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

Jackie woke slowly, luxuriating in the warmth and comfort of the bed, and of not being alone in it. She snuggled closer to her husband, feeling his arms tighten around her automatically. Her head was pressed against his chest and she could hear his two hearts beating, a strange sound, but to her, the most beautiful sound she could imagine.

Her husband, her Time Lord. The idea was still incredible to her but after fourteen days - and nights - of honeymoon she was willing to take that incredible idea for granted.

“I love you,” he whispered. She opened her eyes. She didn’t even know he was awake.

“I don’t sleep as long as you do,” he told her. “Two or three hours is enough. The rest of the time… I just love to lie beside you. Watch you sleep, feel you near me.”

“You sweetie,” she laughed. “You really mean that?”

“Of course I do,” Christopher told her. “I love you.”

“I love you, too,” she said. She snuggled closer, her arms around his shoulders. “What time is it? Have we got time for…. Before breakfast….”

“We’re on honeymoon. We’ve always got time for it. Breakfast waits for us.”

“I’d like to be up in time to make the lads something. They deserve a bit of breakfast. Stuck out there in an army tent. I’m glad they’ve scaled down the security. It was seriously weird being here surrounded by soldiers. Now it's just two of them taking it in turns to watch over us. Though why even they need to be here now the trouble is over…”

“I’m a Cabinet Minster,” Christopher reminded her. “Even without that scare I’m still a high profile person. And I’d rather it was Jack’s people watching us than any other. He’s a good man, and so are his men.”

“Jack is a STRANGE man,” Jackie said.

“He loves my father,” Christopher admitted. “They have been through a lot together. They have a deep bond of friendship.”

“I think Jack wishes it was more than friends,” Jackie thought, and she felt Christopher laugh and remembered he could read her mind. She smiled and thought another thought and he sighed happily and enfolded her in his arms. She sighed and surrendered to his kisses.

She was still up in plenty of time to make breakfast not only for her and her husband, but for the two men of the 22nd space corps who were there to make sure their honeymoon idyll was not disturbed.

“Martin, Geoff,” she called from the door. “Come on and eat, both of you.” Martin came out of the big army tent pitched up by the edge of a wooded copse that ran down to the loch beside their holiday cottage. Geoff turned up a minute or two later from the copse.

“What were you doing wandering in the woods this early?” she asked him as they both came into the house and sat down with Christopher at the kitchen table. Jackie served them all a cooked breakfast and a huge plate of toast to fill the corners.

“I heard a strange noise,” Geoff answered. “I know we’re off high alert, but you just don’t know. I couldn’t see anything though, except….” He paused before going on. They were all EATING after all. “Found the remains of a young deer… not quite fully grown…. Its throat was ripped out and most of the internal organs eaten away.”

“Ugggh,” Jackie shuddered and paused in her breakfast. “What could do that?”

“I’m guessing a dog,” Martin said. “When we were up the village the other night I did hear the local farmers saying they’d had some sheep killed. They’re on the lookout for it. They’ll have their shotguns out for it.”

“You’re a country boy, Martin?” Christopher asked, thinking that Martin sounded like somebody aware of those kind of hard realities.

“I come from not far from here,” he answered. “That’s why I was on this detail. Local knowledge. Though I’m from the 51st century. This area is all protected forests by then. They don’t even allow sheep farming except further up the valley towards old Inverness. The land has been allowed to return to its natural state.”

“You don’t sound Scottish,” Jackie said, glad to take her mind off deer with their innards ripped out. Last night they had eaten venison at a rather nice restaurant and she had done her best to get the Bambi images out of her mind. But that didn’t seem at all nice. Plus she was worried about the dog that might be responsible. She liked dogs. She didn’t want it shot, either.

“You’re a city girl, Jackie,” Christopher told her. “You don’t understand those sort of things.”

“Never had a dog,” she said. “Lived in a flat all my life. Never seen a real deer until we came up here. Not counting eating them last night.”

“I never had a dog either,” Christopher said. “We didn’t have them on Gallifrey. We did have something like deer though. Beautiful, graceful creatures that would run across the plains in great herds.”

He smiled sadly and poured more coffee for everyone. Jackie felt a little guilty. She hadn’t meant to make him sad and remind him of his lost planet.

“Jackie,” he whispered and reached to hold her hand under the table. “Don’t feel guilty about that. Many things remind me of home. Sometimes I’m reminded by nothing at all. Don’t worry about trying not to upset me with things that touch on that great grief. I just have to come to terms with it.”

“If you’re not needing the car straight after breakfast,” Martin said. “Geoff and I will take a spade and go bury that poor creature. It doesn’t seem right it lying out there like that. And we don’t want to encourage what killed it to wander up here again.”

“I don’t think we’ll need the car at all today. I was thinking of a leisurely walk to the village for lunch. Although… maybe we’ll go into Inverness itself for dinner tonight?

“The village sounds good to me,” Jackie agreed. Though being driven to town in the back of a limousine had its appeal, too. She liked the way, even in the 23rd century, that kind of thing made people look. She was a lifelong user of London Transport and travelling in the kind of luxury that other people envied was still new enough to enjoy in itself.


And it was a pleasant walk. The Loch was calm and a cool breeze came across it. The trees were just starting to turn in the late September sun and the colours were delightful. If there was one complaint, it was that there wasn’t quite as much privacy as they would like. The Loch was busy with boats, many of them tourist launches from which they caught snatches of the tour guide spiel over the tannoy.

“They still haven’t proved if the Loch Ness monster exists even after all these years,” Jackie laughed.

“Oh, it exists,” Christopher said. He laughed softly. “My father met it once. He told me about it when I said we were coming up here for the honeymoon. It's actually an alien creature called a Skarasen that was used by the Zygons to invade Earth in the 1970s. Father defeated the Zygons, of course. But he left the creature alone. He says she’s perfectly happy in the Loch and not bothering anybody.”

“I should have known,” Jackie laughed. “Anything with a hint of trouble and your dad is in the thick of it. But…” She looked out over the placid Loch. “But he didn’t kill the monster…. He let it come home?”

“It’s not a monster. And this isn’t really its home. It’s just a creature from another place put here by those who wanted to use it for their own ends. Father doesn’t kill anything that doesn’t need to be killed. He’s a kind, merciful man when he is able to be, when his hand isn’t forced by those who want to take advantage of the weak.”

“Yes, he is.” Jackie smiled. “Funny how we always end up talking about him. Would rather talk about you.”

“There’s not a lot about me, really,” he said. “I’m quite a boring person really. Just a politician. Born politician. I get a buzz out of talking down other people with opinions just as loud as mine, winning my point, making the other guy concede to me. The High Council of Gallifrey were an argumentative lot. But stubborn as anything. You would think our laws were written in stone the way they wouldn’t budge on the tiniest thing. Worse than the United Nations Council here on Earth.”

“So what did you ever see in me?” Jackie said with a sigh. “I’m just me… Jackie Tyler from Powell Estate flats…”

“I saw a lady who could stand up to my father,” he said with a laugh.

“I slapped him once,” she admitted. “Nearly knocked him out!”

“There aren’t many people who can do that. But we weren’t going to talk about him. You’re wonderful, Jackie. I love you. And I’m so glad I have you. I’ve had to begin my life over again from nothing, and you’ve helped in so many ways.” He stopped and turned and held her in his arms as he kissed her lovingly. Jackie relaxed into his embrace. It was amazing that the two of them were together. But she was so very happy that they were.

“Agghh… what was that?” she screamed as she saw something move behind him. Christopher moved far quicker than a boring politician ought to move, shielding her with his own body while reaching into his inside pocket for his personal sonic screwdriver. It buzzed ominously as he scanned the area.

He was more like his dad than he realised, Jackie thought as he examined the readout on the tiny LCD display.

What was it? she asked.

“I’m not sure.” He sighed. “My father would know.”

“Oh, let’s not bother him,” Jackie said. “It was probably that dog that’s been killing the wildlife.”

But she was sure what she saw WASN’T a dog.

“Come on, it's too nice a day to worry about anything.” She slipped her hand in his and he put his sonic screwdriver away and smiled as they carried on walking by the loch-side.

They arrived in the village of Drumnadrochit by ten-thirty and found a table in the beer garden of what had already become their favourite pub.

“This is the life, though,” Jackie said as she looked around the scene in a late September sunshine that was almost as warm as August. “Clever idea, doing away with pub opening times.” She giggled suddenly. “Sorry, but the name of this place still gets me. Drumnadrochit. It just sounds funny.”

“It’s just Gaelic for town at the top of the bridge,” Christopher told her.

“Trust you to know,” Jackie teased him. “You’ve only lived on this planet five years and you know all about it.”

“I knew a fair bit about Earth before then,” he admitted. “My mother talked about it a lot. We always planned a family holiday here. But somehow never got around to it.”

“I forgot… you’re only half alien… you had a normal mother. His first wife.” She blushed as she realised what she had said. “I mean… I don’t mean ‘normal’ but… you know… Oh God!”

“I understand what you mean,” he assured her. “Technically, I suppose, I should be more than half ‘normal’. My grandmother was Human, too. That would make me thoroughly mixed blood. But those things don’t matter any more. We’re all of this planet now. I work for the good of all its citizens. No matter where they come from.”

“And I’m dead proud of you,” she said, smiling at him. “I heard somebody talking about you on the radio the other day. Saying you might be in line for President in a couple of years.” She smiled. “Wouldn’t that be a thing. ME, married to the President of Britain.” He laughed softly and she looked a little less sure of the idea. “That would mean the press would be more interested in me, wouldn’t it. As your wife. I’d be your bit of council estate rough. The daft cow who gets all the diplomatic stuff wrong and insults foreign dignitaries.”

“The wife of the Ambassador for Australasia DID have a silly hairstyle,” Christopher said as he remembered the function in question. “How were you to know you were talking to the editor of a gossip magazine about her?”

“I SHOULD know these things,” she said. “Do you think there’s a school I could go to that teaches people to be less common and to know how to behave in posh company.”

“Very likely,” Christopher answered. “But I wouldn’t send you there. You’re fine as you are. Unique, wonderful. You just have to stop feeling you’re less than any of those people. You’re not. You’re my wife. The honourable Jaqueline de Lœngbærrow of Gallifrey and you always will be from now on.”

She got ready to say something else, but her mobile rang. She beamed when she saw it was from Rose.

“Hello, darling,” she said as the call connected. “How are you? How is The Doctor? How are my beautiful grandchildren?” She listened to the replies. “How is Vicki doing? Is she getting over the shock? Yes, I’d love to talk to her.” There was a brief hiatus before the little girl came to the phone. Jackie was a little disturbed by her voice. She sounded different. And she was. Rose had tried to explain about the weapon that had AGED her four years. The Doctor had explained it a bit better. She was glad of the chance to talk to her. It would make the shock of coming home in a week’s time to see a nine year old instead of a four year old easier.

“Hello, my sweetheart,” she said to the child. “Yes, I’m having a nice holiday with Christopher. And yes, I’ll bring you back a present. Yes….” Jackie choked back a lump in her throat. She looked at her husband. “Oh, bless her. After all she’s been through. She’s happy because now she’s the same size as Sukie and they can play together better. Isn’t that the sweetest...” She talked a little more to the child and then to Rose again. She noticed that Christopher was examining his sonic screwdriver again. And when she was about to finish the chat with her daughter he asked for the phone and asked Rose to ask The Doctor to phone him later and tell him about how Skarasen reproduce and what their lifespan should be.

“Are we going to wind up in the middle of something scary here?” Jackie asked. “On our honeymoon. What I saw… it must have been a dog.”

“You know it WASN’T,” Christopher told her. “And the reading I have here… that confirms it. The thing you saw was NOT of Earth origin.”

“It wasn’t the Loch Ness Monster, either,” Jackie said. “That’s huge.”

“Mmm.” Christopher stared at his sonic screwdriver again. Jackie scowled at him. “What?”

“Just then, you seemed SO much like your dad. You’re curious, aren’t you? You really want to know what’s going on.” She sighed. “I suppose I always knew. You’ve got his genes. It's bound to have rubbed off a bit. I don’t really mind. You’re dad is about the most amazing person I ever met, and so are you. But… Oh, be careful, please, Christopher. You gave me a thousand years to live… I don’t want to live them without you when you’ve been swallowed whole by the Loch Ness Monster.”

“Our Nessie never swallowed anyone whole.” Jackie looked up as the barman came to their table to pick up the empty glasses from the iced coffees they had been leisurely drinking. He seemed quite indignant at the idea that their local monster could be a man eater.

Oh God! I’ve put my foot in it again,” she groaned. “I didn’t mean…. I mean….”

“That’s all right,” the barman said, letting her off the hook. “But you know, our old monster gets a bad press. She’s a placid old girl really. And shy. She’d never bother anyone.”

“You believe in the monster?” Jackie asked.

“What’s not to believe? Ah, she’d never show herself to strangers, the daft tourists in their boats, or even the scientists with their instruments. But those of us who live here all our lives, we know. I first saw her when I was a lad of eight. Looked her right in the eye, I did. And there’s no harm in her at all.”

“She?” Christopher looked at him. “You reckon it's a female?”

“Yes,” the barman said. “Because otherwise where does the baby Nessie come from?” He smiled at their puzzled glances and picked up the glasses. “Same again?” he asked.

“Yes, please, and if your kitchen is open by now, could we see the lunch menu.” As the barman went to do as he asked Christopher’s mobile rang. He connected immediately to his father, calling, he noticed, from the TARDIS.

“Dare I ask WHY you want to know about the Skarasen,” The Doctor asked his son by video-mobile. Christopher told him about the dead deer and the strange creature that had scared Jackie.

“I agree with your barman. Doesn’t sound like the Skarasen. It doesn’t eat people. It eats fish and not even as many of those as you’d expect for its size. It has a very slow metabolism. Its lifespan is about sixty or seventy Earth years, give or take. Which means the one you have now is NOT the one I met in the 1970s. It would be several generations down the line. Your one now should be about forty or so. Late middle aged.”

“And it is female?” Christopher asked. “Or…”

“Well, even if it is,” Jackie reasoned as she sat close to Christopher and listened in to the conversation between him and his father. “It can’t have babies if it's only one. Unless… oooh….”

“Jackie’s going to mention either Jurassic Park or Godzilla in a moment,” The Doctor said. Christopher looked blank. His father laughed. “You’ve only lived on Earth five years, Christopher. “You’re a bit behind on its popular culture.”

“I’m familiar with the movies of Cliff Richard,” he said with a wry smile and a fond thought for his daughter. The Doctor laughed again.

“Cliff isn’t much help here. Those movies from Jackie’s era of Earth history both have giant reptiles that produced young asexually. And she’s totally spot on. The Skarasen doesn’t need a mate. Once in her lifetime she produces a baby to live on after her.”

“Just the one?” Jackie asked.

“See what I mean,” The Doctor said. “Never underestimate a Tyler woman. You’re thinking it would get lonely?”

“I know what it’s like being an only child,” she said. “So does Rose.”

“So do I,” The Doctor and Christopher both said at once.

“But it's different for the Skarasen,” The Doctor continued. “For one thing, a creature that size, living in a relatively small place like Loch Ness, more than one of them would be unviable. It would be like having ten kids in your old flat, Jackie.”

“Mrs Conroy down below me had eight,” she said. “It was horribly cramped and the place smelt of wet nappies all the time.”

“Exactly. The Skarasen understands the value of family planning. It produces one baby to replace itself at the end of its life.”

“So the Skarasen population of Loch Ness at any one time is either one asexual mature female or a female with a juvenile. Never more than two, in any case,” Christopher reasoned.

“Yep,” The Doctor replied.

“Then you might have seen the Nessie baby after all, Jackie,” Christopher said as he turned. “Jackie?” She was no longer sitting beside him. She had left the table and walked down the lawn to where the pub garden actually reached down to the edge of the Loch. And what she was looking at made him grab the mobile phone and run to join her.

“Er…. Father…. you were saying about the Skarasen only having one baby at once...” He turned the phone and used its digital photo function before instantly transmitting the picture to the TARDIS videophone. “Either you don’t know as much about this species as you thought you did or…..”

“Or somebody or some thing is messing with nature.” On the other end of the videophone The Doctor stared at the picture he had received and looked back at his son with an expression that was both worried and faintly amused. “Looks like your section of the Scooby Gang have a mystery to solve.”

“This is more in your line,” Christopher said. “Any chance you could get here?”

“Sorry,” his father answered. “I’m having enough trouble with bears at the moment.”


“I’ll explain about that when you get back from your honeymoon. I’m sending you a text file of everything the TARDIS database has on Skarasen. But it looks like the book needs rewriting anyway. I’m sure you can handle it, though. And if you can’t…. set Jackie on them.”

“Oi, you, I heard that!” Jackie protested. But he had grinned at them and closed the connection. “Oh, this isn’t fair. We’re on our honeymoon! Rose and himself didn’t have any monsters from the deep bothering them on THEIRS. Why do we have to have it?”

Christopher shrugged and put his arm around her shoulder as they both looked at the four – no, FIVE - of what clearly WERE Skarasen juveniles, long-necked reptiles with four clawed legs and a long tail, each about ten foot long, from nose to tail. They were racing each other across the loch and it was clear from the way the tourist boats were converging on them that they had been spotted by more than just the two of them.

“Sir, madam, do you want to order your food now?” They turned to see the waiter standing just behind them, two menus in his hand. Then his gaze fell on the view beyond the beer garden. Christopher reached him in time to stop him hurting himself when he fell in a shocked faint.


They ordered a meal and ate it, but later they didn’t bother to go into Inverness for dinner, although they started to wish they had. News had spread of the daytime appearance of the Skarasen family in the Loch and the peaceful rural hideaway was not so peaceful any more. After seeing off several dozen tourists, a team of anthropologists who had trespassed into the garden and a TV crew who wanted their story about spotting the ‘Nessies’, Martin said enough was enough and changed into his full combat uniform, complete with M16 R-50 with grenade launcher.

“The next bloody TV van that sets a wheel on this driveway gets it,” he declared. But Geoff assured a rather worried Jackie that actually he only had stun grenades loaded.

“Is that MORE TV people?” she asked as a helicopter flew across the sky.

“No,” Christopher said. “That’s military. Geoff, get the car out. Follow that helicopter.”

“Er…” Geoff looked across the Loch uncertainly. “Even in a hover car I wouldn’t want to cross that….”

“They’re heading to the village,” Jackie said as another helicopter went over and the peace of the evening was shattered by the sound of a couple of heavy duty lorries beyond the trees that screened their cottage from the A82. A few minutes later they heard the even more peace shattering sound of a mortar barrage exploding in the Loch. Christopher ran to the water’s edge, followed closely by his two military escorts, and less quickly by Jackie. They were in time to see a second barrage displace huge fountains of Loch water.

“They’re firing at them!” Jackie yelled. “But they’ll hurt them… or….”

“Geoff, the car now!” Christopher said in a commanding voice. “Jackie… you’d better wait here…”

“No way,” she replied. “Not unless Martin leaves me his big gun to see off the press with. I’m coming with you.”

Christopher looked at her and grinned and held out his hand. They both got into the back of the limousine while Geoff drove and Martin literally rode shotgun with his slightly less alarming but no less effective P90 assault rifle on his lap. As they came within sight of the village and ran into an army checkpoint his hand tightened on it but Christopher told him to hold it down while he got out of the car and went to speak to the officer in charge. He turned and waved his car forward as the barrier was raised for them and climbed back into his seat.

“Village centre, quickly,” he said to Geoff. “I need to stop these idiots doing something stupid.” Geoff put his foot down and brought them to the village green where a military camp had been set up, complete with barbed wire cordons. Christopher demanded to see the officer in charge and was directed to the beer garden where they had lunched.

“What the hell do you think you are doing?” he demanded as he stormed up to the officer and a civilian in a suit who looked as if he had ‘politician’ tattooed in invisible ink on his forehead. “Stop firing this minute. Who told you to fire mortars at the creatures?”

“I did,” the politician said. “I’m Robert McDermott, under-secretary for agriculture in the Scottish Assembly and SMP for this district. “The creatures have been killing wildlife and sheep.”

Another mortar barrage was fired off. Christopher rounded on the officer in charge and demanded that they cease firing at once. The politician demanded to know who he was.

“I am Christopher de Lœngbærrow, minister of state for Foreign and Extra-Terrestrial affairs in the Westminster parliament. Which means I outrank you, and unless a state of emergency has been declared I outrank you as well,” he said to the Major. “I have it on unimpeachable authority that those creatures are of extra-terrestrial origin, which puts them under MY purview and I order you to cease firing this MINUTE or everyone involved will find themselves reduced in rank forthwith.”

The Major looked at Christopher and seemed on the point of protesting and then changed his mind. He signalled to his officers and the mortars were stood down. But just then a cry went up.

“We’ve got one,” somebody was shouting and the Major began to run towards the water’s edge as a motor launch approached. Christopher and the minister for agriculture followed. Behind him he heard Jackie calling to him. He looked around to see her coming through the cordon of soldiers, Geoff and Martin flanking her as they flashed psychic paper ID’s that saw off any further obstruction.

The launch halted by the small mooring jetty by the pub garden and they discovered they had in fact got TWO, not one. Christopher felt Jackie slip her hand into his as he watched them unload the bodies of the two creatures. One was very clearly dead. Half of its neck and shoulder was a bloody, gaping hole. The other looked intact.

“Poor things,” Jackie said. “I mean, I know they’re monsters and all, and as ugly as anything, but they’re just babies. They weren’t doing any harm.” She bent and touched the intact body. It felt cold. But then it was a reptile. Cold blooded. That much she knew from watching wildlife shows on TV. But she thought she felt it move slightly.

“It’s not dead,” she cried. “Christopher… it’s alive.”

He bent down beside her and examined the creature with his sonic screwdriver. Then he grabbed her shoulder and pulled her away.

“It IS alive,” he said as its forelegs thrashed the ground as if it was trying to stand up. “Get back, now. And lower your bloody guns. Nobody shoot.”

“Shoot it!” somebody yelled and the soldiers looked about them uncertainly. “Shoot it now.” Christopher turned as another civilian who appeared to have security clearance – unless this was a very sloppy military lockdown – ran towards them. “SHOOT the abomination, now.”

“Who the hell are YOU?” the Major demanded.

“I am Retired-Colonel James Urquhart,” he replied. “As Mr McDermott will confirm. I own Urquhart castle and most of the land south of this village. And I demand that you kill that creature.”

“You will do nothing of the sort,” Christopher said. “Stand your men down right now,” he added to the Major, who to his credit, did so. The conflicting orders coming from civilians were playing havoc with discipline and he didn’t want any incidents that would go on his own record. “Right, that’s better. Now….”

“Look!” Somebody on the launch spotted it first, but only by a fraction of a second. Nobody could miss it as it rose out of the water. The full sized Skarasen was as big as a house and then some. It raised its head on its long neck and opened a mouth full of razor sharp teeth. Everyone expected a roar, but what came out of its throat was more like a high pitched scream. And as it did so, the young Skarasen began to come around fully from being stunned by a mortar landing in the water near it. It raised its head and made a higher-pitched sound in reply.

“A mother looking for its child,” Jackie said as Christopher held her hand and they slowly moved backwards away from the young creature. “It just wants its baby back.”

“And it can have it,” Christopher said. “Nobody try to interfere.” The Major was co-operating. He ordered his men to stand off. “Get everybody away from the launch,” Christopher yelled as he realised that the baby Skarasen was going to take the most direct route home. It stood up shakily and began to lumber towards the call of its parent. The soldiers aboard the launch jumped ashore and ran for it as the adult Skarasen put one huge foot down and snapped it in two. As it sank the infant stepped into the debris filled water and swam away. The adult turned and swam with it until it reached the deep water not far out from shore where it dived down under the surface. A minute or two later, not even ripples indicated where it was.

“It’s getting dark,” Christopher noted. “Major, deal with this creature’s body, then I suggest you organise some patrols to guard the Loch. There are too many people about this place who shouldn’t go anywhere near it until we get to the bottom of what is going on here.”

“You mean you want my men to protect the monsters from the people?” The Major looked at him in surprise. “I thought we were here to do the opposite.”

“Well, now you know better,” Christopher replied. “There’s nothing else to do here tonight. Tomorrow, nine o’clock, Major, Mr. McDermott, we’ll meet to discuss the situation at….” He paused a moment and his gaze alighted on the retired colonel. “We shall meet at Urquhart Castle. Colonel Urquhart can state his case for having the creatures killed then, too. Yes, I think that will do nicely. Meanwhile, I’ve not had any dinner yet. Geoff, I think we’ll stop off at that pizza place on the main street before we head home?”


Christopher woke after the three hours maximum he needed to sleep. He curled his arms around his wife and enjoyed lying there close to her. He let his mind run slowly over the events of the day. He wondered how he had found himself in the thick of such a situation. He laughed inwardly. He took after his father after all. He would never have been able to stand idly by, either.

Would his father have done the same? Had he handled it right? A shadow of doubt came into his thoughts. The army would have killed the creatures and that would have been the end of it. Clean cut. He was standing against what everyone else thought needed to be done. If the creatures were killing wildlife then something had to be done to cull them.

And yet, he was almost sure his father would have stood up for the creatures. And his instinct was to do the same. Was it a sort of fellow feeling for the Skarasen. The first of them to live in the Loch was a creature stranded on this planet through no fault of its own. He was a refugee here, too. He had made a new life for himself, a good life. He was happy. But he still belonged to another place. And one whose memory burned in his hearts.

Yes, he could pity these creatures who made their adopted home in the deep, cold Loch.

And that aside, he just felt deep in his hearts that it was the right thing to do. And the thing his father would do, too.

And yes, that mattered to him. He had always looked up to his father, admired him, wanted to be like him, wanted to please him with his own achievements. It had come as a surprise to him to find that his father was more than the brilliant diplomat and politician he had known him as, but a knight errant who fought for justice in an unjust universe. But he had admired him anew as he had come to know that other side of him and wanted to please him all over again. He wanted to do this right.

As he lay still, wondering if his own talents were up to the task he became aware of something. Not a sound, at least not in the ordinary sense. A sound beneath the audible range of Humans, but one he heard in his head as if it was a telepathic signal.

He sat upright in the bed, his hands pressed on his temples as he tried to focus.

“Christopher, what’s wrong?” He felt Jackie sit up beside him. She put her hand on his shoulder. “Do you have a headache? Can I get you an aspirin….”

“No,” he said. “It’s not that. And… by the way, don’t ever give me aspirin. It’s deadly to my race. I can hear something. I think it's a signal to the Skarasen. Something… or somebody… is calling to the creatures.”

“Why?” Jackie asked. Christopher was already climbing out of the bed and reaching for his clothes. She did the same as he went through to the parlour where Martin and Geoff were sleeping indoors this night, rather than in an all too flimsy tent within reach of the potentially dangerous creatures. They were alert at once.

“What do you want us to do?” Geoff asked.

“Something is drawing the creatures. I can hear it. I can sense the direction. We need the car.” He turned to Jackie. “Stay here… I don’t want you hurt…”

“If you’re going to turn into your dad, then you need me,” she said. “Anything Rose can do…”

“Jackie… really… I would rather….” He began, but there was a look in her eyes that he knew he could not argue with. “All right, but stay in the car.”

“Where are we going?” Jackie asked as the car travelled swiftly through the dark night, Christopher directing Geoff’s driving as he focussed on the signal.

“This road leads up to Urquhart Castle,” Martin answered.

“Does it?” Christopher looked surprised. “Well…. That explains a lot. I thought the Colonel seemed a bit too uptight about it.”

The castle was a ruin, of course. It had been for centuries. For a long time it was a museum open to the public. In recent years it had come into private ownership again and Colonel Urquhart lived in a modern house built next to the castle. As they drove up the private road the house loomed before them, incongruous in its modernity beside the brooding, broken walls of the keep.

Incongruous, too, was the pulsating green light that lit up the ruin. A light that seemed to be at the source of the sound that was attracting the Skarasen.

“What is this all about?” Jackie asked as they quietly got out of the car and moved towards the light in the middle of the castle ruin.

“I have no idea,” Christopher admitted.

“How do you know we’re not walking into a trap?”

“I don’t,” he answered. “In fact, I think it probably IS a trap. Though maybe not for us. I think somebody is rounding up the Skarasen.”

“The Nessies?”

“Yes, if you want to call them that,” Christopher said with an indulgent smile. “I rather like that name, too. Makes them seem….”

“Nicer,” Jackie said. “I know they’ve killed some animals, but I don’t think they’ve done any real harm to people. They’re not bad creatures.”

“No, they’re not,” Christopher agreed.

“Look!” Martin hissed. They looked where he was pointing towards the dark loch. The adult Skarasen was a moving silhouette against a starlit sky, lumbering onto the dry land and heading towards the light. As it approached they could see that the four juvenile creatures were with it, following like cygnets behind a swan, though with slightly less grace.

But there must have been something more than light and sound there. As soon as the adult Skarasen got close to the spot it emitted a cry that was unmistakeably pain. Christopher felt it telepathically. The creature passed some kind of sensor and triggered what must have been an electric shock straight into its brain. At first it just roared in pain, the sound carried on the night air. Then it slowly fell. The juveniles flocked around it, emitting the high-pitched cry that was clearly their call to the parent. But now it was a cry of grief as she lay motionless on the lawn before the ruined castle.

“Is it dead?” Jackie asked. “Oh, why would anyone do that?”

“WHO would do that?” Geoff asked.

“I would!” a voice said as spotlights were switched on to illuminate the path they were upon. Geoff and Martin immediately raised their guns but the unmistakeable sound of safety catches being clicked off all around them made them hesitate. Christopher silently indicated to them to lower their own weapons as he looked around and took in what he assumed to be Colonel Urquhart’s personal security staff, all armed.

Urquhart himself stood between them and the Skarasen.

“What have you done?” Christopher demanded. “Why have you summoned the creatures?”

“To finish them off,” Urquhart said. He indicated to his men to close in on them. Martin and Geoff were disarmed and they were all forced to walk forwards towards the dead or unconscious creature and its children. As they came closer they saw that a force field now surrounded them. The ‘bars’ of energy rose up at least fifteen feet, penning in the Skarasen.

“Just unconscious,” Urquhart said. “So is he.” He pointed to a figure lying on the ground just outside the force field. “That, is my son. He is a scientist, and a creator of those abominations. He has worked with all the researchers trying to locate the so called Loch Ness Monster for years. But three winters ago he found the creature purely by accident. And he obtained a skin sample. Enough DNA to clone new creatures. He did so in his laboratory in the basement of my house. I knew nothing of this. I did not know that abominations were being created in my own home, by one who was my own flesh and blood.”

“The young are all clones?” Christopher looked at them curiously. They were all flocking about the adult still. “That’s incredible. She called to them and they came to her, the maternal instinct, she accepted them as her own. And they accepted her as their mother. I never would have expected that from cloned creatures. All the research ever done by my people pointed to clones having no family instincts at all.”

“Who cares!” Urquhart cried. “They are abominations. Foul, unnatural things.”

“Why did he do it?” Jackie asked. “What is the point?” She stepped towards the unconscious man. The guns pointed towards her. “Oh, give it a rest. We’re captured. We’re going nowhere. Chances of my bloke going anywhere anyway while there’s all this going on! I’m just going to see if he’s all right.” She bent down next to the man. That meant being next to the Skarasen and she looked nervously at it and wondered if the force field WOULD hold it once it was awake. Urquhart junior was starting to come around. Jackie helped him stand. He looked around at his father, at the captives, both Human and Skarasen, and at his father’s staff who all seemed quite determined to shoot him if he moved any further.

“Father… what are you….”

“I am dealing with your foul work once and for all,” Urquhart said. “It would be over now if that fool hadn’t stopped the army doing their work. So now it’s down to me to deal with it.”

“Oh my God!” Jackie exclaimed. “He’s got this place wired to explode. She and the younger Urquhart backed away from the explosives partially buried in the ground all around the perimeter of the force field.

“Father, have you lost your mind?” Urquhart junior demanded. “There are enough explosives there to blow the castle, the house, and all of us sky high.”

“If it rids the world of these foul things, so be it,” Urquhart said. “You tampered with nature. You created monsters. And I will destroy them if nobody else will.”

“Sir….” One of Urquhart’s men looked at him nervously. “What’s going on? I’m not standing around here to be blown up.”

“Go then, if you haven’t the stomach for it. But you…” He grabbed Jackie and held her across the neck with one arm as he raised with the other what was unmistakeably the remote control detonator for the explosives. “Mr Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs isn’t going anywhere, I think. Not while I have his wife!”

Christopher glanced behind him. Urquhart’s men were all running for it. Geoff and Martin both stood firm.

“You should save yourselves, too,” Christopher told them. “You don’t have to be here.”

“We’re with you, sir. All the way,” Geoff said on behalf of them both. Then in a quieter voice. “What’s the plan? What are we going to do about this nutter?”

“I don’t have a plan,” Christopher replied. “My father would have done. But I don’t. I’m not him.” He looked around. The scene seemed almost frozen. Urquhart, standing in front of the glowing force field with Jackie struggling to free herself from his grip, the younger Urquhart staring at his father like a complete idiot, Christopher thought, and the unconscious Skarasen and her cloned children inside the bars. It seemed to be a stalemate.

“If you’re determined to do this, I can’t stop you,” Christopher said. “But please… let me be your hostage. Leave my wife alone. “She’s…. she’s pregnant.”

“I am?” Jackie looked at him. “But… how do you know?”

“I know,” he told her. “Jackie… I love you. Never forget that.”

“I love you, too. And… and I think you’re just as brave as your dad. I mean it. He didn’t always have a plan, you know. Half the time he’d be useless without other people. Me and Mickey helped him blow up Downing Street. And it was Rose who stopped the Daleks….”

“Enough,” Urquhart said. “Very well… if she can run fast enough…” He pushed Jackie away from him. She stumbled but kept her feet and ran to Christopher.

“Go on,” he said to her. “Run, as fast as you can. Get away from here. If he lets go of that detonator this place is done for.”

“It’s true is it?” she asked him. “I really am…”

“Yes. That’s why I need you to get away, Jackie. Protect our child.”

No,” she said determinedly. “No way. I’ve brought up one child on my own. I’m not doing it again.” And she moved much quicker than anyone would have expected of her, even her husband. She crossed the ground between her and Urquhart in seconds and wrenched the detonator from his hand.

“Jackie!” Christopher screamed. “Don’t….”

“Oh my God!” she yelled as she seemed to come to her senses and realise what she had done. “What do I do now? What do I do with this?”

“You stupid bloody woman!” Urquhart yelled. “You’ve set it off. We’ve got thirty seconds.” He made to grab at her again. But suddenly the Skarasen’s roar split the air and the tooth-filled head on the long neck breached the force field. It screamed painfully, but it forced itself through, despite the pain, and its jaw closed around Urquhart. Jackie creamed and closed her eyes just before the body was actually split into three pieces.

“Jackie!” Christopher was by her side in an instant. He grasped the detonator from her hand and folded time around them. Jackie, opening her eyes saw Geoff and Martin restraining Urquhart junior in slow time while beside her Christopher was wrenching the cover off the detonator and using his sonic screwdriver to kill the circuits and stop the timer. In time honoured tradition of such things the LED read “1” when it finally stopped counting down.

“Something my father taught me when I was a boy,” he said. “Rerouting complicated electronic components before a bell would go off. I don’t think he ever expected me to grow up to be either a bomb-maker or a bank robber, but he equipped me with the skills.”

“Your dad will be proud of you when he hears about this,” Jackie said. He reached and held her in his arms as he released the time fold. They both turned and looked at the Skarasen. It looked back at them and Jackie gave a soft whimper. But Christopher held her tightly as his eyes made contact with the creature. She wondered if he was communicating with it telepathically. If he was, then it understood him. It turned away and smashed one foot down on the transmitter on one corner of the barrier. Again it was clearly in pain, but it was determined. Breaking the connection broke the barrier and the Skarasen lumbered back towards the Loch, its four children following it.

“No, I wasn’t telling her anything,” Christopher told her. “But I did feel her thoughts for a moment. She isn’t a violent creature. She doesn’t want to eat people. She attacked Urquhart because she knew he had hurt her and her children. Mother’s instinct. But now… she’s going back home and taking her children.” He turned to Urquhart junior. “You never did explain WHY you did it.”

“I wanted to ensure the survival of the creatures. I knew there was only one of them left. And one, on its own… when it died, that would be the end of it. I wanted to help it survive.”

“Well, thank Rassilon for that,” Christopher said. “There was me thinking it was going to be another plot to take over the Earth. Jackie, do you know what my father says about that?”

“Oh, no, not another bloody madman trying to take over the world, when do they ever learn!” she chorused. “But your dad said the Skarasen produce young without needing a mate and they only ever have one baby at a time.”

“Exactly.” He looked at Urquhart. “My father would also tell you that you’re a very sloppy scientist. Not only did you not find out that the Skarasen didn’t NEED your help to continue her species, but have you considered the environmental impact of that many creatures in the Loch? That’s why they were killing sheep. There weren’t enough fish to sustain them. You are an idiot. Interfering with what you don’t understand.”

Urquhart junior looked as if he understood it all perfectly well now. He sagged as Geoff and Martin stood beside him in case he tried to run for it. Christopher looked at him and wondered briefly what would happen to him. Actually, nothing he had done was even against the law. Cloning a creature nobody officially knew existed wasn’t covered by any regulation. About the only thing he could be prosecuted for was letting his pets get out of control and molest sheep. Seeing his father killed by the Skarasen was probably enough to put him off even thinking of doing anything so stupid again.


It was another bright, sunny, late September morning that might have been August. Christopher and Jackie were enjoying their pub lunch and watching the Junior Nessies as the tourist literature was already calling them, sporting and playing in the Loch. They both smiled when the mobile phone rang.

“Father,” Christopher smiled broadly. “I sorted out the paperwork this morning. The Loch Ness Monster and family are officially protected species and the Loch is their protected habitat. Angling and boating are prohibited. Tourists are only allowed to view the Loch and its inhabitants from designated zones and patrols are being set up to enforce all of the rules. We’ve got fish farms set up to keep the Nessies fed and stop them from trying sheep and deer instead. All in all, a satisfactory end to the matter.”

“Good job you were around to pull political strings on their behalf,” The Doctor said. “Good work. I’m proud of you.”

Christopher smiled warmly. Those last four words meant more to him than anyone else could begin to imagine. For all his political power, being able to by-pass all sorts of red tape to make sure the ‘Nessies’ were safe, the approval of his father for his actions was what mattered most to him.

“It was interesting living your kind of life for a while,” he admitted. “Think it's time for me and Jackie to take things a bit easier though. We’re neither of us REALLY up to stepping into you and Rose’s footsteps.”

“By the way, Jackie,” The Doctor grinned on the videophone. “Rose says to remind you what you said when I brought her home from honeymoon pregnant. Apparently you have to eat your words now.”

“I don’t care,” Jackie answered with a wide smile. “Rose is going to be a big sister and a grandmother at the same time. She can get used to THAT.” There was a disgusted sound somewhere behind The Doctor as Rose considered that complication to their family tree.

“She’s absolutely thrilled,” The Doctor said, in the face of the evidence.