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

Brenda looked at Chris as he lay on the low palette bed beside the console of the Gothic TARDIS. He was in a third level trance, breathing only once every minute. His two hearts beat once every five minutes. But his brain, she was told, was working faster than ever. With his body stilled his mind was free to pilot not just one, but two TARDISes through the vortex of time and space.

She turned and went to the door. It was unnerving to look between one console room and the other with the two ships locked together that way. There WAS a line that showed where the two were physically joined and though Chris and Davie both assured her it was safe she closed her eyes before she stepped over that line from one TARDIS to the other.

In the Chinese TARDIS, Davie was teaching Spenser how to navigate. Spenser had no desire to own a TARDIS and to explore space and time for himself, but Davie had persuaded his apprentice to learn how to assist him at the controls. Brenda watched for a while. She thought Davie was a very good teacher. He had taught her how to handle the same controls, and much more. And now he did the same for the young man who was going to be Davie’s first Time Lord when he was ready to transcend.

“Of course,” he assured Spenser. “Nothing you do here makes any difference. Chris has full control of both consoles. But if we WERE flying solo the amount of turn you put on the Temporal Manifest determines how far into the past or future we go. It’s a very delicate instrument, though. It takes time to learn. If you’re too rough with it you can send the TARDIS thousands of years off target. When you’ve mastered it, you can get it fine tuned to a few minutes.”

“Isn’t it possible to put a time and space co-ordinate into the navigational computer?” Spenser asked.

“Of course,” Davie answered. “The TARDIS has thousands of presets, and the ones we use a lot, like HOME, are on the equivalent of speed dial. But REAL piloting of a TARDIS isn’t about putting a co-ordinate into the computer. It’s about having control of it. Even if I do it by punching keys, not like Chris with his mind fully integrated with the TARDIS, it’s still about being in control. Anything else… well it’s like a car with automatic gears against manual controls. It’s… control, power, in your own hands.”

“That sounds like the kind of thing my father wanted. Power, control…” Spenser answered him warily.

“Yes,” Davie answered. “In a way. In MANY ways that is what Time Lords are about. We DO seek those things. But its how we use them that counts. For me, being able to fly this TARDIS is all the control, all the power, all the FREEDOM I need. Anyway, go on, try it. Let’s see how you do.”

Spenser nervously touched the Temporal Manifold, which was, Davie freely admitted, a rather grandiose and unnerving name for what was, basically, a scroll wheel set into the navigation console. He watched Spenser as he moved the wheel slowly, his own eyes on the readout that showed the temporal destination. It rolled backwards quickly at first, hundreds of years passing at once. Then he slowed it to mere decades, then single years.

“That’s the way,” Davie said to him encouragingly. “See if you can refine it a bit more. Though don’t be disappointed if you need more practice before you really feel confident about it.”

Spenser didn’t answer. He was concentrating hard. Almost as hard as Chris doing the real piloting, Davie thought as he watched him slowly move the Manifold. Then his eyes turned to the readout. Brenda stood beside him and watched, too, as Spenser refined it to months, days, minutes. Then with the merest fingertip touch he was rolling back seconds of time, able to pinpoint a temporal location exactly if he chose to do so.

“You’ve done it, first time,” Davie told him proudly. “Well done. Really, I think you underestimate yourself, Spenser. You COULD learn to fly a TARDIS for yourself.”

“I don’t want to,” he insisted. “I am happy to assist you. But I do not wish to be a traveller. And I don’t WANT power or control. Those are the things that corrupted my father. Power and control - while the solitude of travelling in the emptiness of space for so long drove him mad.” Spenser glanced around at the door between the two TARDISes. “HE frightens me. Your brother. It cannot be good for him to be alone like that, his mind locked into the machine.”

“Chris is never alone,” Davie told him, “He and I…” He smiled and forgot what he was going to say. He could feel his brother’s mind when he reached out even unconsciously as he did then. He was feeling elated and free. His mind was not restricted to the TARDIS. It was outside it, in the vortex itself, and it was a beautiful thing to experience even second hand.

“No,” Spenser whispered. “That’s too much. One mind can’t hold it all.”

Davie was surprised to realise that Spenser had experienced it THIRD hand, having seen it in HIS mind. So had Brenda, though she had agreed with him that it was a beautiful experience.

“Chris’s mind can hold it,” he answered with pride in his voice for his twin. “His mind is different to everyone else’s. Even mine.”

Chris was stirring from his long trance. Davie felt his words in his head.

“We’re very close to the rendezvous,” he heard him say. “Be ready to take control of your own ship for the manoeuvre.” Davie responded to him and then moved around to the drive controls. He felt the very slight change in the sound of his TARDIS’s engines, the merest flicker of a colour change in the Time Rotor. LED lights came on that were dormant while the Chinese TARDIS was being controlled remotely. Now he felt its power beneath his hands the way a driver of a manually operated car or a jet plane might. As they came out of the vortex and into ordinary space his fingers lightly touched a wheel very similar to the temporal manifold that controlled their spatial location. As he did so he saw Chris, through the door, sit up and go to his own console to manually control this experiment in TARDIS piloting which would not have been possible a few years ago when there was only one TARDIS in existence in the universe.

A third TARDIS appeared on the scanner and soon they were closing in on it on the viewscreen. It was in default shape, as were the Gothic and Chinese TARDISes, revolving slowly as it held its position. Brenda and Spenser, neither of them needed just now, turned towards the door, watching as the two TARDISes split apart. The vacuum of space was held back by force fields and it was perfectly safe to have the door open, though both instinctively backed away. They could still see Chris through the open door of his TARDIS, though he seemed smaller and further away. They glanced at the screen and saw the triangle formation of the three TARDISes, getting closer and closer, closing the sides of the triangle until they were only a matter of feet apart, their doors all facing the inside of the triangle.

“Come on,” Davie said, bounding across the floor from his console and taking Brenda’s hand. Again she closed her eyes, and hoped very fervently that Davie was as clever as he thought he was as they stepped over the threshold.

“It’s ok,” she heard him say. “You can look.”

“Do I want to?” she asked. But she opened them. She looked down once at what she was standing on.

She was standing on nothing. Below her the universe of stars and planets stretched to infinity, but her feet definitely felt something solid beneath them. She stopped looking down and looked around to where Spenser nervously stepped out behind them from their TARDIS and Chris came confidently and smiling widely from his.

“It’s nothing to worry about,” Chris assured her. “It’s an extension of the reality fields of all three TARDISes.”

“I BELIEVE you,” she said. “But I hate it, still. Let’s get into there, please.”

Davie held her hand tightly. Spenser looked as if he would like his hand held, too. He settled for walking close to the two experienced TARDIS pilots as they headed to the open door of the third TARDIS.

“Hello, my favourite uncles,” Tristie called out cheerfully as they stepped over the threshold. “Brenda, it’s ok to look now. Spenser, how are you? Welcome aboard my TARDIS.”

“It’s very impressive looking,” Chris said. “Did Davie design it?”

“No, the look of it is mine,” Tristie answered. “Davie did the engineering, the important stuff, he says.”

Chris’s TARDIS had a medieval monastery theme to it. Davie’s had the shining red and black laquered Chinese look. This TARDIS was quietly and effectively future technology themed, and very distinctly Gallifreyan. The walls had the hexagonal panels with softly glowing roundels set into them that were once the distinguishing feature of ALL TARDISes. The main door and the inner ones were all flush fitting with the same roundels in them. When they were closed it was a perfect circular room with a clean, white, domed ceiling that also gave off a soft, diffused, clean white light, as did the floor which seemed to be made of the same smooth substance.

The console was an amazing sight. It wasn’t fixed to the floor, but hung from the ceiling like a stalactite. The time rotor was within a column of shining steel and glass that supported the console itself. It widened out like an upturned mushroom on its stalk and then tapered to a point with at least two feet of empty space below it.

Davie moved forward and touched it. He expected it to shift under his touch, but it was just as steady as his own console, or Chris’s, or indeed the one that he grew up clinging to as he went on his first adventures in time and space with his great-grandfather.

“What practical purpose is there to a suspended console?” he asked.

“None at all,” Tristie admitted. “I just wanted to be different. And you have to admit it LOOKS great.”

Davie admitted as much, though he himself considered what a TARDIS could do more important than how it looked and he wondered if Tristie had let vanity get the better of him.

“It can DO plenty,” Tristie protested aloud having caught Davie’s thoughts telepathically. “I can land all three of the TARDISes single handedly.”

“Well you’re not going to,” Davie told him. “We agreed that would be a joint effort.”

Tristie looked a little mutinous but Chris turned the conversation quickly.

“Where did you get your TARDIS from anyway?” he asked. “Did Davie build it?”

“Not from scratch. It was a rebuild. It used to belong to The Master, the one granddad always had so much trouble with. We found it broken down on some planet and Davie fixed it up and reset the imprimatur and gave it to me when I transcended. He said I deserved it for the years I spent as his apprentice Time Lord.”

“This belonged to The Master?” Davie looked around uncertainly. That was a name that sent cold shivers down his spine. The Followers of The Master had once tried to use him as a vessel to resurrect him. It seemed strange that he should have given his time and effort to restoring The Master’s TARDIS.

“You said it was better to put it to good use than leave it derelict and have it fall into the wrong hands,” Tristie told him.

“Well, if I trusted that you were the right hands,” Davie answered with a half smile. His train of thought was halted, though, when the inner door slid back smoothly and a young woman stepped into the console room. Tristie grinned widely.

“This is Trudi,” he said. “She’s travelling with me. For company, and adventure. I found her in Birmingham in 1974. She didn’t believe I could travel in time and space.”

Chris and Davie both looked at the young woman through the eyes of uncles, appraising their nephew’s choice of girlfriend. Since Tristie was, in real time, two years older than they were that was an achievement in itself.

Trudi was a petite girl of about eighteen. She had blue eyes enhanced by lots of matching eyeliner and the sort of white-blonde hair that could not be natural in anyone under the age of 70. It was cut short in a boyish style. Her small mouth was a pale pink pout as she looked back at the four visitors. She was wearing a very small ‘crop top’ and a very tight pair of those very short shorts known in the 1970s as ‘hot pants’. Her slim legs emerged from the pants to end in feet slung into a pair of strappy sandals. The twins had both passed quickly over the expanse of torso between crop top and pants, trying not to pay too much attention to the diamond studded navel ring. Spenser, who was born in the 18th century, and for whom the 1970s had just been part of the living nightmare he had been trapped in, wasn’t sure which part of her was safe to look at. He glanced away from her altogether.

Brenda, in a demure white silk blouse and skirt looked at her disapprovingly. A girl of her age on Tibora would never be allowed to dress like that. She wondered why Tristie, a Time Lord, of the tradition of Gallifrey, allowed it.

Tristie seemed aware of the general disapproval. Trudi obviously didn’t as she slid her arm around his waist and smiled warmly at them all.

“Hi,” she said. “It’s really cool to meet you all. Tristie told me all about you. He was mad for us to meet up.”

“It’s nice to meet you, too,” Brenda managed to say. “Though… I hope you intend to put some clothes on before we get to SangC’lune.”

“I’m wearing clothes,” she answered.

“I DID tell you to wear something more discreet for this trip,” Tristie told her. She pouted at him then turned back to the inner door. He looked at her retreating back before turning with a grin to meet the puzzled stare of his guests.

“You and her…” Chris began. “Are you…”

“Of course not,” he answered. “I’m a son of Gallifrey. I would never do anything dishonourable.”

Chris and Davie were both surprised but pleased at that answer. “I’m a son of Gallfrey’. He was, depending on which side of the family you counted, either two or three generations away from the last member of his family to be born on Gallifrey. But the soul of that planet was in his hearts, and even if he did pick up a scantily clad Human girl in the 1970s he knew his responsibility.

“Of course I do,” he said. “Anyway, are we going to stay in orbit forever or will we get on with this landing?”

“Good idea. Let’s get back,” Davie said. He looked at Brenda. She glanced back at the void between the ships.

“I think,” she said. “I might go help Trudi pick out something suitable to wear.”

Davie grinned and kissed her cheek before he and Chris, with Spenser in tow, turned away. He knew she would be perfectly safe in this TARDIS for the landing and promised to see her soon.

The landing was PERFECT. The three TARDISes materialised in a wide triangle on the highest part of the gentle upland meadow. It overlooked the pyramid plain in one direction and the valley where the village was on the other. In the distance, beyond the plain, was the hill with the ruined temple upon it. Chris gazed towards it with bittersweet memories floating to the forefront of his thoughts.

The sun was just rising over the ruins, lighting them with gold. Soon it would warm the pyramids which were, as yet, almost hidden by a low lying mist that made the grass beneath their feet dewy and cool.

“So what happens next?” asked Trudi as she looked around. “Do we get breakfast?”

“Yes, we do,” Chris answered her. “Look, the elders of the village are coming. They always know when a Time Lord is here. They’ll have brought food.” He turned to Davie. “You should greet them. You’re senior.”

Technically he wasn’t. The two of them transcended at the same time. They were only minutes away from each other in actual age. But Davie always seemed to be a natural leader even BEFORE he received The Doctor’s soul into his in the Rite of Mori. And THAT made him unquestionably the senior Time Lord just as if The Doctor was there himself.

Davie stepped a little ahead of them all. Even Brenda stood back, beside the now more suitably dressed Trudi who was puzzled by it all. Spenser, Davie’s first apprentice, and Tristie who would BE his apprentice in the future, both looked on with admiration. Chris smiled proudly.

The elders were dressed in simple robes, their heads uncovered but bowed as they approached the young Time Lord who they knew through the latent telepathy that the people of SangC’lune picked up from the background psychic energy of the planet. Behind them were, indeed, bearers with food in baskets and drink in cool flagons. All knelt as Davie stepped towards them. He greeted them in High Gallifreyan and touched the heads of the two elders, bidding them to rise.

“We are honoured by your presence, Lord,” they told him.

“I am humbled by your service,” he replied. “I am Davie De Lœngbærrow of the House of Lœngbærrow. This is my brother and cousin, and my apprentice who seeks to become a Lord of Time in the fullness of days. These ladies are my own betrothed consort and a young woman of Earth who joins us here on the planet of the blood moon.”

The elders bowed to them all and invited them to eat the food that was brought. Davie waved to them to come forward and they sat on rugs placed by the SangC’lune people. They ate fruit and bread and a soft cheese with cool goats’ milk from the flagons as the sun rose a little higher and the mists were dispelled from the pyramid valley.

“What do your lordships wish to do now?” one of the elders asked.

“We wish to spend the day by the river,” Davie answered. “But first, we will honour our ancestors on the plain below.”

That had not been in their plans. They only had a few days to pan for Omegallium – their main reason for coming here – and he wanted to make the most of it. But something about the pyramids had caught his attention and he had to take a closer look.

“So,” Trudi said as she held Tristie’s hand and walked with him down the hill. “You lot are like… Lords of this place? The owners?”

“We’re their gods,” he answered. “The Time Lords are the living gods of the SangC’lune people. They worship us.”

“Wow.” Trudi grinned. “But in that case, how come we’re walking? Don’t they have some kind of carriages or sedan chairs or something to carry their gods on.”

“We walk,” Davie said. “I have no doubt they would carry us on silken palettes if we let them. But we DON’T. We don’t take advantage of them. We can’t make them believe we’re NOT gods. They’ve believed it for too long. It would destroy them to be disillusioned like that. But we DON’T act high and mighty. We treat them with respect and kindness.”

“O…KAY,” Trudi responded. “We walk.”

They came to the plain and walked among the black pyramids of the dead Time Lords. Tristie explained in a low whisper that these were the ‘tombs’ where the past lives of Time Lords resided. When the Time Lord finally died at the end of his 13th life, they turned black.

When Gallifrey had been destroyed, taking all but one of the Time Lords with it, all but one of the pyramids turned black at once. Chris and Davie knew the way to The Doctor’s pyramid. They had been there many times with him. They had pyramids of their own now, with the thirteen obelisks around them white because they had never yet regenerated.

Or they did.

There WAS The Doctor’s pyramid. It shone a pristine white in the morning sun. Eight of his obelisks were black for the eight lives that had gone before.

But that was wrong. The Doctor had surrendered his remaining lives to live one good life with Rose by his side. All but one of the obelisks should be black.

And something else was wrong.

“Christopher’s pyramid is still black,” Chris said. “And… where are ours? They’re not there.”

Tristie broke away from them all and ran ahead. He stood looking at an empty space beyond the last pyramid of the de Lœngbærrow House.

“MINE was here,” he said as Davie joined him. “YOU brought me here when I transcended. To see my own Pyramid, the proof that I was a Time Lord at last.”

“What’s wrong?” Chris asked. “Did we cross a timeline? Are we in some kind of alternative reality where none of it happened?”

“No.” It was Spenser who spoke up. “Davie… when you took over manual control of you TARDIS, did you reset the Temporal Manifold.”

“No,” he answered. “I… Oh.”

The three TARDIS pilots all looked at each other.

“Davie’s TARDIS had a different temporal destination to ours,” Chris said to Tristie. “We’re lucky we all landed in the same place! As it is…” He reached into the backpack he carried with the equipment for panning the river later. He pulled out his mini-computer and quickly accessed the databanks of all three TARDIS computers before calculating their temporal location. “Yep. The Chinese TARDIS dragged the other two back in time two hundred and forty-three years. It would have been further, but the other two fought back and regained a couple of centuries. We’re here BEFORE The Doctor came here for the first time with Rose. Before WE began training as Time Lords. In fact…” He double checked the date and then he turned to the SangC’lune elders.

“How long is it since the pyramids turned black?” he asked.

“Four harvests,” the elder of the elders answered. “It was a terrible night. There was thunder, lightning, great storm clouds that centred over the plain. We felt the souls of our great Lords screaming in the night. And in the morning…. All but two of the pyramids were black.”

“Two?” Chris and Davie both looked at the elder curiously. They knew of only one surviving pyramid. That of their great-grandfather, The Doctor, the one they saw when they turned around from the empty plain and looked back.

“Yes,” the elder insisted. “Two. Two of the great Lords of Time remained alive. Two pyramids of our Living Gods that we tended to gladly, knowing that you would return in time.”

“Where is the other white pyramid?” Chris asked. “Please show us.”

“As is your will, Lord,” replied the elder, bowing to him.

“Walking again,” Trudi moaned, but nobody took any notice. All but her were intrigued by the mystery.

There WAS another white pyramid. It was a half mile walk away from the pyramids of the Lœngbærrow family. It, too, was the last of a line. But it didn’t look right.

“It’s NOT right,” Chris said. “Look. ALL the obelisks are black. This is a Time Lord who has used up all his lives. Yet the pyramid is still white. How can that be?”

He looked around at his brother. Davie stepped towards the pyramid. He traced the symbols on the door with his hand, the symbols that identified the Time Lord whose pyramid this was.

“Yes,” he whispered aloud. “Yes, I remember. Borusa. One of the last presidents of Gallifrey. A once good man who let ambition overrule him. He tricked me. Forced me to play the Game of Rassilon to lead him to the tomb in the Tower. So he could claim the prize of immortality.”

“Davie?” Chris touched him on the shoulder and he looked around, almost surprised to find himself standing there. “You…”

“President Borusa,” he said. “Remember granddad telling us about him, warning us about ambition getting the better of us.”

“Yes, I remember,” Chris answered him. “But you… you were talking as if you were there. As if you were…”

“His memories faded,” Davie said. “I have his skills, his knowledge. I think he gave me his strength of purpose, his courage. But the memories faded as they were meant to do. Except… just then… just then one of his memories pushed its way into my head. I could see it clearly. Borusa got his immortality. But it was a trap. He was immortalised as a living carving on Lord Rassilon’s tomb.”

“That’s why his pyramid is still white? Because he’s immortal?” Tristie asked, stepping close and looking at the pyramid closely.

“I suppose. But… the Tomb was on Gallifrey. It was destroyed. Surely that would have released the trap. His soul would have been freed?”

“Is it dangerous?” Spenser asked – a pertinent question.

“I don’t see HOW,” Chris answered. “It’s an anomaly, that’s all. Nothing to worry about. Come on. Let’s go find the river before the sun gets too high to work.”

“Yes,” Davie agreed. He turned to the elders. “We will not need your services for the day. We shall take some of the food for our midday meal and fend for ourselves. We shall return to the village in time for Daygone and shall be pleased to share that ritual with you.”

The elders bowed to him and to his kin and turned away. Davie picked up the basket of food and Chris took the flagon of goats milk and set off towards the river.

“More walking,” Trudi sighed. “Tristie, how come…?”

She looked around. Tristie was a long way behind. He was still looking at the white pyramid. She waited for him to catch up.

“What were you doing?” she asked him.

“Nothing,” he answered. “Just looking. Strange about that pyramid.”

He didn’t tell Trudi, he didn’t tell any of them, that he had felt something when he touched it. He felt a power there, one that almost seemed to be calling to him.

The men did the work at the river, of course. The two women were settled under a shady canopy that was put up for their comfort. They had fruit and goats milk and the luxury of not having to be ankle deep in river silt with their backs bent over.

“What IS this stuff that they’re looking for?” Trudi asked. “Gold?”

“No,” Brenda explained patiently. “Omegallium. It is a very strong metal that is used to create dimension chips for TARDISes. This river runs through a hill that is rich in Omegallium and they can find it among the silt. Davie intends to use it in the time machines that he wants to build.”

“Davie’s your bloke?”

“He and I are formally betrothed,” Brenda answered. “We will be joined in Alliance of Unity when I am 23.”

“That sounds a bit too heavy for me,” Trudi said. “I don’t think I want to be ‘joined’ with anyone.”

“You and Tristie are not formally bonded?” Brenda looked surprised.

“I’m not formally anything,” Trudi answered. “I was working in a record shop in the Bull Ring. This guy comes in and asks about something called CDs. I had no idea what he was talking about. Then he asked me what year it was and I thought that was a bit bonkers. But I told him and he smiled and apologised and said he had come to the wrong year. He wanted 2004.”

“He should not have said that. Revealing the concept of time travel to those of races who are not aware of it is very dangerous.”

“I just thought he was nuts,” she answered. “I asked him if he wanted to buy anything. He said he wanted to buy the White Album on CD in 2004, and would I like to come along and have a cup of coffee with him after.”

“Ohhh!” Brenda was outraged. “That’s even WORSE. He really TOOK you to 2004?”

“He had to,” Trudi sighed. “The next minute my boss came out from the back and fired me for chatting to deadbeats who weren’t buying anything. Tristie was really sweet. He defended me, saying it was all his fault. And the boss was really rude to him. Then Tristie sort of looked at him and he started acting weird, taking records out of their covers and putting them in different ones. He had half his stock mixed up before we left. We both laughed our heads off. Tristie did it, of course. He can hypnotise people just like that. Serves the rotten beast right. He never did any work. Always expected me to do it all while he sat in the back drinking coffee and reading the papers. But I was still fired. So Tristie took me to his time machine. It LOOKED like an old police telephone box. He said that was a sort of family joke. But inside… well you’ve seen it. And the next I knew it was 2004. The street was totally different. Clothes were… well really cool actually. But the world had changed so much. CDs weren’t the half of it. I started crying. Because it was just so scary. And he was so…” Trudi smiled. “I hardly knew him. But he put his arms around me and kissed me, and said he would show me the universe and I needn’t be scared of any of it, because he would look after me. And he has. We’ve seen loads of cool stuff together. I thought he was the greatest. I thought he was the only one who could do that stuff, too. Then he said we were meeting his uncles. And it turns out there’s a whole family of them. And he’s the youngest of them, and Davie’s actually the leader.”

“The Doctor is the patriarch of the family,” Brenda said. “He is the greatest Time Lord of all. A wonderful man. I owe him my life, and my happiness. It was he who made it possible for me to be betrothed to my own Lord. Davie is our leader when The Doctor is not with us. Tristie knows that. He was Davie’s apprentice just as Spenser is, now. He learnt everything he knows from him.”

“So he said. Well, maybe Tristie will be the greatest eventually.”

“You make it sound as if that matters. If you love him, then he is your Lord forever. And that is the only thing that matters.”

“Forever?” Trudi looked hesitant. “I never thought that far. I’ve been having a blast. But I did think, eventually, I’d go back to 1974 and a normal, ordinary life.”

“Maybe,” Brenda answered her. “None of us, not even the Time Lords, know the future for certain. Except I know that Davie and I WILL be joined. That much is known.” She sighed happily and watched her Time Lord quietly for a while. He was deep in concentration, not only on panning for Omegallium, but she was sure he and Chris were talking telepathically about something that gave an odd expression to both their faces. She tried to listen, but they had put up a mental wall so that the conversation was private between them.

Davie had put up the wall. He didn’t want anyone else listening. There were some things he wasn’t ready to share with anyone but Chris, the other half of his soul.

“You scared me a bit,” Chris told him. “I’m the one with the visions. You’re the practical one.”

“Seems like I have some visions, too, now,” Davie answered. “He did that. When he gave himself to me. Strange that I should have had such a strong memory, though. Perhaps it was being there right by Borusa’s pyramid, with the background psyche.”

“Perhaps it will happen every time something happens that he has experience of. It will help you to know what to do. Could be useful.”

“It could be a hindrance, too. I need to walk in my own shoes, not his, do things MY way.”

“You’ll learn to do that, I expect,” Chris assured him. “But his guidance will always be there if you need it. I envy you in a way. I’ve only glimpsed a fraction of it in your head. But it must be wonderful. To be THAT close to him.”

“We were always that close to him, both of us. You don’t mind, do you, that he chose me?”

“I’m proud that he did,” Chris told him. “Besides, I’ve got so many ideas of my own, I’m not sure I could have held it all in.”

“There is one memory I wish he hadn’t left with me, though,” Davie said after they were silent for a few minutes.

“I know which one that is,” Chris answered. “I saw it the first time. The Time War. OUR part in it. I had sort of guessed anyway. I worked it out. But to know for certain that it WAS our fault….”

“No, it wasn’t. That’s the point. He didn’t blame us. He never wanted us to feel guilty. And he judged I was ready for the truth when he gave his soul to me in the Rite of Mori.”

“It’s only a little over a year since we transcended… Since we WERE two daft kids who did stupid things and needed him to rescue us.”

“We’ve grown up a lot in that time.”

“Too much, do you think?”

“No. He needed us to take on the burden. We had to grow up. And I’m glad really. I like being responsible. I like… I like being him. Being The Doctor. It feels good.”

“He’s not dead yet, not in our timeline. You don’t… In your mind, you don’t think of him that way, do you?”

“No,” Davie assured his brother. “I saw him die. I was there. I felt his soul leave his body, and enter mine. That experience will be with me for all my life. But when I got back, when I saw him, as I’ve always known him, I knew it was ok. He doesn’t know, of course. I don’t think I could tell him I’ve seen him die. But he knows there’s something different. He looks at me now… talks to me… as if I’m his equal. And that’s good, too. Because I think that IS what I’ve always wanted. Not to be greater than him, but equal to him.”

“I think you’ve got that about right,” Chris told him. “O’er-reaching ambition. He once said it was the bane of our race. Look at Borusa. He was already the most powerful Time Lord on Gallifrey and he wanted more. We have to know that even we have limitations. That’s the moral of his tale if there is one.”

“Those two need to learn it,” Davie added, looking to Spenser and Tristie as they worked together a little further upstream. “In opposite ways. Spenser doesn’t have enough ambition. He’s so afraid of turning into his father. And Tristie…” Davie grinned. “He’s got me and you AND The Doctor to live up to. He wants to top us all and stand out. He’ll go too far if he doesn’t learn to curb his impulses.”

“Yes,” Chris noted. “You ARE like him now. Caring for us all. Be careful, Davie. You can’t tell any of us how to live. We all have to make our own mistakes. Me, Tristie, Spenser. We need your guidance, not your dictatorship.”

Davie smiled. He knew HE couldn’t go wrong. Not while Chris was there as the better half of his conscience.

Tristie looked at his two uncles. He knew they were blocking him and a fierce resentment took hold of him. He was as good as them. He WAS a Time Lord. He was equal to them. Why did they act so high and mighty, as if they were better than he was? In the future, yes, when Chris was the spiritual leader of almost all the young Gallifreyans and many humans and other races, too. Yes, when Davie was the one who mentored so many of them to transcension. Yes, they were both greater then.

But not now. Now, they had only been Time Lords for a year. HE had been one for five years. He had been out there on his own, doing it. He knew more than they did and it wasn’t fair that they acted so superior towards him.

“You shouldn’t think that,” Spenser told him. “They’re both great men. Davie has been so good to me. He has taught me to be proud of my alien heritage. I was ashamed of it, disgusted by my father’s deeds. I hated what I was. But he taught me to hold my head up and call myself a son of Gallifrey.”

Tristie bit back his reply, which was a scathing one, but Spenser had learnt enough telepathy from Davie to recognise a rebuke. He turned away and continued the manual work in silence and solitude. Tristie did, too, but his resentment festered. He resented the private world Chris and Davie shared. He resented that Spenser was Davie’s favoured apprentice. He resented Brenda’s cool manner towards Trudi. So what if she was Human? So what if she was a shop girl without a qualification to her name? The Doctor married a shop girl. Rose, his grandmother. She was just like Trudi once. And she became a Time Lord’s lady. He loved Trudi just as much and wanted to make her HIS lady in the fullness of time. And he wouldn’t have anyone looking down on her.

Davie was pleased with the results of the day’s work when they quit a few hours before sundown. He reckoned they had about an ounce of Omegallium. Half a pound of it would be enough for one dimension circuit. They would do better tomorrow now that they had mastered the panning technique. He was cheerful as he led them to the village. He knew they were not the most impressive looking gods, grubby and perspiring from working under the sun in a river bed, but even so the people bowed to them as they passed and when they reached the Great Hall they were brought water to wash themselves and food and drink as they lay on the silken pallets Trudi had longed for.

When they had rested and refreshed themselves handmaids took the two women to one room and the male courtiers took the men to wash and dress them for the Daygone Ritual.

“Oh…my…” Trudi exclaimed as she looked at herself in the mirror. She and Brenda were both dressed in long gowns of pure white, shot through with gold and silver. Her usual heavy make up had been cleansed away with a sweet smelling astringent and the handmaids had made her up with natural cosmetics that complimented her pale skin. Her hair had been covered with a sort of veil of lace with silver thread that glittered in the light. Brenda had an even more elaborate headdress that made her look taller than she was.

“How come you get that rig?” Trudi asked. “And I don’t?”

“I am formally betrothed to Davie. I am his promised one. So they see me as almost a goddess at his side. You are not bonded. So you are… you are an honoured consort.”

“Consort?” Trudi looked dubious. “Doesn’t that mean prostitute? Bloody cheek.”

“That’s concubine,” Brenda corrected her. “Consort is like.. well, I’m not sure… You have kings and queens on Earth in your time? It’s like a queen. But one who isn’t of royal blood.”

“Oh, ok.” Trudi relaxed a bit. “So I’m his queen? I can live with that. Cool.”

Brenda wondered if Trudi had really known what the title of Time Lord meant before. Her reaction when she saw the men suggested she had not. Tristie usually wore casual clothes that fitted most modern periods of Earth history. But now, he, with his two kin, stood before them in full Time Lord regalia. They wore long robes of what seemed like spun gold and loose over gowns in deep red that shone in the light. And all three wore elaborate collars that sat upon their shoulders and rose up behind their heads. Spenser, by their side, was in a less elaborate silver and red robe and gown with a smaller version of the collar. He was not yet a Time Lord.

“No wonder they think you’re gods,” Trudi said as she stepped up to Tristie’s side. “Am I allowed to touch you?”

“Of course,” he assured her. “You’re my Lady. You stay by my side.”

He took her arm. Davie took Brenda’s. Chris and Spenser flanked them as they all stepped out together onto the raised platform or veranda. Six chairs had been placed there, high backed, elaborately carved, and made comfortable with silk cushions. Trudi smiled happily as she was conducted to her ‘throne’. She was a queen consort. All her telepathic companions felt the flash of joy in her mind as she thought of her old life and the bad-tempered boss and others who thought she was unimportant. None of them begrudged her a moment of reflected glory.

The Daygone ritual wasn’t meant to worship the Time Lords. It gave thanks for a day of work and leisure, for the sun that warmed their lives and made their crops grow. It welcomed the cool night and the two moons, one red, one white, that lit the sky until the sun rose again. The Time Lords and their queens were honoured guests at the ceremony which was performed every night with or without them.

When it was over, the people came, a few at a time, to honour their gods and ask their blessings. Davie and Chris learnt what to do from The Doctor many years ago. They took the hands of the people who knelt before them. They held babies and small children and gave their blessings upon forthcoming marriages. That was all the people needed or wanted from them.

Afterwards the handmaids took the queen consorts and helped them change into silk night gowns. The courtiers helped their gods into simple robes of soft, warm fabrics. Then they were given more food and drink and left to their peace.

“There’s always one problem with the hospitality here,” Tristie observed as they ate their supper. “They have NEVER grasped the idea of putting more than one bed in here.”

The bed was a huge one that could have accommodated them all at a pinch. But Davie said they would do as they always did. The ladies would sleep in the bed while the men would take pillows and sheets and sleep out on the veranda. It was a warm, sweet night as it always was here and they would be comfortable.

“You can,” Chris said. “I’m going to walk to the temple and spend the night in one of the shorter rites of purification.”

“I’ll join you, brother,” Davie offered. “If you want me.”

“Of course I do,” he answered. “Will you two be all right here?”

“Why wouldn’t we be?” Tristie answered. “What do you think? The SangC’lune lot would hardly come and molest their gods.”

Chris said goodnight as they settled down on the veranda and he and his brother set off to the temple.

Spenser went to sleep quickly on the wooden floor of the veranda. Tristie stayed awake. The Daygone had been pleasant. He had no reason to complain. The people of SangC’lune had treated him with due respect. But those resentments of the afternoon still burned in his mind.

He stood up and looked around. All was quiet. The people of SangC’lune had no need for any sort of night watch. Even if they did, they would hardly hinder him in his plans.

He walked up the rising meadow and then down to the plain. It was very dark, but he had Time Lord eyes and he could see perfectly as long as there was a scrap of light somewhere. The two moons gave him more than enough to clearly see the pyramids.

He found the white pyramid of the immortal President Borusa easily. He stepped close and reached out to touch it. Yes, there was a power there. There was something that called to him.

Something that told him what to do, told him the simple words that would activate the door. It slid open before him and he stepped inside.

“Wow!” he whispered aloud as he stared around. It was, of course, far bigger on the inside. It was bright. The walls and high cathedral-like ceiling all glowed with diffused white light just as the roundels in his console room did. It was utterly beautiful. He felt as if he was inside a giant crystal.

“Hello?” he said and his words echoed around . “Is there… is there anyone there? I heard you call to me. Lord Borusa, the immortal…”

“Who are you?” asked a booming voice in reply. “What do you seek?”

“I seek the wisdom of a great Lord who had power over all Time Lords,” he answered. “I want… I want such power.”

“Good answer,” replied the voice. “Power is all important. With it you can rule.”

“Why can’t I see you?”

“Even in spirit I am formless,” replied the voice. “I lost my corporeal body when Rassilon’s trap was sprung upon me. Even now, when his tomb is rocks and dust coalescing into a singularity at the heart of a black hole, I am just barely alive. Alive! Not even that. I was the last to be ensnared by his foul trick. I still had some memory of life. I managed to reach this place when the others faded away. I never thought to sense another of my kind standing here. You ARE a Time Lord. I feel it in you. Not pure blood… there is Human in your DNA. You are one of HIS line, aren’t you? The Doctor…”

“Yes,” Tristie answered. “He is my grandfather. My mother is his daughter.”

“Your lineage does not concern me. What does is the streak of rebellion I see in you. How like him you are. But I think it is HE you rebel against. How ironic. I can use it to my advantage. You seek power over all Time Lords. I can give it to you.”

“How?” Tristie asked. “Look, I don’t want to hurt my uncles. I just want them to realise I am their superior.”

“You will have domain over them, over this planet. Over any planet you set your sights on. Stand still and do not waver.”

Tristie stood still. He didn’t waver even when the cool, bright light enveloped him. He heard the voice close to his ear. And then he heard it within his own head.

When he spoke again, it was the voice of Borusa that he heard from his own mouth.