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

The Doctor was doing domestic again. It was the first day at their new secondary school for Vicki and Sukie and he was elected to pick them up. He waited in the school car park, reminiscing about Coal Hill School, which was close enough to the junk yard where he and Susan lived for her to walk home even in foggy sixties London.

That this school opened at all was testament to the Human ability to bounce back from adversity. It was almost possible to forget that the planet had been under siege just a few months ago. Just three weeks later than usual, the school year had begun. Only the still haunted looks on the faces of some of the parents at the gate told the true tale of life in this autumn of 2219. But time, and this semblance of normality, would heal them, too.

He saw the girls and waved. They headed towards the car and climbed into the back seat.

“How was your day?” he asked as they fastened seatbelts and he started the car.

“It was… ok,” Vicki answered. But The Doctor couldn’t help thinking she wasn’t telling the truth.

“It was awful,” Sukie contradicted her. “Granddad, could we be home educated? I really hate it. And it’s not as if there’s anything we could learn.”

“You can learn how to be a part of Human society and not stand out from the crowd,” he answered. “It’s a good school. You were put into the top stream, weren’t you?”

“Yes,” Vicki answered. “We made a FEW mistakes on the tests this morning, so we didn’t look too clever. But it was no trouble. It’s not that. It’s…”

“We got picked on for being aliens,” Sukie said.

“You didn’t tell….” The Doctor was aghast. “We went through that…”

“It wasn’t just us,” Vicki explained. “Some of the bigger kids were doing it to all the first years. Jimmy Forrester was with us. They did it to him, too. Only he kicked them. It’s a very silly game. They don’t really know who is an alien and who isn’t.”

“You two aren’t aliens,” The Doctor told them. “You were both born right here on this planet. It’s nonsense.”

But it was nonsense that was gaining momentum. He knew that well enough. He thought about Mrs Golightly, the landlady in Weymouth who had been so kind to him and Marton a little while ago. She was a perfectly nice, decent woman, but she disliked aliens, especially the ones who didn’t look Human, like the reptilian Ay'Ydiwons. It was a simple, almost natural, fear of the unlike. But people had also remembered that the Dominators looked just like them, and the idea that there were aliens who looked Human was catching on. The Dominators had segregated people according to species within their work camps, making those with stronger constitutions and any special abilities work much harder and longer. The fact that aliens lived on Earth even before the invasion had taken hold in the public mind, and it had reacted badly. Despite the fact that aliens had actually come to their aid and rescued their planet, a hardening of attitudes was beginning to show. The common thought was that those allies from beyond the solar system should be thanked politely for their help but plainly told that Earth would take care of itself now. Meanwhile there had been incidents in the news of individuals attacked for being alien, windows broken, children intimidated in the street, workers told to leave their jobs because they made the other staff uncomfortable. Bullying in school such as Vicki and Sukie described was only the tip of the iceberg.

It had reached government level. Christopher had gone to the City this very afternoon to attend a session in which the alien problem was going to be discussed. He went alone. Usually Jackie and Garrick went with him and after his parliamentary business was done they had supper in the old Westminster restaurant and stayed the night in their Millbank flat. It was a measure of how worried he was that he left them at home this time.

He was right to be worried, The Doctor reflected. If it was revealed that the Secretary of State for Foreign and Extra-Terrestrial Affairs was, himself, one of the aliens they were discussing, then there would be serious trouble. As it was, that secret was kept by a few members of the Cabinet.

“Never mind,” The Doctor said brightly, pushing those thoughts aside. “I’m sure tomorrow will be better. And you’ll soon settle in. “How about, after tea, we have a little TARDIS trip? You two, and Peter. Then Rose can have a quiet evening with the babies.

“Can we go to Candika IV?” Sukie asked. “I like the beach there. Building sandcastles with blue and purple sand is fun. And we can teach Peter to swim… well, paddle, anyway.”

That plan was modified slightly. Jackie and Rose both decided that a couple of hours on an alien beach sipping cool drinks would suit them, too. So did Susan who had come to pick up Sukie. It became a bit of a family outing. And why shouldn’t it? Half an hour after tea on a cool autumn evening, they were all relaxing on a sub-tropical beach under a sun-awning. The two girls and Peter made blue and purple sandcastles – faithful reproductions of actual castles, of course. The Doctor kept his wife and daughter-in-law supplied with cool drinks from the TARDIS kitchen and took turns holding his grandson, now a healthy, bouncing nine-month old, and his own youngest children. Julia and Jack were growing fast. He felt less scared to hold them now. He felt guilty about the weeks of their life he had missed. They had grown a lot during that time. But he fully intended now to make up for that time with every spare moment he had. He would do his best for all of his children.

They returned home after four hours of beach fun, but only two hours away from the house, of course, The children and adults alike were sun-warmed and sticky with blue-purple sand that had stuck to the sun lotion. Christopher wasn’t back, yet. Nor was he when they had all showered and changed and come down to a family dinner together. Susan took Sukie home. Vicki did the small amount of homework she had from school and spent an hour telepathically linked with Sukie as her father taught them the lessons he thought they needed on top of their Earth education. She went to bed. Peter and Garrick and the babies were already asleep. Jackie and Rose waited up a little longer, but by ten o’clock The Doctor was alone in the drawing room, waiting for his eldest son to come home so he could spend a little quality time with him. He let a glass of single malt warm his throat as he closed his eyes and reached out his mind to his two great-grandsons.

“Hey,” he said in greeting. “How are you two, this evening?”

“We’re fine,” Chris answered. “We’ve just spent a pleasant couple of hours playing multi-dimensional chess. Davie and Spenser teamed up against me and Marton. They won. Spenser is so in tune with Davie these days, they think… well… like Davie and I do…”

There was no jealousy in his words. Chris was still close to his brother. But Spenser had made their duet a trio and he accepted him that way.

Chris’s tone changed, though, as he turned the subject to his students.

“Some of them are worried again,” he said. “They’d settled down pretty much all right, coping with the trauma and loss a lot of them had suffered in the invasion. My meditation techniques helped them cope with it. But now… they’re all worried about this ‘Alien Registration’ thing that’s being proposed.”

“Alien Registration?” The Doctor was startled. “It’s not as bad as that, surely?”

“Yes, it is,” Chris answered him. “You’ve been busy, distracted. You didn’t read the papers. Granddad, it’s what Christopher is doing right now. Opposing a Bill that would make it compulsory for aliens to declare themselves.”

“What!” The Doctor reached for the remote control and turned on the TV mounted on the drawing room wall. He selected channel 56, where parliamentary debates were broadcast live whenever there was a session in progress. It was still going on. Nobody had even dared call a 10 o’clock guillotine on it. In the wide shots of the Cabinet bench – actually rather comfortable padded chairs, but the old word remained – he saw Christopher sitting next to his friend, Matthew, whose wheelchair replaced two of the seats. Both looked grim as they listened to the member for Crewe outlining why he felt that aliens had to be registered and enumerated.

“This Bill will PROTECT the aliens, the non-terrestrials,” he was saying. “Providing they declare themselves fully and without reservation they will have full and equal employment rights, full entitlements to housing, social welfare…”

“Will they be required to wear a yellow star on their person at all times?” Nobody was sure which member made the comment, but The Doctor noted Christopher’s wry expression as the words echoed around the chamber and were clearly heard on the broadcast.

“Of course not,” the Member for Crewe replied. “But obviously their alien status will be stated on their ID cards. Failure to disclose non-terrestrial origin will incur fines and possibly imprisonment… Failure to declare non-terrestrial origin to the relevant authorities….”

“What about those of Earth-origin who may be married to non-terrestrials. Or, indeed, the children of such unions?”

The Doctor saw at once why the Member for York East asked that question. In the artificial light of the parliament chamber it was actually easy to tell he was a Dorillian. His skin was very faintly blue. Though only somebody like himself and Christopher, with their eyes able to pick up far more colours than the Human eye could process, would have realised it. He knew the man had a wife and several children. He had lived on Earth for twenty years and made a life for himself here.

As they had, here at Mount Lœng House. Two of his children had been born in this house. The babies had been registered as having been born here, even though they weren’t. He had put down those same roots that Susan had yearned for fifty years before he finally succumbed to the idea. He liked being a citizen of Earth, a citizen of London. He thought of himself as a Gallifreyan, a Time Lord. He never forgot his real roots, his heritage, his proud lineage. But Earth had felt a good substitute for the home he had lost.

But now all that could change. If this Bill passed, life would never be the same for any of them. Yes, it was being presented as a way of protecting aliens. But that was just political flim-flam. Equal status was promised to any alien who declared himself, but at the same time harsh penalties were threatened if he failed to declare himself.

And how easy was it to amend a Bill like this once enacted, to take away voting rights, to ban inter-species marriage, to force non-terrestrials to live in designated areas, to force them into camps with barbed wire and guards….

The yellow star comment was accurate and appropriate.

“What will happen to us?” Chris asked telepathically. “That’s what they’re all asking. What about the Sanctuary? What if people realise that almost half of the students are alien?”

“Chris, don’t worry,” The Doctor told him. “Christopher will do something. I trust him. He used to be one of the best speakers in the High Council. He used to make them all sit up and listen. And that takes some doing. He’ll put a stop to this. So you tell your students not to worry. And you don’t let it burden you. Your mind should be full of your precious dreams, your beautiful philosophy, not politics.”

“But my dreams, my philosophy, will be affected by this political problem. It’s hard to ignore it. Unless I spend my whole time in deep meditation. Besides, there’s mum. She wasn’t even born on Earth. At least me and Davie, and even Spenser and Marton have Earth birth certificates. What about mum?”

“I’ll look after your mum, Chris. Don’t you fret.”

“Who’ll look after you?”

That question was answered a few moments later. He had finished talking to Chris and put the television off. He swallowed the rest of his drink and thought about pouring another one. Then the door opened softly. Jack came into the room.

“Hellina is sleeping,” he said. “The drugs are doing good, helping her body accept the skin grafts.”

“I haven’t had chance to look in on her today,” The Doctor said. “I’m sorry.”

“That’s ok.” Jack took his empty glass and refilled it, pouring one for himself, too. Then he came and sat on the carpeted floor beside The Doctor in his armchair. He reached out his hand to his old friend and found it grasped firmly. “I saw the TV. It’s not good.”

“All the fights I’ve had, against insurmountable odds, against monsters from hell, megalomaniacs with universal domination on their minds. How do I fight the Human race if it decides I’m the enemy within?”

“You can count on me, anyway,” Jack promised him.

“I know I can. We’ve not exactly had the easiest of paths, Jack. But I know I can count on you. I’ve known that for a long time. Ever since that first time… when you risked your life with that damned bomb, to save me and Rose and most of East London.”

“You made an honest man of me.”

“You already were an honest man. You just didn’t get a chance to prove it.”

“No, I wasn’t. You did it. I saw you…giving your whole self to save others. To save this planet. Again, and again. The Dalek invasion they all talk about – fifty years ago, now. You were there, weren’t you. And so many other times. This hatred of aliens – I understand where they’re coming from. They all got so hurt by the Dominators. But if they turn on you… then that’s so wrong. You’re the one alien they ought to be praising… they ought to be thanking you for their lives… the way I do.”

The Doctor said nothing in reply. He just put down his glass and slid down off the chair until he was sitting next to Jack on the floor. He was still holding hands with him and he smiled as Jack’s other arm slipped around his shoulder. He rested his head against Jack’s and felt comforted by his closeness.

“I hope Rose doesn’t come down and see us like this,” The Doctor giggled. “She’ll be jealous.”

“No, she won’t. She understands,” Jack assured him. “Besides, you’ve been my rock through a lot of hard times, Doctor. Time I repaid the compliment.”

The Doctor sighed and said nothing for a very long time. In the quiet room he listened to Jack’s breath next to his own and the sound of three hearts beating in two bodies, Human and Time Lord in a complex syncopation.

Human and Time Lord – Human and alien. When it was just the two of them, it didn’t seem so complicated. It was other people who had a problem with it.

The Humans had a point, he reflected. None of the non-terrestrials who had come to this planet had ever gone through any proper immigration procedure. That was, of course, because there wasn’t one. Nobody on Earth expected to need one. But the fact remained that they were all illegal aliens. He himself had been responsible for bringing more than two hundred of his own species to this planet. Their dispersal among the Human population of the geographical British Isles was done secretly, and involved the sort of string pulling that could get Christopher into a lot of trouble if it ever came to light. Assuming that the fact that he, himself, was also an alien didn’t overshadow everything else. They had all hid their true origins and taken on false identities. And if Humans felt they had been deceived, then they were right. They had been. For good reasons, for the best of reasons, with honest intentions, but even so, they had been deceived.

And now, it seemed, the game was up and they were all going to have to account for themselves.

“I’ll stick by you, Doc,” Jack whispered as if he had read his thoughts.

“I know you will,” The Doctor replied.

Both of them blinked as the overhead light came on suddenly. Christopher saw that the room was occupied and dimmed it again before he stepped closer and looked with a faintly quizzical smile at his father and his friend sitting on the floor with their arms entwined. There were a couple of glasses of alcohol around, but he knew neither of them were drunk.

“You got home fast,” The Doctor said to him.

“The debate was adjourned at eleven,” he replied in a weary tone. “We continue tomorrow. I came out of the chamber and Davie was waiting for me. He came to pick me up in the TARDIS, because he figured I’d be too tired to drive home.”

“Sweet boy,” Jack commented.

“That he is,” Christopher agreed. “So… is this some sort of private carpet party going on or can anyone join in?”

“Private,” The Doctor answered. “But room for one more if you feel you need a hug from your old dad.”

Christopher poured himself a drink first and then came to sit on the carpet with them. The Doctor put his arm around his son’s waist and pulled him close. Five hearts were beating in syncopation, now. A whole percussion section. Christopher sighed blissfully to feel that close contact with his father. In Earth years, they looked near enough the same age. They looked more like brothers than father and son. But in their own measure of time. Christopher was a generation apart. On Gallifrey he had been a High Councillor. He was a Cabinet Minister here on Earth. He was always a powerful man. People looked up to him. But he looked up to his father just as he did when he was a boy.

“The Bill will probably pass in some form eventually,” he said after a while, knowing that it was what was on their minds. “We’re trying to make it a little less draconian. We might stop them giving the police powers to stop and arrest anyone suspected of being non-terrestrial, and the power to search homes without a warrant. Nor will the carrying of ID cards be mandatory. And I think we’ll get them to reduce the penalties for failure to disclose. It’ll be fines, rather than imprisonment.”

“Small mercies,” The Doctor answered. “How do they intend to make it work? They would have to DNA test every citizen of Great Britain to determine who is pure Human and who isn’t.”

“France, Russia and the United States of America are planning to do that,” Christopher said. “Ireland, Spain and Germany are waiting to see if their legislation passes before making similar decisions.” He sighed. “As extreme as it sounds, that is actually a much fairer way of doing it. Every citizen, Human or otherwise, would have a biometric ID card. There’s an equality of a sort in that. But what we’re doing… essentially we’re requiring non-terrestrials to voluntarily declare themselves, and to punish anyone suspected of not declaring themselves. It won’t protect those who do declare themselves. It will simply open them up to abuse.”

“It will turn the whole country in on itself,” Jack pointed out. “People will be reporting each other as suspected aliens, just out of spite, because of arguments over hedges or who looked at whose girl in the pub.”

“Yes, it will,” The Doctor sighed. “And what do I tell our people? I brought them here so that they would be free. Chris’s students… he asked earlier. At least half of them have non-terrestrial parents, even those born on Earth. And the Humans among them have the sort of abilities that would make them targets for the prejudice that this is engendering. What do I tell them?”

“Father,” Christopher answered quietly. “If the Bill passes, you have to tell them… to obey the law. We put it into our own Constitution. We must abide by the law of the land. You must tell them to declare themselves. And… you… we… must lead by example.”

“You’ll be exposed. You’ll lose your position in the Cabinet.”

“I know. But it’s the right thing to do. We have no alternative.”

“We could leave,” The Doctor said. “Tibora or Adano-Ambrado… either of those planets would take us, all of us. Chris could take his students back to SangC’lune and build his Sanctuary there. We could leave Earth to its own devices.”

“That’s not you talking, Doc,” Jack told him. “You’d never give in so easily. You’re tired and worried. You’re thinking of your kids and not wanting them to be hurt. But you’d never just give in. And I don’t think you’d just give up on Humanity. After all the times I’ve seen you fight for them. You wouldn’t give up on them.”

“Wouldn’t I?” The Doctor’s eyes glittered angrily. “All those times that I’ve fought for them. I never asked for reward, medals. I never asked for, never expected, my name on a roll of honour, statues in the park, schools named after me… But I never expected quite such a hefty kick in the teeth, either. And it’s started already. The rot is setting in. The children in school, bullies using it as a reason to pick on the weak… Mrs Golightly in her hotel… I can just picture her now, putting up a sign ‘no aliens’. And she’s one of the nice people.”

“It’s already gone too far,” Christopher agreed. “We DO need legislation now. To prevent prejudices like that. But the legislation we’re going to pass won’t do that. It will validate Mrs Golightly’s fears and legalise her actions. It will put bricks and batons in the hands of thugs and expose the innocent to them.”

“So what are you going to do?” Jack asked him. “Your dad… all of us… we’re looking to you this time, Christopher. You’re the one who can do something. He’s always telling me how brilliant you are as a politician. How you used to run rings around them all on Gallifrey, and now you’re the shining light of British democracy.”

“It was a lot easier with the High Council. Most of them hadn’t heard a new idea in centuries. They tended to be reeling in shock when one was introduced. Here, I’m up against people who argue back, people who have ideas of their own.”

“So you’re giving in, too?”

“No, I mean to fight it every inch of the way. I’ll try to make sure that the legislation is fair. I’m not alone. Moira doesn’t like it. Nor do any of the Cabinet. The ones who were with me when the Dominators took us prisoner... they haven’t forgotten what you did, father. Nor you, Jack. But Primus Inter Pares… it means that Moira’s influence over the chamber can only go so far. It’s not like on Gallifrey where the president could overrule the majority if he chose. And if she goes too far against this she could end up with a vote of No Confidence and we’ll all be powerless.”

“I still reckon you can do it,” Jack told him. “You’re his son. You won’t give up. It’s not in your genes to let something beat you.”

“Jack thinks I’m invincible,” The Doctor said.

“So do I,” Christopher answered him. “I’ve never been so certain about me. But I will fight to the last. As long as you, do, father. We’re not going to leave Earth. So don’t even think of that, again.”

“It has to be our last option. If living here becomes untenable.”

It was the last thing he wanted. He liked Earth. He always had. Even when Gallifrey still existed, he preferred to live there. He had spent more time among Humans than among his own kind. He didn’t want to give up on them. Tibora, Adano Ambrado, either were good places to live. But he would always feel a refugee there, an exile. He wanted to live on Earth, the place he called home.

He sighed again and hugged Jack and Christopher together. He was glad to be able to hold them both. His son, and his closest friend.

“Do you think we ought to consider getting up off this carpet and going to bed?” Christopher said after a while. “Jackie will be wondering where I am.”

“Yes,” The Doctor agreed. “We probably should.” They all three started to stretch their limbs and stand up. As they did so, The Doctor’s mobile phone rang. He noted that it was Martin, who had been doing his late night duty patrolling the grounds.

“Sir,” he said in an urgent tone. “We’ve got a breach of the south perimeter.”

Martin’s very militaristic way of describing the boundaries of his home made The Doctor smile despite the seriousness of the report.

“You mean the river?”

“Yes, sir. At least four people. Maybe more.”

“I’m on it.” The Doctor grabbed his jacket and raced towards the French door. Christopher and Jack glanced at each other and then ran after him.

The land surrounding Mount Lœng House was bounded on three sides by eight foot high walls. On top of the walls were another six feet of static disruption fields that prevented hover cars from getting in by any means other than the security coded front gate. That was standard security for any large property. There was also an anti-transmat field covering the house and gardens. That was a bit more unusual.

On the south side, though, the River Thames formed what they always considered to be a natural barrier against thieves. There was no wall, because it was nice to look out over the river. It was one of the selling points of the property.

But at low tide, it was just possible to walk along the river bank, if you wore very big boots and didn’t mind getting covered in mud. Martin and Geoff had both pointed out that weak spot in their security but The Doctor had dismissed the possibility of any serious thief coming that way.

Now, as Martin shone a torch over the glistening mud and he saw the distinct footprints of at least four people coming up onto the bank, he knew he owed his chief security officers an apology.

“Where did they go?” he asked. He turned and looked as Christopher and Jack joined him. “No, one of you at least get back to the house. Look after my family.” Christopher turned and ran back. Jack pulled up his sleeve and looked at his old Time Agent wristlet that he had never given up wearing even though it was years since he left the agency.

“That way,” he said. “Towards the Sanctuary. I make it five of them. Go carefully. They could be armed.”

Martin drew his stun gun, the only weapon The Doctor permitted in his home and silently indicated that the three of them should split up and surround the lifesigns that Jack had identified. The Doctor took out his sonic screwdriver and set it in scanner mode as he followed the river path that ran past the shining white wall of the Sanctuary.

He spotted one of the trespassers straight away. He folded time and reached him in a blur. The first the teenager in a dark, hooded jacket knew was when his spray can flew from his hand and he found himself pinned against the wall he had been covering with graffiti.

“Aliens go home?” The Doctor read the words scrawled in red paint over the beautiful bas relief symbols of peace and unity that Chris’s friend Chiv had adorned the wall with. Actually, it read ‘Aleins go hom.’ He was working on the ‘e’ when he was caught, but the misspelled first word was inexcusable.

“Where are the rest of your pals?” The Doctor asked. He reckoned the boy to be about sixteen, and he wasn’t as forceful with him as he might be. But he had him firmly in his grip. “What are you up to?”

“Torching this place,” the boy answered. “Aliens live here. It’s a breeding place for them. They’re going to take us over again from here.”

“Says who?” The Doctor asked.

“Says my brother,” he answered. “He’s a space cadet and when he gets to fly ships, he’s going to blast all the aliens to hell.”

“Oh, don’t be so bloody silly,” The Doctor answered. “The Earth space programme is about colonisation of the outer planets of your solar system and ferrying supplies to them. Your brother is going to be a glorified truck driver. That’s assuming he isn’t one of the idiots who broke in here. The Space Programme don’t take people with criminal records.”

The boy looked rather less certain of himself. He certainly wasn’t the ringleader, just a hanger on who had joined in with the mischief. He adjusted his grip and pressed on a pressure point on his neck that, properly applied, caused immediate unconsciousness. He caught the boy as he collapsed and left him sleeping in the grass as he continued round the Sanctuary wall.

He came to the fire door and noticed that it had been forced open. He stepped inside and saw two boys not much older than the one he had already caught. They were trying to set fire to the roof of the meditation room with petrol filled bottles stuffed with rags. They might have succeeded, if their lighter had worked.

“Drop it,” The Doctor ordered as he grabbed them both by the scruff of their necks. The boy with the lighter did exactly as he said. He dropped the lighter and the bottle, which smashed on the paving stones at his feet. He screamed as the lighter sparked and the petrol ignited around his feet and crept up his legs where spills and fumes from the home made incendiaries had infused into the fabric of his trousers.

The Doctor acted fast. He grabbed the other boy and pushed him into the reflecting pool. It wasn’t deep enough for him to drown, but it soaked his clothes and prevented him from being burned, too. Then he pushed the first boy to the ground and covered him with his own body as he rolled and smothered the flames. The boy’s shrieks brought others running. Chris and Davie both emerged from their living quarters, followed by Spenser and Marton. They ran with fire extinguishers to douse the fire that was creeping along the flagstones while the boy in the pool was taken in hand. Martin and Jack reached the courtyard with two other boys caught with spray cans outside the Sanctuary and the still unconscious one that The Doctor had left on the riverbank.

“Bring them all to the dining room,” The Doctor said. “We’ll decide what to do with them once we have their story straight.” He turned to look at the burnt boy. His injuries were not as bad as they might have been. Mostly superficial. But they were painful. He was crying and groaning in his distress. As his comrades in arms were taken away The Doctor adjusted his sonic screwdriver to tissue repair mode and applied it to the wounds. It cooled and soothed like a balm as it eased the reddened, burnt flesh and regenerated the affected skin.

“Stop crying,” The Doctor told him. “You’re all right, now. Come on, stand up.”

He helped the still shocked boy to stand. As he did so he noticed something around his neck. A ribbon. He reached and pulled out the medal hidden under his jumper. He recognised it at once. As the infrastructure of Human society was restored in the wake of the Dominator invasion, the government had remembered to recognise the heroism of individuals who had played any small part in resisting the enemy. A medal had been struck. Rumours that they were made from the melted down bodies of the cyborgs were false. But a series of ceremonies had taken place across the country, naming and honouring the nation’s heroes.

And no, he didn’t mind that he had not been one of them. He had never sought that kind of recognition. Those who knew the part he had played in the counter attack also knew that he would not have accepted a medal even if it was offered.

“Is that stolen?” he asked the boy. “It’s certainly not yours.”

“It is. It was given to me by the President. My father died fighting those aliens. They killed him.”

“Ah.” Of course, many of the medals were awarded posthumously. “I’m sorry to hear that. But do you seriously think you do your father’s memory any honour by taking part in this vandalism?”

“Aliens killed him. I want to kill aliens. I want them to burn… as he did.”

“Come here.” The Doctor’s hand gripped the boy’s shoulder tightly and propelled him towards the dining room where the others had already retreated. Most of the residents of the Sanctuary were there, along with Jack and Martin and the other four trespassers. Milk, cheese and fruit had been distributed in an unexpected late night meal. The trespassers were included in the feast. Their expressions when The Doctor stepped inside with the fifth member of their gang were mixed. They were relieved that he was able to walk in, and wasn’t as badly wounded as they feared. But the dark expression on The Doctor’s face filled them with trepidation.

“Stand up,” he said to the four of them. “Look around you. Look at these people whose lives you were threatening with your foolish ideas. Tell me which of them you think are the aliens?”

All five boys looked around at the young people dressed in their simple meditation robes adorned with Chris’s chosen symbol, the Earth Dreamer inside the Gallifreyan hexagon. People who had offered them hospitality and had not yet said anything about calling the police.

“I don’t know,” the injured boy answered. “They all look like us. But so did the Dominators.”

“The Dominators are gone,” The Doctor said. “Earth is at peace again. It’s over. You have to let it go. You all have to let it go and learn to live again. It’s not easy, I know. I do know, believe me. I’ve been there. I’ve felt like you do. I’ve lost people I love and I’ve hurt like you. And I’ve wanted to strike back. But we won. The Dominators have been dealt with. Those that weren’t destroyed in the battle are being punished as war criminals. Your father’s death is vindicated. There is nothing to gain by attacking this place, or these people.”

“Are you going to call the police?” the boy asked.

“It’s not up to me,” The Doctor answered. “Chris… it’s your property they’ve vandalised. What do you think?”

“Let them have something to eat, then send them home,” Chris answered. “They’re just children. They’re not our enemy.”

“Sit down then,” The Doctor said to the boy. He pressed him into a seat with his friends and he was given food. The Doctor watched them for a while. They seemed to have accepted that there was nobody who bore them any ill will within the Sanctuary.

“They’re not the real problem, though,” Jack commented as he stood with The Doctor. “They’re kids. It’s the adults that are feeding them all these ideas. They need to be shown that they’ve got nothing to fear.”

“I think I know how,” The Doctor answered as he glanced at the boy with his father’s medal tucked back under his jumper. “When they’re ready, can you drive them back to wherever they came from. I’m going to talk to Christopher.”

It was a plan that took time to organise. But two days later, when the Parliament of Great Britain convened in the New Millennium Dome, the public gallery was full. So was the Press Gallery, and the special, extraordinary Debate that had been called by the Secretary of State for Foreign and Extra-Terrestrial Affairs was being covered on seven television news channels as well as channel 56, where parliamentary affairs were usually broadcast.

The Secretary of State for Foreign and Extra-Terrestrial Affairs, the Honourable Christopher de Lœngbærrow, member for Richmond upon Thames was called by the Speaker of the House. He stood and took the floor. There was silence from the government and the opposition benches.

“The Registration of Non-Terrestrial Citizens Bill is due to go before this House for its First Reading next week,” he said. “Before then, I want to bring to the attention of Members certain facts which must be taken into consideration. Namely, how to identify non-terrestrials – aliens – in our society.”

“Stick pins in them and find out what colour their blood is,” shouted somebody from the Opposition Benches. The Speaker called for order. Christopher waited until he had it before continuing to speak.

“How do we decide who is an alien. How do we define an alien? Michael Sweeney, MP for Leeds, you have been fully in support of the internment of suspected aliens without trial. The term of their internment to be indefinite? I wonder how your ancestors would feel about that. The ones who came to Britain from Ireland three hundred and seventy years ago to escape a famine there.” He turned from Sweeney to another member of the House. “Jacob Rosen, Member for Tower Hamlets, in 1939 your Jewish ancestors escaped from Poland ahead of the Nazi Final Solution. What do you think they would say to your idea to allow the police powers to detain citizens suspected of being of non-terrestrial origin? Moira Greenwood… madam president, you were born and bred in Scotland, but your grandparents were political refugees from a small African nation whose government had declared genocide against people born outside of the ruling tribe. Would they be happy to see Britain become a place where people are segregated according to their race?”

“No, Christopher,” Moira answered. “They would not. But… I don’t see what…”

“Britain has always been a place where oppressed people found peace, freedom, the right to walk down the street unmolested, and to see the police and military as protecting them, not oppressing them. Are we to go against that long tradition?” He gave them a few seconds to consider the matter before turning and picking out the face of another of his colleagues on the Government side of the House. “Glyn Johnson, Right Honourable Member for York East, where did your parents come to Britain from?”

“I…” The Member for York East looked scared, and betrayed. “Christopher… you don’t really want me to… In front of everyone… the TV…”

“Please, Glyn,” Christopher replied. “I know that you are a man of courage. Do this for the sake of your children and their future.”

The Member for York East swallowed hard and spoke, very clearly, with only a slight tremor in his voice.

“My parents came to Earth fifty-five years ago, when I was a small child, from a planet called Dorrillia. It was destroyed by a race called the Sontarans. A few refugees made their escape and came here because they hoped they would find peace and freedom. They had five years of that peace and freedom before the Daleks came. My father was one of the resistance fighters who drove them out. My mother raised me in peace in the aftermath of that war. She died three years ago. My own family survived the Dominator invasion, for which I thank Providence. But we now live in fear of our neighbours and even our friends.”

“Thank you, Glyn,” Christopher said. “Barry Kayne, Member for Crewe, you were in favour of compulsory identification cards for anyone of mixed race born on this planet. That would have included the children of your colleague, the Right Honourable Member for York East.”

“Yes,” he said. “If that is the truth, then his children are aliens. They should be registered.”

“What about your own children?”

“My children are not aliens. I am Human.”

“Are you, indeed? What if your DNA was analysed and the truth was revealed. Your grandmother, on your father’s side, if I am not mistaken, was Yalterian. Yalteria was a small planet in the Orion sector. It was also destroyed by the Sontarans. The refugees established themselves on Earth at the same time that Moira’s grandparents were fleeing genocide in Africa. What makes it acceptable for one set of refugees to find peace here, and not the other? Why should your alien blood be condemned but not Moira’s African ancestry?”

“How could you know…” Kayne demanded. “I am not. I am pure Human.”

“So you would refuse to declare yourself as an alien under the proposed legislation? You would be prepared to go to prison as a defaulter for refusing to admit your mixed blood? You of all people are going to stand up and champion the cause of non-terrestrials and their descendents against this unfair legislation? Or would you prefer one of these people to do it for you?”

He turned to the public gallery and nodded. Jack Harkness stood up, in his 22nd Space Corps dress uniform. He walked down the steps from the gallery to the debating chamber assisting a man with one leg amputated at the knee who wore the uniform of a Metropolitan police officer. They walked slowly to the Table in front of the Cabinet seats.

“Thank you for coming, sir,” Christopher said to him. “I’ll make sure somebody fetches you a chair in a moment. But please, would you tell this House, who you are?”

“I am Josh Hanrahan. I lost the lower part of my leg in the fight against the Dominators. I was born on a planet forty million light years from here. I escaped from there when the Dominators enslaved the population. I made my home on Earth and rebuilt my life here. When those same fiends threatened this planet, I fought back with every ounce of my strength.”

He reached in his pocket and put something on the table. It was a medal given to those who had helped in the fight against the Dominators. He stepped back and Jack helped him sit in a chair that somebody had hurriedly found. As he did so, several more people came down from the public gallery. They all stated their names, and their planets of origin and placed their medals on the table. Christopher was proud that several of them were born on Gallifrey.

“Madam Home Secretary,” Christopher said, turning to the elegant, blonde haired woman who sat on the Government bench. “I understand that some eighteen prosecutions are being considered against British citizens who collaborated with the Dominators. That's obviously not counting the American Ambassador who has been extradited to his own country for trial. Can you tell me how many of those eighteen people are of alien origin.”

“As far as I know, none of them are,” she answered. Then she continued. “But I do know that my life was saved by an alien called The Doctor. I think you know him, Christopher.”

“Yes, I do,” he replied. “He is my father. I, too, am an alien. I am Chrístõdavõreendiamaendhaertmallõupdracœfiredelunmiancuimhnemiraglo de Lœngbærrow. I came to Earth as an exile from my home planet – Gallifrey, which was destroyed by an old enemy common to us all – the Daleks.”

There was a shocked silence around the chamber. He wasn’t sure if it was because he had admitted to being an alien, or because he had mentioned the word that put fear in the hearts of so many – Daleks.

“So,” Christopher continued. “Stand up, everyone except Josh – you’re excused, my friend – who would be counted as an alien and treated as a second class citizen if this legislation was allowed to pass?”

All of the heroes who had surrendered their medals were already standing. The member for East York stood. The member for Weymouth stood. Jacob Rosen, Member for Tower Hamlets, stood up. Michael Sweeney stood up. Moira Greenwood did. The leader of the opposition, who Christopher knew perfectly well as coming from an old established Swansea family stood. One by one, every member of the House of Commons stood. Even Matthew had somebody help him rise from his wheelchair and stand to be counted.

The last, was Barry Kayne, Member for Crewe, whose Yalterian origin would only be detectable by a very close examination of his DNA, but who saw which way the wind was blowing.

“I move the suspension of The Registration of Non-Terrestrial Citizens Bill,” said Jacob Rosen as the rest of the members sat and he remained standing.

“I second that Motion,” Christopher replied. “There will be NO registration of aliens. There will be no segregation, no prejudice. We will ALL live in peace on this planet. We will ALL work to the best of our abilities, use our talents to build a better Britain and a better Earth for all of us to live on.”

The Motion was carried unanimously.

A little while later Christopher met his father and his two grandsons in the foyer of the parliament in the New Millennium Dome. He smiled triumphantly.

“There will be a new Bill introduced on Monday,” he said. “Making it an offence to discriminate against any British citizen on grounds of non-terrestrial origin. We are also introducing an Education Bill to provide centres of excellence at every level for exceptionally gifted students, of Human or other origin. Chris, my boy, you might well be able to get your Sanctuary accepted as one of them. And there will be mechanisms put in place to grant asylum to any genuine refugees of non-terrestrial origin in future. I think we did a good day’s work.”

“There will still be prejudices,” The Doctor said. “Some people are like that. We weren’t immune to that on Gallifrey, either. But the message has got through to most of them. We saw the reactions coming through on the broadcast. People thanking our ‘native aliens’ for their help in the war. You’re very popular, Christopher. There was a snap poll on one of the channels asking if you should resign after you admitted that you were an alien. Ninety six per cent of the replies wanted you to stay.”

“Good,” Christopher answered. “Because Moira said she wasn’t letting me go.” He smiled widely. “I feel like I did whenever I made the High Council open their dusty, closed minds. It’s absolutely.…” He searched for the word. Usually that wasn’t a problem for him. But he looked to his father for inspiration. His smile in return said it all. “It’s fantastic,” he said. “Absolutely fantastic.”