment to his trusty tool, to the one that repaired minor injuries to Humans. Slowly the gash closed and the bruising subsided.

"What IS that thing?" Drew asked.

"Believe it or not," Rose told him, "It's CALLED a screwdriver. I think I've seen it used as that TWICE in all the time I've known him."

"You know, come to think of it I often wondered WHY the manufacturers called it a sonic screwdriver," The Doctor said with a grin. "It's NEVER been any good at that, and it has about 10,000 other uses that have absolutely nothing to do with DIY."

"Doctor," Jo said. "Whatever I did… I didn't mean it. I couldn't help…"

"Course you couldn't," he told her soothingly. "Wyn, come here, sit with your mum. She's ok now, but you've both had a bad shock." Wyn seemed almost wary about coming near her mother, but she did as The Doctor said. Jo reached out and hugged her daughter and they both cried. Her three brothers looked at her for a moment then turned away diplomatically.

"I don't think they've hugged since Wyn was about ten," Rhys said to The Doctor. "Maybe mum should have tried to strangle her years ago."

"Oh that's not funny," Rose scolded them. "You weren't down there. It's horrible. Your mum and dad, Delane, the policemen - they're all being turned into hypnotised killers."

"Why?" Rhys asked. "What's this all about? Doctor? Why is this happening?"

But the Doctor was busy again. He pulled up a schematic on the TARDIS viewscreen that showed the mine and all its many passages. It did more than that. It showed lifesigns. A lot of lifesigns. More of them than he would have figured. There were Cliff and Delane still prisoners yet, and four police officers. But he detected at least another twenty people. And he had to assume that they were ALL hostile, yet in all probability hostile against their will.

And what was it all for? Another megalomaniac who wasn't happy with imperfect Humanity's free will, who wanted to rein it in and have them as pliant slaves instead? Some kind of plan to take over the world? What was it with taking over the world? How many times had he dealt with those sort of ideas in his life, on how many worlds? How many times was it this world? He gave up counting a LONG time ago.

"Rose," he said as he turned from the console with an animated look that anyone who knew him recognised as him squaring up for a fight. "You're with me." He turned to the Jones sons. "Any of you done any martial arts, boxing, anything of the sort? We have to fight against people like your dad. I want them to be ok afterwards."

"I have," Wyn said. "I do kick-boxing and Kung Fu at the community centre on Tuesdays."

"Don't be silly, Wyn," Rhys said. "That's not the sort of thing he means."

"Yes it is," The Doctor contradicted him. "You any good at it, Wyn?"

"Yes," she said.

"Ok, but one of you boys needs to stay here with Jo."

"Surely Wyn would be best staying here," Rhys said. "And Rose. Girls shouldn't…"

He never finished what he was saying. Wyn shouted him down loudly while Rose made three quick strides across the floor and Rhys found himself inches away from a size four trainer encasing a foot that would have knocked his head from his shoulders if she had completed the move.

The Doctor ended the argument.

"Rose is second only to me when it comes to unarmed and non-lethal combat. Wyn, do you think you're good enough at your kick boxing to take out a policeman who has been hypnotised to kill you? You tell me. And don't lie, don't exaggerate. Because if you're wrong you COULD die and Jo will never forgive me."

"I'm good," she said. "I knocked out my teacher once."

"Ok." He looked at Rhys and Kian. "You two come with us as well. Drew, look after your mum and hold the fort here. It's nothing to do with you being less of a man than your brothers. You drew the short straw, that's all."

Drew was powerless to argue against a decision The Doctor had made. He nodded and went to sit with Jo.

"You'll get our dad back ok?" he asked.

"Count on it," he smiled at them all confidently. More confident than he felt. When was it ever otherwise, he thought. A confident smile and a way with words were his defensive shields as he went into the fray. But behind them he could sometimes feel as unsure of himself as any frail Human. If they ever worked that out his hero reputation was shot to pieces.

Rose and Wyn led the way. The Doctor came behind them and the two brothers behind him.

"Who is Steevens, anyway?" Rose asked.

"Steevens?" The Doctor looked puzzled. "How does he come into this? I thought he died when Global Chemicals blew up."

"What is it with you and blowing up people's jobs?"

"That wasn't me," The Doctor protested. "Steevens was a man who was too clever for his own good. He built a computer that could think for itself and it started thinking FOR him, hypnotising people to make them do its will, trying to take over the world, that kind of thing. Though only a computer could imagine world domination could begin in a valley in South Wales. Anyway, as you ALL know, the plan failed. Global Chemicals, the computer AND Steevens all went up with a bang. Or so I thought. So Steevens survived?"

"When I was small he was a sort of hobo around the village, doing odd jobs" Rhys said. My parents gave him the nightwatchman job at the factory. I suppose they felt sorry for him."

"The computer said it was occupying his mind when the factory went up," Rose said. But The Doctor wasn't listening. Something else had occurred to him.

"Wholeweal was built on top of the old Global Chemicals foundations."


"There was a shaft down to the mine in the basement of Global Chemicals. THAT'S the entrance that wasn't sealed. And Steevens has had thirty years to build his supercomputer down here while he was working for your dad."

"Then Brian Delane came along with his big plan."

"And he had to act to get him out of the way. But where did our parents come into it?"

"Killing two birds with one stone, I suppose," The Doctor said. "The owners of Wholeweal would be in the way if he meant to start world domination here."

"He didn't look as if he was in control," Wyn said. "He was wired up to the computer as if he was…"

"The battery," Rose finished her sentence. "I don't know how, but its drawing power from him."

"The Human nervous system is essentially electricity," The Doctor said.

"Will it kill him?" Rhys asked.

"Oh yes," The Doctor told him. "The Human body is a rechargeable battery usually, but it has limitations. Stupid, stupid man. When will he learn."

"When a battery runs down, I throw it away and put in a new one," Wyn said.

"DAD!" Kian cried out with panic in his voice.

"Not while I have breath in my body," The Doctor told him.

"Shush," Rose said. "We're nearly there."

"Ok," The Doctor said. "We're likely to be attacked by innocent people who have been hypnotised into acting like killers. Knock them unconscious however you know how. But try not to do any permanent harm. I'll deal with Steevens."

"You said there were more than twenty of them," Rhys said, nervously.

"I've had worse odds than that," The Doctor said, pulling his sonic screwdriver out and setting it. "Is everybody ready?"

They had the element of surprise. It gave The Doctor time to cross the cave to where Steevens was shackled before the zombie army led by Cliff and Delane began to fight his army that mostly consisted of Cliff's children. He saw Rose take down Cliff with a Gung Fu move while Wyn karate kicked Delane and her brothers took on two of the policemen. Then he turned his attention to Steevens. If he was the battery, then logically all he had to do was unplug him. He began to pull at the wires that fed into his head.

"WHO dares to interfere with me?" The chilling voice of the computer boomed over the sounds of the struggle.

"I do," The Doctor replied. "An old adversary, do you remember me?"


"Good guess." He said as he continued to pull at the wires. "And I'm here to finish the job I started thirty-six years ago."

"I think not, Doctor!" He cursed himself for not expecting it as the computer's trailing wires snaked around his legs, tightening painfully. The shackles holding Steevens opened suddenly and he dropped like a rag doll. In the same moment The Doctor found himself slammed into the wall, his face pressed against the rock. He felt the shackles close on his arms and legs and the wires he had pulled from Steevens began to bore into his skull. He suppressed a scream as he felt his head invaded.

"A superior mind, greater power," the computer boomed.

"No!" Rose cried as she saw what was happening to him.

"No," he tried to say to her. "Stay away from me." But his mouth seemed clamped shut and his voice silenced. He felt her touch him and then she screamed as an electric shock threw her back across the floor. He heard her land heavily and he heard Wyn cry out and go to her. He could only guess by the sounds of the struggle that Wyn had been grabbed by the computer's hypnotised army. So were her brothers. Things were NOT going exactly as he had planned.

"Rose!" His brain was being slowly fried by the computer's probes boring into it, but his central thought was for her. He didn't know how badly hurt she was. And for the moment he couldn't find out. He could feel the computer using him, literally as a battery to power itself. A bigger, stronger battery than before. He could feel what it wanted. Feel its AMBITION. When it had fully connected with him, driven all his own thoughts and feelings and memories out, and turned him into no more than a mindless power source, it would have the ability to reach out and connect with every computer in the world and turn billions of people into its obedient, mindless servants. WHY it desired this power, he did not know, except that it was what so many of the enemies he had fought wanted, and were prepared to go to any lengths to achieve.

He fought it. He took control of his own brain and slowly pushed the computer's malevolent consciousness out of it. It felt as if he was cleaning a house, room by room, and locking the doors as he completed each one. It felt exhausting. It felt a struggle, but he had to keep going, keep fighting, keep pushing it out of his mind.

He did it. He felt the computer's consciousness forced out of him. He felt the shackles spring open and he dropped to his feet, steadying himself against the wall.

But he was still attached to the computer by the probes that had bored right into his brain. And he knew now that it was a two way conduit. The computer had been in his brain, now he was fighting back, getting into ITS brain. He knelt down. The concentration he needed drained his strength. He put every last ounce of energy he had into bending the will of the computer the way it had tried to bend his.

The screen flickered and turned a pulsating green. Wyn saw it as she struggled ineffectively against the grasp of a young man in cycling gear whose eyes were blank and whose brain knew only one instruction - kill. She closed her eyes against being turned into a brainless killing machine herself. But as the pulsating light spread around the room she opened them again. She felt the cyclist's grip on her loosen and she was free of him. When she turned he was staggering back from her, staring at his own hands in confusion.

Around her, all the hypnotised people were coming to their senses. Wyn saw her father standing up. He had been knocked out cold by Rose, but now he came around and he was himself again.

Everyone was themselves again except Rose, who still lay very still on the hard ground, and The Doctor who was still fighting the computer. Wyn saw his face contorted with the effort, sweat rolling down and his eyes betraying the physical pain the mental fight was causing him.

And then the room was plunged into darkness. There were cries of panic then a silence. And then Wyn heard the Doctor shout. A blue light came on - his weird screwdriver. A small light but enough to illuminate the cave. She saw him pulling the wires from his head. She wasn't quite sure in the strange light, but it seemed as if the holes in his flesh that the wires had made closed up and disappeared without a mark or scar. Then he dropped to his knees beside Rose. Wyn heard him whisper her name sadly, then with relief as he lifted her into his arms. She saw her father move forward to help but The Doctor just gave him the sonic screwdriver and told him to hold it up so they had enough light.

"Come on," he said moving forward with Rose tightly held in his arms. "Back to my TARDIS." Most of the strangers who had been the computer's unwilling tools didn't know what a TARDIS was, but they followed him because he seemed to know where he was going.

The bright lights of the console room were a relief after the darkness of the passages. Rhys and Kian made sure everyone was inside. The Doctor was busy looking after Rose on the White House sofa.

She was less badly hurt than she might have been, he realised with relief. The shock had not harmed her in any lasting way, but she had hit her head on the ground when she landed. He used the sonic screwdriver's tissue repair function on the lump beneath her hair and she slowly came around while he was doing it.

"Doctor," she whispered. "Are you all right?"

"I'm fine," he said. "Brain all mine again, mad computer's databanks wiped. Everyone alive and well."

"Not quite everyone," Rhys told him. "Steevens is dead."

"Yeah," The Doctor said. "Apart from Steevens. The computer fried his brain before it let him go and grabbed me instead. I'm afraid that's the penalty for building a power-hungry computer that can think for itself." He looked at Rose again. "I have to get us out of the mine and sort out a lot of very confused people," he said.

"I'll be all right," she said. "You go fly the TARDIS."

By the time they got back to the farmhouse, Jo was feeling well enough to be hostess to all those rescued from the mine. They all sat around the big dining table, talking about their strange experience. The computer had apparently started experiments at least a week ago, sending Steevens out to grab hitchhikers and backpackers and cyclists passing through the valley; people nobody would miss for a while. They all listened to an explanation of what had happened to them while drinking tea or coffee, or if they chose, a glass of Cliff's wine that he opened.

Brian Delane was drinking the wine as he listened to The Doctor explain to him that the best thing he could do with the mine now was seal it completely so that nobody could EVER get down there again.

"We'll have to retrieve Steevens' body," he said. "I'll take the TARDIS back down there later and get him. But after that nobody should EVER go down there. I'm afraid it's a bit of an investment disaster for you."

"Frankly, I am past caring. I'll pour cement into it if I have to." Delane sipped his wine appreciatively. "This isn't bad stuff," he said. "You interested in an exclusive to sell it in my supermarket chain?" He looked at Cliff. "I could arrange for a percentage of all sales to go to charity," he added. Cliff looked at him and reminded him of his comments about 'aging hippies' before getting down to business. The Doctor left them to it. He went to Jo and hugged her, pleased to see her something like her old, bright self again. He talked to the Jones sons, with whom his hero status was still intact even if the plan hadn't quite run smoothly. The only person he didn't see anywhere about was Wyn. But he figured he'd see her before they left in the morning.


Strangely, when the Jones family said farewell to them in the morning Wyn was still not around. Jo sighed and apologised to The Doctor and Rose.

"I thought she was getting on ok with you two," Jo said. "I really expected her to be here to say goodbye. It's not good enough."

"She's a teenager," The Doctor said. "Been there, done that. Eventually they mostly grow up into sensible adults. It's just a pain when they're at the stroppy stage where they hate everyone and everything."

"Yeah," she said and hugged him. "Come and see us again some time before Rhys is a pensioner."

"Some time before then, you'll all get a wedding invitation from me. I'm not sure when, but it WILL be long before Rhys gets his OAP bus pass."