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

Vicki and Sukie were piloting their TARDIS back to Arzalia - loosely supervised by Earl on the grounds that he was older, more experienced and, as Sukie strongly suspected, because he was a man. Her two brothers and Vicki's father all professed to support women's equality, but they all got nervous when the girls travelled without a male on board.

"Are you still worried about Jimmy?" Sukie asked, noticing that Vicki was more than a little distracted from the important matter of piloting the TARDIS through the time/space vortex.

"No, of course not. I know he will have had a brilliant time working with the Arzalian Wildlife Service.”

“As long as he hasn’t had TOO brilliant a time… you know… with Arzalian WOMEN!”

“I TRUST him,” Vicki responded shortly. “Stop it. You’ve been teasing me all week. Jimmy will be waiting. He WILL have missed me even though he was learning a lot and having a good time doing it."

Sukie knew she had pushed the joke too far. She left Vicki alone with her anxieties and looked up at her own boyfriend. Earl was leaning on the railing of the observation gallery above the console room floor. Sukie thought he might be missing Jimmy, too. They came from very different lives – Jimmy from poverty and violence, Earl from wealth and intellectual elite, but they were friends who had watched each other’s backs in many of the dangerous situations that were never fully reported when Sukie and Vicki went home to their parents.

“Earl is feeling outnumbered,” Sukie joked.

“Only two to one,” Vicki responded. “Daddy says he has it worse with mum and grandma Jackie and your mum conspiring against him. But they’re both being silly. We live in the twenty-fourth century. It is time men stopped feeling inadequate around women. We have had equality for centuries, now.”

“Earl lives in the twenty-sixth century and men still haven’t worked that out,” Sukie responded. The two girls laughed together. Earl grinned and said nothing. He knew when he was beaten.

Then several lights flashed on the console and the laughter died as Vicki moved around to answer an urgent communication – from her father.

“Daddy… there’s nothing wrong,” she insisted. “We’re just on our way to Arzalia to get Jimmy.”

“Somebody activated a mauve alert crystal,” he said. “One of the pack I gave you for emergencies.”

“We’re fine,” she insisted. “But…. Oh… I gave one to Jimmy. He must have….”

As she spoke, there was a loud ‘thunk’ and the outer door opened automatically – not onto empty space, but the console room of Davie Campbell’s Chinese themed TARDIS. Sukie’s older brother stepped across the dimensional threshold just as her other brother, Chris, appeared by transmat beside her from his own TARDIS.

“Daddy, I think something MIGHT be wrong, but we have enough people here to help,” Vicki reported. “There’s nothing to worry about.”

“I ALWAYS worry about you,” The Doctor responded. “I’m coming to get you.”

“But there’s no need,” Vicki protested. “Daddy, please….”

"Doctor, there really is no need for you to get involved," Chris said, coming to Vicki 's side and addressing his great grandfather respectfully. "The girls are not in any danger. The mauve alert originated on the planet they were heading for. Davie and I are going to investigate the matter straight away. Vicki and Sukie WILL be turning back home to Earth."

On screen, The Doctor nodded and said something to Chris. He had to lip read because his ears were ringing with protests from the two girls. He signed off from the video call and looked across at his brother who was actually holding Sukie at arm’s length to prevent her physically assaulting him.

"It’s not fair," Vicki protested. "It’s because we're girls. You two did all sorts of dangerous things when you were our age."

"It’s not JUST because you are girls," Chris answered. "It’s because you are girls and YOUR father is the most powerful man any of us know."

“That’s NOT fair,” Vicki repeated, followed by a tirade against every man in her life, starting with her father and working through her family tree. Chris calmly put his finger on her lips and her face became livid with outrage as she was temporarily silenced.

“Good trick that,” Davie confirmed as he did the same with Sukie. “Earl, before it wears off, tell us what’s going on. WHO sent a mauve alert that registers to this TARDIS?”

“It must have been Jimmy,” Earl answered before explaining why they had left Vicki’s Human boyfriend on an alien world by himself. He only just finished his explanation when the temporary silence ran out and Sukie and Vicki protested even more loudly about the indignity.

“We’ll get Jimmy out of whatever scrape he is in,” Chris promised. “You three GO HOME. You’ve been told, already. Earl, set the co-ordinates for Earth and deadlock the drive control.”

“He CAN’T,” Vicki responded. “It’s MY TARDIS. My imprimatur. Nobody can stop me going where I want.”

Earl shrugged as if to confirm that. Chris went to the drive console and adjusted several settings.

“Your TARDIS recognises a superior Time Lord,” he told Vicki. “You’re going home. Earl, sorry to leave you with such an impossible task, but LOOK AFTER THESE TWO.”

With that, Chris turned and followed his brother across the dimensional threshold into the Chinese TARDIS. The door closed and there was another ‘thunk’ as the connection was broken. Vicki glared at the closed door and then ran to the drive control. Sukie glanced at Earl and then joined her, pressing buttons and typing rapidly at the extended Gallifreyan keyboard, trying to find a way to break the unbreakable deadlock seal on the home co-ordinates.

The brothers grinned at each other as their TARDIS sped away through time and space, tracing the source of the mauve alert. Chris had brought his TARDIS aboard his brother’s for the duration of this joint mission. It had disguised itself as a gothic portal in the outer wall of the console room.

“The girls are right though,” Chris admitted. “It ISN’T fair and we DID do a hell of a lot more when we were their age.”

“We did a lot that was terribly, utterly wrong and that I still have nightmares about,” Davie responded soberly. “I would save them from that. But, in any case, they both have to learn that even people who own TARDISes have limitations. And if that isn’t reason enough, The Doctor was quite clear. He wants them both to go home.”

“I don’t think he has ever REALLY come to terms with sexual equality,” Chris noted. “Mum has quite a lot to say about how he was when she was Sukie’s age. Mind you, now that Sukie is running around the universe with Vicki, I think she agrees with him on some of it.”

“We’ll be the same when our boys are older,” Davie mused. “We’ll become our parents, just the same.”

“I suppose we will,” Chris agreed. “But for now, let’s go and see what trouble Jimmy is in. At least he won’t have the embarrassment of being rescued from it by his girlfriend.”

Davie laughed again. Whatever else they were, both of them were direct descendants of The Doctor, the greatest of all Time Lords, and the one who understood better than anyone else the thrill of the chase, the pumping of adrenaline as they prepared to go into battle against the unknown.

“If he’s just been arrested for being drunk and disorderly he’ll live to regret it,” Chris observed.

"It's more serious than that,” David responded very soberly. “I’m seeing some disturbing readings on the environmental console. Something very nasty is happening on the surface of that planet.”

He locked onto the source of the mauve alert and initiated a landing. Meanwhile he turned his sonic screwdriver’s setting to laser mode – the only one that might be used as a weapon. His brother set his to healing mode. He didn’t do weapons of any sort.

“Ohh!” Chris gave a soft moan as the TARDIS landed. He had felt something deep in his soul – something that made him want to cry as he had never cried before. Not that he did. He was a grown man who could control his emotions. But the sad feeling made him feel empty inside.

“What is it?” Davie asked him.

“I don't know, but I'm glad the girls aren’t here. They shouldn’t have to feel like this.”

Davie reached to open the door, though Chris felt a deep wish for it to remain closed.

He steeled himself for the worst, but even so he wasn't ready for the terrible sight that met his eyes as he stepped out of the Chinese TARDIS.

They were on the great Arzalian plain. It was a little past dawn and there were dead and dying animals all around him. He stared in horror at the sight of a great pachyda lying on its side in a pool of its own blood. Its magnificent tusks had been wrenched from its flesh leaving it to die in agony. The same had happened to at least a dozen more of the magnificent creatures.

“Jimmy!” Chris recognised Vicki’s boyfriend kneeling beside one of the creatures. He approached slowly, not wanting to startle either the Human or the juvenile pachyda. He was, himself, startled when he realised that Jimmy was crying. Jimmy, who had been the school bully when the girls were younger, who had survived the Dominator invasion by hiding in the London underground system, fending for himself, who had grown up into a strong, capable young man, was crying like a girl as he pressed his hands against the animal’s deep, woolly hide.

“Jimmy!” Chris called out to him again, and at last he seemed aware that somebody was calling his name. He recognised Sukie’s older brother and hurriedly tried to wipe his eyes. “It’s all right. Your secret is safe with me. The girls have been sent home to Earth, anyway. They’ll never know about that.”

“SENT home?” Jimmy’s eyes narrowed. “Vicki won’t be happy. She hates taking orders from anyone.”

“Yeah, I know. Sukie will hold a grudge for at least a decade, too. But never mind that. What happened here? These poor creatures…. The Arzalian government bans all forms of wildlife hunting. How did this happen?”

“I don’t know, exactly,” Jimmy answered. He looked beyond Chris’s shoulder to where Davie was using his sonic screwdriver in yet another mode, putting a dying pachyda out of its misery with a neural blast that caused immediate brain collapse. It was the kindest thing he could do for it. Jimmy choked back a sob, turning it into a deep, deep breath. “We were camped out here, as we have been for the past few weeks, following the migrating herd. In the middle of the night there was a terrible noise. The herd was under attack… but not from poachers… at least not in the usual way. They didn’t come in trucks with guns. Instead, there was a light… what do you call it… a transmat beam or teleport or whatever it is. The animals were snatched into thin air… and then… some of them came back… like that.”

“They took the ivory and discarded the animals.” Chris shook his head. The smell of blood hung in the air sickeningly while his telepathic nerves were overwhelmed by the pain and terror of the creatures.

“Not all of them.” Davie came to them, holding up his sonic screwdriver and reading the data he had gathered. “These are all older females – those past their calf-bearing years. They have the longest and whitest tusks – the most valuable ivory. But there are no males here – the males have yellow ivory which isn’t so valuable – and it looks like none of the younger females have been killed.”

Jimmy nodded miserably and pressed his hands against the juvenile he was trying to protect.

Numia’s mother is one of the missing ones,” he said. “The transmat took her right from beside her… along with Izzy.”


“My friend. We were out here doing the survey together. He was trying to… well, I don’t know what he was trying to do, apart from put himself in danger of being squashed flat by a panicking animal, but the beam got him, too. I don’t know if he’s alive or dead.”

“Transmats are usually non-lethal,” Davie assured him. “Let’s assume your pal is alive for now. And the rest of the animals. Ivory is valuable on the intergalactic black market, but I think it’s possible that was only half the plan. I think the males and the younger females were taken alive for other purposes.”

“What purposes?” Jimmy asked.

“I don’t know for certain,” Davie answered. “And I don’t want to give you false hope. But there are a lot of zoos in this quadrant. Plenty of them would pay big money to get even one pachyda. They’re rare beasts, after all. This is the only planet they breed on.”

“One pachyda… in a zoo… would die of loneliness,” Jimmy said, appalled by the thought. “They live in herds, looking out for each other. They’re a family. That’s even more cruel than… than….”

“It’s not going to happen,” Chris assured him. “For one thing, we’re going to make sure there is such a hue and cry about this that no zoo would DARE buy one of these creatures for ANY price. For another, we’re going to stop whoever did this before they even get a chance to open negotiations.”

“We’ll get them before they even leave this solar system,” Davie added. “But first, let’s get you sorted out. Come on. You look like you need a stiff drink.”

Jimmy glanced at the Chinese TARDIS and realised how cold it was on the plain in the early morning, but he shook his head.

“We helped bring this calf into the world. Vicki and Sukie were heading home to tell you all about that. They’ll probably do that when you see them.”

“Neither of them are going to be that friendly towards us next time we see them,” Davie admitted.

“Really?” Chris asked, picking up the positive emotions Jimmy’s memory of the birth were giving out and clinging to them as an antidote to the horror around him. “You helped deliver a pachyda calf?”

“It was one hell of an afternoon. I’ve been watching her and her mum ever since. Its why I wanted to stay. Its only sheer luck that she was missed. I’m not leaving her, now. The herd is broken up. She’s all on her own.”

“We’re not leaving her,” Davie decided. “She’s my biggest passenger, yet, but I think she’ll be okay in the car port.”

Jimmy looked at the open door into what looked like a desert tent and remembered that Davie often transported several racing cars in the space beneath his console room. Even so….

“I don’t expect her to use the door,” Davie pointed out. “How do you think I get the cars in and out. Don’t worry, it’s only a very localised transmat.”

“She’ll be scared, still. It IS how her mother was taken from her. I’m staying with her.”

“All right, but when she’s settled, I need you in the console room.” Davie and his brother turned back towards the TARDIS as the sound and movement of solar copters filled the air above the scene of the terrible outrage against the creatures of the plain. The Arzalian authorities had finally responded to the emergency and come to help.

“Too late,” Jimmy whispered as he felt the transmat beam envelop him and the young pachyda. The Arzalian plain dissolved around him to be replaced by the ‘car port’ in the TARDIS. In the few minutes it had taken to arrange the transmat, Davie Campbell had also contrived a bed of soft, warm sand as well as vegetation for the lone juvenile to eat. Jimmy was relieved when Numia lay down and reached for the food. He felt a little calmer himself, for that matter. Perhaps there was something in the air within the TARDIS that protected them both.

“It’s a positive pheromone boost,” Davie explained when he went up to the console room. “I thought the two of you could use it, as well as Chris with all of that distress hammering his psychic senses.”

“What do you need me to do?” Jimmy asked. “I don’t know anything about TARDIS piloting. The girls don’t let me anywhere near that side of things. Even Earl doesn’t get a look in there.”

“I don’t need you to pilot,” Davie answered him. “There must be a ship in orbit. A really big one – something like a stellar Megafreighter. But it must also be using a very sophisticated cloaking device. Even MY TARDIS can’t get a lock on it, and Chris can’t get a fix, either. Usually he could find it by thinking hard, but….”

Chris shook his head sadly. Davie was trying to light of the situation. He wasn’t being callous or unfeeling. It had hurt him, too, having to deal the coup de gráce to so many wounded animals. He had felt it nearly as deeply when the TARDIS had landed and the horror enveloped them both. Now he wanted to try to distance himself emotionally, if only so that he could think logically.

“You’ve been working for the Arzalian Wildlife Service. You’ve got access to their databases – the codes for the microchips they put in all of the animals.”

“Yes… I do,” Jimmy admitted. “But… how would that help?”

“Come here and log into the system,” Davie told him. Jimmy moved to the environmental console where the lock screen for the Arzalian Wildlife Service’s database was displayed on the screen.

“You shouldn’t be able to find this,” he pointed out. “Only the Arzalian government’s own computer network should have it.”

“Somebody else has it. This system has been infiltrated. How else could they have been able to do what they did. But if you log on and find the information I need I can use it to help put things right.”

Jimmy typed in his own user name and password. As a volunteer trainee he didn't usually have access to the whole system, but something Davie did once he was logged in elevated him to full Executive Officer status with the whole database available.

"Pick one of them now," Davie told him. "Choose one of the missing animals and search for its chip."

"It doesn't work that way,” Jimmy tried to say. “We don’t just locate individual animals by their chips. When they come into range of our receivers we get the data about their migration patterns and feeding patterns….”

But that was before he had full access. Now he could select any of tens of thousands of animals that the Wildlife Service had registered. He knew exactly which one he wanted to find – the mother of the big baby below in the TARDIS car port. He keyed in the twenty-five digit chip number and asked the database to search for the animal using the array of satellites in orbit around the planet, each capable of triangulating the position of the individual precisely.

The satellites were primed to find the animals on the planet below, but the TARDIS computer gave them additional instructions and within a few seconds a co-ordinate came back.

“Just what I need,” Davie confirmed. “Hold on, Jimmy. This could be bumpy. A ship that can put up a cloak like that will also include anti-transmat shields. But now I have a lock, nothing can stop my TARDIS getting through.”

“We found her – on a ship?”

“We did,” Davie confirmed. “At least we found her chip. We can only hope I’m right and that she’s alive because some greedy people want to sell a live, young, female pachyda.”

The alternative was too ugly to consider. Even so, Jimmy steeled himself for the worst as Davie piloted his TARDIS through the perception cloak and the anti-transmat shield with minimal turbulence and materialised in a vast hold.

"There are your missing animals," Chris said as the view on the main screen panned slowly around. The pachyda were in a tight huddle, trying to protect themselves in this frightening environment, but even that huddle covered a half mile square of the huge hold. The legitimate use of such a megafreighter was usually transporting building materials and supplies for new colony planets. Illegitimate uses included every form of contraband known to sentient life.

"There's Izzy," Jimmy exclaimed. The young Arzalian had seen the TARDIS materialise but he had no idea if it was a rescue or some new development in his already desperate situation. He was trying to find somewhere to hide where he wouldn't be trampled by scares animals when Chris called to him from the TARDIS door.

"It’s OK. We're here to help," he said. "Come in here."

Izzy didn't hesitate before running towards the open door. He stepped aboard the TARDIS and, like many before him, stared around in amazement.

"Welcome to Time Lord animal rescue services," Davie told him. "You two might want to look downstairs. I'm about to bring a pachyda female aboard."

"You mean Susan?" Izzy asked. Chris and Davie looked at him curiously. "She was named by one of your lot when they were here. The girl who talked about cars all the time."

"Sukie named a pachyda after our mum?" Chris felt something like a laugh rising in his throat for the first time since he arrived on the planet. "You're the eldest son, brother dear,” he said to Davie. “You can tell her."

"Some things deserve to be secret," Davie answered as he initiated the localised transmat. Everyone in the console room heard the noise a moment later as mother and son were reunited. Izzy and Jimmy used the stairs to confirm that all was well before returning to the console room with one obvious question.

“What about the other animals?”

“I’m going to get them back where they belong,” Davie promised. “All I need to do is get to the transmat control array and reverse it. The animals will all be returned to the plain.”

“Then why don’t you do it?” Jimmy asked.

“Three reasons. One, I need to make sure the plain is clear. At the moment it is swarming with Wildlife Service personnel, hover copters and vehicles all of which could be flattened by suddenly materialising pachyda. Two, I am transmitting one of those pheromone programmes to calm the animals before their lives are turned upside down again. And three, to get to the transmat control array we need to get past the people who did this in the first place. That could mean using some violence. Not so simple when you two are non-combatants and my brother is a pacifist.”

“Not when it comes to the people who slaughtered those innocent animals,” Chris responded dryly. "I think I could forget about pacifism in their case. But there are still only four of us. We need to use brains not brawn here "

"I'm up for that, since I don't have any brawn," Izzy decided.

“Me, too, even though I’m brawn not brain most of the time,” Jimmy remarked.

“Either way, let’s get on with this,” Davie told them. “The transmat array is half a mile due west and up two levels. The bridge, where the people are that we want to have strong words with is a half mile due south and up four levels. There are at least forty crew members in our way in either direction. I don’t know if these people are armed. I don’t even know what definition of ‘people’ they are, but as Chris pointed out, its brains and Time Lord technology - the element of surprise - that’s going to win the day not fighting our way through. Izzy, you’re coming with me in this TARDIS to deal with the transmat. Jimmy, you and Chris are going in HIS TARDIS to the Bridge. I’ve transferred the pheromone programme to your console. Turn it full on as you materialise. It ought to help with the situation.”

Chris felt Davie outline the plan to him. A lot counted on surprise and trickery, but despite his comments about suspending his pacifist principles that was preferable to violence any time. He nodded to Jimmy who followed him unquestioningly through the gothic portal into the other TARDIS. He quickly set the coordinates for the Bridge and felt the movement from one part of the megafreighter to another as a slight vibration under his feet. Jimmy was barely aware of the movement until he looked at the view screen. The TARDIS had materialised quietly, using a 'stealth' mode that The Doctor had always disdained, but which Chris and his brother regularly found useful. Nobody, yet, knew that they we're there. The captain of the ship was still giving orders in preparation for leaving orbit.

"They look like ordinary humans," Jimmy observed. "I had expected monsters... considering what they did."

"That's the trouble with monsters," Chris answered philosophically. "A lot of them look like ordinary people. This particular lot, judging by the language on their safety warning signs, are Bajulami. Their planet was destroyed a thousand years ago by an asteroid strike and ever since the survivors have been nomadic predators, involved in every sort of space piracy and illegal trade it is possible to imagine. If there is a place in the quadrant where fresh pachyda ivory can be auctioned to the highest bidder they'll know it. As for the trade in live animals - these people would sell their own mothers into bondage for the right price, let alone unique, beautiful and priceless animals."

Jimmy was hardly taking in what Chris was saying. His attention was on the Bajulami captain. He was speaking to a pair who lounged on leather chairs at a right angle to the TARDIS external camera. He couldn't see their faces, but the long, slender arm that raised a glass of liquor was obviously Arzalian.

Somebody from the planet had betrayed everything Alzaria was renowned for across the galaxy by joining with these pirates.

His anger boiled as he listened to the captain reminding the two men that they would never be able to return to their home world. They would be fugitives. It was, after all, a capital offence to harm a wild animal on Alzaria, and they had killed eighty of them.

One of the Alzarians just laughed. The other lifted his drink higher as if in toast.

"Whenever I feel homesick I'll look at all the money I've made from the ivory haul and feel so much better. I've had enough of a world where animals are valued higher than the people."

Chris was appalled by the casual cruelty expressed in that remark, but Jimmy’s reaction took him thoroughly by surprise. The young man reached for the door release and charged out of the TARDIS. Chris barely reached the threshold in time to see him fling himself at the two Arzalian traitors, punching and kicking them both repeatedly while swearing in ways a well brought up man like Chris was rarely exposed to. Some of the words sounded as if they might even be Arzalian.

“We did establish that brains were going to take the place of brawn,” Chris said quietly.

“These two were on the tour with us… six months back. They were there when Numia… the calf… when she was born. They must have been planning this all along – to steal the access codes so that this filthy lot could track the pachyda and beam them up here.”

“That explains a whole lot,” Chris noted. “But we’ve lost the element of surprise, and there are a lot of men with guns around us.”

Despite that fact Jimmy didn’t let up. Interestingly, the two Arzalians didn’t put up much of a fight. Chris wondered if they were total cowards or if the pheromone boost having a very odd effect on them. Either way the men were getting what they deserved. Even a pacifist who spent hours every day in meditation, clearing his mind of all petty cares, who ought to have been disgusted by Jimmy’s violent reaction, couldn’t help feeling that karma had been served.

Perhaps the captain felt that way, too. Even though he had his men surround the intruders with guns trained on them, he didn’t give anyone any instructions to stop the fight. Even Bajulami pirates could be sickened by their fellow beings, it seemed.

“All right, everybody drop your guns and surrender, right now,” called out a voice that Chris recognised immediately. He realised that there had been a noise behind him and a breath of displaced air that nobody had noticed because they were distracted by Jimmy’s attack on the two Arzalians. He knew if he glanced around now he would see a blue police box that had never materialised anywhere in stealth mode and stuck out like a sore thumb everywhere except Earth in the nineteen-sixties.

The Doctor stepped forward. He was unarmed except for a sonic screwdriver that was almost certainly in a perfectly benign mode. The Bajulami captain looked at him, clearly trying to decide if he was suicidal, mad or both then ordered his men to shoot. They turned their guns and tried to fire.

Neither The Doctor nor Chris, who was in the firing line alongside him, flinched.

Nothing happened. The guns failed.

“This ship is under a Shaddow Proclamation embargo,” The Doctor announced. “Your guns have all been deactivated. Jimmy, you can stop now. They’ve learnt their lesson.”

“You… don’t know what they did,” Jimmy answered as he stepped back from the semi-conscious Arzalians.

“I know,” The Doctor assured him. “The whole galaxy knows by now. The story is on the intergalactic web. The Arzalian government have sent out arrest warrants. They have a nasty fate awaiting them. The rest of this lot are going to the Shaddow Proclamation’s own penal colony on the Saltash Moon of Ferrias.”

“You brought the Shaddow Proclamation here?” asked the Captain.

“Me, no,” The Doctor replied. “I came here looking for my daughter.”

“Vicki?” Chris looked alarmed. So did Jimmy.

“You sent her home with the controls of her TARDIS deadlocked sealed. Unfortunately, as soon as she got home, the seal unlocked. She stayed long enough to say ‘sorry, Daddy’ and then set the fast return switch. Naturally I came after her to let her know she’s grounded for a month.”

“Only a month?” Chris queried. “It would have been twice that when me and Davie started out in our TARDIS.”

“Where ARE the girls?” Jimmy asked, more than a little concerned. He stepped away from the two men he had beaten up. Suddenly he didn’t feel quite so proud of himself. He didn’t want Vicki to know what he had done.

The answer to his question came in the video message that flashed up on the screen behind the captain’s chair. Davie Campbell was in the transmat array flanked by the two girls and Earl who immediately protested that he had been an innocent victim, whisked back to Arzalia by Vicki and Sukie before he could disembark from the TARDIS.

“It’s true,” Vicki conceded. “It wasn’t Earl’s fault. Is Jimmy all right?”

“Jimmy is fine, but you’re grounded,” The Doctor replied. “Davie, what have you got to report?”

“I reversed the transmat array,” he answered. “The stolen pachyda have all been returned to a part of the plain that has been cleared of Wildlife service staff and vehicles ready for them. Izzy went back with them to make sure everything was ok. I’m going to take Susan and Numia back, now, to rejoin their herd.”

“Susan?” The Doctor queried. Sukie promised to explain that, later.

“If Jimmy wants to join me I can let him off down on the planet, too,” Davie continued. “I’m guessing there’s still work he wants to do with the animals after all that’s happened today.”

“There will be a lot to do, making sure the herds re-establish themselves,” Jimmy conceded.

“I’ll swap Jimmy for Vicki, Sukie and Earl,” The Doctor replied. “Vicki’s grounding can start now, and end when Jimmy is ready to head home to Earth. I might allow her to come back and pick him up as long as there are no incidents along the way.”

Vicki was looking contrite. Jimmy risked a look at The Doctor and wondered if his daughter might manage to use her charms to get out of the punishment. Just now he was sure it would be a bad idea for her to attempt it, but when his anger had subsided she might just get away with it.

“Maybe,” The Doctor murmured with a wink as Jimmy turned to see the Chinese TARDIS and the other police box that Vicki and Sukie travelled through space and time in materialise beside the two TARDISes already taking up space on the Bridge. He hugged his girlfriend once, then went on his way before The Doctor changed his mind and tried to ground him, too.