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

Sukie Campbell paused in the lee of the early twentieth century building in a style she thought might be called colonial and took a small mirror out of her handbag. She wiped a smudge of engine oil from her face with a thoroughly anachronistic moist wipe and applied powder from a compact to repair her feminine appearance.

Not quite feminine enough, she noted with suppressed annoyance as the impeccably dressed steward peered hard at the badge pinned to her jersey before nodding his acceptance of her and allowing her to continue on up the wooden staircase to the first floor balcony of that red-brown building.

It was the exclusive clubhouse strictly for members of the Brooklands Automobile Racing Club – and their guests. Davie, of course, had full membership. He had paid the yearly subscription from 1934 to this year, 1938, retrospectively. But the BARC, whose elitist motto was ‘The Right Crowd and No Crowding’ didn’t take women as members, even after the 1930 addition of a Ladies’ Reading Room to the facilities. Her badge marked her as a guest of a member.

At the top of the steps another steward reminded her politely but firmly that there was a dress code in the luncheon room. That meant that she couldn’t go in wearing trousers. He did, at least, offer to bring her a drink out onto the balcony. She ordered an iced soda water with lime on her brother’s bar account. It was what she always drank when she was in licensed premises, no matter in what era. If she had any desire to try anything stronger it would not have been a good idea to put it on Davie’s tab, anyway.

She stood looking over the paddock inwardly fuming about what she regarded as caveman attitudes of the era. She knew as much about cars and engines as any man there.

Still, she mollified herself, she was here, at Brooklands, the very first home of racing in Britain in its pre-war heyday. It was the sort of experience she never forgot to be grateful for. Nobody else in her circle of friends who shared her passion for motorsports could do anything more than look at old pictures and film clips and dream of what it was like.

Mostly, she had to admit, it was noisy, smelly and dirty like any racetrack, hence the moist wipes and compact in her shoulder bag. But the noise, smell and dirt all had a special something about them.

Mostly heavily leaded petrol, she told herself. And exhausts without catalytic converters. Even in the cleaner air up on the balcony she was almost certainly breathing in all sorts of carcinogenic particles that her body wasn’t accustomed to.

And of course she was here strictly as a spectator. Her mother had absolutely, definitely, banned her from putting a toe into any of the cars on the track, and she secretly admitted to herself that her mother had a point. Motor racing in this era was dangerous. The cars were made of steel that twisted and crushed bodies within them when they crashed rather than absorbing the main force of impact like the carbon-fibre constructions she knew. Seatbelts were primitive. Petrol went into the tanks by means of leaky funnels leaving spills and fumes that could engulf the car. Safety glass for windscreens still had to be invented and racing helmets were adapted from those worn for polo. As for the contemporary lambswool and cotton jersey and slacks she was wearing, they were a long way from a flame retardant firesuit.

Of course, that hadn’t stopped her hanging around the paddock looking at the cars. She had even spent an interesting half hour looking at the engine of the hot off the production line right hand drive, Frazer-Nash BMW 328 that was heading out onto the track right now for a practice lap.

The BMW was painted a crimson red. She kept her eye on it as it turned the first banked corner. Then she looked right across to the Railway Straight and a car in that colour known as British Racing Green. She watched it all the way until it passed behind the clubhouse with a roar and a lingering smell of petrol and engine oil fumes that could be detected even on the members only balcony. It re-appeared again mere moments later and chased the BMW around the wide curve on the Byfleet end of the track where the car her brother was driving took the high part of the thirty degree banking and gained enough speed to be neck and neck with the other as they continued around the track. Sukie leaned forward over the wooden parapet to see the green and the red part company as Davie turned his car onto the finishing straight in front of the clubhouse and the other driver went on for another practice lap. She straightened up and sipped her drink demurely as she watched her brother park up on the paddock and step out of the car, pulling off the heavy, old fashioned helmet and goggles and running his fingers through his hair to make it more presentable. She waved at him and he reciprocated before she grasped the little shoulder bag of no discernible era of fashion and headed towards the ladies powder room.

By the time Davie reached the balcony Sukie returned wearing a calf length dress made of a twenty-fourth century fabric that folded neatly into a small plastic bag but didn’t crease at all. The style was timeless. She had worn it in almost every era except those that demanded crinolines or hoops.

It was perfectly acceptable for the BARC luncheon room. The steward greeted them both as they entered and showed them to a table.

“You looked good out there,” Sukie told her brother while they studied the menu and gave their orders to the steward. “But Alfred was giving you a run for your money.”

“Alfred?” Davie raised an interrogative eyebrow.

“He showed me the engine of his car,” she explained, brushing her cheek where the oil streak had been removed not so long ago. “He offered to take me out on the track later, but I had to turn him down, of course. You know what mum said.”

“She forgot to say anything about you getting on first name terms with the drivers out on the paddock.”

Sukie smiled impishly and Davie knew very well what it was that had charmed the driver of the red 328. That smile and her enthusiasm for cars would sway any man who regularly breathed petrol fumes instead of air.

“You are a naughty little flirt,” he told her. “Behave or I’ll tell Earl about it.”

Sukie, still a month off her sixteenth birthday, still halfway between a girl and a woman, stuck her tongue out at him and laughed softly before going on to talk about the merits of the Aston Martin C type that Davie had restored for use in classic car racing. Her obvious knowledge of matters such as the inline four cylinder engine and maximum horsepower caused a few surprised glances from nearby tables. Most of the ladies present were guests of their husbands, fathers or brothers and not expected to talk about engines.

“I am a double Junior Ginetta champion,” she complained in a lower tone. “I’ve probably won more races than most of these men here.”

“In the early twenty-first century and the twenty-fourth,” Davie reminded her. “In this decade women drivers are a novelty.”

“They’re not much better than that in the future,” Sukie pointed out. “You men close ranks all the time, as if driving might overheat our little feminine brains!”

“This Alfred you were friendly with,” her brother added, cutting her off mid-rant. “He wouldn’t be AFP Fane, the BMW factory driver who was breaking records and making a name for himself around this time?”

“Might be,” Sukie conceded.

“Well, you’d better dial down the flirting. He’s married.”

“How do you know?” she asked, ignoring the implication that she was flirting with any man than her twenty-eighth century boyfriend.

“Because I’ve been to a lot more race meetings than you. There’s a memorial to him at Shelsey Hill where he broke the record in 1936. His WIDOW had it made. He died in the RAF in the war.”

“Oh.” Sukie’s eyes lost some of the fervour that had been building up. Davie apologised for upsetting her with the bluntness of his comment.

“It’s… ok,” she told him, their eyes meeting in full understanding of each other and the fundamental emotional issue of time travel. They both frequently got to know people who were no more than names on dusty memorials by their own time.

But it felt worse this time when she realised that the war Davie spoke of was only two years away and so many of the young men in this luncheon room, those she had resented for being allowed full membership of the male only club, might well be dead in a very short time.

Sukie swallowed and put on a warm smile as she saw the man whose full name was Alfred Fane Peers Fane cross the luncheon room accompanied by another man with red rim marks around his eyes from wearing racing goggles.

“Good day, Miss Campbell,” Fane said with a friendly smile. “May I introduce my fellow driver Monsieur Robert Benoist.”

“Madamoiselle,” Benoist said, bowing his head and reaching for her hand, which he kissed gallantly. Davie suppressed a grin as much as she suppressed a blush. She remembered herself in time to introduce Davie to the two men adding that he was the driver of the Aston Martin that had been on track along with Fane’s BMW.

“Yes, Miss Campbell told me that you were a ‘hot shot’ driver’” Fane added. “I was pleased to see that she was not exaggerating. You have a confident style.”

“I agree with my friend, Alfred,” Benoist said. “I was watching from the paddock and am full of admiration for you Monsieur.”

“Thank you,” Davie responded, suppressing his own blush and inviting the two acknowledged champion drivers to join him and Sukie at their table. “But I am strictly an amateur. I’ve mostly only driven in road races around Scotland up to now, but I’m hoping to make a decent show of myself in the circuit race later.”

“Yes, of course,” Fane replied. “Your sister said that your father made his money in whiskey… and you spend it on cars.”

“Something like that,” Davie answered, wondering if he had been accused of being a rich playboy.

“It was a very short practice session, of course,” Benoist said. “But you were very closely matched in two very fine cars.”

That was a cue for Sukie to speak up again, sharing her opinions about the two makes of racing car.

“The 328 has faster acceleration, of course,” she said. “But the Aston has better overall speed and lower ground clearance giving it superior downforce. It is also little lighter than the 328. I’m afraid Davie has the better car on balance.”

Davie looked at his sister curiously. Usually she would have been fiercely defensive of his driving skills, rating nobody other than a few double and triple world champion Formula One racers above him. But this time she seemed truly sorry that the BMW driven by AFP Fane could be beaten.

“Ma petite mademoiselle,” Benoist cut in. “You have not considered that both the Aston and the BMW might be left standing by the Bugatti I am responsible for. The driver is young, but he is talented and the car is the same model with which I won le 24 heur de Le Mans with two years ago.”

Sukie was about to mention that Davie along with Spenser Draxic had also won the Le Mans endurance race, but as they did that nearly eighty years in the future, she thought twice about mentioning it.

“The Bugatti is a very good car, too,” she acknowledged. “but I think the Aston and BMW are both superior. I think Davie will win and Alfred will be close behind him.”

Fane and Benoist both laughed. Sukie looked mutinous. They were dismissing her view because she was a woman. She had let the ‘petite mademoiselle’ epithet go because she was a little bit flattered by Benoist’s Gallic attention, but enough was enough. She got ready to take them to task.

“Don’t discount Sukie’s opinion,” Davie warned the two men, coming to her defence. “She knows as much as anyone around this table about cars and how they perform. If I were a betting man I would take her forecast very seriously indeed.”

“I AM betting man,” Benoist said with an apologetic smile. “But as it would be bad form to bet against my own team you will forgive me, mademoiselle Sukie, if I do not heed your forecast.”

“You are forgiven,” she told him, perhaps rather too easily mollified by his French charm for a really militant feminist. Besides, having been chastised for underestimating her the two champion drivers of the 1930s made a point of listening to her throughout the rest of the lunch while she talked avidly about her favourite subject - the internal combustion engine.

Naturally, when the three men went down to the paddock to prepare their cars for the later afternoon race she changed back into slacks and jersey and went with them.

There were no pit garages full of equipment here, of course. There were no pit crews to speak of. Each driver had a mechanic to assist them with engine tuning, fuelling and tyre changes if they were necessary, and the most basic equipment to do those things with.

Some people laughed to see that a petite girl was Davie Campbell’s assistant preparing his Aston Martin for the five hour endurance race that was due to begin at four o’clock. Alfred and Robert weren’t among them. Indeed, when she had done all she could to help Davie, she wandered over to see if there was anything she could do to help with the 328’s preparations, noting that such comradeship was common in this time – far from the rivalry of her own racing era when pit garages were barred to other competitors and their staff.

“I’m all right, my dear,” Alfred assured her. “But I think Robert might need a hand.”

That probably wasn’t meant to be a pun, but when Sukie reached the Bugatti car she found that a ‘hand’ was exactly what was needed. The young driver that Benoist was trying out in this race was nursing two crushed fingers after an accident with the car door.

“Let me see,” Sukie said, gently holding the injured hand and quickly determining that there were two broken bones – the second and third metacarpals to be exact. She couldn’t be seen to mend them in the way she usually did, but she stroked the fingers and drew off some of the pain before applying a splint and bandage.

“You’re a real angel,” the driver told her. “That feels better already. But I can’t drive, all the same.”

For a brief moment Sukie contemplated volunteering, but she knew she would never be able to manage an untried car on that banked track without any practice.

And her mum would go absolutely mental if she found out.

“I’m going to have to come out of retirement for this one race,” Robert Benoist announced. His injured driver handed over a pair of leather gloves and his helmet and goggles and Benoist fastened his tweed jacket up to the neck. That was the only preparation for racing that he made.

“Wish me luck, mademoiselle Sukie,” he said with a charming smile before getting into the car and preparing to drive it to the start line.

“Very good luck,” Sukie answered, hugging him enthusiastically. “At least… as much luck as my brother has, of course. I really do wish he would win. But drive safely. Don’t have a nasty accident or anything.”

A horrible thought occurred to her. What if this was Robert Benoist’s doom – a race he was not supposed to be racing in that ended in tragedy. She wished he had not already put on the gloves. If she could hold his hand without the fabric covering them she could have read his timeline and known for certain.

“I promise I will drive very carefully,” he assured her, then bowed his head to kiss her on the forehead.

She gasped. That very brief contact with him was just enough for her to be certain he wasn’t going to die in the next four hours. She was relieved by that, at least.

But there was something more. She couldn’t quite grasp it in that moment, but she felt as if his future was a dark one.

“Mademoiselle Sukie?” Benoist touched her shoulder gently. She realised she had been distracted. “Are you well, ma chér?”

“Yes, I am,” she assured him, smiling brightly. “I’d better get back to my brother for the start of the race, but I really do wish you would win. I’d like you to win.”

“I shall do my best,” he promised. Sukie turned and ran back to Davie.

“Go on,” he said to her. “I won’t tell anyone if you drive out onto the track for me.” He handed her the helmet and she fastened it over her hair. She started the car which was only a little more complicated than the kart she had begun her racing career in. She drove it at only a little more than walking pace, with Davie keeping up on foot, and parked it near the start line. She got out and passed the helmet back to her brother.

“Good luck,” she told him before giving him a long hug. “Do the best you can. You don’t mind, do you, but I kind of want Robert to win. This is his last race and….”

“He’s racing?” Davie was surprised. “I think I AM going to be out-driven. He’s one of the best of his time. If I’d known he was coming out of retirement I’d….”

“You’d have raced anyway. You’re no coward. Anyway, do your best.”

He, too, kissed her on the forehead before he lined up with the other drivers. That was something else that was different about racing in this time. Sukie had her car up on a grid for a racing start many times, frequently in pole position. She had also been in races where there were too many competitors to make a racing start safely or where the weather was inclement, and a rolling start behind the safety car had been the order of the day.

But in late September of 1938, a running start was usual. The cars were positioned along the starting straight and the drivers lined up opposite them. When the start was signalled the drivers ran to their cars, jumped in and turned the ignition switches. The fastest runner, the driver with the best reflexes, the best standing start, got the advantage and, if he was clever, could keep it for the early laps, at least.

Davie, with his Gallifreyan muscles and super-quick reflexes had that advantage. He was ahead of the pack as his Aston Martin reached the Fork Bend and accelerated around the wide curve of the Byfleet Banking.

Brooklands wasn’t a complicated circuit compared to places such as Silvertsone and Brand Hatch where Sukie and Davie had so frequently raced. It wasn’t a plain oval like the American NASCAR track, either. It was, by Sukie’s view, at least, like a wobbly fried egg or a misshapen potato.

By the time Davie had gone around the wide bottom of the potato a dozen times he was not in so clear a lead. Alfred in his BMW and Robert in his Bugatti were close behind, vying for second place, and there were three or four other drivers who could catch up with him. Sukie watched for a few more laps, but this was an endurance race and she didn’t even need to be available to help refuel the Aston Martin for a little while.

She headed across the paddock to a small hut that looked as if it had always been there. A psychic field made anyone who looked towards it think that it had. Of course, it was Davie’s TARDIS. She unlocked it and stepped inside. The lights came on at once, highlighting the Chinese symbols for inner peace and harmony on all of the walls.

Sukie didn’t feel either peace or harmony despite the calming effects of those talismans around her. She was even less so when she found the information she sought on the TARDIS database. She bit back tears and stood for a long, long time in front of the console before she pulled herself together and stepped back into the Brooklands paddock in 1938 just in time to see the Aston Martin come into the pit for refuelling.

Davie accelerated back into the race again just as Robert Benoist brought his Bugatti in. Sukie dashed towards him.

“Your engine sounds rough,” she told him as she assisted him to refuel. “I think your carburettor is loose.” She had already lifted the engine cover and was reaching in with a spanner before he had chance to question her judgement. The engine sounded much better when he accelerated off again. Sukie waved, though she hardly expected him to wave back.

As the hours past, the sun dropped lower in the autumn sky creating an extra challenge of changing light as the cars on the track turned into and away from it. Davie had an advantage over his fully Human rivals in that his eyes adjusted much faster, but he was up against champion drivers who had learnt not to mind about being dazzled by sunlight. The advantage was only small.

“Go on, Robert,” Sukie whispered. “I DO want you to win one more race. One good memory to carry with you.”

She stayed ‘on duty’ as the hours passed, looking after Davie as well as helping Alfred’s crew and Robert’s, too. All three men thanked her for her assistance each time. She smiled warmly and encouragingly to them all.

Her loyalties were severely divided as the four hours came down to the last few minutes and the final lap of the race. Four drivers had dropped out because either they or their cars didn’t have the stamina. Four hours, of course, was twice as long as drivers were allowed to compete in the endurance races of the latter end of this century. Davie teamed up with Spenser for these sort of tests of skill usually. But this time he had been in the front three drivers for the whole time.

As those three drivers approached the finishing straight she held her breath and hoped for the result she had decided she wanted after the race had begun. It wasn’t what she had predicted at lunchtime, but it was the result that would make her feel a little bit better about what she knew.

And her wish was granted. Robert Benoist won by a very small margin from Davie Campbell and Alfred Fane who were almost neck and neck. After a short consultation the race officials judged that Davie was second and Fane third.

Later in the members dining room all three men accepted silver trophies for their achievements and celebrated with their fellow racers. Sukie danced with all of her favourites and smiled at them, but part way through the evening she excused herself from the jollity and went out into the now quiet paddock.

“Miss Campbell?” She was surprised when Alfred Fane met her in the dark. “Are you quite all right?”

“I’m… feeling a little out of sorts,” she admitted. “It’s kind of you to ask. Would you… just walk with me a little bit. I… suppose it’s not quite etiquette, but I know my brother trusts you as a fellow driver and as a gentleman.”

“Of course,” Alfred told her. She walked beside him in the dark all the way along the finishing straight to the start of the Byfleet banking. It was very dark, but she had good eyesight and Alfred probably knew the place instinctively.

“Alfred….” She said as they turned to walk back towards the lit windows of the clubhouse. “What would you do if… if you knew that something you were doing… if you knew you would die if you carried on doing something…. Would you… do anything different?”

“That’s a very deep question,” he answered. “What made you think of such a thing?”

“Don’t ask me that,” she said. “Just… tell me what you would do.”

“My dear, I am a racing driver. I risk death every time I take a car onto a track, even for practice. Do you have any idea how many races I have been in where men have died… men I knew, who I counted as friends.”

“Yes, I know,” Sukie responded. “But… you know, there is going to be a war soon… next year.”

“Anyone who doesn’t realise that is a fool. It is a shame that a young lady like yourself is troubled by the realisation when our own government hasn’t got the sense to know appeasement is only delaying the inevitable. But when it does come… I shall do my duty. Your brother will, too, I have no doubt. And Robert…. He was a soldier and an airmen fighting for his own France in the last war. He will doubtless serve his country dutifully. And we shall all accept the fate that is dealt to us.”

“But if you knew for certain….”

“I should not disgrace myself or my country by any act of cowardice, you may be sure of that. Nor do I think any man who raced today would do so. Does that answer your question, my dear?”

“In a way,” she answered. “When… the war comes… take care of yourself, won’t you? Without being a coward, of course, take care.”

“I will,” he promised. “You may be sure of that.”

Sukie grasped his hand. She felt his timeline. She wasn’t surprised to find that her exhortation to him made no difference. There was nothing he could do to prevent his plane crashing on the way back from a reconnaissance mission over occupied France in 1942. She was sorry for that. She liked him personally and she was sorry that a man who could have been a great driver would be lost to racing. But she knew there was nothing that could be done.

But Robert Benoist was another matter. His fate played on her mind and even thought Alfred escorted her back to the party she was only really pretending to enjoy herself.

Nobody else noticed except her brother, and he could do nothing about it until later when they returned to the TARDIS and he could talk to her openly.

“It’s about Robert,” she told him. “Do you know how he is going to die?”

“Yes, I do,” Davie answered her. “He was… or will be… a war hero, working for the SOE, organising sabotage operations in occupied France. He’ll be captured finally in 1944, a couple of weeks after D-Day, and taken to a concentration camp where he will be executed by the Nazis.”

Davie said all of that as a matter of inescapable fact. He had probably known it when he met Robert at lunchtime. It was one of those things that a time traveller had to deal with.

“Do you know HOW they execute him?” Sukie demanded.

“Yes,” her brother answered. “It’s disgusting, inhumane. Nazis were cruel, obscene people.”

“We’ve got to stop it,” Sukie told him.

“We can’t. Any more than we can save Alfred from his plane crash.”

“Alfred wouldn’t ask us to save him. He’s not a coward. Neither is Robert. But we have the power to help him. I have the power. If… if you won’t… then when we get home, I’ll tell Vicki about him and the two of us will do something in her TARDIS.”

“You will NOT,” Davie told her sternly. “I absolutely forbid it. If I think for one minute that the two of you are going anywhere near that dreadful place at that time, I will disable Vicki’s TARDIS and ground you both.”

“You don’t have the right to forbid us to do anything,” she argued. “You’re only my brother.”

“Only?” He looked at her grimly. “Sukie, when have I ever been ONLY anything to you? Until today you’d never heard of Robert Benoist. I know you took a bit of a fancy to him. It didn’t escape my notice that you cheered for him when he won. And that’s ok. You’re allowed to cheer for anyone you like. But you don’t owe him anything, and he expects nothing from you.”

“I know… it’s… Emotional Detachment. Granddad taught me and Vicki about it. He taught you, too. We’re not supposed to let ourselves get involved. But Granddad broke those rules almost all the time. So do you. Am I wrong for being just like both of you?”

“No, you’re not wrong. But Sukie….”

He sighed deeply.

“YOU are not a Time Lord, Sukie. That’s why you CAN’T do what you want to do. That’s why I am forbidding you to try. But back to that question – am I really ONLY your brother?”

“You’re not only anything. I’m sorry about saying that. You’re the greatest racing car driver I’m related to and you’re NEARLY the greatest living Time Lord.”

“Since granddad retired I’m claiming the honour of being the greatest ACTIVE Time Lord. And that means I not only MAKE the rules but I get to judge when it’s ok to BREAK them.”

“Does that mean….”

“I make the rules. And on this occasion my rule is you go to the kitchen and put the kettle on. Make a pot of tea and sit and drink it until I tell you to come back in here. You are not going to set foot in that vile place.”

He didn’t want to set foot in the place he meant, either. The crematorium of Buchenwald concentration camp was a place that reeked of evil. It seemed to him especially cruel to execute men in the place where their bodies were burnt after death. The particular way the Nazis in charge of this camp chose to execute Resistance workers who they captured was beyond cruel.

They were hung from the rafters, but in such a way that they would strangle to death slowly rather than dying instantly of a broken neck.

But at least that gave him an idea what to do. He carefully calibrated the TARDIS to materialise in the crematorium a few minutes after Robert Benoist and a half dozen other men had been left to their fate. He made it a wide materialisation around the place where they were hanging. He turned down the gravity so that the men fell gently to the floor once the ropes were severed by the materialisation. Davie dematerialised his TARDIS immediately before moving quickly between each victim, removing the nooses from their necks and making sure they were breathing unaided before putting them into a deep sleep. He didn’t want any of them to know anything about what had happened to them.

He brought Sukie back to the console room. She was surprised to see so many men lying on the floor with cushions under their head and blankets around their bodies.

“I couldn’t take one and leave the others,” Davie told her. “Robert is there. He’s half-starved, exhausted, bruised and battered, but he’s alive. And now we’re going to Switzerland on May 8th, 1945.”

“Why?” Sukie asked. “I mean, why that date? I know it’ V.E. Day… the end of the war in Europe. I did that in history. But why….”

“Because their work is done on that day. All of these people are SOE agents. If I take them anywhere in real time they’ll recover from their ordeal and then spend the remaining eight months saving other lives. That’s when time paradoxes get complicated. This way the fabric of reality only has to make way for seven people who would have died, not countless more of them who lived because of those seven.”

Davie brought them all to a sanatorium by Lake Geneva where they would get the care they needed. After that, their lives were their own. He set the TARDIS for home in the Twenty-third century.

“Sukie,” Davie said, glancing at the revised biography of Robert Benoist in the TARDIS database. “I think you should know….”

Sukie looked at the information on the screen. She cried a little.

“He died in 1946, in a crash… at the Reims-Gueux race circuit. We only gave him a little over two years more life.”

“Yes,” Davie said quietly.

“But that’s all right,” Sukie told him, wiping the tears from her eyes. “That is the risk we ALL take, every time we go on a race track. It’s the death he would have chosen. I think it’s the one we ALL would choose.”

Davie thought his teenage sister was too young to choose a way to die, but he understood what she meant, all the same.

“We’ve changed history a little bit,” he added. “There wasn’t a memorial race in Paris named after the war hero. He isn’t listed on the SOE memorial at Brookwood. Reims-Gueux still named a grandstand after him, but because he was a racing legend not a victim of Nazi cruelty.”

“What about the other men you rescued?” Sukie asked.

“I don’t know,” Davie admitted. “I have no idea who the others were. Maybe they all died accidentally before they had time to make any further mark on history. I hope not. I hope they all lived long, fulfilling lives. But we’ll never know, and that’s probably how it ought to be.”

Sukie nodded.

“I’m ready to go home, now.”

“Me too. But remember not to let mum know that you drove my car onto the track. You know what she said about it.”

“Yes. But YOU decide when rules can be broken,” Sukie told him. “Not mum.”