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

Davie fastened his seatbelt as he sat behind the steering wheel of the newest car to come out of his workshop. Spenser buckled up in the passenger seat. At the still open door, Brenda leaned forward to kiss her fiancé. She looked anxious.

“We’re both going to be fine,” he assured her. “You and Sukie go and join Chris and Carya in his TARDIS. We’ll meet you all in the year 1986.”

“I hope so,” Brenda replied. “This is your first time machine since before the invasion. I can’t help worrying…”

“Spenser worked with me on this one,” he said. “We’ve eliminated all the problems the DeLorean had. This one is going to do exactly what I want it to do. Go on, now. We’ll see you there.”

He kissed her again and then closed the door. He watched her walk away towards the garage he rented at the Brands Hatch race circuit. Chris’s TARDIS was disguised as a walk in tool cupboard just inside the main door. He turned to Spenser and kissed him quickly before he fired up the engine of the car. The plan was to do a circuit of the track and engage the time circuits on the slip road out onto the public road, materialising in the same place in the time of his choosing.

“Six a.m. on July 13th, 1986,” he said. “Five hours before the British Grand Prix gets under way.”

Brenda watched the car accelerate away then stepped into the TARDIS. Her soon to be brother in law and his wife and little sister followed her.

“That’s a really cool car,” Sukie commented. “Not as ice cool as the McLaren F1, but still fantastic. A 2009 Holden Commodore. Fantastic. Totally fan…tastic.”

Chris smiled at his sister. She was the one who shared Davie’s fascination for internal combustion engines. He didn’t. He was only taking the ladies on this trip because they shared the same concern about the new time machine’s first serious test.

“Ok,” he said. “If the door is shut, let’s head to the late twentieth century.” As he reached for the controls he was aware of Carya by his side. That was her accustomed place these days. She slept in his arms at night. She sat by his side when he ate with his students, and was there with him when he taught them in the Sanctuary. She was his devoted companion.

He kissed her. Doing that was still something he found himself surprised to be doing. He never imagined himself having a wife who he loved and wanted to kiss.

“Go and sit with Brenda,” he said. “She can show you pictures of motor racing. My brother’s favourite hobby will be a bit of a culture shock if you’re not ready for it.”

“Yes,” she answered and went to do as he suggested. Brenda loved to spend time with her future sister in law anyway. She was helping her come to terms with living on planet Earth with its noise and technology and huge population unlike anything she had seen in the quiet life she lived before.

He watched her settle then turned back to the console. He gave a soft sigh that was noted only by his sister as she stood calibrating the temporal manifold.

“What’s wrong?” she asked.

“Nothing, really,” he answered. “Only… we’re both in the vortex now… Me and Davie, I mean… and I can’t feel him. You know how we always used to be one soul, one mind in two bodies. We were always connected mentally, all our childhood…”

Sukie nodded.

“I used to feel jealous that it was just the two of you. I wanted to share the connection with you.”

“We both stopped doing it when we were adults… We had to give each other space… privacy. Davie has Brenda, after all… and Spenser. There are times when he needs to be alone with them. And I have Carya now. We both need to be alone in our own heads, sometimes. But I can still feel him, usually… Except when we’re in the vortex. We’re cut off.”

“You’ve got me,” Sukie told him, reaching out with her own telepathic senses to touch the soft abstract that was her brother’s mind. “And he’s got Spenser to look after him.”

“Yes.” Chris felt the sibling connection with Sukie and smiled.

Davie had felt the same sense of loss when he was cut off from Chris. Being in an unprotected time machine where the vortex surrounded him on all sides and he felt its raw energy as a kind of mental vibration he was all the more acutely aware of the loss.

“You’ve still got me,” Spenser reminded him.

“I know,” he replied. He felt Spenser’s touch on his mind and that loss was less acute. Spenser didn’t exactly replace Chris as that other half of his soul, but he was a welcome presence in his life. “I’m glad you’re here. This is a weird way to travel. Kind of scary in a way. It’s easier to share the experience.”

“You’re not scared of anything,” Spenser told him. “Besides, we’ll only be in it for a few minutes. It’s… an interesting experience.”

“Uh…oh….” Davie murmured.

“Ooops,” Spenser responded. “I don’t like the sound of that.”

“We’ve overshot 1986,” Davie explained. “And not because of anything wrong with the car. Something is dragging us… a force of some kind.”

“Uh…oh…” Spenser echoed. “Can you stop it?”

“Not sure I should. Anything that powerful interfering with the vortex needs investigating. You up for it?”

“I’m with you any time,” Spenser answered. “You know that.”

Davie smiled widely. Spenser recognised the signs. The adrenaline was pumping in his veins and so was the spirit of adventure and thirst for danger that Davie inherited from his great-grandfather, The Doctor!

The thrill of the chase!

Spenser, given the choice, would have been happy spending a quiet afternoon on the Northumberland cliffs. If Davie was there with him, all the sweeter. But if the alternative was an adventure in time at the side of his lover that would do.

Chris started to notice something wrong with their journey before it was obvious to anyone else. He wasn’t piloting the TARDIS psychically this time, but he was still in tune with his ship and he felt the jarring note in the engines, the unnatural pulse affecting the flow of the artron energy through the central drive column. He reached to compensate for the irregularity, but the only result was a crunching, terminal sound followed by silence and stillness. The time rotor was fixed halfway up to its full height and the actinic green of the spent artron energy inside was fading before his eyes.

“That… shouldn’t have happened,” Sukie noted.

“No, it shouldn’t,” he confirmed. He looked around at the two women on the sofa. They were looking back at him expectantly. He was the captain of this ship and it was his job to protect them and bring them safely to their destination.

But he didn’t know what had happened to his TARDIS and he was even less sure how to fix it.

“Chris…” Sukie added as the lights dimmed to emergency power mode. “Are we… safe?”

“Yes,” he assured her. “Yes, we’re safe. The TARDIS won’t let us down.”

His great-grandfather always said that about his TARDIS. He treated it like part of the family. An old, old part of the family who he trusted implicitly. He called it ‘she’. Chris had never assigned a gender to his TARDIS. He wasn’t quite that attached to it, despite having taken the symbiotic connection much further than any Time Lord ever had.

But he did know it was more than just a machine and he didn’t think it would let them down.

He looked at his sister’s worried face, and at Brenda and Carya. Then he quietly called them to his side. He hugged them all reassuringly, especially his wife, who knew least about the nature of semi-sentient bio-mechanical engines.

“The problem is in the main engines,” he said. “I can’t fix it here. But I want you three to stay here. I’m not sure how long emergency power will last. If it goes down…”

“If it does, then what?” It was Brenda who asked the question. Sukie knew the answer. Carya didn’t even know there was a question to be asked.

What she referred to was the fact that most of the rooms of a TARDIS beyond the console room were created in the relatively dimensional space contained within it. Although they felt perfectly real, without power those rooms ceased to exist. They were held in the long term memory as data strings until power was restored. They came back perfectly intact, even down to the soap in the bathroom or the food in the fridge. He and Davie had tried several experiments to prove that.

But they had never dared to find out what happens if somebody was IN one of the rooms at the time. Even The Doctor wasn’t sure. And they all felt it was probably something dangerously unpleasant.

“I wish we could contact Davie,” Brenda added. “He’d know what to do.”

Chris felt a pang of irritation when she said that. Of course she was Davie’s fiancée, and she believed in him implicitly. But it almost sounded as if she trusted him less than his brother.

“I know what to do,” he answered. “But you’ve all got to stay here in the console room until I get back. Brenda, keep an eye on the CO levels. I THINK the scrubbers are working. Essential life support is online, but watch it all the same. Carya, sweetheart…. Open up the emergency cupboard and check the food, water and medical supplies. Sukie… I need you to…”

“I’m coming with you,” Sukie told him.

“Absolutely not,” Chris answered her. “This is too dangerous. I’m going on my own. You stay here with Brenda and Carya.”

“I’m the best mechanic after granddad and Davie,” she responded. “Just because you’re a man and older than the rest of us you think you’re in charge. But I’m just as good as you at bio-engineering.”

It wasn’t about her being a girl. In any case, Sukie was a gender-non-conformist poster child most days. Today, heading to a motor racing event, she was wearing her own Team Campbell fire suit and had her hair in a neat, short fashion suitable for being around machinery. But she was also wearing mascara, blusher and a plum coloured lipstick.

It was about her being thirteen. But that was never an argument he was going to win, either. She spent so much of her spare time in Davie’s workshop, either working on his racing car or his prototype time machines, she really wasn’t exaggerating when she said she was the next best mechanic after The Doctor and her older brother.

“All right,” he conceded. He looked at Brenda and Carya. “Will you two be all right?”

“Chris, I love you,” Carya told him. The expression on her face told him that she did understand the danger. But he had to go. She would have to learn that being married to a Time Lord involved times like this when her heart would be in her mouth from fear for him. He kissed her once again before turning towards the inner door.

“It’s some kind of temporal wave pulling us through the vortex,” Davie said. “Something that shouldn’t be there…. I need to…”

Spenser looked out of the windows at the front and side of the car. The vortex looked even more sinister now with arcing electricity, or quite possibly some other unleashed energy, crackling through it. He reminded himself that a car, even one converted into a time machine, was a natural Faraday cage and they were perfectly safe inside.

He turned and looked at Davie. His face was set in concentration. His knuckles were white as he gripped the steering wheel. His left leg shook as he pressed down on the temporal brake. He was concentrating so hard he was almost in a trance.

He seemed to be trying to control the time machine by power of thought.

But that was impossible, surely? It was nothing like a TARDIS. The Holden was both a very basic steel and glass protective shell between them and the elements and an even more basic core around which a temporal disruption chip created a path through time. It was merely mechanical. There was no symbiotic relationship with it, at least no more than a keen driver like Davie might have with any ordinary car.

“I’m not.” Spenser heard Davie’s voice in his head as if from a much greater distance than the other side of the gearbox. “I’m trying to control the vortex.”

“That’s even more impossible.”

“Not for me,” Davie said before his mind returned to the problem. Spenser didn't dare try to talk to him for fear of breaking his concentration. He reached out and touched his hand as it gripped the gear lever, offering moral support to him at least.

Then they dropped out of the vortex into pitch darkness. Davie felt the change in the feel of the vehicle as the wheels touched onto tarmac and he had to control the Holden as an ordinary car again.

“Where are we?” Spenser asked.

“Brands Hatch racetrack,” Davie replied. “Where we should be. But not WHEN we should be. It’s December, 1974.”

“That explains why there are no lights, then,” Spenser replied. Davie made an interrogative response. “I remember it… well, through my father’s memories, anyway. The Three Day Week… miners on strike, fuel shortages. Lighting a motor racetrack while it isn’t in use would hardly be in keeping with the spirit of conserving energy.”

“Makes sense,” Davie agreed. The headlights of his car illuminated a series of chevrons that indicated the way off the track. There was a locked gate, but his sonic screwdriver made short work of that and he drove out onto an equally unlit b-road. He got his bearings anyway. The road was a bit wider in his day, but more or less the same otherwise.

“Something was dragging us through the Vortex and then dropped out of it in this time and place,” he said. “We need to find out what it is. But this isn’t a TARDIS. I don’t have any resources. Need to get to Maidstone. There was a U.N.I.T. section based there in the 1970s. We can…. Oh.…”

He stopped in mid-sentence. Spenser was puzzled.

“Contacting U.N.I.T. in 1974 might not be a good idea, actually. Could cause some problems. Never mind, I’ll think of something. Maybe….”

Spenser was about to ask what the problem was with U.N.I.T. in 1974, but both of them were distracted by the headlamp glare of a car coming up behind them at speed. Davie yelled angrily as the dark blue 1972 Ford Escort overtook them in the oncoming lane and then swerved in front so quickly that he had to brake hard. Spenser yelped in dismay as Davie temporarily lost control of the Holden and it skidded off the road, across the grass verge and into a ditch.

“Are you ok?” Davie asked as Spenser nursed a bruised elbow and fumbled with his seatbelt. “Sorry about that. Not the coolest bit of driving I ever did. Come on. We’d better see what the damage is.”

He clambered out of the car. Spenser did the same. Davie examined the bodywork critically by the penlight of his sonic screwdriver.

“It looks ok, but I don’t know how we’re going to get it out of this ditch.”

“Call the AA?” Spenser suggested.

“I’m not a member in 1974,” Davie replied. “And that’s another thing. This car was made in 2009. I gave it registration plates from 1985 for this trip. In 1972, it is doubly anachronistic. If we call any breakdown service for help we’d be risking a paradox.”

“Call your brother, then,” Spenser added.

“I’d rather risk the paradox. Chris wouldn’t say anything. But Sukie will make my life a misery until she’s a married woman.”

All the same, he reached for his mobile phone. He was more than a little concerned to find it was giving him ‘service out of range’ signals. His mobile phone, Spenser’s, too, had universal roaming and should have worked in any time or place, whether or not mobile phones had been invented.

“We’re on our own,” he said. “We’d better….”

Another sentence was abruptly cut off by the Doppler sound of police sirens coming closer. Davie half hoped they would have something more important to do and their little roadside drama would be unimportant to them. When two of the cars drew to a halt he groaned and steeled himself to bluff his way out of the situation.

He wasn’t expecting armed police. He wasn’t expecting the order to get down on his knees with his hands on his head.

And when he tried to ask what was happening he didn’t expect to get punched in the face and told to ‘shut up, Paddy.’

“That’s something else that was going on in the winter of 1974,” Spenser told him telepathically as they were both arrested and handcuffed and put into the back of a police van.

Chris moved swiftly along the corridors and down flights of steps within his TARDIS. Sukie ran to keep up with him but she didn’t complain. She understood the urgency of it. She didn’t want to get trapped in a room that didn’t exist.

She glanced around the corridor and shivered at the thought.

She ran a little faster and overtook her brother. Chris grinned as she reached the door of the engine room and crashed through it.

Then the emergency power failed. Sukie turned in horror as the door sealed itself behind her. She was trapped and Chris was….

“No!” she screamed. “Oh, no!”

The police van had no windows in the back. They couldn’t see where they were going and the policemen who sat opposite them didn’t tell them.

“So…” Davie said to Spenser telepathically. “You’re telling me that we’ve been arrested as suspected IRA bombers or something?”

“The car that drove us into the ditch…” Spenser replied. “It was going pretty fast for a dark b-road.”

“So it’s just a case of mistaken identity? I mean… they’ve got to realise that when they get to wherever we’re going. We’re… I mean… we don’t even SOUND Irish.”

That much was certainly true. Davie’s accent was a cross between lowland Scots and the Home Counties. When he was with his father, the Scots was more pronounced, but at school in London it had always been easier to sound more local. He and his brother stood out enough without regional differences for the natural bullies to pick on.

Spenser spoke with an ‘educated’ north-eastern accent, softer than the ‘Geordie’ or the broad Yorkshire accent, but with a hint of both in it.

“Not sure that’ll matter,” Spenser told him. “This was a bad time for that sort of thing. Besides, we can’t really prove our true identities.”

That was also true. Davie scoured his memory for fine details of British history.

“Do they have the death penalty at this time? How much trouble are we in?”

Spenser assured him that their situation wasn’t quite THAT bad. He glanced at their hands, cuffed together to prevent them escaping. He would have liked to have held Davie’s hand, but he rather thought that would upset their guards.

He made do with a telepathic equivalent of a hug. Davie responded gratefully. But Spenser withdrew gently as he realised that he was thinking about Brenda.

It was dark in the engine room. But Sukie wasn’t afraid of the dark. She was afraid of being alone, and the thought that she was trapped here as long as the power was off terrified her. But she wouldn’t cry about that. She was already fighting back tears about Chris, wavering between certainty that he was dead, crushed by the collapsing reality beyond the engine room, and conviction that he would be all right once she got the power back on.

She pulled her small, limited function sonic screwdriver from her pocket and turned it to penlight mode. Penlight was not quite the right word for it. The light it gave was almost bright enough to illuminate the whole of the engine room.

She had been down here many times, of course. She was familiar with the equivalent room in Davie’s Chinese TARDIS and the police box that was the first TARDIS she ever knew. She had helped Davie with routine maintenance of all three.

So the turbines and pumps and other pieces of tempered steel that made up the physical engine of the TARDIS didn’t worry her very much. Only the fact that nothing was moving; no turbines turning, no pumps pumping, no LED lights and dials indicating that power was running through the engines.

The TARDIS was dead.

No, it couldn’t be. There had to be something, some spark, some glimmer of power.

She just had to find it.

She switched off the light and closed her eyes. She reached out with her mind, to find the small chance of survival that they all had.

It was nearly dawn when the police van finally stopped. But they didn’t see very much of the grey daylight. A draught of cold air whipped around them as they were pulled from the van and pushed through an open door onto a stairwell. They were still handcuffed together, and when Spenser stumbled rather than walked down the first three steps, he dragged Davie down with him.

“Get up,” they were told. Rough arms yanked them back upright and rougher voices told them to keep going down the stairs. At the bottom they were urged, with prods in the back with what were either truncheons or the butts of guns, towards a processing room. They were searched and the contents of their pockets confiscated. They were few enough - their mobile phones, Davie’s sonic screwdriver and the psychic paper they used as ID, car keys, and wallets containing money and universal credit cards. The first two items were looked at suspiciously and obviously assumed to be bomb-maker’s accessories. The psychic paper, to their surprise, and relief, remained blank. They both gave their real names and dates of birth, changing the years automatically. Home addresses were more difficult and they were set down as ‘NFA’ on the booking-in form before they were made to carry on along a brightly lit corridor with steel doors either side. At the end of the corridor, one of the police officers unfastened the handcuffs and they were pushed towards identical cells either side of the corridor. Davie briefly considered fighting, but Spenser was the voice of reason in his head, reminding him that the police were armed and probably wouldn’t care if they were shot resisting arrest.

“So… we’ve been arrested as terrorists in 1974,” Davie said telepathically as he sat on the narrow bench that served as a bed in the tiny cubicle of a cell. “That means they can hold us for…”

“They can hold us way longer than an ordinary criminal,” Spenser said. “There were special laws brought in to combat terrorism. I don’t know where we are, exactly, but I think this is in London, and it’s not an ordinary police station. This is high security. They really do think we’re the ones they’re after.”

“How… can they possibly think that?” Davie asked. “Surely they’ll realise they’ve made a mistake?”

“They might. Or…”


“Davie… I lived through these times. I remember it. Because of things that happened around this time, in this year, more than a dozen people spent the best part of twenty years in jail for what it eventually turned out they didn’t do. They just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time… just like us.”

“We could go to jail… for twenty years…”

Of course, twenty years was nothing to a Time Lord in terms of mere age. But the thought of being locked in a cell like this, day after day, for so very long, among hostile strangers, far from his family, from Brenda.…

“Do you think we’d be in the same jail?” he asked.

“I don’t know,” Spenser replied. “But… That’s not the way I want to spend time with you. Don’t think of it. We’ll get out of this.”

“I hope so. Do you know what they’ll do to us next?”

“I suppose they’re going to interrogate us.” Spenser’s telepathic voice had a deep sigh in it. “I’m not exactly an expert about this, you realise. But… this period of history, there weren’t many rules about what police could or couldn’t do to prisoners. And in the case of terror suspects… I mean… we’re probably going to get beaten up. But… the REAL terrorists in these cases… they used to say nothing… nothing at all… no matter what was done to them. I think that’s probably our best advice, too.”

“No,” Davie responded. “There’s still an alien entity out there that dragged us out of the vortex. I’ve still got to get in touch with U.N.I.T. I didn’t want to. But we’re short of options now. We need them.”

“All right. But….”

Davie felt Spenser’s mental connection with him waver. He knew why. Somebody had come into the cell. He was being taken for interrogation.

“Stay with me,” he said. “Keep the connection. I don’t want to lose you.”

It was how he and Chris used to face any difficulty. From their youngest days when they were sent to different corners of the primary school classroom as punishment for inattention to the times when they were older and faced groups of school bullies in the playground they had supported each other with their mental connection.

And now he and Spenser held onto each other in that same way. He felt the first punches and kicks that Spenser suffered as he was taken to the interrogation room. It didn’t make his own wait very pleasant. He expected exactly the same treatment and could do nothing but try to steel himself for the punishment.

The cell door burst open with a crash and the police officers rushed in, flanking him and dragging him up from the bench. His shoulder muscles wrenched painfully and he tripped at the door because of the way he was being pushed and pulled at the same time.

“Just… let me walk,” he said. “I’m not resisting. The sooner we sit down and talk, the sooner we can sort this out.”

That was the wrong thing to say. He cried out in outrage and pain as he was hit between the shoulder blades by one truncheon and across the back of his knees with the other. He fell and was hauled up again then dragged along the corridor and into a sparse room containing a table and two chairs. He was pushed into one of the chairs and handcuffed to the table. A police officer sat opposite him. Two others stood guard by the door.

“Are you ok?” Spenser asked him.

“I’ll live. You?”

“The bruises will mend in a little while. I’ll be all right.”

“Me, too.”

He turned his attention to the officer who had spat out a question at him.

“I want to speak to the Special Scientific Advisor to U.N.I.T.,” Davie answered. “I’ll speak to nobody else.”

“What’s that?” the officer demanded.

“United Nations Intelligence Taskforce,” he replied. “It’s a special military organisation that.…”

“So you know all about military targets?”

“I know U.N.I.T.,” he answered. “I want to speak to their scientific advisor.”

It wasn’t the answer the police officer wanted to hear. And he had his colleagues take out his displeasure on Davie’s ribs and kidneys. Spenser was suffering from his own policy of saying nothing at all in the other interrogation room.

The bullying and physical abuse that passed for interrogation went on for three solid hours. They knew the bruises would fade, that the cuts would mend themselves. The broken ribs would repair. So would the ruptured kidneys that Spenser suffered. But not until the beatings stopped and they were allowed to rest.

“I don’t think I can take much more of this,” Davie said to him. “They’re never going to leave us alone. They don’t believe me when I tell them I’m not what they think I am.”

“Then they have to be made to see what we really are,” Spenser answered. “I have an idea. It’s a bit desperate, but….”

He outlined his plan. Davie agreed that it was desperate. But it was the only plan they had.

Sukie opened her eyes in the pitch dark and then stepped forward. She touched the central turbine. Her hands reached to find the thick, insulated conduits that were meant to feed the artron energy to the engines.

That was where the problem lay. A conduit had worked loose. It was almost as simple as the problem her mother had once told her about, in her granddad’s TARDIS, in which a spring under a switch on the console had nearly thrown them into disaster.

She grasped the conduit in both hands. It was heavy and almost too thick for her to hold. She let go and stood back from it. She closed her eyes again and concentrated. She had the physical strength of a slightly built thirteen year old girl, but her mental strength was phenomenal. Lifting the conduit and re-attaching it to the turbine by the power of her own mind was easier than doing it physically. There was a satisfying clunk as the head of the conduit locked into position and then a whine as gears and pistons began to move again. She opened her eyes and saw the lights slowly come on in the engine room.

She turned and ran for the door. It wouldn’t open at first. The TARDIS was a big machine, after all. The power still had to reach every part of it.

At last it gave. She opened it quickly, trying not to think about what was beyond it. When she saw the familiar interior corridor with its gothic stone effect walls fully illuminated it was a relief.

But then she saw Chris lying on the floor, horribly still. She called out his name and ran to his side. She put her hands on his hearts. They didn’t seem to be beating and he looked horribly pale and clammy, not like when he was in a meditative trance.

She knew CPR. She had learnt it from her great-grandfather along with Vicki. But not even in extremis could she imagine giving the kiss of life to her brother. There were some things thirteen year olds didn’t do.

But she had other means at her disposal. Not for nothing was she called The Healer. She reached out with her mind again, this time not trying to make machinery work, but Chris’s hearts and lungs. It was almost the same principle as mending the engines. She mentally pushed at his lungs, forcing the air out, and massaged his hearts until they took a systolic beat by themselves.

“Sukie!” She heard him whisper her name out loud. “I’m all right, now. Thank you.” His arms enclosed around her, hugging her tightly. “You fixed the engines by yourself. Well done.”

“It… was easy, really,” she admitted. “Are you all right?”

He sat up and then stood. He blinked a couple of times then turned and began to run.

“The girls,” he said. “I can’t feel them. The air in the console room….”

Davie felt Spenser force his hearts into arrhythmia. It hurt him nearly as much. He didn’t break the connection, though. There was always a possibility that the police officers questioning Spenser would prefer to see him die of a heart attack rather than help him. Even though he had made his own body break down, there was a point where he would lose consciousness and would be helpless to bring himself back to normality. Davie was holding onto Spenser’s life.

Then he felt Spenser being moved. Somebody was attempting to revive him. The practice of pulmonary heart massage was known in the early 1970s, of course. And it felt like the one doing it knew his stuff. But he didn’t know that Spenser had two hearts. At least, not yet.

His own interrogation continued, of course. He repeated the same answers to the same questions over and over, and literally rolled with the punches when his answers didn’t find favour. Even so, he maintained his mental connection with Spenser, noting that he was being brought out of the police station and into an ambulance. He resisted the painful electrical jolt as the defibrillator was used to restart Spenser’s heart. He was relieved when he felt both hearts start up at once.

Now all they needed was for the paramedics to NOTICE that Spenser had two hearts.

“They’ve noticed,” he heard Spenser tell him. “They just contacted headquarters. They’ve been told to divert to….”

Davie missed the end of that sentence because his interrogator was shouting in his ear and demanding his attention. But it sounded like a positive development. And it gave him hope that his ordeal would be over soon. He drew himself up straight and looked the police officer in the eye.

“In a few hours, I’m going to be out of here,” he said. “And you are going to be explaining to your superiors why you wasted a day bullying me and my friend while the people you really wanted got clean away and are free to commit another terrible crime.”

His bravado earned him another beating, after which he was sent back to his cell. He sat on the bench and closed his eyes. His body ached from the punishment he had received. But now he was alone he could let it begin to repair. He put himself into a low level meditative trance while the bruises and cuts and the broken ribs healed themselves.

Chris reached the console room a pace in front of Sukie. The lights were on. The TARDIS was operational again. It was even continuing its journey through the vortex. They were on schedule for their rendezvous with Davie and Spenser in 1986.

But the two girls were lying on the floor. As he stepped closer he saw how blue their lips were.

“How come?” Sukie asked. “I was ok in the engine room.”

“I think the air vented from the console room,” he answered. “I don’t know why. I’ll need to get Davie to look at it. But somehow there wasn’t enough oxygen and the CO scrubbers weren’t processing what there was fast enough.”

He bent over Carya first and began mouth to mouth resuscitation. Sukie hesitated a moment before kneeling beside Brenda and doing the same. They both seemed too terribly still at first. Then Brenda coughed and stirred and opened her eyes. Carya gave a panicked cry but relaxed when she realised it was Chris who was kissing her.

“You’re both ok,” he said. He hugged Carya and reached out his hand to Brenda. “I’ll get you to Davie, soon. Plenty of hugs for you from him, I’m sure. I hope he’ll forgive me for making such a bad job of looking after you.”

Davie came quickly out of his trance when the door began to open. It did so a little less abruptly this time. A policeman stood there. He was a little surprised but not displeased when he was saluted neatly.

“Please come this way, sir,” he said. Davie stood and stepped out of the cell. He walked with the policeman at his side to the reception where he had been processed several hours before. He noticed that another police officer was waiting with the property confiscated from him and Spenser in a plastic box. He didn’t return the property. Instead he walked along beside him, back up the stairwell and out into the police yard where a military helicopter waited.

He was still a prisoner. That much was obvious. He couldn’t refuse to get into the helicopter. And nobody was telling him anything. They were being a lot more polite, though. The soldiers who showed him to a seat on board called him ‘sir’. That was an improvement. But he wasn’t completely certain what was happening.

The theory that they were in London was born out as the helicopter rose up from the yard and flew south-east. He recognised the stretch of the Thames where he lived – or he would live in another two-hundred and fifty years. He felt a slight pang of homesickness, not only for the place, but the time he came from. He didn’t have much reason to love England in the early 1970s right now.

The helicopter touched down a little over twenty minutes later in a military compound on the outskirts of Greater London. Again, everyone was very polite as they escorted him into the building. He was taken down another series of corridors and finally into a room that was comfortably furnished with soft chairs and a table that had coffee and sandwiches on it.

He was hungry and thirsty, but those things were less important to him right now than the fact that Spenser was there. He stood up as Davie entered, obviously relieved to see him, but resisted his attempt to hug him.

“That mirror… on the wall over there… its two way. We’re being watched.”

“I don’t give a stuff,” Davie replied. “You nearly died to prove a point to them. Let’s prove another one.”

He embraced Spenser and kissed him long enough to make the point perfectly clear to anyone who wanted to see. Then he sat down on one of the chairs. He kept hold of Spenser's hand, though. He was still doing that when the door opened and two people came in. One was a late middle-aged man with white hair and an eclectic idea of fashion. The other was a dark haired young woman in a knee length skirt suit.

Davie’s hearts lurched to see both of them. He had known Sarah Jane Smith since he was eight or nine years old, when his great grandfather took him and his brother to meet her. The Doctor called her one of his oldest and dearest friends and then apologised to her for the ‘oldest’ bit. But she was in her fifties by then. She looked about his own age now, which was a surreal enough experience to begin with.

The man, of course, WAS his great grandfather in his third incarnation. He knew all of his faces.

He knew he could trust him.

“Doctor….” he began, before finding his mouth strangely dry.

“You know who I am?” the white haired man asked. He looked at the notes his companion was holding. “Which one are you? You gave your names to the police as Spenser Draxic and David Campbell. Draxic… is a name long associated with the Arcalian Chapter. But Campbell….”

“Is a proud fighting Scots name,” Davie answered. “I’m usually known as Davie… My father is David Campbell.”

“Of course he is,” The Doctor said in a voice that was strangely hoarse. “A fine, brave, fighting Scotsman. And you…. My dear boy.”

There was no need to say anything else. The Doctor recognised his own great-grandson instinctively. Davie remembered the first time he had ever met the man he had come to know and love and to trust implicitly. He and his brother were eight years old, and had come in from the garden to find two strangers in their home. Their mother had told them that the man was their great grandfather and told them to give him a hug. His reaction had almost frightened them. He had cried emotionally as he clutched them to his chest and called them both his ‘dear boys’.

Davie wondered why, having met him here and now, in his third incarnation, it took The Doctor six more of his lifetimes before he managed to find his granddaughter and renew his acquaintance with her and her children. How hard had it been for him to remember the promise he had made to her when they parted under that bridge in London in 2164? Obviously a Time Lord’s personal hangups could cause him an awful lot of grief.

“Your ‘car’ is being brought here now on the back of a U.N.I.T. transporter,” The Doctor told him. “I looked at it when it was pulled from the ditch. It’s a very impressive piece of engineering. Your own work?”

“We worked on it together,” Davie answered.

“Impressive,” The Doctor repeated with a hint of parental pride that Davie would not begrudge him. “The two of you….” His eyes fixed on their entwined hands. Davie held on even more tightly. “Well, it’s a good job you live on Earth. That would cause some ripples in Gallifreyan society.”

“I’m sure it would,” Spenser remarked, finding his voice at last. This meeting between Davie and The Doctor had left him feeling just a little overwhelmed. “Sir… there are more important matters right now. Our time machine was pulled out of the vortex into this time by an unknown element… possibly an alien element. We were trying to reach U.N.I.T. and inform them of the potential threat to this planet when we were… delayed… by the actions of the police. It’s been hours. If it was a hostile alien….”

The Doctor smiled warmly at them both, then he stood and reached out his hand to them.

“Follow me,” he said.

Davie had followed The Doctor, figuratively and literally, for a long time. He certainly wasn’t going to do anything else.

Spenser trusted Davie. He would follow HIM anywhere.

They went out into the yard where an incongruously yellow open topped vintage car waited. The Doctor climbed into the driver’s seat and invited Davie to get into the passenger side, while Spenser sat behind him with Sarah Jane.

“We picked up the energy trace when the two time machines came out of the vortex,” The Doctor told him as the convoy set off. “I made a judgement call and went to what turned out to be your car, crashed into the ditch. The Brigadier took a U.N.I.T. section to the other location. We’re on our way to join him, now. You wouldn’t know Brigadier Lethbridge Stewart, I suppose?”

“I met him once,” Davie replied. “But he was retired by then. He told me a lot about you… about how you always objected to his military tactics. You complained about the army shooting first and not bothering to ask questions later.”

“That I do,” The Doctor answered. “Which is why I’m rather worried about what might be going on at this other site. I told him to make sure nobody opens fire until we know what we’re dealing with. And he reminded me that I’m a scientific advisor not a military commander.”

The Doctor seemed put out by that. But Davie knew he always respected the Brigadier and talked of him with affection, despite their differences.

“Hold on tight,” The Doctor said once he was on a clear stretch of road. Davie did so just in time. Behind him Spenser and Sarah Jane did the same. The vintage car turned into a turbo boosted rocket and the scenery around them blurred. Davie glanced at the speedometer and smiled. He knew, now, where he got his interest in fast cars from. It was something else he had inherited from his great-grandfather.

The site of the other temporal incursion elicited an impatient noise from The Doctor. As he drove his car through the security cordon and parked it by a Bedford four tonner and a staff Land Rover he murmured darkly about military heavy-handedness. Sarah Jane suppressed a giggle. She had obviously heard this sort of thing before. Davie and Spenser walked behind him, side by side. They held hands again as they approached the steel screens that hid whatever it was they had come to see.

As they stepped through the inner cordon, though, they let go and both instinctively reached for their sonic screwdrivers before remembering they had been confiscated. They were poor weapons, anyway. But both felt the need to defend themselves from the beings aboard the capsule that was half buried in the ploughed field.

The Doctor was a pacifist. But he pulled his sonic screwdriver from his pocket and held it defensively.

“Dominators!” All three Time Lords said the word at the same time, with the same note of horror in their voices.

“You men!” Davie called to the soldiers who were maintaining cover on all sides of the craft. “Stand to, weapons at the ready. The occupants of this ship are armed and hostile. Take no chances.”

He, himself, grabbed a rifle from a very surprised soldier and stepped towards the main hatchway as it began to open. The soldiers took his lead and stood ready to fire if anything remotely hostile emerged from the ship. Their officers looked puzzled to find they were under the command of a young civilian who, nevertheless, conducted himself like a war veteran who knew what to expect in the next few minutes.

“On my mark!” Davie called out, raising his rifle and taking careful aim. Around him, the soldiers tensed, expecting to fire at any moment.

The hatchway opened and three men stepped out. They were exactly what Davie expected, the tall, stockily built, low-foreheaded humanoids he had fought a bitter war against in the 24th century. His hearts lurched at the thought of that same war being unleashed on an unprepared 20th century Earth. His finger tightened on the trigger of the gun. He got ready to order the other men to fire.

“No!” He felt rather than saw The Doctor rush towards him, pushing his rifle upwards so that the bullets fired harmlessly into the air. “No, don’t shoot. Nobody shoot. Stand down. Stand down and make safe.”

“But….” Davie began. The Doctor held his arm with a grip that would have surprised anyone who took him for just a middle aged civilian.

“You almost made a mistake you would regret for the rest of your life,” The Doctor told him. Then he turned his attention to the aliens who looked, if anything, alarmed by the reception they were receiving.

“You… in the space capsule… come forward with your arms raised above your heads. You won’t be harmed. But you must be taken into custody until your claim is verified.”

“What claim?” Davie asked as The Doctor gently took the rifle from his hands and put the safety catch on it. The Dominators, to his utter surprise, were doing exactly what they had been told. The first three, followed by a dozen more, came down the gangway from their ship with their hands raised. There were still guns trained on them, but with safety catches on. They were checked for concealed weapons and then brought to the back of the Bedford truck. “They’re Dominators. You KNOW about them. You know what they’re capable of. So do I. I’ve…. I’ve….”

“You’ve never seen the intergalactic sign of unconditional surrender,” The Doctor told him. “They all had their hands held out, palms up. Didn’t you notice?”

“I only noticed that they were Dominators,” he insisted. “They don’t surrender. They never… never surrender. They just kill. It’s… it’s a trick. They’re just trying to lure us into a false sense of security. They.…”

“Then we’re forewarned and we’ll deal with it,” The Doctor assured him. “Come on, my boy.”

“You know, you’re the only person who calls me ‘boy’.” Davie told him as he let himself be led to a small mobile command centre where coffee and sandwiches were pressed into his hand and The Doctor watched to make sure he ate them. As he did so a soldier came into the room with a report that The Doctor read with interest.

“As I said,” he remarked to Davie. “You were on the point of making a terrible mistake. Shooting unarmed men who were trying to surrender… just about the worst thing a soldier could do, let alone a Time Lord.”

“They really were surrendering? Why?”

“Time Lords aren’t the only people with Renegades who go against their government. They came to Earth seeking sanctuary. They were heading for the 25th century, when there is a small colony of what they call “The Free” living on this planet under the protection of the Earth Federation. A freak power surge in their warp shunt engines plunged them into the time vortex. They were the anomaly you detected. Your time machine exerted a temporal drag – a brake, in effect, bringing them safely out of the vortex. But between the less than welcoming reception you and your friend received and the usual U.N.I.T. reaction to anything they don’t understand there were almost two terrible injustices done today already. If you had opened fire, it would have been a third one.”

“I’m sorry,” Davie admitted. “I didn’t know… I never expected…. Granddad, I’ve fought them… Dominators. I’ve fought a war as terrible as the one you and my father fought against the Daleks. And I never… never expected….”

“Yes,” The Doctor told him. “It’s in your eyes. You’ve lived far too long and far too hard for your years. I’m sorry for that.”

“Don’t be,” Davie answered. “You taught me well. You prepared me. You taught me to know when to fight and when to make peace. You… never taught me the intergalactic sign of unconditional surrender. If that was your mistake… it was the only one you ever made. But thank you for stopping me from making one.”

Chris’s TARDIS arrived on the A20 outside Brands Hatch racetrack at six o’clock on the morning of July 13th, 1986, disguised as a bright red telephone box. He and the girls stepped out and breathed deeply the cool fresh air of a beautiful summer’s morning. To do so was something of a relief after their experience.

A minute later the plum coloured Holden Commodore, which even in 1986 was wildly anachronistic, materialised on the road and slowed to a stop beside the phone box. Brenda ran to hug Davie.

“Any problems?” Chris asked his brother once his fiancée allowed him to breathe.

“None at all,” he lied. “You?”

“Not a thing.”

Later, of course, after they had watched the race and cheered the British winner of the British Grand Prix with unbounded national pride, when they were installed in the lounge bar of a pub near the racetrack with their two time machines parked up outside, they swapped stories about their adventures. Davie was pleased and proud of his little sister and told her so several times.

“I don’t think what happened to you was connected with the temporal drag in the vortex,” Davie said. “Sounds like your TARDIS is ready for a thorough service. You’d better bring it down to my workshop tomorrow.”

“I’ll do that. But… are you ok? You had a really bad time of it, both of you.”

“Wasn’t the best day I ever had,” Davie admitted. “But… meeting granddad… that was almost worth it. I think I should go and have a long talk with him when we get home. There’s quite a few questions I need to ask him.”

“What happened with the Dominator refugees?” Chris queried.

“Yes, I’m kind of curious about that. But also… At that point in his life… it was about two hundred years since he left mum in 2164. And it was another three hundred, at least, before he finally came to see her… that day when we were eight and he brought Rose with him. I don’t understand… what was it that kept him away all that time? What made him think he couldn’t come back to mum?”

“Interesting question,” Chris agreed. “But I have a feeling he won’t tell you. I don’t think he really knows the answer to that himself.”

Davie nodded wordlessly. He looked around and smiled at Spenser and Sukie playing pool together, Sukie holding her own despite being too short to reach the longer shots. Brenda and Carya were sipping highly coloured cocktails with cherries on sticks in them and talking about the sort of things women talked about. For a little while he and Chris met each other inside their own heads and shared their memories of the man who taught them to be everything they now were and everything they knew they could yet be, and agreed that it was probably better if they left him with that one secret about his amazing life.