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

Christopher got out of his official car and walked up the steps of the Cabinet office on the corner of Whitehall and Downing Street. He had an appointment with the President of Great Britain. She thought it was about the Trade Agreement with Canada that was currently going through Committee. But it wasn’t.

When he came out again, he probably wouldn’t BE Secretary of State for Foreign and Extra Terrestrial Affairs any more. He wouldn’t be entitled to an official car. But that was the way it had to be. He couldn’t serve two masters, and he WAS now Chancellor of the Government of Gallifrey.


Davie smiled reassuringly at Spenser Draxic as he brought him into the Chinese TARDIS.

“There’s nothing to be afraid of. This is Time Lord technology. It is from our world. Our old way of life before Gallifrey was destroyed.”

“It’s not my world,” Spenser answered. “I’m not from Gallifrey. I only know of it because I still have some of my father’s memories in my head. I’m not sure I WANT to be Gallifreyan. I want to be Human like my mother.”

“The Doctor and Christopher both have Human mothers. They’re still proud to be Gallifreyans. My father is Human but the proudest day of my life was when I transcended and became a Time Lord. I LOVE it. The feeling of being able to do almost anything. Of being a prince of the universe as Granddad says.”

“I’d be afraid of that kind of power,” he said. “My father went mad because of it. Became EVIL. I would be scared of becoming like him.”

“You’re not your father,” Davie reassured him. “But, Spenser, you ARE Gallifreyan and you have all the memories and skills of your father within you still because of the long time he occupied your mind. It would be better for you if you could be trained to use those skills, the powers of telepathy, even the strength you have. I could teach you, the way The Doctor taught me. You could be MY first apprentice. I could give you lessons telepathically. And when the time comes, I could mentor your transcension. You WOULD be what your father so wanted to be. But it would be YOUR achievement, not his. And your conscience would rule how you use your power.”

“I….” Spenser looked at him. “I don’t know. I would have to think about it.”

He was thinking about it at least, Davie thought as he brought the TARDIS to land in the North-East of England. He hoped he would make the right decision. But it HAD to be his decision. His father had made too many for him in the past. He needed to be in control of his life now.


The Doctor looked up at the rounded mound of the Hill of Tara and shivered. It always made him shiver. He knew the secrets it hid, the great source of power, and he would always shiver. Even though he knew he was the one man capable of mastering that power. The thought of that made him shiver, too.

“But this WILL prove that you are the greatest Time Lord of all time,” Chris reminded him as they set off walking, their backpacks heavy but not so heavy as to be impossible to manage.

“Great power. The greatest,” The Doctor murmured the words. “Most powerful! I’ve heard those phrases from megalomaniacs the universe over. Davros. That was always his plan. ‘Such power would set me above the gods.’ His words.”

“Granddad,” Chris said to him. He stopped walking and turned and looked at his great grandfather. “You’re afraid… of what the power will do to you. You’re afraid it will make YOU into a power hungry monster like him.”

“Yeah,” The Doctor admitted. “Yes, that’s what scares me. What sort of man will I be when I have such power at my command?”

“You’ll still be you,” Chris assured him. “You’ll be our granddad, Rose’s husband. Vicki and Peter’s daddy. Rose and Jackie will stop you turning into a megalomaniac on their own. Jackie would slap any ideas like that right down.”

“You reckon?”

“Yes. I do.”

The Doctor smiled widely. Yes, he could imagine that. Jackie and Rose, both so down to Earth, even Susan, who still had sharp things to say about what the two youngest Time Lords in the universe got up to, would keep his feet firmly on the ground.

“I wonder if that’s what Davros needed to keep him from going over the edge,” he mused as they walked on again. “A wife and a mother-in-law.”


“This at least, hasn’t changed very much since I remember it,” Spenser said as he and Davie walked along the cliff edge not far from the place where the Vikings had tried to invade England nearly twelve centuries ago. “The town, London… the country, the whole world is so different. But here, I can at least recognise from before he took my mind.”

“You’re going to be all right living here, on your own?” Davie asked him.

“On my own, for the first time in centuries. I’ll be fine. I’ll be glad to be on my own. It will be GOOD to be alone in my own head.”

“Yeah.” Davie thought he understood his point of view. For his own part, he was rarely alone in his own head. The symbiotic connection he always had with his brother was precious to him. When, for whatever reason, one or the other had to close the connection, he felt lonely. He didn’t WANT to be alone with his thoughts.

“That’s it,” Spenser said, pointing to what seemed to be a part of the foundations of an old ruined church or monastery. “That’s my father’s machine.” He reached into his pocket for an old, tarnished key and inserted it into a crude keyhole in the wooden door. He opened the door and they stepped inside the TARDIS.

The Doctor’s console room looked like an organic thing that had a life of its own. His own was a beautiful Chinese meditation room. This one was like a medieval castle, with rough stone walls and a hard flagged floor, with the six-sided console incongruously placed in the centre.

“I don’t think it works,” Spenser said. “My father couldn’t make it work. Your… The Doctor did something to it to bring it back here and make sure he could not escape again.”

“It still has a power source,” Davie said as he examined it in detail. “I think he might have done something to the navigation systems. Everything else works. Even the chameleon circuit. It’s a type 42. The upgrade on Granddad’s one. He’ll be miffed about that.” He looked at Spenser seriously. While he had been touching switches and pressing buttons experimentally, opening panels and testing circuits, Spenser had stayed back from it. “It’s YOUR TARDIS, now,” he said.

“I don’t want it,” Spenser insisted. “I want to stay in the house I was born in and try to make a life for myself in this century I have not seen properly except through second hand eyes. I have no use for a time machine.”


“Madame President,” Christopher said with a warm smile to the elegant woman who led the government he was a part of. They shook hands as friends. He hoped he still would be a friend when he was done.

“Christopher,” the President said. “Do sit down. Would you like coffee?” She turned to her personal aide and asked him to pour coffee before he left the room. “Just the two of us, Christopher. Guaranteed no listening devices.

“Good,” he said. “Because this is important. But it should be kept on a strict need to know basis.” He put his briefcase on the table and brought out a file containing a copy of the Constitution of New Gallifrey, a list of the Council members, and a statement by the President of the Government in exile, signed by him and witnessed by the Chancellor and members of the Council.

The President of Great Britain read it in silence, glancing from time to time at Christopher. Finally she turned back to the first page of the statement.

“Amicus humani generis?” She read aloud the Latin phrase at the top of the statement. “A friend of humanity?”


“This ISN’T a joke, is it?”


“This is going to be a problem,” The Doctor said as he looked at the sealed cave entrance. “I closed this up the last time we were here. Now I have to open it again. And then what? We can’t have the ordinary public wandering around here. Even our own people shouldn’t be here without good reason. And we can hardly have a Chancellery Guard here as we did in the Panopticon. Apart from anything else, we can’t really HAVE a Chancellery Guard any more. That would qualify as a standing army and Christopher would be in even more trouble with Moira than he already is.”

“Two possibilities,” Chris answered. “Either we leave the entrance sealed and set up a static transmat into the ante-chamber. Which might not work because of all the energy inside. Or we build a chameleon gate here. To anyone else it will look like a wall still. But to those with the key it will open.”

“Right. If I knew how to build one.”

“Davie does,” Chris told him. “And he says, so do you. It’s only because you’re a stubborn old sentimentalist that you’ve never done anything about the TARDIS being stuck as a police box.”

“Davie is a smart young man,” The Doctor replied with a grin. “So are you, Chris. That’s why you’re here with me.”

“Not just because my sonic screwdriver has a built in blaster?” he said with a matching grin as he aimed it at the blocked cave entrance.


“Let me make you an offer for it,” Davie said as he sat with Spenser looking out over the iron grey North Sea and idly thinking about those Vikings who had once roamed those waters in search of plunder.

“For what?” Spenser was thinking of his own era of history, before the nightmare of his life began.

“For your TARDIS,” he said. “I could use it. Might fix it up and give it to Chris. I’ll pay you whatever you think it’s worth.”

“I don’t know what it’s worth,” he answered. “It is worth nothing to me. You can take it for all I care.”

“I have to pay for it,” Davie told him. “It has to be a legitimate sale. You, through your father, are symbiotically connected to it. A contract of sale would break that symbiosis and allow me to imprint upon it instead. I’ll pay you a fair price. Enough to help you get set up at the bank, enough for you to live on for a good few years till you find work and make your own way.”

“My father had money in the bank,” he said. “He never wanted for anything. I suppose that is mine now. I will be quite all right in that way. The TARDIS… Pay me…” His face looked confused as he tried to access those memories that were his father’s memories rather than his own and work out the currency of this time and place. “Ten Euros.”

A token payment. Davie nodded. Yes, it would do. It would constitute a formal contract of sale. The TARDIS would be legally and morally his.


“Do you think I would joke about this?” Christopher said in reply to the President’s remark. “I have never been more serious in my entire life.”

“I knew that you and your father were exiles on this planet,” she said. “Your father…. The Doctor as I have always known him… This world owes him a debt that could never be repaid. You, yourself have become… become one man I could always trust to be on my side in the Debating Chamber. But this… bringing refugees here, to this planet, to this COUNTRY, assimilating them secretly. Do you have any idea how many immigration laws you have broken?”

“This country HAS no immigration laws covering the arrival of people from outer space,” Christopher pointed out. “The Gallifreyans are only one of many races already living among Humans. But as far as I know, we are the only ones with a Government and the only one seeking official, albeit secret, recognition by you.”

“Your Constitution recognises the common law of this country and instructs your people to abide by that law.” The President read through that clause once again. “That’s a good start, at least. We will not have Gallifreyans standing up in British courts and refusing to recognise them, or any such nonsense?”

“Nothing of the sort. Moira, we are not your enemy. You may count on our people in any time of distress. Individually, yes, they are vulnerable people who came here needing the very basics of life. Food, shelter. But collectively, we are an ally, a strong ally of Britain, of Earth, in times of trouble.”

“I hope that is so,” Moira Greenwood, President of Great Britain, said. “I should not want you or your father as an enemy. But what am I to do with this? It has never been done before.”

“Yes, it has,” Christopher said. “In the 1940s, Charles De Gaulle, president of France, was in exile in England, and ran a de facto government of France for the duration of the German occupation. We seek much the same status.”

Moira looked at him and half smiled. She was the Human, he was the alien, yet he had caught her out in what was clearly a precedent that made it impossible for her to refuse his request.

“Even if I say no, you have a Constitution. You have held an election. You EXIST.”

“We exist, de jure at present. Your assent would make us de facto. Or you could proscribe us, and prevent it altogether. But I would rather you didn’t.”

“Would you be a threat to the safety of Britain if I did?”

“No, we would move the seat of government to Ireland and hope that we would find a better welcome in Dublin,” he answered. That had been an option he had discussed with his father. Later, if Moira assented to their first proposal, he was going to have to find the Irish Ambassador and explain to him that there were a few citizens of his country – twenty at the present – who had pledged allegiance to a government who sat in London, England. His father had explained the historical irony of that to him along with the history of the Gaullist exile.


“It was weirder last time,” Chris said as they made their way down the long tunnel that dropped down into the very depths of the Earth, beneath the hill. “The energy just seemed to take me over. I felt like I was flying.”

“You hadn’t transcended then. Your body absorbed the energy because it didn’t know what else to do. Now, you’re a Time Lord. And you know it’s there. You should be feeling a sort of buzz. But you can control it. Keep it from overwhelming you.”

“Yes,” he agreed. “That’s it. Wow. It’s still a hell of a feeling. I could….” He looked up at the low ceiling of the tunnel and it wasn’t a ceiling any more. It was a topographical map of county Meath, centred on the Hill of Tara. As they watched it slowly panned out from there to the whole of Ireland, to the British Isles, the Northern Hemisphere, the whole shining blue and green Earth, then out until the whole solar system was displayed, then the galaxy. Chris’s eyes flickered as he picked out other worlds and focussed on them. Tibora where his brother’s fiancée lived, SangC’lune, the pyramid planet, and a dozen other places he had visited.

The Doctor watched but did nothing to influence the imaginary journey. Chris was in full control as he returned to Earth again.

“Fantastic,” he said when Chris blinked and the star chart faded. “You will never be lost. You have perfect perception of where you are in relation to the whole universe.”

“Time, too,” Chris told him. “I can pinpoint any moment in time in relation to my own personal time.”

“So can I,” The Doctor said. “But I have to concentrate. Even in here. You do it as naturally as breathing.”

Not for the first time he noted that his great grandchildren were far more powerful than he was, or any other Time Lord he knew. And he was sure it was down to the very fact that they WERE NOT pure blood. Keeping themselves racially pure, the inbreeding of the same gene pool for millennia, had not strengthened the Time Lord race. It had stagnated it. But after just four generations of mixing the Time Lord DNA with that of Human, the twins were exceeding all of his expectations and Sukie, the hybrid child, was a super-telepath whose abilities were still only developing.

“It frightens you?” Chris looked at his great-grandfather and read his feelings as well as his actual thoughts.

“Yes,” he answered.

“Because of the last time we were here, when Davie fought you. You think we will become TOO powerful.”

“No, not exactly,” he answered. “Davie… in the fullness of time, Davie will take my place. He will have my name and my reputation, and my enemies, too. And I don’t wish that on him, especially. And one day, metaphorically, at least, we will have to fight that fight again, and I will have to lose it, in order that he shall be everything his destiny says he should be. But I’m not afraid of it. I know you both will use your power for good. I feel…”

Old, he thought. He felt old. He felt like a Time Lord who was in his thirteenth life, who knew that this time the grave awaited him at the end. It was his own choice, of course. He chose to live one good life with Rose at his side rather than lose her in the fullness of a Human life span and face millennia of loneliness afterwards.

But knowing that his life had a finite span, that Chris and Davie and the others would one day go on without him, was a very deep, big thought and a little scary.

It was part of the reason why he was doing this. He had to ensure there was some kind of posterity left behind for all of them. Some link to the past, something that would carry them into the future.


“Very well,” Moira said. “I am prepared to recognise your government in exile. I am prepared to recognise Gallifreyans as a minority race of citizens of this country. In secret for the time being. It won’t go beyond the Cabinet Room. The political climate is not right for making revelations of this sort. But… What of you, Christopher? What now? Do you now serve two masters? Chancellor of the High Council of Gallifrey AND Minister of State for Foreign and Extra Terrestrial Affairs in MY Government. Where does your loyalty lie?”

“My loyalty is to the best interests of the whole people of this planet,” he answered. “But I know I should step down from my Cabinet position. I hope I may continue to represent the people of my constituency as their Member of Parliament, but…”

“I don’t want you to step down,” The President answered. “I need people I can trust in my Cabinet. I have trusted you for many years, Christopher. I hope to do so in future. You and your father. Besides…if the political climate should change you may need the protection that your position in government assures you.”

“I will continue to serve this country to the best of my ability,” he answered. “Meanwhile, I will not detain you further.”

“Tell your father he will present himself to me on Sunday afternoon to discuss the implications of this further. He may bring his wife and those delightful children along. Tea will be served and it will be sociable and pleasant, but there will also be some hard issues he should be prepared to discuss.”

“I am sure he will look forward to that, Madam President,” Christopher answered, standing and bowing formally to her once more. He waited until he was outside and getting into his official car to drive to the Irish Embassy before he breathed a sigh of relief.


They entered the chamber quietly. It was, after all, a tomb in its way, and Gallifreyans respected the dead.

Except the lady who lay upon the bier in the centre of the chamber wasn’t dead. She wasn’t exactly alive, either. For millennia she had existed somewhere between life and death, a watcher over this chamber where a great secret lay hidden.

A bigger secret than even he realised at first.


They sealed the contract within the TARDIS console room. Davie was astonished as they put their signatures to the page with a cheque for €10 to see the walls around them and the floor beneath their feet shimmer and change. The floor became a shining white substance and the walls became a series of hexagonal panels. The hexagon was the sacred shape of Gallifreyan mythology - hence the six-sided console of the TARDIS and this default décor. This TARDIS was no longer the property of Draxic or his son, but was his, in default shape until he primed it.

“Come on,” he said. “I’ll do that later. Right now, let’s find a pub in the village and do something NORMAL. First round’s on me.”

Spenser nodded and smiled. As he stepped out of the TARDIS Davie had a feeling he never planned to step into one again in his life.

And yet, he had the DNA of a powerful Gallifreyan within him. He COULD be a Time Lord. He could make a contribution to their society. Buying his TARDIS from him hadn’t been his only reason for coming up here with him. Davie was determined to persuade Spenser not to turn his back on the heritage of his father, even if he wanted to forget the dreadful things his father had done.

An ordinary drink, an ordinary pub, no pressure. Maybe then he could help Spenser make what Davie knew was the right decision.


“You have come.” Princess Tamar Tephi opened her eyes and rose to a sitting position in one graceful move. The Doctor and Chris both bowed to her, recognising her royal stature. “It is time.”

“Yes,” The Doctor said. “It is time. Last time we were here, it was too early. But now, it is time.”

The princess rose up from the bier and waited. The Doctor shrugged off the backpack from his shoulders and brought something out of it. Chris recognised it as the Sash of Rassilon, one of the great artefacts of Gallifrey. He helped him to put it on.

“You will need this, too,” Tamar Tephi said and stepped towards him. He was surprised when she handed him what looked like a long metal wand. He stared at it at first as if he could not believe what he was looking at.

“The Rod of Rassilon,” he murmured out loud. “How did that get here?”

“It was placed here with me at the time of my interment, along with the other treasures.”

“But….” The Doctor whistled softly. “They knew. I don’t know how, but they knew. I was asked to take the Sash into safekeeping. They took the Rod back in time and they left it here with the Princess…. As for the key…” He reached into his pocket and took out a keyring with a representation of the Constellation Sagittarius on the fob and several keys, to his house, to the car he occasionally used, and what looked to Chris like his ordinary TARDIS key.

“Yes, it is,” The Doctor said. “But it is also the Key of Rassilon. It, too, was given to me for safekeeping, and I had it cut to fit the TARDIS itself. Who would look for a precious artefact on an ordinary keyring. Hidden in plain sight.”

He held up the Key in his left hand and the Rod in his right and he turned towards the mysterious box with its ancient carvings that some believe to be the Ark of the Covenant. He raised his arms and began to speak in High Gallifreyan.

Chris understood what he was saying, not so much in his head, as in his hearts and his soul. He was invoking something deep and mystical and wonderful. He wondered how even his great-grandfather, the most amazing man he had ever met, knew what to do. It seemed to be something that came from within him, like a race memory instilled into his very bones.

Chris felt it in his own bones as the Ark began to glow from within. He could see the carvings on its side illuminated from inside as if the box was opaque. The light increased until the solid box seemed to be nothing but a shape for it to fill and then just when it seemed to have reached a point of no return the lid snapped off and a great stream of actinic white light poured into the chamber. It rose high in the air and appeared to be coalescing into a crystalline latticework ball that was at one and the same time solid like silver, liquid like mercury and insubstantial light. The physical impossibility of that might have bothered an ordinary Human stumbling upon the scene, but the oldest and the youngest living Time Lords in the universe and the princess who should have died thousands of years ago were not surprised by anything that might happen here.


Davie took a mouthful of his Scotch and soda and reflected that his father would laugh and think him a wimp for needing the soda. Spenser sipped a port wine slowly. They didn’t say much at first.

“Why would it be better for me to become a Time Lord?” he asked. “What good would it do me?”

“You would live longer,” Davie told him. “You would be able to regenerate and live your life over again. Make up for the years stolen from you.”

“But what do I do with the years?”

“What would you like to do?”

“I like to paint,” he answered. “And to carve in wood and stone. That is what I wish I could do.”

“An artist?” Davie smiled. “Well, there you go. That’s a life’s ambition. Go for it. Make beautiful things. And put the ugly stuff behind you. But a Time Lord who creates beautiful things… Yes. Granddad always said the old Time Lords lacked creative imagination. This time, they won’t be.”

“Davie… isn’t this partly your ambition to have an apprentice Time Lord of your own? I know that The Doctor is teaching a whole group of the ones who came from Karn. And you think anything he can do, you can. I’m your way of proving to him that you’re his equal.”

“No,” Davie assured him. Then he looked at him. “Yes. Yes, there is something in that. Yes, my own ambition has something to do with it. But not just mine. Granddad’s ambition, too. He wants to restore his people. And there are so few of us. My brother has taken a vow of celibacy and my sister is a hybrid so she can’t be a Time Lord herself, even though granddad says her children may well be able. But as she is only ten years old we won’t know for a long time yet. We need you, Spenser. We need another Time Lord.”

“The Doctor is a good man. Even when my father opposed his every word, he gave him his due. He allowed the people to choose, gave my father every chance to win the election.”

“Yes, that’s his way. He gives everyone at least one chance. I’ve heard say he is prepared to give them a second chance, sometimes, too. I’m not sure if he gives third chances. But certainly everyone has one chance of redemption with him.”

“So… it would be good for you… good for The Doctor. And for me?”

“Yes. For you, too,” Davie assured him. He reached out his hands and placed them either side of Spenser’s face. “I know you said you wanted to be alone in your own head. But just this once, let me show you what you can do by choice.”

Spenser gasped as he heard the voices around him. It took a moment or two before he even realised what it was he was hearing.

“Their thoughts?” he whispered. “All of them?” He looked around the pub and heard a young man thinking impure thoughts about two women sat at another table, the barman giving a customer a cheaper branded whiskey than he asked for and pocketing the difference, a woman thinking about whether she WOULD go to bed with the man who had been buying her drinks for the past hour. And one whose thoughts made them both worry.

“Wait,” Davie said as Spenser began to speak. He stood up and walked towards the edgy looking man who sat in the corner of the pub, not drinking, not doing anything, just sitting.

“Your wife hasn’t been unfaithful to you,” Davie said. “You’re mistaken. She loves you. And you love her. You DON’T want to get the shotgun from the gun cupboard and open both barrels on her as she sleeps. Go home, hug her, kiss her. Tell her you love her.”

The man looked at him, mouth opened in surprise and began to ask how he knew. Then he sighed and burst into tears. Davie took hold of his hand and clutched it tightly. He saw the man’s future.

“You’re going to be all right,” he said, releasing his hand. “Go on home.”

The man stood up and walked out of the pub. He was still crying, but they were tears of relief, not sorrow. He WAS going to be all right.

“We can do things like that?” Spenser asked as Davie came back to his seat. “Help people.”

“Not always. Some people can’t be helped. Some situations we SHOULDN’T help. Knowing the difference is one of the things you would learn if you let me teach you.”

“Very well,” he said. “I will be your apprentice. If you will teach me to use the gifts my father used for evil… to do good with.”

Davie smiled and raised his glass in salute.

“To doing good,” he said. “And to the future.”


“What is it?” Chris dared to whisper as the crystal/liquid/light ball span slowly in the air above the Ark.

“It’s the new Matrix, the repository of all Time Lord knowledge and wisdom,” The Doctor replied. “Except it hasn’t got any knowledge or wisdom yet. I have to put it in there. That’s why I need you, Chris. I need another mind as strong as mine to stop my head exploding with it all.”

“It could really do that?” Chris asked nervously.

“I don’t know. I’ve never done this before,” He closed his eyes as he said that and again he began to speak in High Gallifreyan. Around the slowly revolving ball, Chris was astonished to see faces appear from thin air, ghostlike at first, then becoming almost corporeal, except that they were just faces. Not even heads, but faces in the air.

“Who are they?” Chris asked.

“A family reunion,” The Doctor said. “That’s my father. And his brother, Remonte, two of the most highly respected men of their generation. The generation before mine. Father….”

“Son,” the venerable face of one of the old, long dead Time Lords spoke in a clear voice as if he was really there. “You are ready for this?”

“I am,” he said. “We are. There is need for a new Matrix.”

“There will be gaps. Some of our knowledge is lost forever.”

“Some of the knowledge was useless anyway. A new beginning is what we need now. Father, Uncle Remonte, Garrick, my brother… All that you were will be the foundation stone of the new Matrix.” He took a deep breath and watched as faces he knew coalesced alongside them. His grandfather, Chrístõ de Lun, the greatest astronomer Gallifrey had ever known, and others of his family line. Then others of other lines that he only vaguely knew. The air was thick with them as they began to circle the spinning Matrix in the opposite direction and slowly absorb themselves into it. More faces appeared as the first were slowly absorbed into the globe. Some he knew, others he didn’t.

One made him gasp out loud as it came close to him. He bowed his head respectably to it.

“Master Li Tuo,” he said. “It has been so long since I saw your face. I am glad that you are a part of this. Your wisdom was denied to us in the Matrix of Gallifrey.”

“You kept my soul within you, Liu Shang Hui. Now it will join the others in the Matrix. But who is this beside you? He has a likeness of you about him. Your son?”

“My great-grandson, Master,” The Doctor answered proudly, his arm around Chris’s shoulders. “He and his brother are my spiritual heirs. They have followed in my path.”

“So I see. He has a mind full of great ideas. We shall call him Lui Kang Han, the young mind full of wisdom.”

Chris smiled and blushed at the same time, and bowed to the venerable spirit as it faded from sight and became a part of the Matrix.

“Where are they all coming from?” Chris asked as more and more faces span before them. “I get that they are the spirits of the Time Lords. But where are they coming from?”

“From me,” The Doctor said. “They’ve been within me ever since the death of Gallifrey. They were in my head, in a locked off part of my brain, a small, compressed nucleus, like a singularity in a black hole. All their minds were in me. I couldn’t access them. They were just there. But now… Only it's taking so much of my mental energy.”

As he spoke, Chris saw him sag under the pressure. His face was pale and there was a film of perspiration over him. Chris reached out his arm to support him. So did the Princess, though he wondered that she had any strength herself. Between them they held him upright.

“Did you know it would be like this?” Chris asked. “That it would hurt you so much?”

“Yes,” he said. “I was ready for it.”

“I’m not sure you were,” Chris told him. “You’re so sure of your own invincibility. But you have limits, too.”

“Not there yet,” he said. But Chris thought he wasn’t far off. His breathing was shallow and his hearts were beating fast. He tried to make a mental connection to him but it was like trying to jump onto a moving train as the carriages sped past. He couldn’t see any way in. All he could do was hold onto him.

“How many more?” he asked. He looked up at the faces swirling around above him. “I don’t know how much longer….”

He couldn’t stand on his own two feet any longer. He sank to his knees. Chris and The Princess knelt with him, holding his back straight.

“Stop,” Chris cried out. “He’s done your bidding, but you aren’t supposed to kill him. Stop it now. Let him be.”

“No,” The Doctor whispered hoarsely. “Now it's begun, it has to finish. I have to keep going. Just… Just don’t leave me, Chris.”

“As if I would. Don’t you leave me. We still need you. We need you more than we need a Matrix, more than we need the wisdom of dead Time Lords. We need you, alive.”

“I’m not… going anywhere,” The Doctor said, but slowly. “It’s nearly over. One minute more…”

“Granddad…” Chris held him tightly and watched as the last of the faces span around the globe and were absorbed. There was almost a change in the air pressure as the globe itself slowed and stopped spinning and remained suspended in mid-air.

“Granddad,” Chris yelled as The Doctor collapsed, unconscious. “No, no. It’s not fair. No.”

“He’s exhausted,” The Princess said. “The effort has drained him. He is close to death.”

“No!” Chris yelled. “No. It can’t be.”

“It won’t be,” The princess told him. “He fulfilled his destiny. Now it is my turn. Lift him… bring him to my sleeping place.”

Chris did as she asked. He lifted The Doctor and laid him on the granite slab where the princess had waited out the millennia. He stood back as the princess moved forward. She climbed on the bier and covered his body with hers. She put her hands either side of his face and kissed him on the mouth. As she did so, her body glowed with that orange-light Chris knew to be raw artron energy. The energy that their Time Lord bodies were suffused with. The princess had been lying in this room full of Artron energy for thousands of years. It had kept her alive.

But now she used that energy to make The Doctor live. And as it drained from her, into him, her body seemed to become slowly more insubstantial. Her skin looked opaque, the energy within glowing through it. Then she seemed transparent. He could see The Doctor’s body through her. Then gradually there seemed less of her until he wasn’t even sure he could see her at all.

And then he couldn’t. She was gone.

But The Doctor was alive. He opened his eyes and sat up. He put his hand to his mouth and smiled.

“She kissed beautifully,” he said as if he knew exactly what had happened.

“She’s gone,” Chris told him. “She just disappeared.”

“She was living on borrowed time. It was borrowed from the Time Lords. She gave it back. Repaid with interest. She fulfilled her reason for being here all these years. Her…” He said the next word with a strange tone. “Her DESTINY.” He laughed. “Damn it, I have so had my fill of destiny. It has dogged my heels all my life. I was destined to be the last Time Lord, destined to be the patriarch of the New Lords of Time, destined to carry the souls of the dead Time Lords in my own head. I’m sick and tired of my destiny, and it was a cruel thing for them to do, keeping her here all these years just so that she could sacrifice herself for me.”

“She did it willingly,” Chris said.

“Maybe she did. But it was still… They KNEW. The Time Lords. They knew it was going to happen. They knew they were doomed. They knew somehow that I would survive. They arranged that the Rod would be here. They gave me the key and the Sash, knowing that I would bring them here and reunite the three Great Artefacts of Rassilon and recreate what was gone.”

“But that’s good, isn’t it?” Chris said. “It means that you did it right.”

“Yes, but…” He stood up and looked at the great globe. It was still and quiet now. Below it, the Ark with what remained of the Eye of Harmony’s great energy was quiet. It was waiting until it was needed again. For a time when they would need the wisdom of the Time Lords to help them through a crisis.

“This is the last time,” he called out. “From now on we shape our own destinies. You lot will not interfere. We will face the future OUR way. You will wait here until we need you.”

There was no visible or audible answer, but The Doctor seemed satisfied. He stood up. He picked up the Rod of Rassilon from where it had fallen when he collapsed. He placed it on the stone bier where the princess had slept away the millennia. He picked up his keys and put them back in his pocket and put the Sash of Rassilon in his backpack.

“Home now?” Chris asked.

“Soon,” he answered. “We have to build a chameleon gate at the entrance to the tunnel. Then I thought we might present ourselves in Dublin, and discuss diplomatic relations between the Government of New Gallifrey and the Irish Republic.”