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

Sehd Worden walked up the fire escape to the roof of the glass tower where she lived. She needed a key to take the lift to the top and it was too much trouble asking for one. They would want to know why and how long she wanted to be up there for. Nobody seemed to understand that, sometimes, a girl wanted to breathe air that hadn’t been recycled and conditioned a million times. Sometimes a girl wanted to look across the city, across the Ring, and see the mountains, the trees, the world beyond the city.

Sometimes a girl wanted to see a boy.

Mati was waiting. He had taken off his overall. In the old t-shirt and shorts he wore beneath he was still obviously a Ringer, but he was off duty now. He didn’t have to be at her father’s beck and call and he could switch off the pager.

“I didn’t know if you would come,” he said as they embraced fondly.

“Of course I will. I have wanted to be alone with you all day. I’ve watched you working, polishing all the floors, washing the windows….”

“Cleaning the bathrooms, scrubbing out the food dispensers….” He listed two more of his daily duties, then sighed and shook his head. “It’s all done, now. And my train isn’t for another half hour. Nobody will notice if I don’t leave the block for a few extra minutes. They’ll just think I was kept back for extra cleaning duties.”

“A few minutes,” Sehd sighed as they sat beside the air conditioning vent and looked together at those distant hills that they both longed to visit. There were no rules in the hill towns. There were no demarcations. Nobody was designated a Payer or a Ringer there. If they could reach the hills, it would be all right.

But it was never going to happen. All they could ever do was this – a few stolen minutes looking into the distance together and dreaming of a different life. Making the dream come true was outside of the realms of possibility.

The minutes passed too quickly. While she waited for him to finish work the time had dragged, but these minutes flew by. It wasn’t quite fair.

But then, many things weren’t quite fair on Geminus III.

Mati kissed her again and scrambled to his feet.

“You stay here a little longer,” he said. “We can’t be seen going downstairs together.”

“What if we just jumped off the edge together?” Sehd asked. “Wouldn’t that be a way to be free?”

“No, it would be a way to be dead,” Mati told her. “We can do better than that. Don’t give up hope, Sehd. We love each other. And as long as we remember that, they can’t hurt us.”

“But they can,” Sehd thought as she watched him leave. If they knew, if they ever found out that the daughter of the Kane Worden was in love with a Ringer, they would find a way to hurt them both - and they could hurt him in terrible ways, far worse than they could hurt her.

After a few minutes she made her way back down the fire escape. The view was beautiful, but it needed to be shared and it needed to be part of a dream. Otherwise it was just distant topography.

The TARDIS materialised beside a cool fountain in the middle of a pleasant looking paved plaza surrounded by skyscrapers. They were temples of modern architecture, gleaming in the yellow sunlight from a red ochre coloured sky and impressive enough to compare favourably with cities like New York in the critical eyes of Amy and Rory.

“Where are we, then?” Rory asked. “Obviously not Earth unless something is seriously wrong with the sky.”

“Something is wrong with the sky,” The Doctor said. “But it’s not Earth. This is Geminus III, a colony planet in the twenty-sixth century, when humans had spread out through the galaxy and populated every planet with an Earthlike atmosphere and climate they could find.”

“So what’s up with the sky, then?” Amy asked.

“A piece broke off the second moon and disintegrated after a collision with a meteor. Dust got caught in the upper troposphere that deflects part of the colour spectrum,” The Doctor replied. “It’s all quite safe, in fact it serves a secondary purpose of filtering a lot of the UV rays that cause problems on your twenty-first century Earth, but it was a bit frightening when it was all happening sixty years ago. The people who lived here thought their world was ending.”

“Obviously it didn’t,” Rory noted.

“No, but the economy collapsed. Trade with the planet stopped and many of the industries ceased. It has taken them two generations to become prosperous again.”

“So we’re here to check out the local economy?” Amy asked.

“We’re here to visit the son of a man I met when I was here last,” The Doctor replied as he sauntered off towards one of the skyscrapers, passing statues and modern sculptures of various sorts.

“Would that have been around the time that the moon disintegrated?” Rory asked with more than a hint of sarcasm in his voice.

“It was,” The Doctor answered. “For the record, yes, I did have something to do with that. The meteor was heading direct for the ocean and would have caused major planetwide devastation. Their world WAS, in fact, ending until I deflected the meteor towards the moon. I knew that it was made of a very soft stone that was mostly mud. It acted like a cushion, absorbing the shock of the collision. The meteor buried itself in the moon’s crust. The displaced material had that secondary but harmless effect on the troposphere, but otherwise life went on. The economic problems were unfortunate but unavoidable. People have a tendency to panic about things like meteors heading for them.”

“So this is another planet that ought to be grateful to you, Doctor?” Amy asked.

“Yes, but it won’t be.”

And to prove it, when he entered the foyer of the skyscraper a security guard asked to see his tax return or proof of legitimate employment in the building. The Doctor didn’t so much as blink out of turn as he pulled his psychic paper from his pocket.

“That’s fine, your Excellency,” the Guard said, his demeanour changing in an instant.

“I’m here to see Kane Worden,” The Doctor added.

Of course, Excellency,” the Guard added. “The penthouse suite is on floor two hundred, beneath the grand ballroom and garden level. You may take the executive elevator.”

“Excellent,” The Doctor said. “Come along, Ponds.”

“Excellency?” Rory and Amy questioned when they stepped into the executive elevator. It was one of those very plush lifts with a padded leather seat and gilded mirrors. Rory and Amy sat. The Doctor stood.

“Who exactly did the psychic paper say you are?” they asked.

“High Commissioner for the Beta Delta quadrant,” he answered. “Makes a change. It loves to pass me off as the King of the Belgians.”

“You don’t exactly look like a High Commissioner,” Amy pointed out. “Let alone King of the Belgians.”

“Doesn’t matter,” The Doctor told her. “It’s all about Power of Suggestion.”

“Why did they need to know if you’d paid your taxes, though?” Rory asked. “Seems an odd thing for a doorman to ask.”

“I wondered about that, too,” The Doctor admitted. “I’ll ask my friend when I see him.”

The lift finally came to a halt and they stepped out into a cool, bright landing with a potted palm tree and a water feature decorating it. The Doctor headed for the double front door of the penthouse suite and rang the bell. It was opened by a servant in a dark blue overall who was impressed enough by The Doctor’s credentials to bow to him as he invited him over the threshold.

“This Power of Suggestion is handy, isn’t it!” Amy commented, sitting and making herself comfortable on a wide, soft white leather sofa. “He gets away with all sorts.”

“What I don’t get,” Rory pointed out. “He met this guy’s dad sixty years ago, and he’s dropping in for a visit… looking, like, twenty-five.”

“Power of Suggestion,” The Doctor said. “He won’t notice anything untoward.”

And when Kane Worden appeared in the drawing room he immediately approached The Doctor, smiling welcomingly.

“Doctor, it has been so long. I was a boy when you visited my father, here. I wish you could have come back sooner. But it is wonderful to see you, all the same.”

“You, too, Kane. Your father has passed away by now, I suppose?”

“Ten years ago,” he replied. Kane was, Amy noted, a tall, broad-shouldered man. He was in his sixties, but looked vigorous and healthy with iron grey hair and a firmly set face. “I have four sons, all grown up and living offworld, now, and my daughter, who will be done with her tutors very soon. She will join us for tea.”

While they waited, Kane entertained them with a demonstration of the telescope he had set up by the wide, floor length window in the drawing room. The two hundredth floor was a dizzying height above the plaza where the TARDIS was parked, but through the telescope they could see the blue box close up. Rory and Amy watched in amusement as people walked around it, ignoring it with all their might. The Doctor explained that he always put an ‘SEP’ field around the TARDIS when it landed in populated areas. When questioned further he said that ‘SEP’ was short for ‘somebody else’s problem’.

Another servant in the blue overalls brought tea to a highly polished table in the dining room with a view of skyscrapers of different heights that made up the principal city of Geminus III. This was one of the tallest, so they were mostly looking down on the roofs of the other buildings. In the distance it was possible to see wooded mountains.

“Does everyone live in a skyscraper?” Amy asked as they sat to tea. Kane’s daughter, Sehd, who was a little short of eighteen years old, sat next to her. She seemed a nice girl, if a little shy. Perhaps living in the sky, taught by tutors, made her a little isolated, Amy considered.

“Everyone who matters,” Kane replied, before his daughter had a chance to respond. “The Taxpayers.”

“Um… doesn’t everyone pay taxes?” Amy queried. “They do on my planet.”

“Not the Ringers. They have no money.”

“What are ringers?”

“The underclass,” Kane said. “The ones who clean our homes and offices and work in the factories.”

“They don’t get paid?”

“Why should they? They get homes and food, schools, hospitals, transport to their places of work. Why would they need money?”

“Well, on our world people work for money. They pay for the other things out of that money.”

“It used to be that way here, before The Reddening,” Sehd mentioned. Her father looked at her sharply, as if talking about such things was not polite. “The Reddening, was when the meteor hit the moon. Before then, almost everyone had money. But afterwards, only those who had safe investments kept them. Many went bankrupt and lost their businesses and homes.”

“The abolition of wages for work was the idea of our Governor of the day, Malik Dashn,” Kane said. “It was revolutionary. Poverty was wiped out overnight. The underclass are given a weekly ration of food according to family size instead of queuing to buy provisions that were becoming more expensive every day. Houses were built in the Ring – the outskirts of the city – for them to live in. The Circle Line conveys them to work each day. The system works very well. Geminus is prosperous again.”

“The elite are prosperous,” Sehd pointed out. “But the Ringers are just the same as they were after The Reddening when we were in crisis.”

“That is because they are lazy and unimaginative and have no ambition to prosper,” Kane replied to his daughter.

“How can they prosper when they have no money?” she argued.

Rory and Amy looked at each other. It was obvious that father and daughter had argued these points before. It was old territory for them.

The Doctor said nothing, but he was obviously taking in every word said by both parties.

Kane Worden had heard enough, though. He slammed his hand down on the table so hard that the teacups rattled. Sehd shuddered almost as violently.

“You will go to your room and study your economics module until suppertime. If you are not word perfect there will be no supper for you.”

Sehd left the table without a word, avoiding all eye contact with her father or his guests.

“I apologise for my daughter’s rudeness,” Kane said when she was gone from the room. “She has been associating with young radicals with impractical ideas.”

“So it seems,” The Doctor answered. “But… I must say I am intrigued by the unique way that Geminus society works. Is it possible to visit the ‘ring’ and see for ourselves how the underclass lives? Purely out of interest.”

“An inspection can be arranged tomorrow, if you wish. You will, of course, do me the honour of staying in my home tonight?”

“Of course,” The Doctor replied. Rory noted that he wasn’t looking at Kane Worden when he said that. He was watching the young man who had brought a fresh tray of tea to the table. He was dressed in the same blue overalls that all servants wore, regardless of gender, age or relative station within the household. He had been listening intently to everything that had been said through the meal, especially Sehd’s ‘radical’ ideas.

After tea, Kane Worden seemed to assume that The Doctor would talk with him about the politics of Geminus III. The Doctor gave the impression he was happy to do so. Rory and Amy weren’t quite so good at acting. Kane suggested to The Doctor that his assistants might enjoy a few hours’ recreation on the garden level and directed them to a private lift directly from the drawing room.

It was a glass lift that went up the outside of the building. Rory and Amy stood well back from the edge and tried to remember that they had often stood at the open door of the TARDIS while it was in orbit hundreds of miles above planets, or just in deep space with millions of light years stretching all around them. The two hundred floors below them here was nothing in comparison. They had no need to be worried.

All the same, they were glad they were only going up a further two floors and it was a relief to step out onto the garden level.

They were still under a roof, but it really was a garden. Small trees and bushes grew in carefully cultivated beds. There was enough grass to lay out a tennis court if anyone was inclined to do so, and a pleasant water feature that cooled the air. Above, the roof was covered in vines that trailed across it, but lights that mimicked natural sunlight shone between them.

“This is… nice… in a way….” Amy said. There was a tree growing something like peaches. She picked one and bit into it. It tasted pleasant. The tea they had eaten was perfectly tasty, but the unpleasantness between Kane Worden and his daughter had spoiled her appetite somewhat. The peach flavour refreshed both her mouth and her soul after that experience.

“It’s artificial,” Rory answered. “Rather like life in this place, I think.” The whole of the outer walls on three sides were floor to ceiling windows, strengthened with steel pillars at intervals. He stood there and looked out. On a floor that wasn’t moving he felt much less wary about doing so.

Here on the last floor before the roof itself they were above every other skyscraper in the city. They could see the wooded mountains in the distance clearly. It looked as if Geminus III had some wonderful countryside beyond the city.

What they couldn’t see was that ‘Ring’ they had been told about where the servants lived.

“It’s kind of back to front,” he noted. “In our cities, the poorer people live in the ‘inner city’ in tower blocks and terraces and the rich live in the suburbs.”

“In Britain, maybe,” Amy noted. “I was thinking it was a bit like South Africa under apartheid, where the black people lived in the shanty towns outside cities where rich white people lived in luxury.”

“But these ‘Ringers’ aren’t even a different colour to the rich people, here,” Rory pointed out. “They’re exactly the same race, species. There isn’t even a bad reason for segregation like skin colour. It makes no sense.”

“The bad reason is that the rich get richer and the poor stay as they are,” Amy replied. “I bet there’s no way a Ringer gets to go to university and become an accountant or lawyer or anything like that. The only jobs they can get are as servants and factory workers… for no pay. And they call that fair.”

“The Doctor always tells us not to judge other races by our Human standards,” Rory said. “But….”

“They’re not another race. They ARE Human,” Amy reminded him. “They’re colonists from Earth.”

“I know. And that makes it even nuttier. They must know that slavery is a bad thing. Don’t they do history?”

“Probably only the history of Geminus since ‘The Reddening’,” Amy guessed.

“That would be for the Payers,” said a voice. They looked around at the young man in blue overalls who had served their tea. “We are not taught any history at all. It is not a productive subject.”

Rory and Amy were both on the point of asking what WAS a productive subject, but decided they probably didn’t need to know.

“I heard you talking. Can I trust you?”

“Yes,” Amy assured him. “What can we do?”

“Take this message to Sehd… Kane Worden’s daughter. If she is confined to her room we won’t be able to meet on the roof this evening. So….”

“You and her have a thing going?” Amy asked.

“A… ‘thing’?”

“You like each other?”

“We love each other,” he said. “But it is impossible. A Payer and a Ringer….”

“Her father won’t like it, that’s for sure,” Rory commented.

“Nobody would like it. It is not against any law… because nobody ever imagined the possibility of such a relationship. But if we are discovered….”

“I’ll take the message,” Amy promised. “You’d better get back to your duties, in case anyone gets suspicious.”

“Thank you, madam.”

“Amy,” she said. “Not madam. Just Amy. What’s your name?”

“Mati,” he replied. “Mati Thornsen.”

“Good luck, Mati,” she said to him with feeling.

Mati turned and exited through a concealed door in the one blank wall that probably led to some back stairs only used by servants. Amy watched him go then pocketed the note she had been given. She turned back to look at Rory.

“The Doctor would probably tell us not to get involved.”

“Yes. And then he would plunge right in up to his armpits. Anyway, I’m just passing on a note. I’m not helping them to elope or anything.”

“You never know. Maybe that’s what the message is about.”

“If it is, then good luck to them. If it was me, I would. Wouldn’t you?”

“Yes,” Rory admitted. “Yes, I would. It’s… hard to imagine, though. You and me… we knew each other since primary school. We were always friends. Nobody ever said a word against it. Our parents always kind of expected that we would be an item when we were old enough. Apart from that time when you fancied Geoff….”

“I never fancied Geoff. He was just a friend. And besides, you and that skinny nurse, Gemma….”

“I never fancied Gemma. She fancied me. I only ever had eyes for you. But my point is… I can’t imagine loving you in the circumstances Sehd and Mati have. Imagine if your dad stopped me seeing you because I was just a servant….”

“We’d do the same as them.”

“That’s why we’re involved. Give the message to Sehd as soon as you can. And… we need to get The Doctor to take notice, too. He can help them. He could take them both away from here.”

“Would he do that?” Amy wondered.

“Why wouldn’t he? He’s The Doctor. He can’t resist sticking his nose into other people’s business, usually. Why wouldn’t he help them?”

“I don’t know. I mean, Kane Worden is his friend. Would he go against him?”

That question occupied their mind as they watched a dramatic sunset in which the ochre sky turned orange-brown then dark brown. The skyscrapers of the city lit up from within and without. Many of them had uplighting that cast pretty colours on their glass sides. It was a spectacular sight. But Rory and Amy cast their eyes beyond the city centre and wondered if the faint orange glow in the distance was from the ‘Ring’.

The thought of that social inequality on this world spoiled their appreciation of its beauty, and they wondered, in their own minds, and in whispered conversation, which way The Doctor would go. Would he side with his friend or with the young lovers. They could neither of them quite imagine The Doctor ignoring the troubles of innocent people. But they had not yet heard him say a single word against the way of life on Geminus III and Kane Worden seemed to see him as an ally who would go along with his privileged point of view.

And that didn’t ring true. It wasn’t The Doctor they knew. Surely he would say something to them when they were in private, something that showed he was on the side of the put upon ‘Ringers’.

But they never had a chance to be alone with The Doctor. One of the female servants came up the back stairs to tell them it was supper time. They went down by the glass lift because they felt using the servant’s entrance would be a faux pas. In the dark it was a little less nerve-wracking and they stepped out into the drawing room to be greeted by the butler who conducted them to the dining room for the evening meal. The Doctor was already there, having a pre-supper drink with Kane Worden. They both looked content. There had obviously not been any disagreements about the social status of ‘Ringers’. The Doctor seemed to be perfectly in agreement with his friend.

“Is Sehd not coming to supper?” Amy ventured to ask, noting that only four places were set.

“A tray has been sent to her room,” Kane Worden replied. “She has completed her studies satisfactorily, but I don’t think it appropriate for her to continue that kind of seditious talk in front of guests.”

“I see.” Amy thought about that for a moment, then dared to speak again. “After supper, might I spend a little time with her? Perhaps the company of another woman might settle her mind.”

Kane Worden considered the request for a while, then nodded.

“Yes, I think that might be a good idea. You may sit with her for an hour or so.”

Amy thanked him kindly and as soon as she had finished eating she went to Sehd’s room. The Doctor was invited to view the garden with Kane Worden. Rory went with him because there wasn’t much else for him to do.

“The city looks glorious at night,” Worden said. “I like to look at the view. A testament to the perseverance of the citizens of Geminus. We were expected to fail after The Reddening. But we didn’t. the city is magnificent. The people are happy.”

Rory wanted The Doctor to challenge him about that, to tell him that the ‘Ringers’ weren’t happy in their slavery, but he didn’t. He stayed silent, listening to Worden going on about how profitable the factories were, how many of the Underclass were employed in the factories, and how many families could now afford at least one servant in their homes.

Why didn’t The Doctor say something? Rory didn’t understand it. Everywhere else they had been, wherever anyone was being oppressed, he acted. He couldn’t possibly think this was right.

Rory wanted to say something to Worden, to The Doctor. He wanted to shake both of them and tell them it was all wrong… that the ‘Ringers’ were being used.

“What’s that?” he asked, noticing something unusual. Beyond the city, bright orange lit up the sky, turning it light brown.

“A bonfire!” Worden exclaimed angrily. “They’ve lit a bonfire on the Ring, expressly against orders.”

“Bonfire?” The Doctor asked. “Is this a tradition among the Underclass?”

“They claim it is. But it is used by the rebels to foment discontent, so we – the Council of Elders – banned the lighting of fires.”

“Rebels?” Rory queried. “So everyone here ISN’T content. You have rebels?”

“Criminal troublemakers,” Worden insisted. “Stirring up discontent where there was none in the past. We’ll run them down soon enough. But they have gone too far. This is treason.”

“Lighting a bonfire is treason?” Rory couldn’t help thinking that where he came from bonfires were lit on November 5th to commemorate the defeat of an act of treason. There was an irony there, but not one he wanted to explain to Kane Worden. He didn’t look like he was in the mood. He was beside himself with anger, raging against what he claimed were a small minority of discontents who were disturbing the peace and prosperity of Geminus III.

“I apologise,” he added to The Doctor when he calmed down a little. “I kept the full truth from you. I hoped your visit would not be marred by incidents, especially when we have planned a tour of the ‘Ring’ habitats. Be assured, this is not indicative of the real feeling among the Underclass. They ARE content.”

“I am sure that is true,” The Doctor said. “I look forward to the inspection tomorrow, when I am certain you will be vindicated. But is there anybody you need to contact tonight about this incident? Please do not let me delay you. I can enjoy the view by myself.”

Worden thanked him and headed towards the scenic lift. The Doctor stood silently, looking towards the glow in the sky above the site of the illicit bonfire.

“Doctor!” Rory was just about ready to burst. “Tell me you’re not on his side! You can’t possibly approve of the way things are, here?”

“It’s not about sides,” The Doctor answered. “What do you expect me to do?”

“Anything, everything!” Rory exclaimed. “Doctor, help them. The rebels. You can do ANYTHING. With you working with them they can put an end to this regime. They can give the ‘Ringers’ a share of the wealth and prosperity your ‘friend’ brags about.”

“They wouldn’t share in it,” The Doctor pointed out. “If the ‘Payer’ economy fell, the planet would be bankrupt.”

“Well, at least they’d all be equal then,” Rory conceded. “Doctor, I don’t believe what I’m hearing from you. I can’t believe it. You’re NOT going to let these people go on like this.”

“I can’t make them change,” he said. “They have to do it for themselves. It will need men with the intelligence and education of Kane Worden to lead the change.”

“Worden is never going to do that. He thinks this is how things should be. Look at the way he treats his daughter. And if he really knew what’s happening with her and….”

Rory stopped. Could he trust The Doctor with Sehd and Mati’s secret? He wasn’t sure any more.

“It doesn’t matter,” he said. “I’m… disappointed, Doctor. I really am. I thought you cared.”

Rory turned away. He went towards the scenic lift then changed his mind. He turned to the servant’s stairway instead and walked down to the penthouse suite. He went to the room that had been given to him and Amy for the night and laid down on the bed to wait for his wife to join him. When she did, she had a lot to say. Sehd had told her all about her relationship with Mati and their plans to get away to the mountains.

“It isn’t like this in the mountain villages,” she explained. “Everyone works on the land or in the woodmills, that sort of thing, and they make enough money to live. They’re not rich, but they have nice little houses and they can educate their children, have doctors when they’re sick. They’re ok, and there are no ‘Payers’ and ‘Ringers’. All that is just in the city. They all pay a little tax to the government, and the rest of their money is theirs, just like anywhere else.”

“So why can’t Sehd and Mati go there?”

“There are no roads, only the railway or for the very rich something she calls a ‘Copter’. And you need a pass for either transport. Mati would have no chance. He’s a city domestic servant. He has no reason to travel outside the Ring. Sehd would have to have permission from her father, and he’s hardly likely to do that.”

“They’re both prisoners of the system, trapped in different parts of this city.”


“Why doesn’t The Doctor do something?”

“I don’t know,” Rory admitted. “I don’t understand what he’s doing at all. He’s not… not acting like The Doctor at all. I feel like shaking him. Anyone would think he had swallowed all of this stuff hook line and sinker.”

“If we can’t rely on him, then we should do something ourselves. We could get Sehd and Marti into the TARDIS, hide them in there. There are plenty of rooms. They’d be safe until we get to some other planet.”

“Would they want to go to another planet?” Rory asked. “This is their home, such as it is. Don’t they want to just escape to the hills?”

“If her dad gets mad at her for talking politics at the tea table, won’t he go after her if she runs away to the hills? They need to get much further away than that.”

“I don’t know,” Rory sighed. “But we can’t leave here without doing something to help them.”

“Then we won’t. Let’s do it in the morning.”

But in the morning everything was different in the capital city of Geminus III. The first thing anyone in the Worden apartment knew about it was when they came into the dining room and found that the table had not been prepared for breakfast. There was no fresh fruit on the sideboard, no coffee, no toast in the rack. On investigation, Kane Worden discovered that there were no servants in the kitchen at all.

Nobody had turned up for work.

“Where are they?” Kane Worden demanded angrily. “How dare they turn up late for work? I’ll have their rations cut. I’ll….”

“Mati isn’t here,” Sehd whispered to Amy. She was worried. “Father means it. He’ll punish all of them, including him.”

“Where’s The Doctor?” Rory asked. “I just looked in his room. His bed is made, but there’s no sign of him. And he’s not upstairs in the garden. I looked.”

Amy looked worried. Kane Worden was too distracted by his missing servants to take in at first that his guest of honour was also missing. He was pressing buttons on a hand held remote control that should have switched on the wall mounted video screen and trying to telephone somebody at the same time. The video screen remained blank. The phone rang and rang but nobody answered. He threw the receiver down in disgust.

“What is going on?” he demanded, but nobody had any answers.

At least until Rory looked through the telescope at the plaza below.

“There’s a lot of people in the street,” he said.

“The missing servants?” Worden growled.

“If they are, it’s EVERYBODY’s servants,” Rory answered him. “When I say a lot of people, I mean thousands of them. They’re all going in the same direction… What’s that building on the other side of the plaza, the one with the long arched windows with bronze around them?”

“That’s the government building,” Worden answered. “Where the City Elders sit, and the stock exchange… and the news studio where the telecasts of the business news are transmitted from.”

“Well, it looks like they’ve got more than the FTSE to talk about today,” Rory pointed out. “That’s where the crowds are going.”

None of the people were wearing the blue overalls, but Rory had an idea that they WERE, indeed, the missing servants, and the workers from the factories. How or why they all came to be gathered in the city square he couldn’t say, since the ‘Ringers’ had such restricted access to transport. But he understood perfectly what was happening. It was revolution after all. The people were marching on the parliament.

“But where’s The Doctor?” Amy asked.

“Actually, I think he’s down there,” Rory answered, spotting something else in the crowd. “Look… the TARDIS in the middle of it all.”

“They’re coming out of the TARDIS!” Amy exclaimed when she looked through the telescope. The crowd was swelling by the minute as more and more people emerged from the blue box. “That’s how they got into the city. The Doctor brought them – all of them - hundreds of them, thousands.”

“What?” Kane Worden looked at them in disbelief. “The Doctor… is among these rebels, stirring discontent? Is he mad? What is he thinking of?”

“He’s not mad,” Amy replied. “He’s doing what we knew he would do. But why didn’t he tell us that was what he was up to? Why the secrecy?”

“The Doctor is a rebel?” Worden was stuck on that one idea, and it made him more angry than not having any breakfast.

Then the blank videoscreen burst into life. Worden turned to look at the image of Geminus III’s only television studio. There were a lot of people in it, but two men stood out. One was The Doctor, who did a ‘thumbs up’ to the cameras and grinned manically, and a tall, broad-shouldered man who bore a very striking resemblance to Kane Worden. He noticed it, too, because he absolutely burst with rage.

“For those of you who don’t know me,” the man said. “I am Seth Worden, brother of the just deposed Tax-Collector General of Geminus III. I am here to tell you that the old order is over in the city. The ‘Ringers’ are no longer going to accept the regime that keeps them in slavery. They will no longer clean the homes of the ‘Payers’ for the bread on their tables. They are, in fact, the new rulers of Geminus. The police are on our side. Brother Kane, that was the biggest mistake you and the elders made. You thought defending the city against crime was a menial task. The ranks were filled with ‘Ringers’. Likewise the guards on the doors of your great buildings, the drivers of the trains. Now they are all on your side. You are defenceless. You have no choice but to surrender control of the Council, of the Stock Exchange, and all means of communication and transport. In fact, we already have all those things, so it’s… well… over. Those ‘Payers’ who co-operate with the new government will not be treated harshly. You will retain your homes and most of your wealth. But you won’t get your beds made and your breakfast served by slaves any more. If you want those sort of luxuries there will be a generous minimum wage to pay from here on.”

Another man took over with a list of emergency regulations to ensure that the bloodless coup remained bloodless and details of the Provisional Government that was now sitting to draft new laws for the fair distribution of wealth among the whole people of Geminus III.

But nobody was listening to him, because the outer door of the apartment slammed open suddenly and a man ran into the drawing room. Kane Worden didn’t recognise him without his blue servant’s uniform, but his daughter did.

“Mati!” she cried and ran to his arms.

“I came for you,” he told her. “Sehd, come on. We’re both getting out of here, now.”

“Over my dead body!” Worden cried as he put two and two together at last. “How could you betray me, my own daughter, with a RINGER!”

“I’m not a Ringer any more,” Mati responded. “Now I’m a citizen of Geminus III just like you, Kane Worden. And Sehd is going to be my wife.”

“Never!” Kane Worden declared. Then he ran to the finely polished cabinet where a collection of silverware was displayed. He wrenched open the glass door and grabbed a long, slender sword with a silver handle. It was an antique, but it was finely made and was very certainly a weapon. “There are other swords in this city, and guns. You will not find your filthy revolution so easy as you think. But I will start with you, ungrateful guttersnipe. I will kill you.”

“Father, no!” Sehd cried out. “No, leave him be. I love him.”

“You will not call me father from here on,” Kane Worden replied harshly.

“Sehd, come on,” Mati said, backing towards the servant’s stairs. “We’re getting out of here. A ‘copter’ is coming for us. We’re going to the mountains just as we dreamed.”

“A ‘copter’?” she queried. “But how could you have a ‘copter’? Only the rich travel by such means.”

“And the rich employed ‘Ringers’ to pilot them,” Mati replied. “Come on, my love.”

Mati took Sehd by the hand and they fled through the door and up the stairs. Kane Worden tried to follow, but Amy blocked the door, Rory called to her in horror as Kane Worden brandished the sword at her and lunged at him. There was a brief struggle before Rory wrenched the sword from his hand and threw it away. Amy grabbed it and ran out through the same doorway, following Mati and Sehd to the roof. Rory ran after her. Kane Worden turned and headed for the scenic lift. It was not fast, but it was probably faster than they could all run upstairs.

It was. When the four of them reached the roof of the building Kane was there already. The ‘copter’ was hovering overhead, but there were too many people on the roof for it to attempt a landing. Mati held onto Sehd tightly and shouted at her father to back away. Rory said the same as Amy wielded the sword with surprising agility and forced Kane Worden away from the two lovers. He backed away from her slowly, still raging at Sehd and telling her that she was no longer his daughter and that he would have her ‘Ringer’ lover killed.

Then Rory and Amy both called out to him at once. Worden was standing at the edge of the roof next to the gear machinery for the scenic lift. Somebody must have summoned the lift from below. Worden backed into the gear and screamed as he was pitched over the side of the building – two hundred and two floors above the crowded plaza.

Rory and Amy both reached the edge together in time to hear an unexpected splash. Sehd ran so fast she would have fallen over too if Rory hadn’t grabbed her.

“Your father is alive,” he told her. “But that isn’t going to improve his temper.” He held onto her again as a strong waft of wind signalled that the ‘Copter’ was landing, now. “Go on, get out of here, now. Go to those hills you dreamed of.”

Sehd hesitated for one more moment then turned and ran back to Mati. They both got into the ‘Copter’ and it took off into the sky. Moments later a very different flying machine landed on the roof. The TARDIS door opened and The Doctor stepped out. Amy ran to hug him.

“I knew you would be on the side of the ‘Ringers’,” she said. “I just knew it. But why didn’t you tell us? Why the act?”

“I was in contact with Seth Worden even before we landed here,” he answered. “The peaceful revolution was ready to launch. They just needed two things, quick transport to the plaza for the first wave of revolutionaries and for Kane Worden to suspect nothing. If I’d told you two, you would have wanted to tell Sehd and she might not have been able to hold onto the secret. I’m sorry you had reason to doubt me. But it all worked like clockwork. The Provisional Government are in place, now. There’s nothing anyone can do to prevent the new order on Geminus III. And NOBODY, not even Kane Worden, was harmed in the process. It was close, mind you. If I hadn’t heard about the ruckus on the roof and come to investigate he’d have been a distressing mess on the paving stones of the newly renamed Freedom Plaza.”

On cue, Kane Worden stumbled out of the TARDIS door, soaking wet. Amy giggled and remembered that the swimming pool could be aligned right under the main corridor if the TARDIS was turned on its side. Worden wasn’t inclined to see the joke.

“Your daughter is gone,” The Doctor told him. “You have nobody to blame but yourself. Maybe, when things have calmed down around here, you might be able to contact her. Perhaps you can learn to be friends. But I would not advise interfering with her choices. Besides, when it comes to family matters, you really need to talk to your brother, first. If you listen to him, you might find life under the new Geminus III regime won’t be as terrible as you imagine. You might even still get your breakfast served for you.”

Kane Worden was, for the first time since this began, speechless. Still dripping swimming pool water, his usual pompousness lost something of its impact. He was a defeated man. But as The Doctor had already told him, he didn’t have to remain defeated. Nobody did. They just had to accept the change that was upon them.

It looked as if Worden was already realising that. Rory and Amy looked towards the mountains where Sehd and Mati were going to live the life they dreamt of and knew their work was done.