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

Chris clung on fearfully to his seat on the hover trike and wondered just how much and for how long it would hurt if they crashed.

“We’re not going to crash,” Davie assured him. “I’m in perfect control. Besides, there’s nothing to crash into. We’re in the Red Desert. There’s nothing here.”

“Just slow down a little bit,” Chris begged. “There’s nobody chasing us.”

“Yeah!” Davie laughed. “Funny that! Here we are, in possession of a valuable artefact that we ‘stole’ from under the noses of the hierarchy, and nobody is pursuing us for it.”

Chris would have laughed, too, but he was too petrified by his brother’s idea of acceptable speed limits.

“I’m not even doing a hundred and fifty,” Davie replied to him. “You should try the McLaren. I got it doing the maximum two hundred and forty miles per hour at Brands Hatch. It felt fantastic. That’s the fastest they ever managed to make a naturally aspirated road car go. Anything faster has all kinds of turbo boosting devices on it.”

“Davie! There is no way that you are going to die in bed of old age. I accept that. But don’t take me with you. I want to live.”

“Stop worrying,” Davie told him. “I’m in control. You just sit back and work out how we’re going to break the Cult of Dvore once he’s accepted me as one of his loyal acolytes.”

“If you slow down, I might be able to think,” Chris responded.

So far, it had been relatively easy. They had already spent three weeks living and training with nearly two hundred other young men who had fallen under the spell of Dvore.

Getting into the commune had not been difficult. They had attended one of the open meetings at which Dvore spoke about the need for social reform. There were some who heckled him. There were Chancellery Guards on stand by, ready to break up the meeting at the first sign of trouble. And it seemed likely that trouble was going to start. Indeed, the hecklers had the appearance of being put there to ensure a fight was going to occur. Chris and Davie knew that most of them were in the pay of their ancestor. It was all part of the plan.

Even so, they had to make the fight look authentic. They used their martial arts skills well, rendering many of their opponents unconscious in relatively painless ways, but appearing to fight zealously for the cause of Dvore.

When more Chancellery Guards with body armour and riot shields had arrived in hover transporters, the followers of Dvore had made a run for it. Chris and Davie ran with them and had no trouble getting on board one of the shuttles that they had come in. As the ships flew away from the scene Dvore himself had come to where they were sitting. They were catching their breath and examining minor cuts and bruises on each other’s arms and faces.

“Are you hurt?” he asked them. They looked at him. He was a good looking man who appeared to be about fifty-five in Earth years. He had a trim beard and eyes that seemed to look into the soul. He would have, too, but Chris and Davie both had strong mental walls hiding their true identities. Davõreen had planted new memories, their cover story of being the two youngest sons of an obscure southern continent family who both felt disgruntled at the system that left them without any inheritance at all.

“No,” Davie responded. “Nothing serious. It was… exciting, really. Does that always happen at your meetings?”

“The High Council wish to break our spirit. But they will not do so by intimidation,” Dvore growled. “You two will have been observed by their secret spies, aligning yourselves with me. If you go home now, you run the risk of arrest and interrogation. Do you wish to avoid that inconvenience and join my ever growing band of faithful?”

They tried not to look too eager as they responded.

But it really had been as easy as that. They were in. They were taken directly to the camp on the far side of the Red Desert. The extensive grounds of Dvore’s family home were turned into a training compound for his ‘growing band of faithful’. Pre-fabricated blocks were built to house them: dormitories, bathrooms, mess rooms. Chris and Davie were allocated bunks in one of those dormitories with fifty other acolytes.

They were assigned to lectures and training sessions. It almost resembled life at Chris’s Sanctuary, except that the training included learning how to assemble and fire assault weapons and use of deadly force in hand to hand fighting, and the lectures all tended towards indoctrination into the Cult of Dvore.

They were taught to reject the Oath of Allegiance to Gallifrey and make a new Oath to Dvore, and to the New Order that would come when he was master of the whole Kasterborus system. Chris and Davie took the new oath without any qualms. They were, after all, still loyal to Gallifrey. Their first oath was being fulfilled by their being there, under cover, doing Lord Rassilon’s bidding.

Chris mostly just went through the motions, especially with the weapons training. Davie almost seemed to enjoy it. He prided himself on his hand-eye co-ordination. He hit his target every time. The same attention to detail that allowed him to strip down and re-assemble the seized engine of his twentieth century sports car or crucial components of his TARDIS meant that doing the same with a laser rifle was a cinch.

And that meant that he was noticed by Dvore’s lieutenants. Only two weeks into their infiltration he had been told to report to his Lordship. Chris started to go with him, but was told the order only applied to Davie – or Draveen as he was known. He left Chris and went up to the manor house by himself, passing through guards at the main door, as well as at the entrance to Dvore’s study, before he was within the leader’s presence.

“I’m getting good reports about you,” Dvore said to him. “Please… sit down. Would you like a drink? This stuff is called whisky. I got it on a trip offworld. It’s a bit of an acquired taste.” Dvore poured a measure and passed it to him. Davie drank. It was very much an acquired taste. As the son of a Scotsman, he had acquired it on his eighteenth birthday when his father had toasted his two sons in traditional style. He swallowed it in one gulp, feeling the heat of it on his tongue and in his throat. Dvore seemed to approve. Since Time Lords are not affected by alcohol, Davie thought that an odd thing for him to be impressed by, but he let it pass.

“You’re a very smart young man,” Dvore said to him. “I hear your name mentioned as outstanding in almost every discipline. I’m told you could make a very good sniper.”

“I… do my best,” Davie answered. “May I ask… why you think a sniper could serve your cause?”

“I think you are clever enough to know that,” Dvore answered.

Davie considered his next words carefully. They could be crucial.

“You’re building a private army to stage a military coup and oust the High Council,” he said. “It’s pretty much obvious. Although I think some of your recruits think you’re just going to agitate for reform.”

“Your brother…” Dvore glanced at a computer screen in front of him. “Christos… would he be one of those naïve ones?”

“Yes, he is,” Davie replied.

“I’ve looked at his file… an average student, shall we say… to be kind.”

“Chris is…”

“He is holding you back. You could be a very great Time Lord without him. There will be chances of advancement for the brightest and best when I rule Gallifrey. But there will be no room for deadwood.”

“I…” Davie again considered his words carefully. “You are right, of course. But he IS my brother. I cannot abandon him.”

“Of course not. But you pledged your allegiance to me. I demand no less than your complete loyalty.”

“You have that, sir,” Davie assured him. “Just tell me what you need me to do.”

“Steal the Heart of Omega,” Dvore replied.

“Steal the…” Davie’s eyes opened in surprise. “But… isn’t that a myth?”

“It is not,” Dvore told him. “It exists. The Heart of Omega is withheld from the President because it would give him absolute power. It is kept by the Chancellor, who, as you know, is ineligible to be put forward as a Presidential Candidate without resigning his position as Chancellor and giving up the Heart to his successor.”

“I didn’t know that,” Davie said. “About the Heart of Omega. Of course, I know the rules of candidacy.”

“Now you do. And you know, of course, who the Chancellor currently is?”

Davie didn’t, but Dvore carried on talking and didn’t seem to notice his hesitancy.

“The patriarch of the House of Lœngbærrow,” he snarled. “You know of him, for certain. The former magister of the Southern Continent. I’m sure your father is friendly with him. It would be injudicious of him not to be. Lœngbærrow wields a great deal of influence. He is one whose downfall I will savour.”

“I have been to his house.” Davie ventured. “The Heart would be hidden there?”

“It would.”

“And… you want me to steal it from there?” Davie smiled wryly. “You have a lot of faith in my skills.”

“Call this the final test of your loyalty to me. If you complete the mission, you will find me generous.”

“And if I fail?”

“I shall be very disappointed.”

The words were mild and he smiled as he said them. But Davie looked into Dvore’s eyes and felt straight in his soul just what happened to those who disappointed him.

“I want to take my brother with me,” he said. “I know you think little of him. But he has some wits. I may need him. And… perhaps you’ll see him in a better light if he helps me with this mission?”

“Perhaps. Or perhaps he’ll be accounted acceptable losses if he doesn’t come back. Deadwood, Draveen. We don’t need it, either of us.”

Davie knew he couldn’t press the point further. But at least he had permission to take Chris with him when he left the camp.

He didn’t want to leave him there with Dvore talking about him as deadwood all the time.

Breaking into Mount Lœng House had been a simple matter, of course. They just walked up to the front door and it was opened for them. It was three o’clock in the morning, but the master of the house was in his study.

“I can guess what he wants,” De Lœngbærrow said as he invited the two of them to sit. “The Heart of Omega.”

“Is he right?” Davie asked. “DO you have it?”

“More to the point,” Chris added. “How does Dvore know that?”

“He has his sources of information,” De Lœngbærrow replied. “As does any potential dictator. So, you steal the Heart and go to the top of his class, favourite son?”

“Something like that,” Davie answered.

“You know how dangerous the Heart of Omega would be in his hands?”

“It is what he needs to arm the Hand of Omega,” Chris said. “If he has that, then there is almost nothing that can stop him.”

“But Dvore expects me to come back with it,” Davie pointed out. “And he doesn’t seem to be a man who handles disappointment well. I have to take it.”

“We could bring a fake,” Chris suggested. “Does he even know what the Heart of Omega looks like?”

“He would know, I think,” Davie said. “He’s a very clever man. I’m only amazed that we’ve got away with it so far. We’re about the only thing he has misjudged.”

De Lœngbærrow looked at him thoughtfully.

“Davie, are you sure he hasn’t worked it out?” he asked. “He could be playing you… to see if you will do his bidding in this. The irony of using my agent to take the Heart from me... to complete his work… it is malicious enough for him.”

“I don’t think so,” Davie answered. “I felt… talking to him… as if he believed I was on his side.” Davie paused and looked at his ancestor. “It’s funny, talking to him… he doesn’t seem evil. I know what he’s doing… the military training, building up to a coup and all that. But it… you know, on Earth there is a saying… one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter… and I think he really believes… the people who are following him believe… that they are doing what is necessary for the good of all Gallifrey. They think the High Council is corrupt and elitist. They believe that it is preventing reforms that would benefit a greater number of Time Lords… especially the younger sons who really do have a bad time. He wants to break the hold a few powerful Oldbloods have on the ultimate rule of this planet. And… even though one of those Oldbloods is you, sir, even though I have vowed to serve you… it makes sense. The High Council is corrupt. It is elitist. It is stagnant. It does perpetuate an unequal society. And maybe a coup is the only thing that could shake things up…”

Chris stared at his brother in horror. De Lœngbærrow looked at him with an expression of utter disgust.

“Rassilon preserve us!” he said. “You’ve been turned by him. I never would have believed it.”

“No!” Chris protested. “No way. Davie… you’re just acting, aren’t you? You’re just keeping it real for when you get back there. Davie… no way could you betray us. You can’t really believe that.”

Davie looked at his brother, and at his ancestor and shook his head as if he was waking up from a nap.

“Of course, I don’t believe that,” he said. “But Draveen Goth does… the persona you gave me to fool the personality tests Dvore puts us all through. You… created a younger son with a chip on his shoulder, and… and…”

“And you should still have been you,” De Lœngbærrow said. “The persona was never meant to overwhelm you. Come closer… let me look.”

Davie moved towards him. De Lœngbærrow pressed his hands either side of his face and reached into his mind. Davie felt him there for a long time, searching his mind carefully.

“You’ve received another Time Lord’s essence in Rite of Mori,” De Lœngbærrow said eventually.


“That’s what’s causing the fake persona to embed itself so thoroughly in your brain,” he said. “The Rite of Mori opened your mind to that other Time Lord. It allowed him into your being. The fake persona – Draveen Goth… slipped in the same way.”

“Is that bad?” Chris asked. “Is Davie going to lose his mind… if so, you have to stop this, now.”

“We can’t stop it now,” Davie answered. “I have to keep going. If I don’t go back, Dvore will know something is wrong. I’m all right now. I understand… I can control the persona. Wow. Looking at it from Draveen’s point of view is scary, though. Dvore really is persuasive. He even made me think Chris is holding me back from greatness.”

Chris laughed. But Davie didn’t find it amusing.

“He kept on talking about Chris as ‘deadwood’. He gave the impression that he might get rid of those of his followers who he didn’t have a use for. And… I don’t think he meant sending them home with a bad report card.”

“That’s why you said before… If ‘I’ don’t go back… not ‘we’…. You want to leave me behind?”

“You’d be safer, Chris,” Davie said. “It’s no place for you, anyway. You dedicated your life to peace and contemplation. Not… not that.”

“Peace has to be fought for sometimes,” Chris argued. “Besides… I’ve been talking to some of the other men… I know the ones he calls deadwood. I think I can bring some of them around… break his hold on them. Some of them are wavering anyway.”

“Do that, then,” De Lœngbærrow ordered. “Meanwhile, let us decide what is to be done about the Heart of Omega. Davie is right. Dvore would see through any fake. I must… therefore… entrust you with the real thing… and hope that you can prevent Dvore from using it.”

“I think that’s a bad idea,” Chris said. “Dvore with the means to arm the Hand of Omega… He wouldn’t need an army. He could just destroy the Capitol, High Council and all.”

“The Hand of Omega doesn’t work that way,” Davie pointed out. “It destroys whole planets. I don’t think he wants it for that. I think he intends to use it after he has seized control of Gallifrey to threaten other worlds and increase his power.”

“Either way, he must be stopped,” De Lœngbærrow said. “And we are entirely in your hands, Davie. It is you who has Dvore’s trust. Chris can’t show his hand with the waverers until you are in a position to act.”

“I understand that,” Davie assured him.

“Very well. I suggest that you two get some food and a few hours sleep and I will retrieve the Heart of Omega from its resting place. You shall be entrusted with it. May Rassilon guide you.”

“We both need to think a bit,” Davie said. He slowed the hover trike right down and stopped it beside a rocky outcrop that offered a chance of shade in the desert. Davie walked in the shade a little way and then sat down on a rock. Chris followed him.

“What’s up?” he asked.

“We’re only about ten miles from Dvore’s camp,” he said. “The closer we get… I’m scared, Chris. When we go in there… we don’t come out again unless this is all over... unless we defeat Dvore. And… I’m still not sure how I’m supposed to do that. I don’t have a plan.”

“You’ve never needed one,” Chris told him. “You’re like granddad. You wing it so well it looks like you had a plan all along.”

“Thanks,” Davie grinned. “You’re good for my ego, Chris. But it doesn’t change things. I don’t know what I’m going to do next. And I’m still worried about you. I’m… I’m going to be his golden boy when I bring the Heart to him. But you… He wants to split us up.”

“Let him,” Chris said. “Let’s do that. You get into the inner circle. I’ll carry on working on a fifth column. We’re not kids any more. We can work alone.”

“I’ve never felt more alone. We’re light years away from Brenda and Spenser, from Granddad or anyone I could turn to for help. I’m cut off from you most of the time because we don’t dare use telepathy anywhere within the compound. If we’re separated any further… and… Chris… I’m worried that I might get stuck with Draveen Goth’s persona again and forget what you mean to me. I think he’s a lot less fond of his brother than I am…”

“That’s because he doesn’t exist. Draveen and Christos Goth are fictional. The House of Goth has one son and four daughters. Davõreen changed the records retrospectively, made it seem as if there were two younger sons – birth certificates, school records, rite of Transcension and graduation from the Prydonian Academy… but they never existed. Draveen has no opinion about anything. He’s not real.”

“He feels real inside my head. He’s a lot like me… ambitious, proud… but definitely disgruntled. And when Dvore said that you were holding me back, he got some funny ideas about where his loyalties lie.”

“Then you really need to keep him under control. But right now… we have to go on, Davie. Are you ready?”

“Yes,” he answered. “But… Chris, promise me… if you feel you’re in danger… if anything feels not right… especially if I don’t feel right to you… promise me you’ll get out of there. Don’t wait for me. I can fight my own corner. Just get out. Ok…”

“I promise,” he assured him.

They left the trike and walked the last ten miles. Davie wasn’t that enthusiastic to go back to the compound. He only drove fast across the desert because it was a desert and he didn’t want to linger. But now as he approached the edge of the desert where scrubby red-yellow grass began to grow again he was happy to take his time.

At the gate, Davie was told he had to report directly to Lord Dvore. He expected that. Chris was ordered to report to his section leader and they went their separate ways.

Dvore met with him straight away. He took possession of the Heart of Omega with a predatory smile that chilled Davie to the bone.

“Well done, Draveen Goth,” he said. “You’ve served me well.” He held the Heart in his hands as if weighing it. “I feel its power already. Would you like to see what it does?”

“Yes,” he answered. “Yes, I would.”

Dvore nodded and turned towards what seemed to be an ordinary blank wall. He pressed his palm against a section of it and it opened smoothly. He stepped through. Davie followed.

The room looked as if it was lead lined. The walls were grey and bare. There was nothing in it except a long metal box about the size of a coffin. Dvore opened it. Davie stepped closer and looked inside.

The thing was shaped like a torpedo, but it didn’t seem to be made of anything solid. It was silvery grey and the surface swirled like liquid metal even though it held a shape. Even from a few paces away Davie could feel its power.

“What is it, sir?” Draveen Goth asked the question. Davie Campbell knew what it was.

“The Hand of Omega,” he answered. “The most powerful and deadly weapon in the universe, known as the star killer. It can destroy a whole solar system.”

“Yes,” Davie answered, trying not to remember the solar system that it had destroyed – or will destroy – in the future.

“We will use it to control the enemies of Gallifrey?” Draveen Goth asked. “They will bow before us, or risk the wrath of Lord Dvore – the Hand of Dvore smiting them?”

“The Hand of Dvore!” Dvore smiled. “Yes, I like that. Come, my boy. It is almost time for our evening meal. Tonight, you will dine at my table with my other faithful lieutenants.”

“Thank you, sir,” Draveen answered, pride and loyal fervour overwhelming his mind. He didn’t even bother to ask if his brother might join them. He didn’t want to risk his new found position of favour.

The evening meal in the camp was substantial, but it tended to be of a plain sort, stew served from huge cauldrons and hunks of bread. Draveen Goth thought briefly of his brother sharing such a meal as he sat at a sumptuous table and helped himself to freshwater hubble, a crustacean native to the lakes of southern Gallifrey. Its flavour was enhanced by boiling it alive. Draveen had never tasted it before. He found he liked it. He was equally appreciative of the roast meats and other delicacies before him.

“You’d be used to synthesised food, no doubt,” Dvore said to him. “That’s the way most ‘civilised’ Gallifreyans live. That’s their problem. Their guts are as soft as their minds. When I am supreme leader of the Gallifreyan people, my chosen will eat this well every night.”

Davie Campbell De Lœngbærrow wondered briefly what the rest of the people would eat under such a regime, but Draveen Goth suppressed the traitorous thought and helped himself to a generous portion of roasted game. Dvore nodded to his servants who poured wine for all at his table and then retreated from the room. He stood and proposed a toast.

“The newest of my elite guard, one who has proved himself fearless, ingenious, and above all, loyal,” he said. “Draveen Goth.”

Draveen smiled at the compliments given to him. Then he listened intently to what his Lord was saying now.

“Thanks to Goth’s efforts, our plans can be advanced fully. Now I have the Heart of Omega, there is nothing to stop me from taking the Citadel from that lazy, mentally stunted High Council. We strike tomorrow.”

“Tomorrow is the Eve of Summer Solstice,” one of the Elite pointed out. “The whole Council will be in attendance. Every Oldblood Patriarch not in the Council will be in attendance as spectators for the ceremony.”

“Exactly,” Dvore said. “We shall have them all. I think I shall kill the Chancellor myself, slowly. He has been a thorn in my side for many years. I will take pleasure in watching him suffer. The rest… I will make a bargain with them – they shall submit willingly to the swords of my Elite in return for my sparing their wives and children.”

He laughed hollowly. The Elite laughed with him. He looked around the table and smiled a cold smile.

“Of course, this arrangement will be advantageous to you, my friends. All of you, second sons, landless and penniless brothers of the incumbent patriarchs, will stand to inherit titles and property. I know that was your primary motive for joining me…”

Many of the Elite protested that they had no such base motives, but Dvore hushed them with a raised hand.

“There is no shame in it. As long as your second motive was loyalty to me, you have the right to such benefits. You have my blessing. Draveen, my boy, you didn’t protest, I see. You, too, stand to gain honour when the day is won.”

“That did not occur to me, sir,” he answered. “I only thought to serve you.”

“I believe you,” Dvore said with a smile. “My one honest lieutenant with no other motive but to do my bidding. I shall keep you by my side tomorrow. You shall have the honour of entering the Panopticon with me.”

“It is honour, indeed,” Draveen said. “I hardly deserve such…”

“You brought the Heart of Omega to me. Snatched from under the nose of my enemy by one whose hearts burn with desire for a better world. It is ironic, don’t you think?” He looked around the table at the other Elite. They all nodded and smiled. “The Hand of Omega was delivered to me by one who was not loyal. He pretended to be. He infiltrated the ranks, and I sent him to take the Hand. He did so, safe in the knowledge that it is useless without the Heart of Omega, expecting to have my trust having done this thing. But I knew he was a traitor. He served the House of Lœngbærrow, the Chancellor himself.”

“You killed him?” Draveen asked. “For such betrayal?”

“I did worse than that. I left him alive. I understand he lives, still, hidden in the basement of the Chancellor’s House, raving mad and dying by inches. You should have sought him out while you were there, boy. It would have amused you to see him suffer. And the Chancellor hasn’t dared send any other man to infiltrate my circle. He knows better than that, now.”

“He knows you have the Heart of Omega, too,” Draveen pointed out.

“That he does. And again, my thanks to you, boy.” Dvore drank down his glass of wine and poured another. “As a special reward, I think I will allow you to visit your brother for a short time, later. It may well be the last time you see him… before our mission begins.”

Davie Campbell De Lœngbærrow might have read something into the deliberate pause. Draveen Goth didn’t. He simply thanked Lord Dvore for his kindness.

After the meal, though, when the other elite were relaxing in the comfort of the grand drawing room or enjoying the other facilities of the mansion, he left by the front entrance, with Lord Dvore’s permission. He walked down through the carefully irrigated formal gardens, where plants that should never grow in the semi arid conditions thrived. Beyond there was the training compound and the dormitory blocks. He was surprised to find them guarded and even in the dark he was aware of changes. There seemed to be new fences within the compound itself and he was questioned at the main stockade by the guards there.

“I have permission to spend time with my brother,” he said. “From Lord Dvore himself. What is going on here, anyway? What’s all this…”

There was no answer to his question. But he was brought as far as the inner fence. It was high, and there were guard patrols within it. Davie Campbell recalled his twentieth century Earth history and the word ‘Stalag’ came into his mind and stayed there. Draveen Goth mentally shrugged and said that Lord Dvore had his reasons for this extra security.

“Oh, get lost,” Davie responded tetchily. “You’re an idiot. You’re as bad as the rest of this lot. Wake up to yourself.”

He managed to keep his alternative persona at bay as he was admitted to the compound. He was told to wait by yet another fence that surrounded the dormitories themselves and was shocked when he saw Chris coming from one of the blocks and approaching the fence on the other side.

“What is going on?” Davie asked as Chris grasped hold of the fence. He couldn’t put his hand through. The links were too narrow. The best they could do was touch their fingers together. “Chris… why are you…”

“Deadwood,” he said. “Dvore had us all confined here… all but about fifty of the best, the ones he trusts, the ones who have excelled. The rest of us… He has no use for us.”

“He’s launching his attack on the Panopticon tomorrow… with only fifty men?”

“Fifty trustworthy men, rather than two hundred who might waver when it comes to actually murdering the High Council. It… actually makes sound military sense, I think.”

“Yes, it does,” Davie agreed. “But Chris… I don’t think he’s just going to leave you all behind. You’ve got to get out of there.”

“I can’t,” he answered. “I don’t mean because of the guards or the fences. I could deal with both of those. But I can’t abandon the other men. Most of them… now they’ve seen Dvore’s betrayal… they’re angry, scared. They want to get out of this, too. I can’t leave them.”

“Tomorrow, after we’re gone,” he said. “There won’t be as many guards… you can stage a breakout. Get to the house… The Hand of Omega is there. And the Heart, too. You can seize them back. When you have them safe… reach me… it won’t matter then. Reach me telepathically. And I can stop Dvore.”

“That sounds like a plan,” Chris said with a soft laugh. “All right. But… Davie… be careful. Not only of him… But be careful of yourself. Draveen…” Chris’s fingers tightened on his. “I can feel him in you… He’s swallowed Dvore’s philosophy whole. Don’t let him take you over. You’re Davie Campbell of Earth. And you know where your loyalties lie.”

“I’m going to deal with Draveen, don’t you worry.” He glanced around. They had been speaking orally, because that was harder to listen into telepathically. The guards were well out of earshot. But if he was there much longer, they might start to get agitated. “Whatever happens,” he said. “I want to thank you. For bringing me here. We’re standing in the camp of a traitor and a murderer. But we’re still under a Gallifreyan sky. We’re standing on the sacred ground. And… if we die, fighting for it… then…”

“Then nobody will ever know. Davie… They’ll search SangC’lune and find our TARDISes and the two of us missing, and nobody will know anything about it. Was that a bit of Draveen talking? Because you and I both studied Wilfred Owen… Dulce et Decorum est… The old lie… You do your damndest to stay alive. We have a life we want to go back to when this is over.”

“What would I do without you?” he asked. “My conscience. Dvore was right, but in the wrong way. You don’t hold me back. You just keep a brake on me… you stop me trying to go too fast and too far.”

“You’d better go,” Chris told him. “Before the guards get too suspicious. I’ll see you when this is over.”

If they could have embraced, they would have. They made do with that finger touch through the fence, then they parted. Davie went back to the manor, to join Dvore and his faithful, drinking wine and talking of future glory.

Chris went back to the prefabricated block where the ‘deadwood’ of the Cult of Dvore were incarcerated. Two hundred of them were squeezed into a dormitory that had been built for fifty. They didn’t have enough beds. But few of them wanted to sleep. A lot of them were talking of their homes and wanted to get back to them.

“Look,” Chris said. “Shut up, all of you and listen to me.” He had the attention of those closest to him straight away, and the others gradually quietened. “Watch the doors, will you. The guards out there are loyal to him, still. I take it everyone here understands now that Dvore is mad. He has to be stopped.”

There was a general consensus. A few of them were uncertain. The promise of position and money when Dvore had overturned the government swayed them, still.

“Don’t you get it?” Chris said to them. “WE aren’t a part of that. We’re the rejects. He’s not going to let us have any power. I’m not even sure he’s going to let us live.”

There was a shout from the door. Somebody was coming.

“A guard?” Chris asked.

“No,” replied one of the men who had been wavering. His name was Aldo Sahl, the youngest son of a Newblood family who was brought up in the Capitol. “It’s my cousin, Dahne Rohal. I persuaded him to come with me. But he got promoted to the Elite and I was left here…”

“Let him in,” Chris said. They could hardly refuse, anyway. An Elite could go where he chose. He stepped in and looked around at the ‘deadwood’ as they looked back at him with accusing eyes. He saw his cousin and ran to him.

“Aldo,” Rohal said. “You’ve got to get out of here. You don’t know what Dvore plans to do.”

“What does he plan to do?” Chris asked, approaching him fearlessly.

“He’s going to kill you all,” Rohal answered. “Before the Elite go to the Capitol, the camp is to be ‘sterilised’. You’re all going to die. Aldo… I have a transmat ring. I can get you out. We can both get out of here.”

Aldo Sahl looked around at the others. They were quiet, surprisingly so. They had just been told they were to be murdered and they made no protest.

“Does my brother know about this?” Chris asked. “Da… Draveen Goth… do you know him?”

Rohal laughed hollowly.

“Draveen is Dvore’s protégée,” he said. “When he heard the plan, he just shrugged. He said it was the only practical thing to do. Even Dvore seemed surprised. He asked him if he was bothered about you and he said…” Rohal hesitated. Whatever Draveen Goth had said, he was reluctant to pass it on to his brother.

“It doesn’t matter,” Chris said. “But… can I see that transmat ring. Please.”

Rohal handed it to him. Chris looked at it carefully. Like a lot of Gallifreyan technology it was based on the power of the mind.

“This could take the two of you clear across the planet to the Southern Continent, to safety,” he said. “Well, as safe as you’re likely to be with warrants for your arrest issued by the Castellan. Or… it could take us all as far as we need to go. I… have a plan. Will you listen?” He looked at Aldo Sahl. “Will you take your chance with us?” He turned to his cousin. “Can you have the courage to go back there and pretend nothing has changed? It will take all of your will not to give away your doubts…”

Draveen Goth was heading to the room assigned to him. Dvore had told them all to get some rest. The mission began at dawn. He was looking forward to the action, but a few hours sleep were welcome.

“You!” An Elite whose name escaped him stood in front of him, barring the way. “Dvore’s favourite boy. I have a message for you… from your brother.”

“My brother?” Draveen looked at him coldly. “Why should I be interested in anything he has to say?”

“He told me to tell you…” The Elite took a deep breath and concentrated as if the words were strange to him. “Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori.”

“Why would he give you a message in an obscure Southern Gallifreyan dialect nobody uses any more?” Draveen asked. Then his face froze. He blinked. “Never mind. That’s why my brother is one of the rejects. Lord Dvore doesn’t need that sort of nonsense in his new Gallifrey. I’ll see you tomorrow, at dawn. May the victory be swift.”

He went to the room assigned to him. It was a sumptuous room with a comfortable bed. But he took one look at it and knelt on the floor. The carpet was luxurious, too. But beneath the pile was a hard wood surface that he felt under his knees. He let that hardness be his focus as he dropped into a level of meditative trance where he still remembered where he was and who he was, but he could fully concentrate his mind. He found the section of it where the persona of Draveen Goth had been lodged and concentrated on it, squeezing at it, pushing it down, pressing it into a smaller and smaller part of his mind until it was no longer contaminating him, making him forget what really mattered, making him forget his real loyalties.

“Draveen Goth is dead,” he whispered as he took a long deep breath and felt himself freed from the irritation of that increasingly difficult persona. He was Davie Campbell De Lœngbærrow again, fully and completely in charge of his own mind.

He remained in the light trance for the duration of the night, cutting himself off from the contamination he felt just being in this house, surrounded by so many genuine followers of that madman, Dvore. He knew he had one possible ally - the one who had given him the message. But how far he could trust him, he didn’t know. As far as he was aware, the only person he could definitely trust was Chris. And he didn’t dare try to contact him. He would rather be alone in a trance, locked within his own mind, than alone in a house full of traitors.

The dawn came all too quickly. He was roused by a knock at the door. He showered and dressed in the uniform that had been left for him to wear. It was dark green and reminded him somewhat of a Nazi stormtrooper. It came with a cap and a rather impressive knife that fitted onto the belt at his waist. Davie wondered briefly why the outfit came with such a primitive weapon. But it WAS a weapon. And maybe it could come in useful.

Another knock warned him that it was time. He joined the other Elites outside the house. Dvore looked at them and then called three of them by name.

“Draveen Goth, Dahne Rohal, Jarod Delusia, front and centre,” he said. He nodded to one of his followers who gave each of them huge, deadly looking weapons. Davie examined his and realised what it did. He knew what the target would be, too.

So did Rohal. Delusia obviously didn’t until they stepped into the secure compound. The dormitory where the ‘deadwood’ had been housed was quiet.

Davie looked at the lifesigns monitor on the stock of the weapon. It registered two hundred souls inside the building. He took a deep breath and got ready. So did Rohal. Delusia hesitated.

“We have to kill them?” he asked in a suddenly uncertain voice. “But… My brother…”

Another one? Davie had assumed the three of them were chosen at random for this mission. Now he wasn’t sure. This was a test of just how loyal they were to Dvore. Would they murder their own kin?

“Steady your weapon,” Davie said. “On my mark…” He glanced at the lifesign monitor again. He waited another five seconds. He knew Chris had a plan. He wasn’t entirely sure what it was, and if he didn’t do it soon….

“Fire,” he ordered. He pressed the trigger and the dormitory block was enveloped in the same energy that was used in the atomising chamber when an execution took place under Gallifreyan law. All three guns fired at the same time. The stream of energy continued for twenty seconds.

It felt like a very long twenty seconds.

When it was over, Davie looked at the lifesigns monitor and nodded. He stepped forward. The other two men followed him. He pushed at the door to the dormitory. It crumbled. He stepped back as the whole structure collapsed. When the dust settled there was nothing but fragments of concrete and wood that had been subjected to an atomising ray.

Delusia was horrified.

“Get used to it,” Davie told him. “Dvore demands nothing less than total loyalty to his cause. Family ties mean nothing to him. Come on. He’ll be waiting for us.”

The others were getting onto the transporter ship when they returned. Dvore said nothing, but nodded to them as they stepped aboard and found seats.

Davie looked impassive as he looked out of the window and saw the ship take off vertically. Inside he felt sick. He thought he knew what had happened. A fraction of a second before he fired, the lifesigns monitor had registered zero. He thought they had all escaped using some kind of transmat. But there was a tiny element of doubt. Could he actually have killed his own brother, and hundreds of other men, too? It was too awful to think about.

He didn’t think about it. He thought about how he could kill Dvore. That was what he wanted to do more than anything, right now. Whether Chris was alive or not, what Dvore had expected of him was the cruellest deed imaginable. That kind of evil had to be stamped out. Even his great-grandfather, who had taught him to value life, couldn’t disagree with that.

The transmat was far from pleasant. They all groaned with nausea and dizziness as they found their feet touching solid ground. But they were all alive. They looked at each other and that fact overwhelmed them all. They were alive. It must have been a matter of seconds between the transmat activating and the atomising guns firing at the dormitory.

“It’s not over,” Chris said. He looked around. He had got it right. They all focussed their minds on the great hall in Dvore’s mansion and they had transmatted there. It was perfect. But there was work to do, yet. “There are guards out there in the compound. They’re loyal to him. Take weapons… try to capture them if you can. They used to be like you. They’ve just come under a bad influence. If you must kill…”

He swallowed a lump in his throat. He had dedicated his life to peace since the day he turned eighteen and became a Time Lord. He hadn’t killed anything since that time when he and Davie had destroyed the Sontaran mothership in the fight to liberate the last Gallifreyans. It went against the grain to tell anyone else that it was all right to kill one of their own kind. But what choice did they have?

“Try to take them alive,” he repeated. “Aldo… Tuan, Jude, come with me. There’s something I have to do. If there are any guards in the house, I may need help.”

There were guards left in the house. They met with at least six of them before they reached Dvore’s private quarters. They neutralised them without having to kill them. Chris was thankful of that.

He looked at the blank wall. They hadn’t been able to risk any telepathic conversation last night at the fence, but Davie managed one quick flash of information. He showed him the wall, and what lay behind it.

The lock was a palm print, of course. And that would only open to Dvore’s own hand. But Chris had other ways of working. He stepped close to the wall and concentrated hard. He could feel the metal the wall was made of, beneath a veneer of wood. It was something similar to steel. And he knew how to deal with steel. He had done it before. He fixed his mind on the molecular structure of it and agitated the electrons and protons until the metal was no longer a solid thing, but was hot and pliable. He stepped back quickly as the wooden veneer burst into flames and the metal poured away like a flow of lava.

“Ok, burning through the floor wasn’t planned,” he said with a grin to the men who were with him. “But it got the job done.” He stepped across the smouldering gap in the floor and into the concealed room. He looked at the sinister coffin shaped box that was contained within. It was open. He briefly examined the torpedo shaped weapon of mass destruction, then he gave his attention to the control panel on the side of the box.

“He’s set a target,” Chris said. “It’s going to go off in ten minutes. It’s…” He read out a set of space co-ordinates. Aldo Sahl gasped in shock.

“Karn,” he said.

“Gallifrey’s nearest planet?” Chris looked at him in astonishment. “Why would he…”

“If the High Council don’t surrender, he means to destroy Karn… as an example.”

“Thousands of people live on Karn, don’t they?” Why was he surprised? Dvore was a murderer. It was all just a matter of scale.

He examined the controls carefully and came to one obvious conclusion.

“I can’t stop it,” he said. “There’s no failsafe. It’s going to launch… the only thing I can do is…. Is…”

He could change the destination. Send it somewhere other than Karn. But that meant destroying something else, another planet, another sun.

“Yes,” he said. He pressed the buttons quickly. The weapon accepted the new co-ordinates. He stepped back. His companions looked at him.

“Where did you send it?” Aldo asked.

“Somewhere it won’t be any trouble,” he replied. “When it’s done its worst, it will return here. That’s how it’s programmed. But when it does, this will be over. The rightful authorities will be here to take this thing back where it belongs. Meanwhile…”

He closed his eyes and concentrated his thoughts. He reached out to find Davie. He was a long way from him now, but not so far that he couldn’t find him. Until he made the connection he had almost forgotten how lonely he had been since they closed their minds to each other. He had forgotten, too, that Davie couldn’t have known for sure…

“Yes,” he said. “I’m alive. I’m ok. It’s up to you now, my brother. Do what you have to do.”

Davie had been invited to sit next to Dvore. He was his chosen, loyal lieutenant. He had enjoyed a hearty breakfast served from the galley and Dvore had talked to him about his impending glorious triumph. Davie said very little. Dvore noticed.

“It’s all right to feel nervous,” he said to his protégée. “This is your first real action. Your first battle. And, of course, you’re wondering if you’ll be able to kill when the moment comes…”

“No, sir,” Davie answered. “I know I can kill. When I absolutely have to.” Then his hand moved fast. There was a soft sound as the knife he concealed in his hand sliced through Dvore’s neck. Then Davie moved again, pushing his head forward. He stabbed the point of the knife into that part of the neck where the spinal column met the base of the brain, at a place called the Medulla Oblongata. It was one of the few certain ways to kill a Time Lord – by destroying that part of his brain. He couldn’t remember why his great-grandfather had taught him that fact. He was pretty sure he didn’t envisage a situation where he would have to use that information.

But one had arisen.

He stepped back as Dvore slumped in his seat, his body limp in death. He turned and stepped through the partition between the passenger cabin and the small area where weapons had been stored ready for the imminent coup. He selected one and checked that it was primed, then he opened the inner door that brought him to the cockpit of the transporter. The pilot and co-pilot both looked around in surprise and surrendered to a determined man with a gun aimed at them.

“I see we’re over the Citadel,” he said. “I’ve got new co-ordinates for the transmat. Right inside the Chancellery Guard secure compound.”

It was almost a week later that Chris and Davie sat together in the Panopticon, the seat of the Gallifreyan Government. They were the main witnesses at one of the biggest trials to take place on Gallifrey in living memory. They watched as the Lord High President stood to pass judgement on the first group of prisoners, the Elite of Dvore’s men, who Davie had delivered to the authorities without a shot having to be fired. At their trial, almost all of them had been defiant, proclaiming Lord Dvore their leader despite his assassination by a government agent.

“You all stand convicted of High Treason,” the President said. “You are sentenced to 1,000 years in the cryogenic prison of Shada. May the slow years give you time to repent your evil ways.”

The Elite were taken away by guards. Another group were brought forward. Their names were read. They were some of the young men who Chris had rescued from a cruel death, and who had consequently helped him to stop the destruction of Karn.

“You, also, are convicted of High Treason,” the President said to them. “You joined with Dvore in plotting to bring down the government. However, your subsequent actions predispose us to be lenient. All sentences are suspended. Go home to your families and lead useful, constructive lives.”

That was the sentence for at least two hundred of them. Those who represented them in the Panopticon hugged each other in relief and thanked the President for his mercy.

Then the President asked Chris and Davie to stand front and centre in the middle of the Panopticon. They did so slightly nervously. Davie, especially, had worried that there might be consequences for him. He had, after all, murdered Dvore in cold blood.

At least that was what he thought he did. He was quite surprised to find it described as an ‘Executive Action’ and to be commended for his quick thinking.

“Sir,” he said. “I killed him - because he disgusted me. I don’t ask for any praise for that action. It was… necessary. That is all.”

“It was an action that rid our world of a source of evil,” the President told him. “And you, Chris Campbell, your actions prevented that evil from causing the deaths of thousands. Both of you are hereby awarded the highest honour in all Gallifrey and our grateful thanks.”

They watched in astonishment as the Chancellor, Chrístõ De Lœngbærrow himself, stepped forward and pinned two medals to their robes. They would both have refused such a thing if they had expected it. But there was nothing to do about it now. They accepted them and the applause of the whole assembly.

As they stepped out of the Panopticon, they were met by the one person they had not seen since the day they arrived. Chris smiled warmly at Davõreen De Lœngbærrow . Davie nodded to him politely.

“You could have been a bit more help,” he said. “It could have been you who transmatted Chris and the others out of that place, for instance. Have you any idea how close I came to… to doing something I could never forgive myself for.”

“Yes, I do know,” Davõreen answered. “Have you forgiven yourself for the death of Dvore?”

“It’s something I will come to terms with,” he said. “Are you here to take us home? I think we’ve been here long enough.”

“I am,” Davõreen told him. “If you are ready.”

“We’re ready,” they both answered. They clutched hands as they felt the world become fluid and inconsistent around them. They tried to hold onto each other as the vortex surrounded them, and were heartily glad when their feet finally touched the cool grass of SangC’lune, on the hill above the pyramid valley that they had left weeks before. Chris noticed the stone from an exotic SangC’lune fruit he had eaten when he and Davie picnicked there. It was still fresh. No more than a few minutes had passed since they left.

“As easy as that!” he commented. “We risked our lives for all that time, and now we’re back here and nobody even knows we were gone.”

Davie looked down at the robe he was wearing and the Gallifreyan Medal of Rassilon pinned to it.

“At least we’ll never be able to think it was a dream,” he said. “Wonder what granddad will think if we show him these?”

“I think he’ll be proud of us,” Chris answered. “We saved Gallifrey generations before he was born.”

Davõreen smiled warmly at him. “There’s one thing I should like to know. My brother was wondering, too. Where DID you send the hand of Omega when you redirected it?”

“To Sol Three in the year 5.5/Apple/26,” he answered.

“Sol Three?” Davõreen was nearly as astonished as Davie was. “You mean, Earth? Your own birth planet?”

“At the exact moment when it was destroyed anyway by the supernova of its sun,” he explained. “It’s a date we both learnt as children. It was the only safe place I could think of to send a star killer – to a place where the star was already dying.”

“It’s back in the possession of the High Council, now, isn’t it?” Davie said. “The ‘right hands’. I wish… I wish Chris could have destroyed it completely.”

“He could not do that. Nor could you,” Davõreen told him. “That was not your mission. It grieves me to know the terrible end our world will have. But none of us can change that. Be satisfied with the victory you have achieved for the forces of light. Go in peace, both of you, sons of Rassilon, with his eternal blessing.”

Davõreen bowed formally to them both. They returned the gesture. Then he was gone. Chris and Davie looked up at the SangC’lune sky, with its two beautiful moons and sighed.

“Come on,” Chris said. “Let’s go to the village. We can sleep in the Great Hall and tomorrow we’ll greet the new morning together with the people of SangC’lune.”