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

The Doctor sighed and pulled the big overcoat tighter around himself. He felt the cold so much more than he used to do. That was only one of many things that was getting him down right now. He really wasn’t coping with being Human very well at all. His nominal age was about forty-five, fifty at the most. But he seemed to be a very unfit fifty year old. He was out of breath after ten or fifteen minutes walking. He had given up now, and rested while Marton went down on the beach for a bit. Even now, sitting on the bench, he was breathing heavily and feeling little benefit from it. And he felt so very cold.

It was a cold morning, of course. It was only mid-August, but the weather was already autumnal. A cold wind was coming off the English channel and it went right through him.

He stood and leaned on the parapet to look down at the sands. Marton was walking back towards him. His head was down, as it always seemed to be, and he didn’t see him watching. Of course, the boy was sad. He was still mourning the cruel and unnecessary death of his mother. Nothing much was going to revive his spirits just now.

While the boy was still too far away to see, he took out his sonic screwdriver and scanned the immediate area. There was no trace of a non-Human lifesign. That was good news, of course. It meant that his plan was working. The Followers of The Master had not followed them when they drove away from the funeral together in his butler’s old car. But it had been three weeks now, and he didn’t know how much longer they could go on hiding like this.

He wanted to go home. He missed Rose and the children. He talked to her every night using a mobile phone that he scrambled with the sonic screwdriver so it could not be traced. He didn’t tell her where he was. He couldn’t. She told him about the babies, and how much they were growing while he wasn’t there. She told him about Vicki and Sukie preparing to start their new school, and Peter continuing to learn the things a Gallifreyan toddler needed to learn, but from his older brother, not his father. His hearts – heart – broke every time he thought about his family. But he couldn’t go home yet. Not until he was sure it was safe for everyone – for Marton, and for them.

Rose was unhappy with him being away. More than that. She was angry, and increasingly bitter about it every time he called. He could hear it in her voice, even when she told him she still loved him. He was half afraid that she would not answer the phone one evening. And he was starting to worry that doing his best for Marton was going to mean the destruction of his marriage.

“Dad…” he looked around as Marton came up from the beach. He went back to the bench and the boy sat next to him. He leaned close to him and The Doctor put his arm around his shoulders. He felt him sigh in a melancholy way.

“It’ll be breakfast time, soon,” Marton said. “At the hotel.”


“Are we moving on from here?” he added. “There doesn’t seem to be much chance of work here. The hotels are almost empty. Most of them are closing now the summer is nearly over. Not that they had much trade, anyway. The summer… the war… ruined everything.”

That was the story all the way along the coast, of course. Seaside resorts that should have been booming with holidaymakers right up till the end of the season were instead ghost towns with only a few hotels managing to open, and only a few people taking the rooms. The talk was of next season, when life was something like normal again and people would want a holiday to cast away the memories of the summer when life as they knew it had almost ceased.

“Not yet,” The Doctor answered. “Maybe next week. I don’t feel ready to go. I’m not…”

“Are you all right, dad?” Marton asked, his face full of concern. “Please, tell me, won’t you. If there is anything wrong…”

“Nothing but old age,” he admitted.

“You’re not that old, dad,” Marton told him.

“I feel old. I’ve never felt so old as I do now.”

“You miss mum, too, don’t you? Even though you hadn’t been together for a long time. You miss her.”

The Doctor pulled his arm tighter around the boy’s shoulders as he said that. He searched for an answer that wasn’t a lie.

It was just after the funeral, three weeks ago, that it had happened. They were driving down through Devon towards the coast. Marton had fallen asleep in the car. Nothing obvious had happened. There was no bright light, no arc of electrical energy. The boy had not suffered any pain, and was unaware of anything happening to him. It seemed to be a glitch in the chameleon arch programme. Instead of changing his DNA but leaving him aware of who he was, it had completed the process by rewriting his memory. When he woke, he had called him ‘dad’. In the course of the conversation as they continued on their way to Torquay, the first of the southern coastal towns they had stayed in, he discovered that Marton thought he really was Marton Smith, and that he, The Doctor, was his father, John Smith, who had come for him after his mother had died. They had both gone on the road after the funeral, looking for work, a new life in the wake of their personal loss and the war that had left them homeless and dispossessed.

It didn’t worry him too much. He knew that both of them would be restored to their real identities when they returned to London. Marton would get his real memory back with his real DNA. In the meantime, it actually made things easier in one way. Marton wasn’t scared of being kidnapped by the Followers. He was sad about his mother, of course. But he was not worried by anything else.

And it was comforting for him, too. Marton thought he was his father. He called him dad. He loved him as his father, despite the memory of him being estranged from his mother for several years.

The Doctor missed his own children, but he had Marton as compensation, a surrogate child who sat with him now, his head on his shoulder, sharing a quietly intimate time.

“Yes,” he answered, choosing a vague truth rather than an outright lie. “Yes, I miss how we all were, before the war… when we were all happy. But there will be good times again, I promise you, son. I’ll make things right.”

“I know you will, dad,” Marton answered. He sighed again as they sat together on the bench, looking out over the English Channel. After a while they stood up and turned to walk back to the hotel where they were staying.

“Dad!” Marton gave a sudden cry and he swayed dizzily. The Doctor reached out to steady him. He looked around as if he was surprised to find himself on the promenade in Weymouth.

“What happened?” The Doctor asked. Though he knew well enough. There had been a couple of moments like this in the past week. Very small moments when something of his real memory had flashed back.

“I felt… just for a second or two… as if I was looking at a different sky.” Marton looked up at the pale blue of an autumn morning on Earth. “A sky with two moons. It was… a very beautiful place. I think I liked it. But…” He shook his head. “Silly to think of such a thing. Daydreams. What use are they?”

“Nothing wrong with daydreams,” The Doctor answered. “But if we must be practical, let’s think of breakfast.”


On a planet with two moons, a TARDIS materialised, disguising itself as a small wooden hut on the edge of the village. As its morphic field settled a ying yang symbol etched itself in the door, which opened for five people to step out, all wearing clothes that would allow them to blend in with the local people. They were not here this time as Lords of Time to be hailed as Gods. They needed to ask discreet questions without drawing too much attention to themselves.

“The temporal clock is definitely out,” Chris said as he stepped out of the Gothic TARDIS last of the group and touched the lintel of the faux door with the same loving respect his great-grandfather, The Doctor, had for his police box. “I think pulling the liberation fleet through the vortex might have thrown her systems out a bit. I need to get Davie to give her an overhaul.”

He looked around at his friends and smiled. Dale and Daryl were fastening each other’s cloaks and hardly heard him speak. Mac, his other Human friend, and Brón, one of the most gifted of his Gallifreyan students, took notice.

“Is it a problem?” Mac asked. “Are we badly out of synch?”

“We’ve travelled forward in time about three weeks,” he answered. “Give or take a day.”

“We could go back and put it right?”

“No. That would be risking a paradox. We’ve landed here. We’re part of events as they unfold, come what may. What worries me most is that three weeks have passed back on Earth and granddad is waiting for us to sort this out and get back to him. Anyway, it can’t be helped. Let’s go and mingle with the crowds.”

He had meant for them to mingle with the people in the marketplace and the workshops, finding the friends they had made during their exile here. But there was no market and the workshops were closed. The houses they passed were quiet. There was a sombre, oppressive atmosphere that affected all of them, even Dale, whose psychic ability was the most rudimentary.

“Grief,” Brón said.

“On this planet?” Chris was troubled. He knew that SangC’lune was not immune to sorrow. He had been here once before when the people had known tragedy. His thoughts turned momentarily to the pretty girl who he himself had mourned that time, whose tomb he always paused a moment beside when he visited the old temple. But barring disasters of that sort, and ordinary workplace accidents, the people of SangC’lune had few ailments to trouble them. Death usually came at the end of a good long life and was welcomed as an eternal rest in the bosom of their gods.

But the feeling that assailed them as they came to the town square was the shocked, unbelieving grief that comes with sudden and violent death. The whole village was assembled there to witness four funerals at once. Four pyres had been built and four wrapped bodies were placed among them. Prayers for the dead were being said before the fires were lit.

“Chris,” Daryl whispered even in her telepathic voice. Such was the solemnity of the occasion. A whole town in silent prayer, with only the crackle of the brazier and the cry of a bird flying overhead, was not to be disturbed even by loud thoughts. “One of the dead… His name is Cor Fornaio. He was a baker. I remember… when he found out that Dale and I were… he made a special bread… to be shared by a betrothed pair in symbol of their love. He was a baker. That’s all. He made bread, and took his turn to attend to the pyramids like all the others. He was only thirty years old. Oh… Chris… murder. That’s what they’re thinking. Only… they have no word for it. But that’s what’s in their minds. These four were murdered.”

Daryl was pure Gallifreyan. She couldn’t cry. But her sorrow was as great as the people around them.

“I know,” Chris answered her. “I can feel it, too.”

Even Dale was coming to the same conclusion. His rudimentary telepathy was at much the same level as most of the SangC’lune people. Standing among them he was picking up all of their emotions just as if he was one of them. He clutched Daryl’s hand tightly. Chris reached out to Mac and Brón and they willingly held his hands as the prayers came to an end and torches were lit by the next of kin of the dead. An old man who must have been Cor Fornaio’s father shook with grief as he stepped towards the pyre where his son was laid. Another man stepped forward and steadied his hand, and the two of them applied the torch together. In the crowd, a woman wailed mournfully and was supported by other women of the town. Around the crowd, as the four pyres burnt, the same scene was repeated. The silent crowd were no longer silent. They mourned with heart-rending keens as the smoke rose up into the sky and obscured those two moons that were visible by night or day.

When it was over, the people went to their various homes. Dale and Daryl went with the Fornaio family to pay their respects. Chris brought his other friends to the home of one of the village Elders, one of the larger houses where three of them would not seem to be crowding the family. The Elder, when he recognised the young Lord among them was ready to pay obeisance to him, but Chris stopped him.

“Not this day, Maggiore,” he said addressing the old man by his name. “It is not why I came. And I am sorry. I think I have come too late. I have a strong feeling that the trouble that is on your people has something to do with my mission here.”

Maggiore’s wife, Elana, who was a skilled brewer, brought them something that tasted like fruit flavoured ale and a plate of bread, cheese and meat. Chris wasn’t really hungry, but it was the custom that a guest, especially a highly regarded one, should be given food and drink. He and his friends were given seats by the chimney breast, too. The highest place in the house. They ate and drank and Maggiore told what had come to pass in recent days.

It was a short enough story from his point of view. The suspicion had risen within the people that they were not alone. There were small things that drew their attention when they went to do their duty in the pyramid valley – footprints made by shoes that were not made by any of the cobblers of the town – signs that a small group of people had spent a long time around one particular pyramid. Chris wanted to ask which one, but he held on and didn’t interrupt. There had been lights among the pyramids after sundown when no-one of SangC’lune would have disturbed the resting place of their gods. The Elders and the people had talked about these portents and had decided they would form a Watch and patrol the Pyramid valley at night.

The four dead men had been the Watch two nights ago. When they did not return to their homes in the morning, a search was made. They were found among the pyramids, all four of them dead.

“What killed them?” Chris asked, wishing that the cremations had not yet taken place. He would have wanted to examine the bodies.

“We do not know. Our physicians are skilled in herbs that relieve fevers and pains. They do not have knowledge of such things. But I looked on the face of Milo Paglia – the son of my neighbour. His eyes were staring and his mouth twisted in pain. Death came in a way unknown to our people.”

“I deeply regret that it is so. But, please, Maggiore, tell me which pyramid the dead were found near.”

“The new one which grows in the place where a pyramid was lost when you were a boy, Lord.”

Chris nodded. He had guessed as much.

“This is a day of mourning. We shall not dishonour the memory of the dead. But tomorrow, at first light, we will go to the pyramids and look for ourselves.

Elder Maggiore at once offered strong men to guard and protect Chris and his companions.

“No, it is we, your Lords, who should protect you. I intend to do so. No more of your people will be harmed by the evil that has come here.”

He wasn’t sure how he and his friends, none of them with any weapons, or any skill with weapons, could fight murderers who struck down unarmed and peaceable villagers. But he fully intended to live up to that promise.


The Doctor and Marton were at breakfast in the dining room of the seafront hotel. The manageress herself brought a fresh pot of tea to the table for them.

“Would you like more toast, Mr Smith?” she asked. “Bread is readily available again. I don’t need to ration it. And the lad looks like he could eat a bit more. It’s shameful the way we were all starved by those alien fiends.”

“More toast would be very much appreciated, Mrs Golightly,” The Doctor answered. “And thank you for the tea. I do like a cup of tea in the morning. Sets me up nicely.”

“No luck finding work, I suppose?” she asked, making conversation as she replenished the toast plate and put a fresh pat of butter with it. “Perhaps you’d be better heading along the coast. I did hear that Kent is doing better. The tunnel is being opened up again next week and there will be jobs to be had.”

“You want rid of us, Mrs Golightly?” The Doctor replied with a disarming smile.

“Not at all,” she assured him. “Polite, clean people like yourself and your son are welcome any time. But I can see that you’re worried. And it’s soul-destroying not having a living wage. You were blessed to have something put by. But it won’t last forever, even now that the government has capped food prices and stopped profiteering.”

“I’ve a few more places to try,” The Doctor answered her. “If nothing comes of it, perhaps we’ll move on by the start of next week. But I hope you’ll get new guests to replace us.”

“I’ve four people coming any time now,” she answered. “They booked two double rooms for a week. We’ll tick along nicely. Next year, God willing, there’ll be a good season. Those heathen aliens haven’t done for us after all.”

“Not all aliens are bad, Mrs Golightly,” The Doctor reminded her. “Earth was saved by allies who came from beyond the solar system.”

“Yes, I’ve seen. That handsome young president of… what was it… Adomo something… talking to our government. He’s one of the exceptions. But that other lot… with the reptile faces… I know they helped us. But I’ll be glad when they go away. I can’t quite bring myself to think that there are people out there who are so different to us. I don’t like it at all.”

The Doctor understood what she was saying. It wasn’t prejudice as such. Just fear of the unknown, somewhat validated if not justified by the hurt inflicted by the Dominators. He wondered what she would think if she knew what he and Marton really were.

He thought he knew.

He was saved a further insight into Mrs Golightly’s view of extra-terrestrials by the arrival of the four new guests in a taxi. She went to greet them. As their voices were heard in the reception just outside the dining room, The Doctor was distracted by his sonic screwdriver suddenly buzzing urgently in his pocket. He slid it out under the table and read the tiny LED display with some difficulty. His Human self was slightly near-sighted, too. When he managed it, his hearts – heart – thudded. It told him that four Tiborans were in close proximity to him.

It could be coincidence, he told himself, trying not to panic. He didn’t used to panic. His Human self seemed inclined to do that, though. He took a deep breath before reminding himself that there were many Tiborans living on Earth, just like Mr and Mrs Pallister and their son. It certainly could be a coincidence.

But it was a coincidence that made him anxious.

He turned and looked at Marton and was dismayed to see that he was being affected by another of those flashes of reality. That was twice in a few hours. Very disturbing.

“Marton,” The Doctor said as he shuddered and stared around at the dining room. “What did you see?”

“Another sky… different stars. But I felt as if I knew them. Stars that were as familiar to me as the ones that shine down on Earth. The Scytheman – one of the constellations was called that.”

“Tibora,” The Doctor thought. “The boy is thinking of Tibora. The home world of his parents.”


On Tibora, Davie, with Brenda and Spenser at his side, had found it easier than he expected to get the local authorities to listen to him. The fact that he was a Lord of Time cut out most of the time he might have wasted trying to explain himself. He was able to reach the governor of the province and tell him of his fears that a dangerous cult was at work. The governor, a powerful man with the lives of millions of Tiborans in his purview, recognised even a young Time Lord as his superior, especially one who spoke with the authority and command that Davie Campbell de Lœngbærrow did. He had immediately told him that there was such a cult being investigated, and within a very short time Davie was working with the chief of police on a plan to crack the Followers of The Master and put a stop to their mischief.

That was what brought them, after weeks of careful investigation and planning, to the outskirts of the capital city of the northern province, the beautiful part of Tibora with high mountains formed by mostly dormant volcanoes and deep, clear lakes. The Followers had a property there, a farmland that wasn’t farmed, and a sprawling building where at least fifty people had been observed in activities that had raised suspicions.

“That shed definitely contains an unlicensed hyperspace shuttle,” the Chief of Police said to the three people in the back of his car - ‘civilian observers’ in this operation. “That’s our legal loophole to go onto private property with search and arrest warrants.”

“Be careful,” Davie warned. “These people may have weapons beyond anything manufactured here on Tibora. Terrible weapons. Please don’t let anyone die for this. There’s been enough death lately. I’ve seen enough of it to last me a lifetime.”

“We’re taking every precaution, Lord,” the Chief of Police said to him. “You and your retinue stay here. When we have Taron Koschei and his people in custody, I’ll come and get you. You can question him then.”

“Koschei!” Davie half-laughed at the name the leader of the cult had taken for himself. “Part of The Master’s family name. The family he dishonoured when he chose to become a Renegade and criminal.”

Spenser and Brenda both looked at Davie when he said that. He had never set foot on Gallifrey. He had lived his whole life on Earth. But he had inherited from The Doctor a fierce pride in the Time Lord home world and its customs. He had a deep rooted hatred of anyone who would sully the memory of Gallifrey and the reputation of the Time Lords. The Followers of the Master, even if they didn’t pose an immediate threat to people he knew and cared about, would be something he would seek to destroy, root and branch.

“Anyway, he’s the leader of the organisation,” Davie added. “He’s the one who has recruited the rest, brainwashing them into believing his nonsense about The Master being the true ruler of time and space, promising them fortune and power as reward for serving him.”

“The man is mad,” said the Chief of Police. “The Great Lords did not rule as tyrants. They sought no domination of anyone. To do so would be to subvert all that they ever stood for.”

“Try telling that to the Followers,” Davie commented. But then the signal came. The police closed in on the property, in armour plated cars, in hover copters, hundreds of men, all armed, swamping the place, intending to take the Followers alive and without any casualties on their own side.

It didn’t work out that way. Davie, Brenda and Spenser listened in horror to the battle inside the house on the police car radio. Brenda cried as she heard policemen reporting that comrades had fallen, caught in a terrible ray that enveloped their body and rendered instant death. Some even spoke of a gun that shrank the body to the size of a doll, the victims screaming terribly as they died.

“Tissue Compression Eliminator,” Davie murmured as he put a comforting arm around Brenda and felt Spenser’s hand clutch his on the other side. “The Master’s favourite weapon…. Banned by every arms treaty in the twelve galaxies. How did they get hold of such technology?”

It was a rhetorical question. He didn’t expect either Brenda or Spenser to know. They continued to listen to the raging battle. It was, they thought, starting to go in favour of the police. When they looked towards the house they could see flashes of light at the windows. Stun grenades deployed to subdue the Followers. The police were fighting their way through, neutralising the enemy, clearing them room by room. But they were still taking casualties. The reports of men down, almost all of them instantly killed, were hearts rending.

Then at last there was no more gunfire. There were orders being given, requests for armoured vans to be brought forward to carry the prisoners. Then a police officer ran towards the car.

“The Chief of Police is dead,” he reported. “But… his orders were… you want to speak to Tarron Koschei before he is taken in.”

“You have him secured?” Davie asked.

“Yes, Lord,” the officer answered. He got into the driver’s seat and brought them closer to the house. Davie got out. Brenda and Spenser made to follow.

“It’s not pretty in there,” the officer said. “The young lady…”

“I’ll stay with her,” Spenser offered. “I’ll take care of her.”

Davie nodded. Spenser’s devotion to him extended to Brenda. He was always willing to care for and protect her. And Davie knew that he would. He kissed Brenda gently on the cheek and to the surprise of the police officer waiting for him, he kissed Spenser the same way, just a little quicker, perhaps. Then he left them in the car as he headed into the house of death.

Most of the bodies had been covered, at least. But the number of them was distressing. Davie asked and was told that forty police officers had been killed, and at least twenty of the Followers. A dozen or so more would be treated for their wounds once they reached the police detention centre.

There were no wounded policemen. Whenever the Followers used their weapons it was fatal.

“I’m sorry,” Davie said, feeling that it was an inadequate thing to say. He felt responsible for the deaths. It wasn’t so, of course. The authorities had fully intended to deal with the Followers of The Master even before he arrived. But he wondered if they would have launched such an all out assault if he had not pressed upon them the need for urgency.

“Koschei is being held in here,” the officer said, directing Davie to what looked very much like a meditation room, except the symbols around the walls did not seem to exude peace and tranquillity, but rather violence and hatred. It was like the antithesis of the rooms of Chris’s Sanctuary, or the quiet room in the basement of Mount Lœng House.

Taron Koschei was in the middle of the room, kneeling on the floor with his hands on his head. Armed police officers trained their guns on him. He had nowhere to run to even if he could.

He was a surprising figure. Davie had expected somebody physically strong. This man was a cripple with callipers on one shrivelled leg that looked, at a glance, like a birth defect. The rest of his body told of similar defects. He had a severe curvature of the spine that left him hump-backed and he was an albino, bald-headed with face as white as chalk, lips with almost no colour in them and pink eyes that looked at Davie through long but colourless eyelashes. His age was hard to determine, but Davie reckoned him to be about thirty in the long Tiboran years – nearer fifty in Earth years.

“You are Taron Koschei?” He tried to disguise his surprise, but he didn’t quite manage it.

“You are a son of Gallifrey?” Taron Koschei looked at him deeply, and Davie felt the brief touch on his mind as his Time Lord identity was read. “A Time Lord. It is true, then. They live, after all.”

“It is true,” Davie answered. “But you are not a Time Lord. I see Tiboran DNA only… at least… Oh…” He stepped closer and touched Taron Koschei on the forehead. Four safety catches were clicked off as he did so. But the protection he needed was mental, not physical. He saw at once a strong mind within the fragile body and understood why this unprepossessing man had commanded so many.

Yes, he had Tiboran DNA. Mostly, anyway. There was a trace of something else. The same kind of patterns he recognised in his own half Human genes. There was a trace of Gallifreyan. And he didn’t need to probe much further to guess which Gallifreyan. Taron Koschei was, at a stretch of the imagination, a half sibling of Marton Pallister. He was another of the experimental clones using The Master’s DNA. But while Marton had been born with almost completely Gallifreyan genes, Taron Koschei had been born with more of his mother’s DNA – Tiboran. There must have been a struggle, a battle between the two species of genetic material even as he was forming in the womb. Davie guessed it was the reason for his deformities. Taron Koschei was a genetic reject that had, against all odds, been born. And perhaps his mother had loved him enough not to care.

“No, she did not,” Taron Koschei snapped, using words not telepathy. “I grew up in an orphanage. I knew nothing of my mother or my father until I was found by…” He pointed a finger at a covered body that lay by the door of the room. “His name was Aferri Bolas. He was the last of the original Followers of The Master. The cult was almost gone. But he traced me… one who carried The Master’s DNA. He brought me to SangC’lune, the home of the Time Lord tombs. Though The Master’s pyramid was destroyed, it was still possible, on the plain, among the tombs of his ancestors, to perform the ritual that infused me with his essence. Only my body wasn’t strong enough. I carry his essence within me, in my mind, but like a seed that waits to be planted in fertile ground. We searched. We gathered more Followers. The cult grew. Then we discovered that one existed… a youth, with strength and vigour, and with our Lord’s DNA. His birth records were erased. But we knew enough. We almost have him. The Followers living on Earth have new information that will lead us to him. And when we have him… that which I have carried with me, the seed… will be transplanted. The Master will rise again. I shall be his favoured one… his brother. He will give me the whole body I long for and I will rule the universe with him.”

“You are a madman, and you are going to prison for a long time,” Davie answered him. “We have your followers here on Tibora. Those not dead or dying will be joining you in prison. It is over. But if you want to make this easier for yourself, then I want information from you.”

“You will get nothing from me,” Taron Koschei replied.

“Oh, I think I will.” Davie had withdrawn from his mind, but now he pressed both hands against Taron Koschei’s head and forced himself in. He protected his own mind with mental walls, but he broke down those that Taron Koschei had put up. He found what he needed. He withdrew, feeling as if he had touched something foul and rotten.

As he did so, he felt another telepathic voice in his head. It was Spenser, and his voice was urgent. He felt Brenda, too, but Spenser was stronger and overwhelming her.

“Something is happening,” he said to the guards. “Outside…”

Two of the men guarding Taron Koschei immediately turned to do Davie’s bidding. The foolish man saw his opportunity. He grabbed at Davie, who was still within his arms reach. He caught hold of his sonic screwdriver and held it threateningly. It was in penlight mode. Davie saw that at once and was unconcerned. But the police officers saw their prisoner with a weapon. Four shots rang out from two guns. Davie felt the movement of air as they streaked past him and into Taron Koschei’s head.

“No!” Davie called out. But it was too late. The prisoner was dead. He had little time to worry about it, though. Brenda’s panic was stronger now, and Spenser was quiet. He snatched up his sonic screwdriver that had fallen from the dead man’s grasp and ran through the house of death and out to the car.

Brenda was still in the back seat, crying with fear. Spenser was on the ground by the open door. Beside him was a man he had obviously been fighting, one of the Followers who had been missed in the round up. The Follower was dead, shot, like his leader, by the police. With hearts pounding in fear he turned to Spenser. He was relieved to find that he was merely unconscious. He looked at the gash on his head and was puzzled by it.

"This should have repaired by now. It's a minor wound. He's Gallifreyan."

"He's only part Gallifreyan," Brenda reminded him.

"His DNA is more Gallifreyan than mine. He must have a defective regenerative gene. It happens. Even with pure Gallifreyans. He might be all right after he transcends - or after his first regeneration."

Brenda said nothing. She had a strong suspicion that this was something Davie remembered from The Doctor's memories, not his own. He did that from time to time and it was disturbing. It wasn't helping her state of shock at this violent postscript to the events inside the house that had taken place right in front of her eyes.

"Something to deal with later," Davie added. "Meanwhile, he's ok. That's the main thing." He applied the sonic screwdriver in tissue repair mode to the a gash on Spenser's forehead and he recovered quickly. Brenda was partially reassured when she saw him stand up, but it was Spenser who told of the man who came out of nowhere and attacked them, of how he had fought, but had been knocked senseless. Brenda finished the story by telling how the police had arrived a few moments later and had shot the man as he tried to get her.

“It’s all right,” he assured her. “It’s over. The Followers of The Master are finished on this planet. Come on, get into the car. We’re going back to my TARDIS. We need to get home to Earth.

He sat between the two, hugging them both around the shoulders. Outriders on hoverbikes went ahead, clearing the lanes for them. As he felt their minds calm he reached out beyond them, finding Chris, many hundreds of light years away from them, on SangC’lune. He himself was calmed by his brother’s gentle mind.

“The cult is broken here. The leader is dead,” he reported. “But I have information. There are eight of them there on SangC’lune. They went to prepare… for when they had Marton.”

“I know,” Chris answered. “They’ve done some damage here. But we’re going to deal with it.”

“I’ll be with you in a while,” Davie said. “But I think I should go to Earth first. There are another four there. They’re after Marton and Granddad and the last report they sent, they had found them.”

“That’s more than I’ve done,” Chris answered. “I nearly connected with Marton once. But it was only fleeting.”

“Same here,” Davie reported. “I think it was a mistake for them to take on Human form. Neither of them can be contacted telepathically. They’re on their own and vulnerable. That’s why it’s up to me.”

“I can handle things here,” Chris promised. “You help granddad. Mum will never forgive us if he is hurt. Or Rose.”

“Be careful, my brother,” Davie said as he broke the link and felt again the minds of his fiancée and his platonic lover, his strength and support as he faced the prospect of a dangerous fight.


The Doctor grasped his sonic screwdriver in his hand as he stood up from the table. He turned and looked at Marton, who was puzzled by his sudden movement and his disturbed expression.

“Dad? What it is?” he asked.

“We have to get away. Now. They’re here. They’ve found us somehow.”

“Who’s found us?” Marton responded. “Dad… I don’t understand. Why are you so…”

The Doctor ran for the dining room door as Mrs Golightly took her four new guests up the stairs to their rooms. He stared up at them. One turned and looked at him, eyes boring into him as if they knew who and what he was. Then the party continued up to the first landing and turned out of sight. The Doctor turned the other way and ran out the front door of the hotel. Marton ran after him, just in time to see him stumble on the steps.

“Dad…” Marton was shocked to see The Doctor clutching his chest and breathing heavily, a cold sweat on his face. He reached out to hold him, yelling for help as he collapsed in his arms. He didn’t see the sonic screwdriver fall out of The Doctor’s hands as he sank to the ground, holding him tightly and still shouting for help as Mrs Golightly came running.


Chris had fully intended to wait until first light to explore the pyramids. But after the message from his brother he had not been able to sleep. He walked out into the village square, hoping the fresh air would do him good. He looked up at the two moons, remembering that time when he came here by himself, when there had been only one moon in the sky – the blood moon from which the planet was named. He remembered the girl he had briefly loved. He had committed himself fully to a life of celibacy. He never expected to find ordinary, romantic love again. But now and again he did think of her. Firinne, the pretty young thing who had almost persuaded him to abandon that commitment.

He looked to the north, to where the ruins of the temple were a dark outline against the starry sky even in the darkest of nights. Her tomb was there, in the place where they had fallen in love with each other before fate and the pale white moon tore them asunder.

He blinked and stared up at that place. There were lights. Moving lights, suggesting a group of people with torches. Something was happening tonight.

He made a decision. He slipped inside Maggiore’s house and roused his friends where they were sleeping in the warm living room. Dale and Daryl were together on one sleeping mat, cuddling close. He expected as much. In the Sanctuary they slept apart in male and female novice dormitories, accepting that as their own commitment. But when they were away from there they shared a sleeping mat or a blanket. But it was a pure love they had for each other and it did not prevent them from embracing the philosophy of life he was teaching them.

He woke Brón and Mac in their separate corners of the room and quietly explained what he had seen and what he had planned as they found shoes and outdoor cloaks and made ready to follow him. They slipped out of the house and quickly passed through the town to the open countryside that rose gently up to the plateau where the temple had been built millennia ago.

“Chris,” Mac said to him. “These people are armed.”

“Yes,” he answered. “They most probably are. They killed four of the townspeople.”

“We’re not armed.”

“Granddad would say that gives us the moral high ground.”

“Yes, but it also puts us at a tactical disadvantage.”

“Granddad would find a way to turn it to his advantage. By the time we get there, I’ll have figured out a way to do the same.”

“We’re not going to kill them. You’ve taught us that there’s always another way. A better way than that.”

“We won’t kill them. That’s not part of the plan. But I will make sure that they regret siding with The Master.”


Marton spent three long hours in the hospital waiting room, as The Doctor was taken into the emergency room. He paced the floor, holding back his tears, but certain that his only living relative was going to die.

“Mr Smith?” he turned as the surgeon, still in his green theatre scrubs came out to speak to him.

“Yes,” he answered. “My dad… is he all right. Please… please tell me he’s not dead.”

“He’s alive. But he’s critically ill. Your father had major heart surgery at some time in the past. A transplant. The micro-sutures that fixed the donor heart in place had begun to detach. We’ve repaired the damage, and he is on a course of anti-rejection drugs. His INR levels were very high, too. Those blasted aliens. I suppose he couldn’t get hold of a supply of anticoagulant. They killed people who needed drugs to live. I saw them do it. Many times.”

“I don’t know,” Marton answered. “I just… just need him to be alive. Can I see him?”

“You can spend a few minutes with him. But quietly. He won’t wake for several hours yet. Don’t even try to talk to him. The more rest he gets, the better.” The surgeon called to a nurse to escort Marton to the intensive care ward where The Doctor had been taken after his operation. Marton felt as if his legs didn’t belong to him as he followed her, and when he saw The Doctor he almost lost control of those tears he was holding back.

He looked deathly ill. He was on a life support machine and respirator, a tube fixed into his mouth and wires attached to the exposed part of his chest to monitor his heart and lungs. Mostly his chest was covered in bandages over the place where he had open heart surgery. There was, in addition, a sterile air hood over him. Marton couldn’t touch him even if he wanted to. He put his hands on the outside of the clear plastic cover and swallowed hard as his grief overwhelmed him.

“Dad,” he whispered. “Please, please, dad. Don’t die. I need you. I need you so much. I love you.”


Chris and his companions reached the top of the rise, keeping to the shadows. As they drew near they saw that the torches had been planted round the entrance to the cavern beneath the temple that the Time Lords had created long ago for the performance of their rituals. There were two men guarding the entrance.

“Brón, Daryl, you both know how to time fold? Didn’t granddad go through that with you before the war?”

“Yes,” they both answered.

“Mac and Dale, hold hands with them. They can include you in the fold if you have physical contact. We’ll take down the guards before they know we’re there.”

That part of the plan went easily enough. The two guards were silently felled by shadowy blurs that had been learning martial arts with The Doctor for several months. Chris bent and picked up their weapons while Dale and Mac gagged and bound them with their own ripped up shirts. He examined the guns and noted they were the kind that instantly cooked the internal organs of the victims. They were banned in every civilised part of the universe. He dropped them again and adjusted his sonic screwdriver to laser mode. The guns were broken into half a dozen unusable pieces in a few seconds.

“Ok, quietly,” he said. “Follow me. I want to see what’s going on down here.”

The passage was narrow, so they went single file anyway, going downhill for several minutes before it widened out into a gallery overlooking the cavern. It was clearly not a natural cave system. It was just too perfectly rounded and the steps leading down to the floor below were too neatly cut. And it was too big to actually be contained in the small hill above. But that was no surprise. It was a Time Lord place. Some relative dimensions were obviously involved in its creation.

Below, in front of the ‘altar’ dedicated to Rassilon, the other six members of the group of Followers were performing a ritual of some kind. They watched and listened for a while.

“It’s a preparation. For receiving the host… for the Master,” Chris said. “They expect their comrades to get hold of Marton, soon.”

“Maybe they already have?” Mac suggested. “We don’t know for sure what’s happening on Earth.”

“THEY don’t know what’s happened on Tibora. Even if they did have Marton, they haven’t got their leader. And he had the ‘seed’ in his own head. It’s all over one way or another. But this lot might want to make a fight of it.”

“Time fold again?” Daryl suggested.

“No. I don’t fancy it down all those steps. I wonder…” He looked at his sonic screwdriver. It had a setting for temporary stasis. But he had never used it on six people before. And never at this distance. But if he could help it… if the other two Gallifreyans with him could help…

“Brón, Daryl, I need you both with me. I need you to concentrate with me. Concentrate on the sonic screwdriver.”

“But… Chris…” Daryl protested. “You’re not going to kill them… you said…”

“No, I’m not. Of course, I’m not. You should know me by now. Come on…”

They stood next to him. It wasn’t strictly necessary, but he was glad they were close by. He aimed the sonic screwdriver down towards the chanting group of Followers and concentrated his mind on the stasis beam. He felt the others doing the same. He felt the extra power going into the tool in his hand and beaming down onto the Followers. They were caught in it and immobilised.

“Mac,” he called out. Come and hold the sonic screwdriver for me, now. I need to concentrate on something else. You two, keep your minds on it. Hold the stasis.”

He concentrated his mind on his TARDIS, parked as it was outside the village. This was something he had done many times before in practice, and a few times when it was necessary to get him out of a tight spot. It was a little harder because he had to tune out of the other two keeping their telepathic minds on augmenting the stasis, and because he was bringing it into a room that was built with the same sort of technology as his TARDIS. But he heard Dale and Mac both exclaim and he opened his eyes to see his TARDIS hovering in front of them in default mode. He opened the door and stepped aboard, running quickly to the console. He set the transmat to bring the six Followers of The Master aboard and then the TARDIS’s own stasis field ensured that they were safely immobilised until he was ready. He called to his friends and they came aboard. Mac returned his sonic screwdriver to him.

“Short hop up to the temple to pick up the other two,” he said. “Then I need a word with Maggiore. He needs to know that we have the ones who killed the four townspeople, and that we’re taking them to Tibora to be punished along with the rest of the cult.”

“Why not let the people here deal with them?” Dale asked.

“The people here have no prisons. They certainly have no death penalty. They have no word for murder. Until yesterday they had never experienced it. We need to take the source of that evil away from here and leave them in peace.”


Davie called Rose, first. She told him she didn’t know where The Doctor was. He wouldn’t tell her. That would be too easy, of course. He assured her that this was almost over and that he would find The Doctor and Marton, then he turned his mind to how to actually achieve that.

Trace the energy pattern of a sonic screwdriver. That was the obvious way. The Doctor’s sonic screwdriver was the only one currently on Earth as far as he knew. Chris had his with him. He had his own. Tristie wasn’t anywhere in this timezone at the moment.

He was right. There was only one possible energy trace. He located it on the south coast of England. He was slightly surprised and a little worried to find that it was at a hospital.

He was even more worried when he opened the door of the linen cupboard that had appeared in the corridor near the intensive care ward. His own sonic screwdriver signalled the presence of another sonic device in the pocket of one of the four men who passed by. He signalled quietly to Spenser to follow him and to Brenda to wait in the TARDIS and he stepped out into the corridor. The four men had paused at the door to the ward, looking through the window. One of them drew a weapon from his pocket. Davie recognised it as a Tissue Compression Eliminator.

“No!” he cried out as he reached for his own sonic screwdriver and set it to laser mode. A beam of red light shot out as he aimed it at the hand of the man who held the TCE. The horrible weapon fell to the floor.

“Time fold now,” he told Spenser and the two of them blurred as they swiftly covered the ground between them and the last four Followers of The Master still free. The fight was swift. The two emerged from the time fold and looked at the four men lying unconscious on the floor. Davie went back to the TARDIS and moved it up the corridor so that it was easier to drag them inside. Like his brother, he decided putting the prisoners in stasis was the easiest option. He sat them all in a row underneath the viewscreen before he did so.

“Come on,” he said when that was done. “We need to find Marton and granddad now.” He looked at The Doctor’s sonic screwdriver which he had confiscated from one of the men. It had been configured to trace a Human who had carried a sonic screwdriver. The Followers might be deranged, but they had knowledge of Time Lord technology. How one of them got hold of The Doctor’s sonic screwdriver he didn’t know. Perhaps he would ask them later. But right now, what interested him was that the trace was coming from inside the ward.

He opened the door and stepped inside the intensive care ward. He looked around and saw a nurse at her station look up at him. He looked back at her and used all the Power of Suggestion he could muster to tell her that he had every right to be there. Then he turned to where Marton was sitting next to a patient who seemed to be in need of the most intensive care possible.

“Granddad!” He was shocked when he drew close to the bed. Even last time he was ill, when his hearts had been damaged, he hadn’t looked so bad as this. He looked frail and mortal like a Human that was close to death. He glanced at the life support monitors. His blood pressure was fluctuating wildly.

“He’s going to die,” Davie said. “His body can’t cope with it. Being Human… he can’t do it.”

“What?” Marton stared at the stranger who was pushing back the sterile hood and reaching to detach the life support from his father. “Who are you? What are you doing? Stop. Leave my dad alone. Help…”

Davie was puzzled for a moment. Then he reached in his pocket and withdrew a small silver object – a fob watch with swirling Gallifreyan symbols on it. He passed it to Spenser.

“Deal with him,” he said. “I’ll look after granddad.”

Spenser grabbed Marton and pulled him away from the bed. He pressed the watch against his forehead and opened it. Marton screamed as golden artron energy poured out of the watch and enveloped him. He kept on screaming as the reversal of the Chameleon Arch process began, giving him back the Gallifreyan DNA he was born with and the memory of who he was.

Davie, meanwhile, pulled a second watch from his pocket and pressed it against The Doctor’s forehead. He opened it and watched as he, too, was enveloped. The life support monitors began to go crazy. Alarms rang out. The nurse, even with Davie’s Power of Suggestion to distract her, rose from her desk and came to see what was happening, and she wasn’t the only one. Spenser reached into Davie’s pocket and found his sonic screwdriver. He pointed it like a weapon at the nurse, a doctor, and three security guards who came running into the ward.

“We should have brought them both into the TARDIS first,” Spenser pointed out.

“He wouldn’t have made it that far,” Davie answered. “If he dies as a Human… he’s gone.” He looked at the monitors again. The readings were absolutely insane. If he was still purely Human he would be dying. But things were happening inside The Doctor’s body. His chemistry was changing, his organs reforming. He was becoming a Time Lord again. Suddenly the heart monitor began to register two heartbeats. Two strong hearts beating in syncopation. He pulled the breathing tube and the sensors away, and detached the drip from his arm. As he did so, The Doctor opened his eyes and looked up at him. He gave a soft groan and reached up to hold his head. He found the fob watch that was an intrinsic part of the Chameleon Arch and looked at it for a few seconds.

“Well done, Davie,” he said. “Can you find my clothes? We need to get out of here. There are Followers around.”

“They’re all rounded up. It’s over. I’m here to take you home to Rose. Our biggest problem just now is hospital security.”

“My biggest problem right now is him.” The Doctor pulled himself upright. He was still bandaged across the chest, but there was no need. The wound had repaired itself. He looked at Marton, who was standing there, his eyes full of wonder. Gallifreyan eyes with no tear ducts, but every bit as expressive as a Human. He reached out his arms to him. The boy ran to him.

“Doctor…” he said. “Doctor I….”

“I know,” he said. “It does your head in. We’ll talk about it later. I promise. But really we DO need to get out of here, now.”

Davie had looked in a cupboard and found his clothes. He took the bundle, but there was no time to dress. The security guards were not going to be held off by Spenser for long. He put the overcoat around himself and stood up, holding Marton by the shoulder.

“Thank you for all you have done for me,” he said to the astonished medical staff. “But I am, as you can see, quite well now. And I am sure you can use the bed for somebody who needs it more than I do. So I’ll be on my way.”

It was Power of Suggestion again, but The Doctor had a lot more practice than Davie. The whole crowd of doctors, nurses and security staff stood aside as the strange party walked past them. The Doctor’s power held them for several seconds more. Just long enough. When one of the security guards rushed outside into the corridor there was a strange sound and a rush of air from somewhere, but no sign of the patient who had walked away from an intensive care bed, or his son, or the strangers who had come for him.


The Doctor’s reunion with Rose and his children was an emotional one. He cried a lot as he hugged them all and promised he would never leave them again.

Later, he found a few minutes to talk to Marton. They walked together in the formal garden. Rose was watching them from the French door. She waved and smiled at The Doctor and he smiled back.

“She’s forgiven me,” he said. “I’m a lucky man. But what about you, Marton? How are you doing?”

“My memories seem to be straightening out properly now,” he answered. “But I still keep thinking about… the past weeks…. You and me.”

“I quite liked it when you called me dad,” The Doctor admitted. “But it’s time we got back to being who we really are.”

“It felt real. I thought you were… I…” He paused. “Doctor… I still… I still feel as if you are my father.”

“I’m not. And it’s probably better if you don’t dwell on it. The Chameleon Arch is a last resort. Not just because of the physical pain of it, but also the emotional impact.”

“I know. I understand. Tomorrow I should go and see my real father, and tell him everything’s all right. I think when I see him, it will all sort itself out in my head. But… it’s not a bad thing. Being your son, even for a while… was good.”

“I thought so, too.”

“My… The Master… my biological father… I still need to sort out how I feel about him. I should hate him. He did terrible things. And his Followers did even more terrible things.”

“I don’t want you to hate him, Marton,” The Doctor told him. “I never did. Not completely. I hated the things he did. I hated the hurt he caused to innocent people. But I never gave up hoping that he could be a better man. Marton, you can honour the memory of what he might have been by living up to that hope. You can be that better man. You can prove that his DNA is not flawed, that evil isn’t ingrained in his very genes.” He looked at Marton and saw the fear in his eyes as he contemplated the burden of his destiny. “I don’t mean that you have to do anything spectacular. You don’t have to save planets or discover the cure for every ailment in the universe or anything like that. If you become a Time Lord in your own right, and live by the code of honour Time Lords have always lived by – if you find a nice woman and bring a family into the world who will bear those same genes and go on to be honest, decent people, then that’s enough.”

“I might do that,” he said. “In the future. If I am going to be a Time Lord, then I have plenty of future to do it in. I might… first of all I might sign up for the cloistered life with Chris for a decade or so. I have to learn to harness the power that’s in me… the legacy of my biology. I think the Sanctuary is the place where I can do that.”

“Good enough,” The Doctor answered. “Meanwhile… I’d better get back to Rose. I’m not sure she isn’t still contemplating divorce if I don’t do a whole lot more making up with her.”

“I’ll go and find Chris and ask him about signing up for a long term package,” Marton answered. “But first…” He turned and hugged The Doctor. “Before the feeling goes away completely,” he said. “Dad…”

“Son,” The Doctor replied. He thought of his one time friend, his cousin by marriage. He said that short but meaningful word for him, and hoped that, in some way, his soul was touched by the warmth and the sweetness of fatherly love that he was experiencing on his behalf.