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

“So, you three are going off for another jaunt in space?” The Doctor smiled as he saw Chris and Davie, with Brenda, getting ready to leave.

“Thought we’d take Brenda home by the scenic route,” Davie replied.

“Ah, the scenic route!” The Doctor’s eyes twinkled merrily. “I used to take YEARS on the scenic route.”

“We were just planning on a weekend,” Davie assured him. “But we’d value some suggestions of where to go. A nice peaceful planet, friendly people…”

“I know the very place,” The Doctor said. “Haven’t dropped in there for years. Three people who are so used to telepathic communications will be right at home.” He looked at Davie and told him the co-ordinate and the name of the planet telepathically. “Have a good time, all of you.” He kissed Brenda on the forehead and hugged the boys then stood back to watch them step into the Chinese TARDIS. As it dematerialised he turned and walked away. He was happy to be retired – more or less – but whenever he saw the boys take off in their own TARDIS, looking like he did eight hundred years ago when he was a young graduate Time Lord with his lives before him, he felt just a little twinge of regret.

Then he heard the laughter of his daughter and great-granddaughter as they played with their pet bears in the formal garden. He remembered that domestic life had its compensations. He stood by the gate and listened in to their conversation.

“I really wish Tristie could play with us,” Vicki said. “I want to show him Yogi and Boo Boo’s new trick.”

“He’s asleep now,” Sukie answered her. “The time is different where he is. We can talk to him at bedtime. He can finish telling us about his school trip to the moon.”

The Doctor was puzzled. Who was Tristie? He didn’t think either Vicki or Sukie were the sort to have imaginary friends. But who could they possibly know who had taken a school trip to the moon?


“Granddad wants to know who Tristie is,” Chris told Davie as he programmed the co-ordinate The Doctor had given him into the navigation drive of his TARDIS.

“Are you eavesdropping again?” Davie replied.

“Can’t help it. His thoughts come too easily to me sometimes. Funny that. Granddad is so powerful in every way, but he can never block his thoughts from me.”

“You know what he’d say about that.”

“We’re chips off the old block and we’re so much alike that we can’t help having such strong connections.”

“Well, yeah,” Davie grinned at his brother. “That and, Chris, stop reading my mind!”

Chris laughed, because he knew it was true.

“What about it though?” he added. “Do you think we ought to tell him the truth. I am a bit worried about the girls being in contact with him like that. He’s from the thirty-first century after all.”

“We’re in contact with Jack,” Davie reasoned. “He’s from the fifty-first century.”

“Yes, but he’s not one of our descendents.”

“Might be, for all we know. He grew up in an orphanage and doesn’t know who his parents are.”

“Seriously,” Chris said. “I think we SHOULD tell him. There’s other things he should know, too. Like the damage to the house…”

“You know, he’ll be mad at us.”

“Not for long. He couldn’t even stay mad at us over the thermic torpedoes or crashing the protocols and going to Gallifrey.”

“Yes, but we can’t push our luck. One of these days we’ll do something SO stupid he’ll never forgive us.”

“That’s a horrible thought,” Chris said. “I can’t imagine not being close to him. He’s been there for us since we were kids. He’s the reason we are what we are and not a couple of mixed up freaks with no friends.”

“Yeah, I know. We owe him a lot. But, you know, he EXPECTS us to get into trouble out here in the TARDIS. HE did, after all. He WANTS us to be like him.”

“Well, you, anyway. I’m really just along for the ride.”

“The TARDIS was MEANT to belong to us both, Chris,” Davie told him. “We’re both imprinted on it.”

“I know. But following in his footsteps suits you better than me. I’ve got my own future.” He glanced around at Brenda, sitting on the sofa reading quietly, as if travelling in a space and time machine was nothing unusual for her. “I can take the controls for a while though. If you want to take a break.”

“For somebody who wants to embrace celibacy that was a wicked thought,” Davie told his brother before relinquishing the console to him and going to sit with his bonded fiancée. Chris watched them for a while without any jealousy. He HAD chosen a different path of life. Or perhaps the path chose him. And he was happy with it.

He turned to the TARDIS computer and accessed the huge database of information about planets and species that was one of the greatest legacies the Time Lords of Gallifrey had left them. He found the entry and read it with interest.

He was even more interested in the digital signature at the end of the entry. . Theta Sigma.

He smiled as he set the search terms to find all entries in the database signed by TS. The list would have scrolled too fast for anyone who hadn’t inherited the Gallifreyan ability to speed read.

In his youth, long before he was known by the name that set Brenda’s people bowing before him, before enemies such as the Daleks, Cybermen, Sontaran, Slitheen, all learnt to fear The Doctor, his great-grandfather had significantly added to the wealth of knowledge of the universe held by his people.

He was proud to think that he and Davie were setting out now in their own different ways to add to that knowledge. He keyed in another search term. - Pi Sigma. They chose it between them. Pi was the nearest symbol in the Greek alphabet to the symbol for Gemini – twins. And Sigma was out of respect for The Doctor, of course. There were already a few entries. Davie had written a full report about the planet they rescued the last Gallifreyans from, and about volcanic activity on Tibora.

Chris had written a long piece about the peace-loving monks of Malvoria who, despite their pacifism knew some amazing ways to painfully incapacitate anyone who tried to disturb their tranquillity. He had enjoyed the time he spent there. And it had fuelled his own ambitions for his Sanctuary.

One day, he said to himself. One day all our dreams will come true.

“Chris!” Davie looked up from where he had been fully occupied with Brenda. “Don’t daydream at the console. We should be getting there soon. I want to have a look at the planet from orbit before we land. It has a water to dry land ratio of 9:1. That in itself is quite remarkable. Only one viable land mass. The rest of it is oceans and tiny coral atolls.”

“It IS beautiful,” Brenda said as they came out of the vortex and settled into a slow orbit around the planet called Agua Uno. It had very small ice caps at the poles, but otherwise it was an ocean planet. Their orbit took them around from the daylight side of the planet to where it was nighttime. There they could make out the lights of the cities around the edge of the landmass, roughly the size of Scandinavia by Earth measure. And as their orbit continued they saw the twin planet, Agua Dos, which shone like a big, beautiful moon in the night sky of Agua Uno.

“Twin planets, how appropriate,” Brenda added. “Chris is the light in your sky, Davie. And you in his.”

“Always been that way,” Davie agreed, grinning at his brother. “Except I have you, now, as well. Two bright lights in my sky.”

“We’d have got a kicking at school for talking as soft as this,” Chris told him. “And aren’t I the one with the romantic notions.”

“That you are, Chris,” Davie answered. “But I think a bit of you is rubbing off on me.” He turned to the computer console and saved several of the views of the planet as digitised still photographs and video sequences to illustrate the database record. Then he initiated their landing by the harbour of the largest city, Agua Cuidad.

“It’s even more lovely down on the ground,” Brenda said as they walked along the promenade on a balmy summer evening with the big bright moon shining down making the scene almost as bright as day. The promenade was busy. The people of Agua Cuidad were enjoying themselves. There was music from a bandstand and sideshows and attractions to amuse them, and nobody seemed unhappy.

“But they all dress the same.” That puzzled Brenda because she hadn’t read the database. They were beautiful people, each and every one of them, and no two were alike in their features. But they all, male and female, wore the same sort of dark grey cloaks over pale grey close fitting body suits that were almost the same shade as their pale grey-white skin.

“These are the land-dwelling descendents of those who came here from the dying planet of Lagenorhynchia,” Davie explained to her. “That planet was 100% water-covered. And the people lived in underwater cities. They had the ability to morph between a humanoid form and what Earth people call dolphins. Those who escaped from the dying planet went to five different worlds where there were big, clean oceans. One was Earth… the dolphins of Earth are their descendents. And we don’t know for sure if they can still morph. They have never showed themselves to any Human. There was another planet where they were destroyed by the land-dwelling population who didn’t understand they were intelligent life. There are none there now. And Aquaria, where once they built their new underwater city they destroyed their space ships and lived without technology. Granddad says that planet is off limits because outside interference even with good intentions is bad for them. And then there are the twin planets here, Agua Uno and Agua Dos. The last two ships of survivors split between these two beautiful planets and created communities here.”

“Wonderful,” Brenda said. “But…they live on land now?”

“Some of them do,” Chris told her, taking up the story. “Apparently some decided to live on the land, and they lost the ability to morph themselves into the swimming form over the millennia. But look…”

He pointed out to sea, along the silver moonpath. He and Davie could see it clearly with their naked eyes, but Brenda needed to use binoculars. Out on the water, the sea people of Agua Uno were enjoying themselves on this pleasant evening, too. There were great rafts floating out in the bay, with lamps lit upon them. There, too, there were people playing music, but most of them were swimming and relaxing. Brenda gasped as she saw grey-clad people dive into the water and emerge changed into beautiful, sleek dolphins, dark grey on top of their bodies, like the cloaks the land-dwellers wore, pale grey underneath.

“That’s why they don’t wear colours. It’s a sort of race memory of being water-dwelling creatures.”


“What about us?” Brenda looked down at herself. She was wearing a brightly coloured summery dress and a cashmere shawl against the sea breezes that cooled the air slightly. Davie was wearing a black leather jacket and a sweatshirt with the name of a 23rd century rock band on the front. Chris was in white slacks and t-shirt. They were all, clearly, strangers to the city and the planet.

They were not the only such strangers. There were other offworlders to be seen in the crowds. The Aguans did not shun strangers as their Aquarian brothers and sisters did. But even so they stood out among the grey-clad indigenous people.

“We’re ok,” Davie assured her. “You look lovely. Red suits you.”

“I wonder is it like this every night here?” Brenda said as they worked their way through the crowds. “All this partying?”

“No,” Chris immediately replied. “It’s a celebration of the engagement of the daughter of the Magister of this city to the son of the Elder of the underwater city out in the bay. It’s a big deal, because obviously it's a high profile link between the land dwellers and the water dwellers. Everyone is ‘dead chuffed’ as granddad would put it.”

“Now I just know all of that wasn’t in the database,” Davie said. “You’re mind reading. Chris, it’s bad enough doing it to granddad. But when it's strangers…”

“No, they’re all telepathic too. Open your mind up, both of you. You can feel it. There are hundreds of conversations going on beyond the ordinary noise.”

“I am so used to closing mine and not intruding,” Brenda admitted. “On Tibora, it really is considered rude to be open constantly.”

“I can’t stop it when it’s as strong as this. Listen…” Chris stopped and looked around. Brenda and Davie did, too. The air WAS full of telepathic voices, all cheerful, all celebrating, all full of hope for future happy ties between the two sections of people on their planet.

“That’s great,” Davie said. “Practically a royal wedding. The Magister’s daughter is quite a catch…” He blushed and laughed. “Is that a bad expression on a planet where the people are descended from fish?”

“I think it’s a common expression,” Chris answered. “But you’re forgetting your basic species classification. Dolphins are mammals, not fish. They’re just like we are.”

“So I am,” Davie answered him. “But anyway, this reception? Are we going?”

“We weren’t invited,” Brenda pointed out.

“We’re Time Lords. We’re invited to any party going on,” Davie answered. “As representatives of our people. And besides, we have psychic paper.”

“Don’t need it,” Chris told him. “You didn’t read to the end of the database. Granddad put in a note. He said the Magister is an old friend. Just mention his name.”

“Ok, then,” Davie decided as he looked at the grand, four story building in a style Earth people named Art Deco that was the biggest building on the seafront. The Magister’s residence. “Ok, let’s party.”

As they joined the guests arriving at the official party, as opposed to the general festivities outside, Davie felt a little apprehensive. He had been with his great-grandfather many times when he had ‘crashed’ functions like this with psychic paper and a bold attitude that made people think he had a perfect right to be there. He was less sure he could carry it off.

“Do you have your invitations?” A steward wearing the same grey clothing as every other Aguan but with a sash of blue-grey satin on the auspicious occasion looked at the three offworlders with undisguised interest. Davie presented his psychic paper.

He was rather surprised at the reaction. He had been ready to be thrown out on his ear. He had hoped to get away with it and be admitted to the party. He didn’t expect the respectful bow and the personal escort to the ballroom.

“Presenting The Doctor, with the honourable Marquess de Lœngbærrow of Earth and Gallifrey and the honourable Miss Brenda Freeman of Tibora,” the Steward announced.

Davie looked at his psychic paper. Yes, it had identified HIM as The Doctor.

He remembered what his great-grandfather had told him in the thirty-first century.

“YOU inherited the one thing I thought I could never pass on. My name. YOU are The Doctor now.”

He had thought of that surprising revelation almost constantly, since. Did the psychic paper read that in him, knowing that it was an idea that enthralled him. To have not only the power of a Time Lord, but the universal respect that name carried.

“Chris, can you contact granddad telepathically with all the background psychic there is in this place?”

“Yes,” Chris answered. “Just about.”

“Ask him how he knows the Magister and just HOW good a friend is he, and what else should I know about him if I’m supposed to be him.”

There was a brief moment then Chris passed a message to his brother through the unique and self-contained psychic connection the two of them had since early childhood.

“He said they met eight years ago when he and Rose were travelling together. He helped save the planet from water thieves who wanted to drain the oceans. He was therefore made an honorary Aguan and a freeman of Agua Cuidad.”

“Ok,” Davie said. Then he detected a note of humour. “What?”

“He also said that the Magister… is a she not a he.” Chris giggled. “And she had ‘the hots’ for him.”

“Oh.” Davie thought about that for a second. “Granddad spent a lot of time in the 21st century. Did ‘the hots’ mean the same thing then as it does for us?”

“I can’t think of any other definition that would explain why he said what he said to tell you.” Chris paused and giggled again. “Watch out for her hands.”


Davie grasped Brenda’s arm as the crowds parted to let them greet the Magister and her daughter. He looked at the two women as they stood on a raised dais before a beautiful wall fresco in shades of grey and white which depicted the two forms of the Aguan people – land dwelling and water dwelling – in harmony. The younger one was a very lovely woman who seemed to be about their age. She was dressed in a long, figure hugging gown of silver-grey and stood next to a young man who looked delighted to be at her side but a little over-awed by the attention that caused.

The older woman was also beautiful, also wearing a figure hugging gown. Davie had the immediate feeling that the term ‘older woman’ would not please her.

“My dear Doctor,” the Magister exclaimed joyfully as Davie stepped up to her. “You look so much younger than when I met you last. This is the regeneration you spoke of? And is this your lady? Did she regenerate too or have you a new love in your life?”

“This is my fiancée,” Davie said, introducing Brenda formally. “And my brother.”

“Delighted to meet you all,” she said. “You know my daughter, Ka-Alla-Ka. This is her fiancée, Ko-ro-Ko.”

“I am honoured to make your acquaintance,” Davie said to the soon to be bridegroom and bride. “And to reacquaint myself with you, Magister.”

“Why so formal?” The Magister responded. “You used to call me by my name.”

“Her name is Ki’issa’ki,” Chris told Davie quickly. “Ki for short.”

“Of course, my dear Ki,” Davie answered the Magister. “Would you care to dance?” He knew she was going to say yes. ‘The hots’ were clearly still hot, even for his ‘new look’. He pacified Brenda by reminding her that they were ambassadors at an official reception and he was expected to dance with the hostess. Chris gallantly stood in for him as they took to the dance floor.

“She DOES fancy you,” Chris teased his brother as they walked back to the TARDIS some time in the small hours of the morning. The promenade was quieter now. The street party was over and so was the water-party out in the bay. The formal reception had been over for a good hour, too. But Magister Ki had kept them in close conversation in her private drawing room. The conversation had mostly been of interstellar affairs, to be sure. There was nothing untoward, but they all had the distinct impression she had wanted Davie by her side for as long as possible.

“That woman needs a man in her life,” Davie said. “But I’m not the one.”

“Granddad says that serves you right for impersonating him,” Chris laughed.

“Yeah,” Davie laughed, too.

“He also says you did really well and you’ll make a very good diplomat,” Chris added. “And Brenda will make a diplomat’s wife.”

“There you go then,” Davie smiled and hugged Brenda closer to him. “Am I forgiven for being so inattentive to you all night?”

“Totally,” she said. “Besides, there was a rather nice young man – Ke-talla-Ke. Personal aide to Ko. He brought me a very nice fruit drink while the Magister was showing you the friezes in the long gallery.”

“Right.” Davie knew he was being teased and that he deserved it. “The friezes are interesting, you know,” he added. “They tell the whole history of the people. They have no written language here, you know. All their culture is either oral or recorded pictorially. Do you know granddad was here about half a century ago as well. He stopped a war between the sea and land people and helped them live in harmony with each other. Apparently there was a thing between them for ages – the land-dwellers wanting to lord it over the sea-dwellers and they weren’t having it.”

“Should think not, either,” Brenda said. “But if The Doctor was involved I am sure it was easily resolved.”

“Granddad always says war is never easily resolved,” Davie told her. “If even one life is lost the price is too high.”

“The Doctor is a very wise man,” Brenda said very solemnly. “You should be proud of him.”

They reached the TARDIS. They all smiled. It had disguised itself as a closed up kiosk for the sale of fruit drinks and cakes. Some time in the course of the festivities somebody had festooned it in silver bunting. It had clearly enjoyed the party atmosphere as much as anyone else.

“Time for bed, though,” Davie said, stifling a genuine yawn. “We’re going to visit the underwater city tomorrow. Guests of Ko. Ki will be there, too. So I need all the rest I can get.”


He didn’t get that rest. Or at least not much of it. He had been asleep not more than a few hours when he was awoken by the TARDIS alarm. He was out of bed in moments and put a dressing gown over his pyjamas. His pyjamas were black satin. The dressing gown was the same, with golden dragons across the front. It wasn’t just because his great-grandfather had one just like it. He happened to like the style.

“What is it?” Chris asked as he reached the console room a few moments after him.

“It's an intergalactic SOS. There’s a ship in trouble.” He examined the data he was receiving on the communications panel. “One of theirs, by the looks of it. The signal is being aimed at this planet.” He opened a channel to reply. “Hello, ship in distress. Can you give me your location and the nature of your emergency.”

“This is Aquaria One… we are… our ship is failing. We have 200 refugees on board but we don’t have life support, engines…. We are…”

“Give me your co-ordinate,” Davie repeated. “And get your passengers and crew ready to evacuate.”

“Aquaria?” Chris looked at his brother. “The planet that abandoned technology?”

“Refugees?” Davie was preparing to dematerialise. “Why?” It was a question he knew he would find answered when he reached the ship. His first priority was to get there. “Wake Brenda,” he told Chris. “Tell her what’s happening. Ask her to get the medical room ready in case there are injured.” Chris nodded and went to do as he said. The TARDIS belonged to both of them but he freely admitted that Davie was the captain of the ship and he was first mate.

Davie checked that they were on course then opened a communications channel back to Agua Uno. He was surprised when Magister Ki answered the call personally.

“Our ships are on the way, Doctor,” she said. “But if yours can get there quicker we would be grateful.”

“My ship can get there far faster. I’ll do my best to make sure no hands are lost on the stricken ship. But do you know WHY there is a refugee ship from Aquaria trying to reach you? I thought Aquaria had no contact with other planets.”

“We established communications with that planet some time ago. The home of our brothers and sisters descended from the first home world. With our help they have built a ship capable of travelling to Agua in order to maintain fraternal relationships with our society while retaining their peaceful and non-mechanised order in all other respects.”

“But why refugees?” Davie asked. “What has happened to them?”

“That we do not know,” Magister Ki said. “They are unable to give us any coherent details.”

“All right,” Davie sighed. “I’ll do what I can. Please ask your ships to contact me when they are in range.”

He closed the communication and stood by the console quietly for a long moment. He took a deep breath and composed himself. This was his first rescue mission as captain of the TARDIS. He had been with his grandfather many times when he had answered distress calls, but this was his first.

He felt as if this was his REAL test of his worthiness to carry the name he had ‘borrowed’ last night at the ball.

“What’s the name of that ship that granddad talks about sometimes?” he asked Chris as he and Brenda joined him in the console room.

“What ship?” he asked.

“The Earth one… that tried to reach the other one… the Titanic. The one that got there after it had sunk and picked up those who had managed to survive in the icy water.”

“The Carpathia,” Chris answered. “Granddad always said the TARDIS was the Carpathia when they answered distress calls. He said he would rather be the one that got there late than the one that didn’t get there at all. That he would always TRY as long as there was a chance of saving a single life.”

“Yes,” Davie said. “That’s what I was thinking of. OUR TARDIS is the Carpathia now.”

“Granddad always took that story very personal. The Titanic.”

“Because it was one of those events he couldn’t prevent and he hates unnecessary waste of life. And he’s right.” Chris looked at his brother and read in his face, without even needing to look into his mind, exactly what he was feeling. “We could call granddad and ask him to help.”

“No,” Davie insisted. “I’m ready. We’re ready.”

They spotted the ship as soon as they came out of the vortex into ordinary space. Chris read its status on the environmental console.

“Their engines are failing. They’re using some sort of transwarp drive but they must have put too much strain on it and the whole thing is collapsing. Even if it wasn’t, life support is minimal. They’ve got minimal oxygen. I’m seeing two hundred and thirty lifesigns – all weak.”

“Give me a co-ordinate for where most of them are,” Davie said. “Speed is the word now.”

Chris read the co-ordinate and he got ready to materialise on the ship.

“Are you going to try to materialise around as many of them as possible?” Chris asked him.

“Yes,” he answered. “But I’ve never done that solo before. Stand by. If I get it wrong people could materialise within the walls, or even through the console. That would be a very bad definition of bad.”

“Don’t get it wrong,” Chris told him.

He nodded and took a deep breath as he held down the materialisation switch and set the TARDIS to enclose all life forms within the circumference of the console room. It WAS a dangerous manoeuvre. But if he was lucky he could ‘net’ – he still felt it was a bad term for people related to sea-dwelling creatures – maybe as many as fifty of the refugees at once and cut down the evacuation time.

It worked. There were cries of panic and then a sense of relief among the Aquarians as they realised they were now breathing good, clean air. They heard Brenda telling them telepathically that they were safe. Chris, meanwhile pulled both doors open wide and looked out of what appeared, from the outside, to be a bulkhead door suddenly materialised in the middle of the passenger deck of the ship. He called to the rest of the refugees to come aboard. After a moment’s hesitation they began to move.

Some of them were struggling. But only a few of them needed medical attention. Most had another need.

“They’re dehydrated,” Chris reported. “They’re used to a moist atmosphere, and the ship is bone dry. Life support went down and the humidity dropped.”

“Granddad’s TARDIS has a swimming pool,” Davie murmured. “We don’t…. take them into the dojo….” He turned to the internal TARDIS environmental systems and overrode the controls so that he could turn on the sprinkler system in the ceiling of the dojo – in case of fire. It wasn’t the salt water they were used to, but it was water. It would do. He looked at the lifesigns monitor. Almost all the passengers were aboard now. There was still the crew on the bridge. He didn’t like using the transmat on people without warning them first, but time truly was running out.

The crew were surprised by their sudden rescue. As the others were taken to join the passengers in the now very wet dojo the captain presented himself to Davie. As Davie set their course back to Agua he introduced himself as Ku-gre-Ka of Aquaria.

“You’re in charge of this vessel?” he asked.

“I am,” he replied.

“What happened to you all? Why did you set out with so many passengers in a ship that wasn’t going to make it?”

“It was our best chance,” the captain said. “Our only chance. They were all we could get on board at short notice. Aquaria is under attack. Our water is being destroyed. The people are dying. They may all BE dead by now.”

“There are two Aguan ships heading out looking for you,” Davie said. “They can try to reach other survivors.”

“They may be too late,” the captain said “Our world is dying by the minute.”

“Then…” Davie looked at his brother. “Then we need to do something. We have to get these people to safety first, though.”

“Set the co-ordinate for the undersea city, not Agua Cuidad,” Chris told him. “They’ll recover better in the moist atmosphere of the dome than in the land city.”

That made sense. He set the co-ordinate. Not surprisingly their arrival caused concern in the underwater city, but they were a kind people and as soon as they understood the need they came to the aid of their brothers and sisters from the stars. As soon as they were safe Davie put the TARDIS on course for Aquaria.

“Granddad is worried about this,” Chris told him. “He wants to know if he should come and meet us there.”

“You told him?” Davie asked.

“He used to spend a lot of time on Aquaria. The people there are his friends. I thought he should know.”

“That’s fair enough, I suppose,” Davie said. “But tell him we’re handling things. I’ve got everything under control.”

“He says… you’re a chip off the old block and he trusts you, but if we get into trouble…”

“Yeah,” Davie half smiled. He wondered if he SHOULD ask his great-grandfather to help. Was he just being stubborn and determined to be independent? Was he putting Aquarian lives at risk in order to do it his way? There was that to consider.

“Earth is hours away even by TARDIS,” he said out loud. “Granddad couldn’t get there any faster than the Aguan ships that are on their way. We’ll be there before them though.”

“The TARDIS is unarmed,” Brenda said. “Are we going to fight the ship that is stealing the water?”

“I don’t know,” Davie admitted. “I’m winging it. I don’t have a plan. Granddad would, I’m sure. But I’m just making it up as I go along.” He looked at Chris who smiled at him. “What?”

“Well, for one thing, granddad made his plans up as he went along half the time. And another… you’re you, Davie. Even if you DO inherit his name, his reputation, you’re still you. You don’t have to walk in his footsteps literally. You CAN do it your own way.”

Davie smiled. His brother knew him better than he knew himself. He had always looked up to The Doctor, wanted to be like him, do what he did. Ever since he had talked to the elderly version of him in the future it had been in his mind to strive to be more like him. But he had to be like himself first and foremost.

They none of them were sure what to expect at the end of the journey. They thought the worst and hoped for the best.

The worst they had thought was not nearly worst enough.

They looked at the pictures of Aquaria in the database and then stared at the planet in the viewscreen. The pictures showed a planet with no major landmass at all, just one great ocean and hundreds of thousands of coral atolls no more than a few miles around.

Now, so much water had been taken from the ocean that a great desert was forming around the equator, splitting the planet into two halves. They could see, even from orbit, that one of the great underwater cities was in the centre of the desert, where the sun burnt and cracked it. It was from there, they guessed, that the ship had taken as many survivors as it could.

“The rest are either dead or, if they were lucky they made it into the water,” Davie said.

“They’re all dead,” Brenda whispered, trying to hold back her tears. “I can feel it. There’s death down there.”

“I can feel it, too,” Chris added. “There were thousands in that city. They rescued two hundred… the rest…”

“There are three other cities under the sea,” Davie said. “We can save them. We can save most of the people.” He turned a dial and the TARDIS revolved slowly until the source of the crisis came into view. He had to adjust the focus several times before they could see the huge ship in its entirety.

“Water harvester,” Davie murmured as they looked at it. “There was a picture of one in the friezes Magister Ki showed me. The one granddad stopped from doing this to Agua.”

“Did the friezes show what granddad did to them?” Chris asked.

“No. Only that he did something to the ship that reversed the process and sent all the water back to the planet. They work by evaporating huge amounts of water and drawing it into those tanks you see there – where it is compressed somehow so that they can take millions of gallons of water at once. Enough to change the ecology of a planet.”

“Why?” Brenda asked. “Why do they do that?”

“Because their planet is desert and they need water.”

“That’s stupid,” Chris said. “If their planet is desert there’s probably some reason – too close to the sun or whatever – that water won’t stay on it. They could drain every planet in the galaxy and it wouldn’t make a difference.”

“Do you want to tell them that, or shall I?” Davie asked him.

“Let’s just do something about what they’re doing to this planet.” Chris looked at the ship then turned to the console and called up a schematic of it. “I think we should do what granddad would do,” he said. “Transmat on board and sabotage the engines, leave it dead in space until the Aguan ships come and put it in custody for piracy.”

“Granddad wouldn’t transmat. He hates transmats. They make him dizzy.”

“Apart from that. It IS what he would do. The engine room is in this section here… and the hydro-condenser is there… That’s got to be about half a mile of ship!”

“We’re going to have to split and take a section each. Brenda… you’ll have to take charge of the transmat.” Brenda looked horrified at the thought. “It’s all right. I’ll set the co-ordinates. You just press the button. And when we’re ready to come back you press it again. You’ll know when we’re ready. We’ll be in telepathic contact.”

“If I mess up…”

“You won’t,” he assured her. “You’re a smart girl. That’s why I love you. You’ll do just fine.” He kissed her gently then stood back from the console. Brenda reached hesitantly and pressed the button. He closed his eyes as he felt the transmat beam envelop him. He knew what his great-grandfather meant. It wasn’t a PLEASANT way to travel. But it WAS easy.

Or it should have been. He was aware of Brenda yelling something and Chris trying to calm her but he couldn’t see them and his head felt as if his brain was trying to be in a different location without his skull. He tried to scream but even that was impossible.

“What…. the… hell happened?” he asked when he came around on the TARDIS floor.”

“They have an anti-transmat barrier,” Chris told him. “A nasty one. It doesn’t just bounce the beam back to source, it tries to disperse it. We nearly lost you.”

“We can’t get on board using transmat?” Davie stood, still feeling a bit groggy. “A transmat barrier won’t stop the TARDIS. But it can’t be in two places at once. One of us would have to do a lot of jogging.”

“No,” Chris said. “That’s granddad’s way of doing it. We’re both way better at remote telekinesis that he is. And a transmat barrier can’t block psychic powers.”

“We’re better at remote telekinesis than anyone,” Davie said. “But we need to be able to see what we’re playing with.” He looked at the schematic of the ship. “Security cameras….”

It shouldn’t have been possible. The people who designed the systems almost certainly did not expect them to be remotely accessed by another ship in parked orbit next to it. But Davie had learnt from the best. It took him only a few minutes to gain access to the system.

“Ok,” he said. He and Chris took deep breaths and concentrated on the images in front of them. Chris was looking at the hydro-condenser, Davie at the engine room. Brenda looked fearfully at both of them. They had closed off their minds from her to protect her. She knew telekinesis took a lot of mental effort and it was possible to burn out an unwary mind. She could see the strain on their faces.

But she could see something else, too. On the two computer monitors side by side she could see things happening on board the ship. In the engine room Davie simply made an axe smash everything in sight. Computer consoles sparked and crackled and shut down. Lights flickered as the mains power was trashed and the emergency back up switched on to provide basic life support.

Meanwhile, Chris was reversing the hydro-condenser’s mechanism. It was difficult, but he was doing it. Brenda looked up at the main viewscreen, to the view of the planet. She saw clouds forming as the condensed water was pumped back into the atmosphere. The cloud was rapidly expanding and thickening and she knew it was going to start raining very hard, very soon. She wondered how long it would need to keep raining to replace all the water taken from the planet. Perhaps it didn’t need to. As long as no more water was taken, perhaps the planet could recover by itself.

The important thing was that the ship had been prevented from taking any more water and from escaping justice.

“Come on back to me now,” she whispered. “You’ve done it, both of you.” She reached out and touched Davie’s arm. He shuddered slightly and staggered. She reached out and held him as he withdrew his mind from within the ship.

“I’m ok,” he told her. “We both are. We’ve done it.”

“Granddad says, that’s original,” Chris said with a wide grin.

“Only because he’s no good at telekinesis.” Davie felt good. They had stopped the planet from being ravaged without having to take a single life.


The Doctor was waiting when the Chinese TARDIS materialised safely just outside the formal garden. Even though they had sent him messages to say all was well he was anxious. When Chris and Davie emerged he ran to embrace them both.

“Is Brenda ok?” he asked. “Were her parents ok about her going into a space battle?”

“Like we TOLD them that!” Davie grinned. “We’re all fine. And the Aguans are having a new frieze painted to celebrate yet another occasion when The Doctor came to the aid of the children of Lagenorhyncia.”

“And I didn’t even leave my home this time!” He looked at Davie seriously. “How does it feel to walk in my shoes then?”

“It’s hard work. Magister Ki, incidentally, tells me that I can count on the Aguan space fleet to come to our aid should Earth ever be in peril.”

“That’s interesting. She does realise, doesn’t she that I don’t actually RULE Earth?”

“I’m not sure. But you never know… if Earth IS in peril…”

That reminded Davie of something. He glanced up at the bedroom window where he could see his sister and Vicki waving to him.

“You know how you were wondering who Tristie is…” he said. “If you promise not to get mad, we can explain.”