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

David Campbell looked around as a familiar sound disturbed the late summer afternoon and a waft of displaced air moved the roses he was dead-heading. His son’s TARDIS materialised disguised as an ornamental folly in the middle of his pristine lawn. He smiled as Davie stepped out and walked towards him.

“Is Brenda still out shopping?” he asked.

“You’ve only been gone an hour,” David replied. “Do you expect any woman let loose with an unlimited credit card in a maternity shop to be done that quickly? Especially with Susan, Rose and young Carya to encourage her.”

“It was longer than an hour for me,” Davie said.

“I expect it has been,” David said with some understanding of his eldest son’s excursions into time and space. Then he looked closer as Davie sat on a garden chair. He wasn’t injured in any way. Since his body was capable of mending all but the most grievous wounds, he wouldn’t be. But he wasn’t wearing the same clothes he was an hour ago when he left. At least the jacket looked the same, but the shirt and trousers and shoes were different. And there was a look in his eyes, even though he smiled, that David recognised. “You’ve been in some sort of trouble. Something your mother wouldn’t want to hear about, no doubt.”

Davie didn’t answer right away. David didn’t say anything else. He’d talk when he was ready.

“You’re the same age I was when I met your mother. You look so much like me it’s actually a little disturbing. I feel as if I’m looking into my own past. Twenty two used to be called callow youth. But not for my generation. We had to fight for the survival of our race. I was a war veteran at twenty-two. And so are you. That saddens me. I thought we were fighting to end all war on this planet and give our children a peaceful future.”

“Men said that three hundred years ago in 1918,” Davie pointed out. “Only to see their sons go through it all again. Peace doesn’t always come easy.”

“That is true enough. And yet... you could be at peace now, son. But you go looking for trouble in that TARDIS of yours.” Again Davie said nothing. “That wasn’t a criticism of you, my boy. You’ve got fighting Campbell blood in you, and that’s mixed with the blood of a man who took a long time to realise he could stop fighting and enjoy a peaceful life. The Doctor fought our war against the Daleks and then went off and fought a thousand more wars. And it seems like it’s your destiny to follow him in that. How can I stop you?”

“You’re my father,” Davie pointed out. “If you told me... If you really wanted me to stop...”

“You’d give your mother and I just as much anxiety racing your fast cars in dangerous races. You need to find your outlet somewhere. As long as the battles you fight are just ones, I can’t say no. But... tell me... how long were you away this time, in truth?”

“Three weeks,” Davie answered. “It felt like longer.”

It was an uncharacteristic pilot error that brought him to this location in time and space. He had transposed two digits in the co-ordinate. He knew straight away that he had landed back on Earth instead of in another galaxy altogether. He knew exactly where and when he had arrived on his home planet, too. It was a date that ought to have sent warning signals to his brain. He ought to have dematerialised right away before his presence in that place had any impact whatsoever.

But the same kind of incurable curiosity that had driven his great grandfather for centuries overcame his good sense. He stepped out of the TARDIS and looked around at his immediate surroundings.

He was in a churchyard. The TARDIS had disguised itself as a large granite gravestone that matched those around it. He was about to award it several demerits for bad taste when he noticed something not quite right about the church that the graveyard belonged to.

It must have been a rather magnificent example of Victorian gothic architecture once, with four small spires framing a larger one at the top of the front wall, and the five arched windows below matching them for symmetry. The largest was in the centre below the main spire and above the door. The effect was something like a Christian version of a stepped pyramid, all in what must once have been a warm sandstone.

But the sandstone was black from fires that had raged, destroying all but this front façade. The windows were empty, revealing an iron grey sky where the roof was long gone. Davie walked up the steps from the road to the centrally placed grand doors. Once they had been strong hardwood, weathered with age. Now one was gone altogether and the other swung open on a last remaining hinge to reveal nothing more than debris of broken bricks, sections of the collapsed roof and remnants of an altar.

By the door was a partially burnt sign telling him this was St Mary’s Greyfriars Church, Dumfries. The name of the church didn’t mean anything to him, but Dumfries had a bitter resonance in his family.

“St Mary’s,” his father said in a hoarse voice. “My parents were married there. My mother came from St. Mary’s Street. I was baptised there. We used to go to Sunday service there even though we lived on the farm miles outside the town. We walked there and back because my mother was a strict observer of the Sabbath and wouldn’t allow us to go by car.” He sighed and shook his head. “It isn’t there, any more.”

It was barely standing now. And if Davie had any doubt about what happened it was dispelled by the poster stuck haphazardly over the list of weekly services. It bore one sinister word.


He knew the significance of that word from his history books at school, first of all, and then from his great grandfather, and lastly from his own father, who only recently talked to him about his past. Only when he had tasted the bitterness of war himself was David Campbell able to tell his son about the hard, terrible fight he had been a part of in his youth.

He heard a noise and the instincts of a war veteran sent his hand to his pocket where his sonic screwdriver could easily turn to a laser that served as a deadly weapon. But there was no enemy to be seen, only a woman in a faded but once fine dress and coat with shoes and hat that had also seen better days. She was walking up the steps towards the church as if she was expecting to find a Sunday service going on inside. Davie watched her silently and noted she was probably about fifty years old, but seemed tired beyond her years. Knowing the times she had lived through, he could hardly wonder at that.

“David!” The woman looked at him as she reached the top step and uttered a name that took him by surprise. “David, my boy. I didn’t know you were home. Are you coming to service with me? That would be nice. Just like the old days.”

“I....” Davie began. “I’m not....”

“Sheelagh!” A man’s voice called out. Davie turned and saw him running along the road. Then he spotted something else. It was the first time he had ever seen one for real, but he didn’t consider this any kind of epiphany in his life. He knew exactly what deadly danger it posed to all three of them.

The Dalek was at the bottom of the church steps. He and the woman were at the top. It couldn’t reach them, because these ones that attempted to invade Earth in the mid twenty-second century didn’t have any hover capability. But he knew they were well within range of its death ray. And so was the man. He had spotted the danger and dodged into the broken doorway of an abandoned hotel opposite the church.

“Get down,” he said to the woman. She looked at him vacantly and didn’t respond. He rather ungallantly pushed her to the ground, covering her with his own body as the Dalek fired. He felt the heat of the ray on his back, even through his leather jacket and jumper. He reached for his sonic screwdriver and fingered the controls. He had been criticised more than once by his great-grandfather for using the laser as a weapon, but he didn’t think he would object on this occasion.

It was a good shot. The laser took out the Dalek’s eyestalk completely. It screeched and turned around, still firing blindly, which made it more dangerous than when it had identified a target.

It made what the man did next even more courageous and more than a little foolhardy. He broke his cover and ran straight at the Dalek, dodging its rays until he was close enough to grasp it by the swivelling upper section and push it over. Davie had never thought to ask either of his relatives who had physically tackled a Dalek how much they weighed, or how much physical effort it required to do something like that. But this man was running on adrenaline and fear and that could often lend impetus to a desperate effort.

And so it proved. The Dalek crashed over, its death ray snapping off against the paving stones. The staccato voice raised several octaves and smoke billowed from the vents around the top part of the pepperpot shape. The man pulled himself up and vaulted over the low church wall. He ducked down behind it. Davie pressed the woman down flatter as the Dalek exploded, showering the immediate area with shards of its outer casing and foul smelling organic fragments from the creature within.

Davie slowly stood up, lifting the half fainting woman and checking, as gently and politely as possible, that she wasn’t hurt. He saw the man stumble up the steps. He was nursing a wound on his left arm, but when he reached the woman he forgot all about it and embraced her.

“Sheelagh!” he said. “Why did you wander off? You scared me. I thought those fiends had you!”

“It’s Sunday,” she reasoned. “I always come to service on a Sunday. And... Robert... look. David is here. He’s come to visit us.”

Robert looked at Davie for a long moment with a puzzled expression in his eyes. Then he turned back to his wife and hugged her again.

“Sheelagh, David was in London when it was nuked,” he said gently. “He’s dead.”

Sheelagh shook her head and turned to Davie, grasping his hand in hers.

“Robert, don’t be silly. Don’t you know your own son standing in front of you?”

Robert gave a pleading look to Davie and then smiled through tear filled eyes.

“Of course I know him,” he told her. “It’s good to have him home for a little while. Now come on, there’s no service today. Let’s go back home.” He started back down the steps, but Sheelagh swooned dizzily and stumbled. Robert held her desperately.

“She’s exhausted and you need medical help,” Davie said to Robert as blood trickled down the torn shirt sleeve from a deep gash in his upper arm. The flying Dalek shrapnel had only glanced off his flesh, but it was enough to cause a nasty wound. “Besides, we should all get under cover. The Daleks... they have transponders. The others will know one has been deactivated. Come with me, both of you.”

“You’re a good boy, David,” Sheelagh said, grasping his hand tightly. She was easy to guide down the steps towards the gravestone with the fiery ying yang in place of any Christian symbol on it. She didn’t think anything unusual about stepping through a door that appeared in it. Her husband did. He hung back hesitantly.

“It’s all right,” Davie told him. “You can trust me. You... you know you can, don’t you?”

He met the older man’s gaze steadily. It occurred to him that he had never even seen a still photograph of his paternal grandfather, but he didn’t need to. There were enough family traits in his features to know him straight away. If he was anything like his son, then he was a no-nonsense, practical man, not given to fanciful ideas. But Davie hoped he might take a leap of faith right now.

Robert Campbell nodded and stepped into the TARDIS. He let Davie sit his wife down on the sofa and give her a cup of hot, sweet coffee. He accepted a cup himself while Davie used the sonic screwdriver in tissue repair mode to mend his wound.

“We haven’t had coffee for months,” he said. “As for sugar and milk... that alone is a miracle of a sort. This place... I can’t even begin to understand it. But it doesn’t matter. What really does matter is that you saved my wife from that fiend. Thank you. And for...”

Sheelagh was blithely singing one of the hymns she expected to be singing in the church right now. Davie watched her for a moment then turned questioning eyes towards Robert.

“She’s been a little vague for about five years now,” he explained in a resigned tone. “But the Daleks... the news from London, the destruction of everything... the town, our farm... what was left of her wits just snapped. Today, she’s walked three and a half miles expecting to find the church still open for business. It’s a wonder she wasn’t picked off by a random Dalek patrol or by those damned Robomen.”

“And she thinks I’m her son?”

“David. I keep trying to make her accept that he’s gone. But she just can’t take it in. I wonder sometimes if she’s luckier than me. I’ve had to come to terms with losing our only child to this damned war.” Robert blinked away unmanly tears again and composed himself before speaking. “You look so very like him. When I saw you with her... I could have hugged you, myself. But he’s dead. The likeness... it’s just coincidence, I suppose.”

“I won’t disillusion her,” Davie promised. “If she thinks I’m her son come to visit... then so be it. Where is this farm of yours? I think the best thing is to get you both back there.”

“It’s north-east of the city, off the Lockerbie road.”

“A GPS position would be more useful,” Davie said as he went to the navigation console. “Or an old style postcode at least.”

Robert Campbell knew the GPS position of his farm. Davie keyed it into the navigation drive and set the TARDIS in cloaked hover mode. He looked at the large viewscreen and noted how much of the city of Dumfries was razed to the ground. The countryside beyond the built up area fared little better. The fields were blackened as if wide ranging incendiaries had been deployed. Every building he could see was destroyed.

“At the beginning of the invasion, people here resisted,” Robert said in answer to Davie’s unasked questions. “The Daleks retaliated by burning everything, killing hundreds, scattering the survivors. Our own farm... our crops were burnt, all our livestock were slaughtered, even the dogs we used for herding. I was away. I was with the resistance, trying to destroy one of the Dalek bases. Sheelagh hid in the root cellar under the big barn as they tore her world apart. When I got home... I thought the worst at first. Then I heard her singing... Onward Christian Soldiers! God love her, she has no idea. Christian soldiers or any other sort have no chance against the Daleks. But she still sings hymns and prays and believes there will be a deliverance.”

“There will be,” Davie told him. “Robert, the end is close. In London, in less than a week, a man is coming who knows how to fight the Daleks, who will help the resistance there to crush them completely. After that, the word will get out to others like yourselves. The Daleks elsewhere in Britain, across the world... with their central command destroyed they’ll be isolated and virtually defenceless and it will only take days to finish them off.”

Robert looked at him incredulously.

“This is a TARDIS, a time and space ship. I come from the future... Earth’s future. I live in London in the year 2220. The Human race has survived. We beat the Daleks and pulled ourselves back together.”

“That’s not.... It’s a cruel thing to say. After all we’ve been through... to offer hope when... when there’s none in sight. Who is this man who knows what to do? Where does he come from?”

“It doesn’t matter. Neither of us will be there. That’s somebody else’s battle. But all you have to do, all of you here, is hang on. It WILL be over very soon. You’re going to make it.”

Again, Robert shook his head. Davie came to his side. He looked at him steadily, his clear brown eyes connecting with eyes that were nearly identical to his. Even his part Time Lord DNA couldn’t change that.

“You believed me when I said you’d be safe in here. Will you believe me again?”

“Who are you?” he asked. “Why do I feel as if I’ve always known you?”

“I think you know, deep down, Robert,” Davie answered him. “Your first instinct about me was almost right. But look again and think about what I’ve said about where I come from.”

Robert Campbell looked at him again and shook his head, hardly daring to believe the thought that came to him as he did the maths.

“But that would mean... if you’re... then my son isn’t dead, after all?”

“No, he isn’t. I promise you, that. He’s alive. Right now, he’s part of the resistance in London. He’ll be part of that big offensive against the Daleks that will end this. So is my mother. And they WILL both come out of this alive. I’m the living proof of that. I’m David Christopher Campbell, named after my father. I’ve always been known as Davie, to avoid confusion.”

“I’m... very glad to meet you, Davie,” Robert Campbell said. “I don’t know what brought you to us, but I am very glad you did.”

“It... must have been her prayers,” Davie answered looking at his paternal grandmother sadly. She was praying quietly, thanking God for bringing her son home to her. Davie’s hearts lurched sadly. He only wished it were true. His father had never said much about the immediate aftermath of the invasion, except that he and his new wife had travelled north to Scotland only to find devastation. David had accepted that his parents were gone and turned back to London where they made their new home and helped reconstruct the civilisation the Daleks had almost brought to their knees.

Sheelagh would never set eyes on her son again.

He turned back to the console and noted that they had arrived at their destination. The farm had obviously suffered from the Dalek scorched earth policy. The barns and outbuildings were mere rubble and what had been a substantial farmhouse was a shell rather like the church had been. Davie parked the TARDIS inside the broken walls on Robert’s suggestion and followed him and Sheelagh down through what had been the kitchen to a cellar that stretched beneath the whole of the former house.

It was an example of what The Doctor called Human indomitableness. They had salvaged what they could from the rubble, a few unbroken chairs, a table with three of its legs intact, every bit of food they could find, blankets, clothes, and they had made do. Sheelagh and Robert had made what was left of their home available to others who were less lucky. A mother, father and three children, as well as two young men with the hardy look of farm workers were huddled by a solid fuel stove where a kettle boiled.

“David,” Robert said to him. “It’s been five years, but you remember Gerald and Agnes Macdonald, of course. Wee Geraldine was only a bairn and Alisdair and Scott weren’t even born when you went away. These two lads, Michael and Gordon Harris, came down from Stranraer for the harvest and haven’t been able to get home. Lads, this is my son, David, who was studying at London University.”

“You escaped before the nukes came, then?” Gordon Harris asked Davie.

“What nukes?” he asked. This was a question he had wanted to ask for quite a while, now. “Who told any of you that London was nuked?”

The group of survivors looked at each other and talked about strangers passing through, refugees trying to reach the Highlands in hope of finding safety there. Michael Harris thought the Daleks themselves had bragged of destroying the administrative centre of Britain. Mrs Macdonald thought she heard it on a radio broadcast before the airwaves fell silent.

“It was rumour, misunderstanding, or maybe even a deliberate lie,” Davie said. “To make you think you were alone and isolated. It isn’t true. London has suffered. A lot of people are dead. But there are survivors. There IS a resistance movement.”

“Gordon, Michael, go and find the others, bring them back here,” Robert said as they all took in this revelation. “My son has news that we should all hear.”

“How many others?” Davie asked when the two brothers had departed.

“Twenty or thirty within running distance,” he replied. “You can tell them about... what you told me. About….”

“That many people, and food short. I’ve got supplies in my TARDIS. Come and help me, Robert.”

The TARDIS usually didn’t have a lot of food aboard, but it was semi-sentient and he knew that there was a store cupboard near the kitchen that would be full to bursting with tinned food, energy bars, chocolate and cartons of fresh orange juice as soon as he opened it.

It was partly for that reason that he went back up to the TARDIS, but also because he really wanted to speak to Robert alone before the council of war he had set in motion.

“What are you doing?” he asked as he passed boxes of food to his grandfather. “Why do you want me to tell those people that there is a movement in London? What use can it do?”

“It can give them hope. It worked for me. I don’t mean you should tell them you’re from the future. That’s why I told them you were my David. I knew you weren’t him. I’ve known my boy since the day he was born. You’re different enough. Your accent isn’t quite right. You sound Scottish now, but when you first spoke to me there was more of an English cadence. Even so, Gerald and Agnes will believe you’re him. So will the rest of our neighbours. And if you tell them you came from London, and that there’s work going on there to free us all... they’ll believe you. And they’ll be ready to fight again. The resistance here is all but dead. The heart’s been knocked out of us. But you can put it back.”

“That’s why I shouldn’t have come here,” Davie said. “I’m changing history. You weren’t meant to be given new heart for the fight. You were meant to hang in here, looking after each other, until it was all over.”

“My son is in the resistance in London, fighting for the future you were born into,” Robert said with a harder tone to his voice. “Are you so used to the peace he bought that you would baulk at the idea of fighting? Are you a coward? You didn’t seem to be when you attacked that lone Dalek by the church. But are you afraid of a bigger battle where the odds might be less favourable?”

“Any man who isn’t afraid of Daleks is a fool,” Davie answered. “Or a liar. They scare the hell out of me. Their cruelty sickens me. But I don’t want... Robert... I was eight before I knew my mother’s family. I always thought my other grandparents were long dead. Now I’ve found you, I don’t want to lose you again. I want you to stay alive so that... in the future.... I’ve got a twin brother, and a fantastic little sister. I’d like them both to know you, their grandfather.”

“I would like that, too,” Robert said. “But if it isn’t to be, then I’d die happy knowing you can go back and tell my son, and your brother and sister, that I fought to the last against the greatest evil.”

“All right,” Davie decided. “But let’s talk about it. And let’s have a plan that could work, not a foolhardy last stand.” He picked up three large boxes of food to the two Robert was carrying and walked back to the console room. There, he put down his load and went to the console. He made a very fine adjustment, and the TARDIS re-materialised in the far corner of the cellar. Mrs Macdonald and the children looked around curiously at the sound and the displaced air. Sheelagh didn’t seem to notice as she poured tea from a kettle into mismatched cups. Mr Macdonald was bringing in fresh wood for the stove and was only puzzled to see his host and his son come from a dead end with the boxes.

The sight of food like tinned salmon and peach slices with evaporated milk delighted the eyes of the children and adults alike. It was a feast to them. Davie and Robert went back and brought more. The cupboard proved to have endless supplies. By the time they had made three such trips, the Harris brothers were back along with some of their neighbours. A steady trickle of them arrived over the next half hour and were given a share of the food bounty before they all sat quietly and listened to what Davie felt safe to tell them.

“There’s a plan afoot in London. It will happen very soon. They’ve got a good chance of success. A very good chance. And when the Daleks in the Home Counties are defeated, it will be over. That’s the centre of their whole operation on Earth. You really don’t have to do anything more except wait. But... Robert has other ideas. And...”

He didn’t want to influence them either way. It wasn’t his war, after all. It was theirs. If they wanted a last shot at their enemy, a chance of revenge for all that was done to them, he couldn’t deny them. He stepped back as Robert told them he wanted to attack the Dalek stronghold outside Dumfries. He took no part in the discussion.

He noticed another man slide into the shadows and head up the stairs quietly. Davie followed him, equally quietly. The young man didn’t know he was being tailed as he moved across the farmyard and into the ruin of the barn.

He didn’t hear Davie drawing close enough to hear him trying to make contact with the enemy on a small, hand held radio transmitter. He didn’t know the reason he wasn’t able to make his report to the Dalek commander was that Davie’s sonic screwdriver was emitting a blocking signal.

“Why?” Davie demanded, making himself known at last. “Why are you selling them out to the Daleks? Why are you condemning those people to death – men, women and children?”

“My family are in the Dalek compound. They’re prisoners.... hostages. If I serve them well, they will be freed.”

“You idiot,” Davie said. “No, don’t move. The laser in this tool could cut you in half in two seconds, and don’t think I wouldn’t do it. Put your hands where I can see them and don’t say anything else, or I might forget that I’m a compassionate man.”

The traitor did as he said. He had little choice.

“Your family may be alive. More likely they’re already dead, or they’re converted to robomen. If the first, then I’ll get them out. If they’re dead or converted, then you’d have done a terrible thing for nothing. Now, walk in front of me, back to the cellar. And hope your neighbours are as compassionate as I am and don’t rip you to pieces.”

Adversity brought out courage in many people. His father and grandfather were among those. In others it brought out baser traits. The simple urge to run and hide from the Daleks was something he could fully understand even if it was not in himself to do so. He didn’t even call that cowardice. It was simply self-preservation. But to collaborate with the enemy, to betray his own race, was so far removed from his own values that he could scarcely believe it possible.

He brought the traitor back to the cellar, and quietly moved towards the group of farmers and labourers turned resistance fighters who were beginning to lose heart as they realised their only plan was still as suicidal as ever. Davie walked into the centre of the group and quietly told them what he had witnessed. At first they scarcely believed him. When Davie showed them the transmitter their anger grew. The traitor begged Davie to protect him.

“I’ll do that,” he said. “Nobody will lay a hand on you as long as I draw breath. But only because there are children here who don’t need to witness their parents committing cold blooded murder. Your actions have compromised this resistance group. The Daleks know you tried to transmit and was stopped. They will want to know why.”

“They’ll come here?” Mrs Macdonald hugged her children fearfully and looked accusingly at the traitor.

“They will,” Davie said. “And I don’t know how long they will take. So we ALL have to go, right now. Everyone, follow me. I have a safe place for you.”

He pushed the traitor ahead of him towards the corner where the TARDIS had disguised itself as a walk in cupboard. Everyone was surprised by the interior. Davie didn’t give any detailed explanations. He left the traitor in the none too gentle hands of the Harris brothers and went to his console. He put the TARDIS in hover mode above the farmhouse and watched grimly as a small Dalek scout craft landed in the yard. Three Daleks and a handful of Robomen got out. Davie watched and then selected a target for his TARDIS’s transmat beam. The crowd uttered words of concern as they saw the three Daleks materialise in the console room. But they were instantly immobilised in a stasis field. Davie flicked a switch and the TARDIS was in orbit. He reversed the transmat beam. The Daleks were briefly seen on the viewscreen before they began tumbling back towards Earth, their casings turning bright orange as they began to burn up in the atmosphere.

He returned to the farm and landed the TARDIS in front of the Robomen. They moved towards it in a zombie-like way. He adjusted something on the console and a piercing sound transmitted outside. The Robomen held their hands to their heads briefly and then fell down, dead.

There was applause and shouts of triumph from his guests.

“I didn’t like to do that,” he said. “I know they’re just ordinary humans who were taken by the Daleks. They might have been friends of yours. But the men they once were died long ago. What I did was the kindest thing I could do.”

“Can you do it for all the Robomen in the Dalek stronghold?” Robert Campbell asked. “If you can, that’s one less problem for us. We only have to get in and then fight the Daleks.”

“Where is the stronghold?” Davie asked. “Show me.”

Robert showed him.

“Caerlaverock Castle,” he said. “Or the ruins of it. The Daleks landed their mothership on top of it and dug in. Three months ago, two men risked their lives getting in there.” He glanced at the Harris brothers as he said that, but didn’t elaborate further. “They found out that the Daleks had sunk shafts right down from their ship into the old dungeons and fixed gravity lifts in them. They are using the dungeons as their central command. The ship, above ground, has automatic laser guns that would kill anyone trying to approach from the air, even if we had a helicopter. The moat around the castle is deep, and there are robomen posted on the battlements day and night. Between the ancient fortress and their new technology it’s practically impregnable. Or it was. With your TARDIS we could get right in there, take the fight to them.”

His presence was changing things, again. He gave them the tactical advantage that made an attack possible. Before, they wouldn’t have dared.

“Yes, we could,” Davie replied. “I could transmit that signal and burn the minds of any robomen down there in the dungeons. I could even hack into the Dalek computers and broadcast the sound right through the castle, to make sure it gets all of them. But it won’t affect Daleks and I can’t zap them all into space. We’re going to have to fight hand to hand – hand to ray gun – one Dalek at a time.”

“We’re prepared to do that,” Robert said. “There’s thirty of us right now, ready to fight.”

“There could be a hundred Daleks in the mothership,” Davie pointed out. “Do you even have weapons?”

“There are six robomen guns outside,” Michael Harris pointed out.

“There are more in my root cellar,” Robert added. “I collected them in hope that we would have a chance to fight.”

“All right. Get the weapons and then think about this a bit more. We need a proper strategy if thirty of us are going to go to war against the Daleks.”

While the weapons were being gathered, Davie turned his attention to the non-combatants, Sheelagh Campbell and Agnes Macdonald with her three children. He took Sheelagh by the arm and told the others to follow him. It was only a short walk down the corridor to the kitchen. There was more food in the fridge, and plenty of orange juice, hot chocolate, tea and coffee.

“Stay here,” he told them. “You’ll be safe, no matter what. This ship is very powerful, very special. Even the Daleks can’t get in here. But...” He took Mrs Macdonald’s hand in his gently. “I don’t know how long this will take. And I can’t say for certain that we’ll all get back alive. If...” He glanced at the clock on the wall. It told local time. It was two o’clock on a Sunday afternoon. “If we’re not back in two and a half hours, an automatic emergency protocol is set. This ship will go to a safe place, far from the Daleks. The people there will look after you. Tell them... tell them what we were doing, and why. They’ll be upset, but they’ll understand why we had to do it.”

Mrs Macdonald was disturbed by his words. But her family had all lived under the threat of extermination every day since the Dalek invasion began. She didn’t waste words telling him she was sure they would be successful. Nobody could be sure of that. She reached and kissed his cheek and thanked him for looking after them all.

Sheelagh came to him and kissed him, too. For a brief moment, she seemed to know what was happening and that there was danger. Then the fog of dementia settled again and she told her son not to be home late from the dance.

He returned to the console room and set the emergency protocol that he fervently hoped wouldn’t have to be engaged and some other settings that would help make sure they wouldn’t have to be. Around him the resistance fighters of Dumfries had weapons. The best of them were the guns the robomen used. They were ray guns that could kill a Dalek. There were also the sort of weapons farmers had in their homes, mostly shotguns for killing predators. They would be precious use against the Daleks. Davie told them that, frankly, but the shotgun bearers accepted the risk.

He brought the TARDIS into cloaked hover over Caerlaverock and scanned the castle for lifesigns. The robomen were easy to locate, mostly around the battlements, though there were some in the dungeon area, too. The majority of the Daleks were in the mothership, but he reckoned twenty or more were below in the command centre.

“I need to reach their central control and do my stuff,” he said. “Which means I need a couple of men specifically to watch my back. That’s a dangerous position, because the Daleks will try to stop me.”

“You can count on me, son,” Robert told him. Gerald Macdonald seconded him.

“Ok. The robomen won’t be a problem because I’m going to transmit that disabling frequency as soon as we materialise. But the Daleks will be on their metal and they’ll start fighting as soon as they identify us as the enemy.”

He turned to the Harris brothers.

“See this part,” he said, showing them a section of the schematic on the lifesigns monitor. “I’m guessing it’s an annex of the main dungeon. There are about forty unconverted humans there. Prisoners, slave workers, raw material for the conversion process, whatever. You two and a few men you know you can trust get them out.”

“Let me,” said the traitor. “I told you, my family are prisoners. Let me help them.”

Davie looked at the young man suspiciously. So did the Harris brothers and everyone else. He reached out and touched him on the forehead and bore into his mind. He saw the stupidity of his collaboration. He saw his shame when he was brought to face his friends and neighbours. He saw a desire to make up for his foolishness, as well as concern for his loved ones.

“Give him a robogun,” Davie said. “And let him prove himself. If he reverts to cowardice, kill him, step over his dead body and carry on with your mission.”

He took a deep breath and looked around. None of these men were soldiers. None of them wanted to fight a deadly enemy. But that was true of people like them throughout the history of Earth, or, for that matter, the galaxy.

Robert Campbell stood beside him and invited them all to say a prayer. Davie was surprised by that. He had grown up without any kind of formal religion in his life. But he had been taught to respect other people’s beliefs. And he recognised that these people needed these brief moments to prepare themselves for a hard fight and perhaps a swift but painful death.

When they were done he pressed only a few levers to initiate the materialisation within the dungeon. As the surprisingly brightly lit cavern solidified outside, he turned on the disrupter. Robomen faltered in their work and collapsed around them. Daleks swung around looking for the source of the invasion. They didn’t find one. The TARDIS was in stealth mode. The Daleks with their artificial eyes in their eye-stalks couldn’t even see the shimmer in the air where something hid behind a perception filter.

“The only trouble is, the TARDIS door is a bottleneck,” Davie said. “So we’re not going to go out through it. Everyone get into position, ready to start shooting at anything with a sink plunger for a limb. You men, drop your shotguns as soon as you can and grab roboguns that have been discarded.

He set the TARDIS to dematerialise again, but leaving them in the dungeon, perfectly placed to take the Daleks by surprise for a few seconds, at least.

And those few second proved crucial. The roboguns weren’t good for sharp shooting, but a Dalek was a big enough target and eight of them were immediately enveloped in murderous rays that penetrated their casings and fried the organic creatures within. The Harris brothers and their section fought their way through to the prisoners, Robert and Gerald closed in beside Davie. He wielded his sonic screwdriver in laser mode and decapitated any Dalek that stood in his way. Robert and Gerald fired roboguns at all comers. They headed towards the central computer.

When they reached it, Davie was no longer a combatant, at least not in the ordinary understanding of the word. But what he planned to do, what he knew he could do, with his extensive understanding of computers and how they worked, was a way of fighting back, too. All he needed was the time the resistance fighters were buying him with their lives. He knew there had been casualties. He had heard screams cut off as the victims were caught in the deadly Dalek rays and had their internal organs cooked instantly. He didn’t know who was dead. He couldn’t worry about that, yet.

“What is it you are doing, son?” Robert asked as he stood behind him and killed another Dalek that tried to reach them.

“First, I’m sending out a recall signal to all the Daleks in the Galloway area. They’ll all converge on the mothership.”

“That’s a good thing?” Gerald queried.

“Yes. Because once they’re all aboard a second programme kicks in. The auto-destruct. All Dalek ships have them. When they’re up against stronger enemies than themselves – which happens sometimes – they tend to be sore losers. They prefer to blow themselves up along with everyone in the area.”

“We’re in the area,” Robert pointed out.

“Not for long.” Davie completed his first task and went on to the slightly more difficult second one. The auto-destruct should have been impossible for any being other than the Dalek commander. But Davie was VERY good with computers. He could read machine code almost as quickly as English. Overriding the protocols was only a small obstacle to achieving his aim.

“Got it,” he said. And as if to prove it, the computer began to hum in a rather different way. “The recall is transmitting. The self destruct will follow in twenty-five minutes.”

He turned around and noted that there were no more Daleks to fight. They were all retreating up their gravity shafts, obeying the recall. He saw Gordon Harris with a group of ragged civilians who looked dazed and surprised to see other Human beings again. He noted with sinking hearts that Michael Harris wasn’t with him.

“He was caught by two Dalek rays at once,” Gordon said in a dull, stricken voice. “So was...” He nodded towards a young woman and a middle aged couple who were hugging each other and crying sorrowfully. “Those are his family that we were almost betrayed for. I think we ought to agree never to tell them what he did. They saw him die taking out two Daleks at once. Let them remember that.”

“Yes,” Davie agreed. He wished he could say something else to Gordon. He thought he knew well enough how he was feeling. He would be the same if he lost Chris. But everyone here thought he was the only child of Robert and Sheelagh Campbell. He couldn’t show that he understood any more than ordinary compassion allowed.

“But how are we to get out of here, son?” Robert Campbell said again. “We’re deep in the dungeons and your ship is gone.”

“My ship is hovering over the central courtyard emitting the disrupting signal to euthanize the robomen on the battlements,” he answered, holding up his sonic screwdriver and making an adjustment to it. “But I set it to return to this position when I send out this signal.”

There was no obvious sign that the sonic screwdriver was sending a signal. It was sub-sonic and only likely to be received by his TARDIS and any bats that might be anywhere in the area.

He was starting to wonder if only the bats had heard the signal after all when a familiar noise and a familiar rush of wind filled the dungeon. He laughed softly and ran to open the stout wooden door surrounded by granite slabs that had appeared in the middle of the dungeon. Those who had been inside the TARDIS before were only surprised by its disguise. The prisoners were still too much in shock to question anything. They filed inside. Davie waited to make sure nobody was left behind. Robert stood with him.

“Come on,” he said at last. “There’s going to be a really big explosion here very soon. I’m afraid Castle Caerlaverock is going to be a really deep mud hole, but it’s a small sacrifice to dispose of hundreds of Daleks in one go.”

“I agree,” Robert said. Despite the casualties they had suffered, men he knew well, and who he would mourn deeply along with their own loved ones, he smiled softly, knowing that they had achieved such a hard strike against the enemy.

But as he stepped into the TARDIS and Davie programmed a fast return to a position high above Caerlaverock, there was a cruel twist of fate for Robert. Davie completed the manoeuvre and locked off their position before racing after him.

In the kitchen, the Macdonald children were sobbing miserably. Mrs Macdonald was kneeling on the floor holding Sheelagh’s disturbingly still body in her arms.

“She just keeled over,” she managed to say as Robert took his wife from her. “She wasn’t breathing. I tried heart massage and mouth to mouth.”

“It looks like a stroke,” Davie said. “Robert, let me take her. I have a medical room. If it’s not too late...”

He bent and lifted his paternal grandmother in his arms. She felt light when he expected her to be deadweight. He carried her quickly. Robert followed him along the internal corridor. They were at the door of the medical room when the floor vibrated slightly. Davie said it was the Dalek ship imploding but Robert was past caring about Daleks.

And all the sophisticated equipment in the medical room could tell them only one thing - the stroke had been sudden and massive and completely debilitating.

“She’s still alive,” Davie said. “But there is so much brain damage, she’ll never be herself again. If she knows you, it will be a wonder. She’s dying slowly. Her heart won’t last much longer. It’s had too much strain on it from this attack.”

Robert said nothing. He just held his wife’s hand.

“This is a time and space ship,” Davie reminded him. “I could take her somewhere. In the future, they have huge hospital ships in space. They’d look after her.”

“In the future can they make her well again? Or would it just be waiting for the end?”

“The latter, I think,” Davie admitted.

“Then, no. We’ll go back to what’s left of our home. She can be with people and things she knows. I just hope she holds on long enough to see the end, to see our world at peace.”

“So do I,” Davie told him. “I’m sorry, Robert. If I could do anything....”

“You can. You can stay here until she’s gone. Let her have her son for these last days.”

Thoughts of home, a late September afternoon when his wife had gone shopping for maternity clothes, tugged at his hearts. But Davie knew he couldn’t refuse. He programmed his TARDIS to return to the remnants of the farm that was the most familiar thing for Sheelagh, now.

Davie looked at his father. He was crying. He had rarely seen his father cry. He was a proud, strong willed, strong-minded Scotsman who kept his emotions locked up. But this was one of those times when his soul was laid bare and nothing could hold back the tears.

“I’m sorry, dad,” he said as they shared a manly hug.

“Sorry for what?” he replied. “You stayed with her?”

“Yes. She recovered enough to recognise her husband... and me... her son. And she did make it to the end of the war. Though I don’t think she realised it. Afterwards... she’s buried in the churchyard... St Mary’s Greyfriars.”

His father nodded.

“She would have liked that. When I went up there with your mother, I never really looked in church yards. I went to the farm, though. It was deserted. What did he... my father... Why couldn’t I find him?”

“Because, after he buried her, when he looked around at the efforts everyone else was making to rebuild their community, their town, their lives... he knew there was nothing for him to rebuild. The farm was no use to him without her and without you.”


Davie held his father’s arm and half turned. The TARDIS door was opening. David Campbell gave a cry of surprise and ran to the man he remembered, more than forty years ago, as his father. Robert Campbell had been prepared for the fact that his twenty two year old son was now older than he was, and close to being a grandfather for the first time, but it took him a few moments to adjust when the moment of their reunion came. When he did, the years didn’t matter. Two generations of proud, strong willed, strong-minded Scotsmen, two fighting Campbells, cried together.

Davie watched silently. He had worked it out. The reason Robert Campbell wasn’t there when his son came looking was that he had already left. And there was only one place he wanted to go.

He turned and saw his sister, Sukie, coming out of the house, wondering what was going on in the garden. He ran to intercept her and explain who the strange man with her father was in a short version of the story.

“You and our grandfather fought Daleks in Scotland, while dad was fighting them in London?” she said.


“Three generations of Fighting Campbells.” She smiled at her brother. “No wonder the Daleks gave up! Is he going to stay with us? I’ve got a new grandfather, now?”

“That’s the plan. But come and sit quietly with me for a bit. You can talk to him after. He’s dying to meet you. I told him how fantastic you are. But he and dad have a lot to talk about, first.”