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

The TARDIS materialised on the flat roof of a tall, sun-drenched building. Rose stepped out first, dressed in a simple cotton dress and flip flops with a wide brimmed sun hat and a pair of shades she found in the Wardrobe.

“Well done, Doctor, I’m in the right clothes for the location. Where is it, what’s the surprise?”

“First time I took you anywhere, it was supposed to be Naples and we ended up in Victorian Cardiff. THIS is Naples. Well, actually, the roof garden of a hotel overlooking the Bay of Naples. We’re in the summer of 2017, noted for glorious weather, no major football tournaments and minimal tectonic activity in the region. What do you think?”

“Better than Cardiff in the snow with zombies wandering around,” Rose confirmed.

“Happy Anniversary,” The Doctor beamed.

“You remembered! I didn’t think you noticed dates less than fifty years apart.”

“I remembered. Romantic weekend in the honeymoon suite, no kids, no crises. I booked us in remotely to the hotel’s computer and reserved the rooftop garden for the afternoon. Drinks will be arriving soon.”

“Nice one.” Rose was impressed, except for a vague wonder about the bellhop who would have to carry their luggage down from the roof instead of up from reception. “And, wow, that is a fantastic view.”

Directly in front of them was a long, curving promenade and a marina where the rich and sea-worthy kept their yachts. Beyond that was an azure blue bay sparkling under a clear sky.

“Over there is Capri, the actual Island of Capri, not the space station,” The Doctor said, pointing to a smudge on the horizon. “That’s Mount Vesuvius towering over the remains of Pompeii and Herculaneum. Over that way is the Sorrentine Peninsula, and the town of Sorrento, immortalised in the song ‘Back to Sorrento’.”

“Never heard of it,” Rose admitted.

“Big hit in 1902.”

“Bit before my time, then.”

“Just a bit.”

Rose laughed and sat down on a sunlounger with a wide parasol shading her from the naked sunlight. The Doctor sat beside her. A waiter appeared on cue with long cool drinks full of fruit. Rose sat back and drank in the view with her afternoon cocktail.

The only black spot was sight of Vesuvius in the distance. If she hadn’t known its name it would have been all right, but the very word, Vesuvius, made her shiver despite the sultry warmth. She remembered all too well her last year of junior school when her class went to the British Museum to see the Pompeii relics – the plaster casts made from the cavities in the long cooled and solidified volcanic ash where the bodies had burned away. She found it horrific looking at figures curled up in agony as they died. Even knowing that they were just plaster didn’t make it any less horrible. Men, women, children, even a dog choked to death by the toxic fumes were immortalised in this macabre way. The dog in particular upset her. It had the vestiges of a chain on it, still. It couldn’t have escaped even if it tried. She had thought about that dog all the way home on the school coach.

She shook the dark memories away and concentrated on the more pleasant aspects of the bright vista. She watched a ferry boat make its way towards the commercial harbour beyond the marina. It might have come from Capri or one of the other islands in the Bay. Was it a pleasure trip for tourists or a sea-going bus for locals going to or from work?

“What’s that, over there – like a castle coming up out of the sea?” she asked The Doctor as another landmark caught her eye.

“That is Castel dell'Ovo,” he answered. “On the island of Megaride, though the artificial causeway makes it technically a peninsula.”

“Megaride? Sounds like a cheap bus.” Then she thought about the other strange word. “Castel dell'Ovo? Wait a minute. Are you winding me up? Doesn’t that mean Castle of the Egg? Egg Castle?”

“Yes, it does,” The Doctor told her with a soft laugh. She looked at him sceptically. “No, honestly, that’s what it’s called.”

Many people would have accepted that and moved on. Rose wasn’t one of those. The Doctor had known that from the very first day he met her, from that surreal conversation in

the lift before he blew up the shop she worked in. She was the sort of person who reasoned things through and asked the right sort of questions to get to the bottom of it all.

She took her time about it. The Neapolitan sun was warm and the long cold drinks were refreshing. She looked at the castle for a long time and finally asked the question he knew was coming.


“Legend has it that Virgil put an egg in the foundations….”

“Virgil?” Rose sighed and mentally cursed her comprehensive school education that, as she had long since discovered, was far from ‘comprehensive’. “We’re obviously NOT talking about the Thunderbirds pilot?”

The Doctor laughed again, but not unkindly. She was simply asking him to start the tale a little further back.

“Virgil, full name Publius Vergilius Maro, was a pre-Christian Roman poet. His most famous work was the Æneid, which you would be sick to the back teeth of if you were a pre-world war two grammar school boy, but in your day you would need to sign up for an undergraduate module in classical poetry to come across him. Anyway, the point is, at least ten centuries after his death, people started to believe stories about him being a great magician with the power of foresight and all sorts of mystic goings on. His works were poured over for signs of magical prediction. For some reason the stories were very widely accepted around here. One of the legends is that Virgil put an egg into the foundations of the castle and left a dire warning that, should the egg break, the castle would fall and terrible things would happen to Naples.”

“Bit like the Ravens at the Tower of London?” Rose surmised. The Doctor nodded. Her comparison had been apt. “But an egg? What sort of egg? Hard boiled, runny, chicken, goose, ostrich… Slitheen?”

The Doctor leaned over and kissed her on the cheek. In all the years that the Castel dell'Ovo had stood, she was probably the first person to ask that question.

And it was a good question. He knew plenty of things worse than a Slitheen that were born from eggs.

“I don’t buy it, anyway,” Rose said. “For one good reason - And call me thick if you like - but I’ve seen some stuff since you blasted your way into my life. Thunderbirds man was pre-Christian, you said?”

“Seventy BC to Nineteen BC,” The Doctor confirmed. Rose ignored the fact that he knew those dates without resorting to Wikipedia and went on with her point.

“I’m no expert, but Egg Castle doesn’t look THAT old. We’ve tramped through plenty of Roman ruins. That’s much newer, surely? I mean, it’s still old. It’s a castle, after all. Who builds castles these days? But not old enough for him to be mucking about with the foundations.”

“Good point,” The Doctor congratulated her on the sort of logical reasoning that he loved her for. “You’ll love this. Try not to think of Captain Jack when I tell you that the castle was built in the eleven-seventies at the behest of Roger the Norman.”

Rose giggled at the innuendo laden name and didn’t care when The Doctor explained that the Normans had, indeed, conquered parts of southern Italy at the same time that William the Conqueror came to Britain. Under Roger I of Sicily and his son, ‘The Norman’, a large and very lucrative territory, including many trading ports and safe harbours, had been consolidated under French speaking rulers who needed castles to protect their best prizes.

“But the egg story must be myth, then, unless Virgil WAS a magician - or a Time Lord.”

“I’m pretty sure he wasn’t one of my lot,” The Doctor said after a moment’s thought. “Absolutely positive it wasn’t one of ours.”

“Just a story to amuse the tourists, then,” Rose decided. “Pity, really. I kind of wish it WAS real. It’s one of those really interesting but harmless things that even you couldn’t get into trouble with.”

The Doctor’s grin widened.

“Today, I planned on some sunbathing, more drinks, dinner and a glorious sunset, hand in hand moonlit walk on the beach, milky drinks and retiring to the king size bed….” Rose was smiling, perfectly happy with that agenda. “Tomorrow we can go sightseeing with Castel dell'Ovo first on the list. Maybe they know what sort of egg it was.”

“Better NOT be Slitheen,” Rose decided.

The Doctor still knew plenty of things that were worse than the Slitheen. But it WAS just a myth.

Wasn’t it?

The romantic evening envisaged by The Doctor went exactly as planned. The dinner was delicious, the sunset glorious. The moonlit walk on the beach was the sort of thing Rose used to dream about when she was a teenager.

All the same, the Castle of the Egg, bathed in soft uplighting, caught her eye from time to time and made her wonder about the mysterious and probably mythical egg.

“I hope it is true, somehow,” she said out of the blue. “I don’t know why, but I WANT there to be an egg buried in the foundations of that castle. I don’t care what sort.”

“What about Virgil?” The Doctor asked.

“Oh, him I can take or leave. After all, I don’t need International Rescue while I’ve got you.”

They laughed together and hugged fondly in the moonlight on the beach at Naples. Later, the kingsize bed of the Honeymoon Suite was everything they had hoped for, too. They both slept soundly afterwards.

At least they did until just after six o’clock in the morning, when a minor earthquake shook the coast and awoke all but the soundest sleepers.

“A two-point-five,” The Doctor remarked as Rose went to the balcony and looked out across the bay in the light of a beautiful morning. The boats in the marina were bobbing about in an unexpected swell and a ceramic planter outside the hotel had overturned. Other than that, everything was normal. She reported the fact to The Doctor.

“Of course,” he confirmed just a bit too smugly. “A two-point-five wouldn’t do much damage as long as buildings like this are up to code. If I HAD been wrong, which obviously I wasn’t, going onto the balcony would have been daft, though.”

“Never thought of that. Not used to living in an earthquake zone.” She put the television on as The Doctor rang and ordered an early breakfast. The local news was on the

ball, reporting the minor quake. It was confirmed as two-point-five on the Richter Scale. The Doctor looked even more smug.

“Oh, shut up, you, with your feeling the turn of the Earth under your feet,” Rose told him and got back into bed as she watched a rather bewildered journalist making the most of the story with an outside broadcast from the street right beside the TV studios. There was a newspaper kiosk that had tipped over and a bicycle stand with the bikes all fallen over like dominos.

In short, an almost laughable non-crisis.

“It won’t affect our plans to visit Egg Castle?” Rose asked as The Doctor answered the door to the waiter with the breakfast trolley.

“Not in the slightest,” The Doctor replied. “By the time we’re out and about I expect everyone will have forgotten about it.”

“I won’t.” Rose poured coffee and spooned bacon and scrambled eggs onto a plate for herself. “I’m remembering you, yesterday, telling me that there was no tectonic activity here at this time.”

“MINIMAL,” The Doctor protested. “I said minimal tectonic activity. And that’s pretty minimal.”

“Let you off, then.” Rose enjoyed a leisurely breakfast with several rounds of toast and refills of coffee before going to shower and dress. By then ordinary life was starting up around the Bay. The promenade was busy with traffic and pedestrians. The first ferry of the day was steaming out across the Bay to the islands. The quake had not disrupted anyone’s morning.

Rose was a little surprised when, instead of taking a taxi around to the causeway leading to Castel dell’Ovo, he took her to the marina. She was even more surprised when he led her down to a small motor boat tied up beside a set of stone steps, the bottom ones wet from the morning tide.

“You can pilot a motor boat?” Years into their marriage he still did things that surprised her. Taking the seat behind the steering wheel was one of them. After the lad from the boat hire cast them off he started up the engine and guided the boat out past the sleek yachts of the rich and famous and into the bay. Rose sat still and wished she hadn’t had two

helpings of scrambled eggs. Despite that slight misgiving, she enjoyed the trip across the bay. The water was crystal clear and she saw near transparent jellyfish floating just beneath the surface. She really didn’t care for jellyfish when they were plopped on the sand at Brighton ready to sting unwary feet, but in the water they were fascinating.

“There is a rumour that the Russians dumped a bunch of nuclear torpedo into the bay in the nineteen-seventies, to stop the US fleet using the harbour if the cold war hotted up.” The Doctor grinned as he imparted that piece of Neapolitan urban mythology.

“Do you really think that’s something I want to hear?” Rose asked him. “Especially when we’re in a boat on top of the bay.”

“It’s probably just a story,” The Doctor assure her. “Probably… most likely. Anyway, they haven’t gone off, and they’re not likely to at any time, least of all when we’re here.”

Rose refrained from telling him that, when they were anywhere, was the MOST likely time for something untoward to happen. Then she put nuclear torpedoes out of her mind and enjoyed the flawless sky over a calm sea and the ever closer sight of Egg Castle.

The journey took a little more than a half hour. The Doctor tied the boat at the bottom of another set of steps and they climbed up to the causeway leading to the castle. They joined the tourists waiting to be taken on the first guided tour of the day. It was a mixed crowd but mostly British or American. The guide spoke good English with a pleasant Italian accent, welcoming them all to Castel dell’Ovo. They passed through the Norman gate into the first castle to be built on the Napoli coast. The guide brought them through dimly lit corridors that emerged into sun-drenched courtyards, up ancient steps that took them to equally ancient bed chambers, and down to the dungeons where luckless enemies of Roger the Norman and the noblemen who came after him all ended up.

“Here, you see, there is much work going on,” The guide explained. “The Archaeological Department of Università degli Studi di Napoli Federico II are exploring the foundations of the Castellum Lucullanum, the Roman villa that preceded Castel dell’Ovo.”

The tourists looked at the long trench dug down through the stone-flagged floor. It was a good eight feet deep with a group of patient students scraping away at the floor to find clues to the pre-history of the castle.

“So there was SOMETHING built here in Roman times,” Rose whispered. “Do you think the egg was buried then, not when this castle was built by old Roger?”

“No, signora,” said the guide, overhearing her comment. “Virgil’s egg was definitely meant for this castle. It was placed in a glass jar and then into a cage and hidden in a secret niche within the walls of these lower floors.”

“What sort of egg?” It was one of the other tourists who actually asked the question, followed by a joke about being able to smell it by now.

“It was the first egg laid by the very first hen,” the guide replied.

“I guess Virgil wasn’t worried by the whole ‘which came first, the chicken or the egg’ thing,” Rose interjected. Everyone laughed. The guide smiled tightly.

“It is just a story, of course,” she reminded them. Then she looked around and frowned. A low whistling noise sounded just a bit too loud in the underground room. She fixed her gaze on The Doctor. “Signore, whether or not we have any mythical ancient eggs, I can assure you there are no Pokémon in this castle. Please desist in your search.”

The Doctor looked guilty and pushed his sonic screwdriver into his pocket. He hung back as the tour moved on, heading back upstairs to the battlements where a collection of cannon from the many sea battles between French, Spanish and Italians were on display. The view was spectacular, of course and after dark, rather cold, dungeons the sunshine was welcome.

“I don’t think it IS the first egg from the first hen,” The Doctor said to Rose as they walked along the battlements. “But there is something unusual down there. I’d really like to have a closer look done in that trench.”

“You’ll have to turn your famous northern charm on some other member of staff,” Rose answered him. “There are no Pokémon in this castle.” She giggled at the idea of The Doctor indulging in such a game. He glowered darkly at the ignominy of it all.

Then he gripped Rose tightly as the thousand-year old castle shook violently. At the same time there was a thunderous sound in the air. Several of the tourists pointed toward Vesuvius. A plume of smoke could be seen above the infamous cone.

“Minimal tectonic activity?” Rose questioned.

“It shouldn’t be,” The Doctor protested. “It can’t be. Vesuvius is not due to erupt today.”

And he was right. The plume began to dissipate almost as soon as it appeared, a mere cough clearing a tickle from the throat of the dormant volcano.

The real problem was on the other side of the castle. A cry of fear and disbelief set everyone running to look at a bright orange glow that had appeared along the coast. The Doctor identified it as trees on fire. They were the trees that lined the Via Francesco Caracciolo where it bordered the public park called Villa Comunale.

“What caused it?” Rose asked.

“Lava,” The Doctor answered. “There is lava erupting from the ground inside the park.”

Rose didn’t waste her breath disbelieving him. Besides, it was soon perfectly clear to anyone looking that he was right. A viscous river was spilling over the ashes of the trees onto the road, engulfing cars and a lorry that could not get away. The burning remnants of the vehicles were swept onto the boulder lined shore by the relentless torrent.

“Oh, it’s horrible!” Tears pricked Rose’s eyes as she realised how many people were dead or dying on the edge of the Bay, and how many more might still be in danger.

“Come on,” The Doctor said, grasping her by the hand and pulling her towards the steps. “That’s between us and the TARDIS. We have to get back.”

A thick, black curtain of smoke was rising up from the devastated park, billowing out over the sea. It obscured the view of their hotel at the far end of the Bay.

Rose knew that the TARDIS could survive the heat of a neutron star. It would probably be all right on the roof of the hotel even if the worst happened. All the same she felt The Doctor’s anxiety to be on the other side of the lava flow. She ran with him out of the castle and onto the causeway before descending the steps to where the motor boat was tied up.

“Doctor….” They were only a few yards away from the causeway wall when Rose noticed the dead fish floating on the surface of the water.

“The lava is flowing into the sea and heating it up,” The Doctor told her in a matter of fact way. “Could be a dramatic change in the PH levels, too. Plus the sulphur in the burning lava poisoning them.”

“How hot is it getting? Is the boat going to burn?”

“No,” The Doctor assured her. All the same, she wasn’t especially assured. There was steam rising from the surface. She held her hand out over the side, not touching the water, but feeling the heat coming from it. She looked towards the marina, still disturbingly distant, yet. There was a flurry of activity as yacht owners tried to get their craft away into open water. Rose gasped in horror as she saw why.

“Doctor, the lava is flowing towards the marina. We’ll be cut off.”

The Doctor cursed in low Gallifreyan as he realised that she was right. He looked back towards the Megaride peninsula. Perhaps they would have been safer staying there, after all.

“The bottom of the boat is hot,” Rose pointed out, shifting her feet up onto the seat. “Doctor, what about the fuel in the engine?”

“Not hot enough to ignite,” he answered in what was meant to be a reassuring tone. There was no getting away from the fact that they were in… he tried not to think of it, but the phrase refused to leave his mind… hot water.

“Look…” Rose directed his attention to one of the yachts. Instead of heading out to sea away from a smouldering jetty, it was heading towards them. As it drew close they heard a voice calling out.

“Doctor… Rose….”

“That’s not a yacht!” The Doctor exclaimed. “It’s not sailing in the water - it’s hovering about two inches above. It’s….”

“It’s a TARDIS,” Rose guessed as it drew alongside and a companion ladder was lowered. She scrambled up it, closely followed by The Doctor.

“Tristie, Trudi!” she exclaimed to the two young occupants of the pseudo-yacht. “Oh… is that little Tristie? Hasn’t he grown?”

“What brought you here?” The Doctor asked. “Not that I’m not grateful….”
“We were visiting Capri,” Tristie answered.

“Tomorrow,” Trudi added.

“Come again?” Rose asked.

“We actually arrived, tomorrow,” Tristie explained. “Just for a little Mediterranean sunshine. We weren’t going to get involved in what was happening over here. But then we saw the papers.”

Trudi held up a newspaper. Among images of a devastated Naples sea front was a picture of a semi-collapsed hotel surrounded by smoking black-orange lava. Lying on its side among the debris was an all too familiar blue box.

“You came back in time to change what had already happened in your timeline?” The Doctor’s face exactly personified a volcano about to erupt. “Do you have any idea how dangerous that is? You’ve crossed the lines of causality.”

“I know,” Tristie answered. “But I couldn’t let you….”

“I’ve handled worse than this without the help of a boneheaded amateur. You could have caused a temporal catastrophe.”

“Doctor, he came to save us,” Rose protested. “Leave him be.”

The Doctor looked about to have a go at her, too, but thought better of it.

“Capri? Yes, it ought to be safe there. We’ll take the women to Capri, then you can help me sort this out. I think I can stop this from getting any worse.”

Rose and Trudi both protested, loudly, but The Doctor was insistent. Tristie ushered everyone below deck to his TARDIS console room. He programmed a quick hop to Capri and, as The Doctor insisted, left the still protesting women and Tristie junior at a beach café before looking to The Doctor for further instructions.

“Right here,” The Doctor said plunging the head of his sonic screwdriver into a convenient receptacle by the drive control. “I risked being branded a Pokémon hunter to get the coordinate.”

“Poke what?” Tristie asked as his TARDIS accepted the co-ordinate.

“Never mind.”

It didn’t take very long to reach the programmed destination – in the dungeon of Castel dell’Ovo. The student archaeologists were gone. Either the whole castle had been evacuated or everyone was on the battlements watching the lava spreading around the coast.

That saved any questions. The Doctor ignored the ladder and jumped the eight feet to the bottom of the trench. Tristie came more cautiously to see what he was doing.

“It wasn’t a chicken egg, definitely not the ‘first’ egg, which is nonsense, anyway. I realised that when I scanned down here. The ‘egg’ is a node of causality.”

“A what?” Tristie questioned. The Doctor tried not to look too triumphant as he moved along the wall of petrified mud and aggregate carefully scanning with the sonic.

“You youngsters with your sporty TARDISes disguised as snazzy yachts. You really don’t know a fraction of what makes the universe tick. You don’t know about the Guardians.” Tristie shrugged, admitting with that gesture his youthful ignorance. “The Guardians are immortals. Even the Time Lords didn’t know much more than that about them. One thing we did know is that they guided the cultural development of worlds by placing nodes of causality in places where any society was making technological advances. The nodes ‘balanced’ everything so that the advances weren’t too fast. They stopped ancient Greeks from inventing the internal combustion engine or Victorians from sending rockets to the moon. And, yes, it is interference, the very sort of thing we Time Lords were forbidden to get involved in. The Guardians were another level of intellect and emotional maturity. They could be trusted to know when it was right to interfere. We would have let our egos get in the way.”

Tristie said nothing. He was a good student learning from the master in this respect. He watched as The Doctor pulled away at one patch of wall, exposing a small niche.

Inside the niche was a metal cage just about big enough for a canary to have a reasonable quality of life. Within that was a jar made of opaque glass.

“Properly clear glass wasn’t invented until Renaissance Venice,” Tristie noted. “That must be old.”

“At least as old as me,” The Doctor replied. He opened the cage and took out the jar. He broke the wax seal and reached in to reveal the contents. “Time is of the essence, but just this once, get your phone out and photograph this. Rose will never forgive me for not letting her have a peak.”

He held up an egg. Not a chicken egg, but something like an early, simple piece by Carl Faberge before he got really creative. It was gold, closer in size to a goose egg than a

chicken’s. There were curious symbols etched into the metal. Tristie frowned as he tried to understand them.

“This is a language as old as time,” The Doctor explained. “Even I can’t read it. But I don’t need to. I know enough to realise that the node has gone out of synch. The egg is ‘broken’ and disaster has come upon Naples, just as the legend warned.”

“This little thing was preventing tectonic activity in the region?”

“Yes,” The Doctor confirmed as he concentrated the sonic screwdriver’s ultrasonic force on the egg. “That must have been a secondary purpose. Somehow, the idea of it protecting the region filtered into the legend of Castel dell’Ovo. That’s culture for you. Ah… fantastic. I’ve fixed it. Now let’s get it put somewhere out of reach of archaeologists.”

He put the egg back in the jar and resealed it, then placed it back in the cage. He climbed up out of the trench and looked around the dungeon, finally selecting one of the thick outer walls. He adjusted the sonic and used it to loosen a stone. He placed the cage within the recess and put the stone back, resealing the ancient mortar.

“Job done,” he said. “Let’s get back to the women before they cook up a feminine plot to murder us both.”

“Will it stop the disaster?” Tristie asked as they returned to his TARDIS, disguised not too cunningly as a bronze statue of the Roman poet, Virgil. “None of it will have happened?”

“Some of it will have happened. We haven’t turned back the clock, interfered with causality. What’s done is done, I’m afraid. But this should stop it getting any worse.”

When they got back to the beach café on Capri the difference was clear. Trudi and Rose gave The Doctor the newspaper with tomorrow’s news headlines as soon as he sat down at the table under the striped parasol and before he had even received his well-deserved cappuccino.

The most obvious difference was the image of the hotel. It wasn’t destroyed. The headline was ‘Il Miracolo’ and the story described how eighty guests and staff were trapped by the encroaching lava that miraculously stopped just a metre away from the building. Everyone was alive and well and giving thanks to one or more of the fifty co-patron saints of Naples.

“Twelve people died,” Rose pointed out with a shudder. “Most of them in those cars we saw overcome by the lava. Horrible”

“But before it said that more than two hundred people died,” Trudi reminded her. She smiled at the two men. “We saw it change and knew you’d done something.”

“I did what I could,” The Doctor told her. Rose still looked upset. “You know I couldn’t save those twelve. We were too far away to help even if I knew a way to turn back molten lava. I couldn’t go back in time and stop the lava bursting through, for the same reasons Tristie shouldn’t have come back to get us. I could only stop further loss of life from the moment I realised that the egg was at the bottom of it all.”

“The egg!” Despite her grief for the people who died she was delighted with the picture Tristie took of the beautiful golden egg and its nested containers of glass and metal.

“The legend was true, then?” she surmised. “The egg was damaged by the archaeologists poking around and disaster happened just as foretold. Do you think the Guardian who left it there was mistaken for Virgil? Is that how the story got started?”

“Could well be,” The Doctor agreed. “Legends are like that. All the Greek gods were actually a group of Prydonian undergraduates on a drunken weekend, and I have been accused of being Merlin on more than one occasion.”

“Merlin?” Triste queried.

“Oh don’t get him started about that,” Rose complained. She looked out across the bay towards the Neapolitan coastline and sighed. “I liked Naples. I suppose we can’t really go back to sightseeing, now, though. Not with the seafront covered in cooling lava.”

“We’ll have an island holiday on Capri, instead,” The Doctor replied. “Maybe we’ll come back to Naples in a better time – one with absolutely no tectonic activity whatsoever, guaranteed, on my Time Lord honour.”

“And no going looking for those nukes in the bay,” Rose warned. “That goes for you, too, Tristie. Leave them there. They’re somebody else’s problem.”

The Doctor and Tristie both put on their most innocent expressions and their respective wives couldn’t help noticing, despite age, regenerations and the generations between them in the complicated family tree, they actually looked a little alike.

Trouble stuck to them both like glue and no romantic weekend anywhere would be without adventure as long as they were around.

But, when all was said and done, that was their chief attraction.