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

Spenser Draxic stood in the courtyard of his fifteenth century house and waited. It was a windy day and he was wearing a jacket that buttoned up to his neck, but when a different wind caught his uncovered hair and blew it awry he smiled happily. He watched as a grey cabinet materialised briefly before disguising itself as a bricked up archway in the orchard wall. When Davie Campbell stepped out he embraced him and kissed his cheek as he always did when they met after being apart for a while.

“Sorry to drop in on you at short notice,” Davie said. “I hope it isn’t inconvenient.”

“Not at all,” Spenser answered. “I had no other plans for this afternoon.”

“Are you sure?” Davie asked. He turned and looked as a motor bike passed under the main archway into the courtyard. Spenser let go of him and went to greet his new lover, Stuart Harrison, as he climbed off the bike and pulled off his helmet. He embraced and kissed him enthusiastically. Stuart reciprocated warmly, but Davie knew he must have seen the way Spenser had been hugging him moments before.

“I just got here, too,” he said as he stepped forward and shook hands with Stuart. “It’s good to see you.”

“You, too, Davie,” Stuart replied. He diplomatically said nothing else for the moment.

“Coffee,” Spenser announced briskly before any awkwardness could set in between the two men he cared about so much. “It’s bloody cold out here.” He grasped Stuart’s leather gloved hand and turned towards his front door. Davie followed them. That was his role in Spenser’s life now. He was his friend. Stuart was his lover. He was okay about it. But it still felt odd walking into the house behind them like that.

“Maybe we should do this another time,” he said as he found a chair in the drawing room and noticed that Stuart went to the kitchen and started the coffee while Spenser sat on the long sofa. “It’s not… important.”

“Yes, it is,” Spenser answered him. “You wouldn’t have come up here on five minutes notice if it wasn’t important. I can see that it is. Your head is buzzing with something. You know there’s nothing you can’t share with me. Is it… Brenda… is everything ok with her?”

“She’s fine,” Davie answered. “She’s shopping right now. Furniture for the new apartment. Mum is with her. They have my credit card, but I don’t think even the two of them can completely wipe me out…”


Stuart came in with the coffee. Davie hugged his cup contemplatively for a while.

“Would it be better if I wasn’t here?” Stuart asked. Davie looked at him sitting close to Spenser on the sofa. Again, he was aware of being displaced. He was the one who used to cuddle up to Spenser on that sofa not so very long ago. He didn’t regret the change in their relationship. But it did take some getting used to.

“No, it’s ok,” he admitted. “Only… this is about something that happened last year, when we were… when Spenser and I were together… when we went offworld together.” He swallowed hard and then spoke quickly. “It’s about Khristan Tully.”

“Sweet mother of chaos!” Spenser swore. He leaned forward and grasped his hand. “You were meant to forget that name.”

“I did… until this morning. I was standing in the second bedroom of the apartment. In the version of the floorplan Brenda has in her mind, it’s a nursery. And… I was thinking about that… and how it was a nice idea. I’m starting to get like her. I was thinking about where we’d put the cot, and about getting a big rocking chair by the window for night feeds and all that kind of thing…. And something just fizzed in my mind. And I remembered…. Spenser… I remembered everything.”

Spenser swore again.

“No… it’s ok,” he said. “I know why I was meant to forget. It made sense at the time. But… the stuff you kept for me…”

“You want to see it?”

“I think I need to.”

“Ok…” Spenser stood and ran from the room. Davie waited quietly, aware that Stuart was wondering what was happening, but feeling incapable, right now, of explaining anything to him. He was still explaining a lot of it to himself.

“Whatever it is… it can’t be that bad, can it?” Stuart asked.

“No… it’s not… bad… as such…” Davie answered. “It’s actually something rather incredible, really. Something fantastic. Mind-blowing.”

Yes, he decided. It was fantastic. He actually managed to smile a soft, wistful smile. When it all came flooding into his mind he had been scared. He had doubted his own sanity at first. Then as the memories sorted out into some kind of order in his head he had cried a little. Then he had decided there was only one person he could talk to about this.

“Here.” Spenser came back to the room, slightly breathless from running up and down the stairs. He pressed a cardboard box into Davie’s hands before he sat down again beside his lover. Davie looked at the box for a moment before breaking the seal.

“I used the sonic screwdriver to close it up,” he said.

“Sellotape would have done the job just as easily,” Spenser pointed out.

Davie took the lid off the box and lifted out a series of pictures of a very newborn baby. There were other souvenirs of the child’s first days, too. Davie held onto a small pair of cotton bootees as if they were precious to him.

Stuart reached into the box and picked out a small plastic hospital wristlet.

“Khristan Campell?”

“That’s the name he was born with. Tully is his adopted name,” Davie explained. “Good name. Good people. I knew they’d love him as I did.”

“This is your baby?” Stuart looked at the pictures again. “Your son? What happened? Did his mother die in childbirth or something?”

“He doesn’t have a mother,” Davie answered. “He was mine. I… I gave birth to him.”

Stuart’s eyes popped as Davie explained how he had been impregnated and went through the birth of a baby boy before giving him up for adoption.

“I was supposed to forget it ever happened,” he added wryly. “The most incredible thing I ever did… that I shall ever do in my life. I asked Spenser to wipe it from my mind.”

“So how come you remembered? Did he mess up?”

“It’s not like deleting a file from a computer system. It’s not even really ‘wiping’. That’s the wrong word, in fact. It’s more like closing off a part of the brain so that the rest of it has no access. Except… I guess this was such a big thing… it leaked out little by little. I’ve had some really mad dreams lately, all about babies. Good dreams. Fantastic ones. I thought it was all just because of Brenda talking about nurseries, and both of us thinking about the future so much. But now… I know it’s because… I’ve already done what she wants to do when we’re married. I’m… I’m a parent…”

“You’re a mother!” Stuart said with a smile. Davie smiled too, but wryly.

“They don’t have the concept of mother and father on Mizzone. Just two parents… one who gives birth, the other who loves and cherishes.”

“And both of them are men?” Stuart’s smile widened. He glanced at Spenser and his eyes glinted. “Can we move there?”

“They don’t let offworlders have work permits,” Spenser answered. “Or I’d have kidnapped Davie ages ago and set up home there with him.”

“Keep it in mind for a retirement spot, then,” Stuart suggested.

Davie wasn’t listening to their banter. He was looking at the pictures of the newborn baby and working something out.

“He’d be nearly two years old now,” he said. “Time refraction… distance from here to there… two years would have passed there for one here. He’s not a baby any more. He’s a little boy.”

“I never thought of that,” Spenser said. “I never really thought of him any older than when we saw him last. But time passes for everyone.”

Davie nodded. Then he made a decision.

“I’m going to go see him.”

“You can’t,” Spenser told him.

“Yes, I can. I don’t mean to make any problems for his parents. He’s their baby now. But I want to see him. I want to be sure that he’s ok. Then I can carry on with my life. I can marry Brenda, and she will have the babies. We’ll both be parents. I’ll be ok. Just once, though, I want to see him, hold him in my arms… and remember how much I loved him.”

“Ok,” Spenser decided. “But you’re not going on your own. We did this together the first time. We’ll do it again this time.”

Davie didn’t say anything. But it had been the answer he hoped for.

“Can I come?” Stuart asked. Spenser and Davie both looked at him in surprise. “Seriously… if you’ll have me… a planet where men get married to each other and have children… sounds fantastic. I’d like to see it. At least… if you can get me back in time for the evening rush at the pub.”

“Yes,” Davie said. “Yes. We can do that.” He stuffed his collection of memorabilia back into the box and brought it with him. This time he led the way and Spenser and Stuart followed him out to his TARDIS.

It wasn’t Stuart’s first time in the Chinese TARDIS, but it was the first time he really paid attention to it or what it was capable of doing. Davie enjoyed watching his amazed expression as he took in the vortex on the videoscreen and, eventually, their materialisation on another planet in another part of space.

“It looks much like Earth,” Stuart commented as he looked at the view of the Marina in the seafront capital of northern Mizzone where Davie and Spenser had come on their eventful visit. “Two suns, but otherwise not a lot different. Not that I’m disappointed or anything,” he hastily added. “But I expected… I don’t know, purple grass or…”

Davie wasn’t looking at the view. He was examining the environmental monitor.

“This is worrying,” he said. “The population of the city seems to be down on last time we came… by about a quarter.”

“Can’t be right,” Spenser responded. “In only two years?”

“Not unless there was some kind of mass emigration or…”

Plague? War? Those were just two of the possibilities that crossed their minds. Others even less palatable drifted into their thoughts.

“What about the people you’ve come to see?” Stuart asked the question neither Davie nor Spenser wanted to put into words.

“We’d better go to their apartment,” Spenser said. “If they’ve moved, we might find out where they’ve gone to. Don’t worry. We’ll find them.”

“Unless…” Davie began, but Spenser wouldn’t let him start making a list of dreadful possibilities. They all grabbed their coats. Stuart got ready to step onto his first new planet on a cool late summer evening.

“It smells different,” he said as he looked around the Marina. “The people here… they’re definitely not Human.”

“Or Time Lord?” Spenser smiled as he recalled Stuart’s assessment of the Human race as ‘earthy’ and Time Lords as like horse chestnut trees after a rain storm.

“The overwhelming scent is… like palm oil… That’s what the indigenous species smell like to me. Nice… but there’s something else, too. Something on the edge of my perception. Something less pleasant.” He shook his head. “No, it’s too vague.”

“If it’s vague, it doesn’t matter right now,” Davie insisted. “I want to make sure my baby is all right.”

Neither Stuart nor Spenser thought this was the right moment to remind Davie that the child wasn’t his any more. Spenser was sure Davie knew that, really. He was just worried by those environmental readings.

“What time is it?” Stuart asked as they reached the promenade. It clearly was evening and the temporal clock in the TARDIS made it late in the season, but nobody had checked the exact local time. Davie did now and reported that it was eight-thirty. “Opening time then? But there’s not much action in any of those pubs and restaurants.”

“That’s definitely not right,” Davie confirmed. “This place should be jumping. Something IS wrong here.”

A few of the pubs were open, but there were only one or two customers and when they stepped into one of them the barman shook his head.

“Sorry, I can’t serve you now. Curfew is in half an hour. Got to get this lot on their way as it is.”

“Curfew?” Davie questioned. The barman looked at him as if he had lost his senses and pointed to a sign on the wall warning the citizens of Mizzone City of the penalties for being out on the public streets and highways after nine o’clock in the evening.

“It’s ok,” Spenser answered for him. “We’ll come back earlier tomorrow. Is there still a taxi rank up on the High Point?”

“No chance. The drivers will all be heading home themselves. Best place for any man this time of night is with his family… what’s left of them.”

“Back to the TARDIS,” Davie decided. “It would take more than half an hour to get to the Tullys on foot.”

“This is creepy,” Stuart confirmed. “What’s happened here?”

But it was a rhetorical question and they all knew there was no answer forthcoming until they found their friends. Spenser and Stuart walked quietly beside Davie. They didn’t say anything much in the TARDIS, either. Spenser helped Davie navigate the relatively short hop across the city to the modern plaza where baby Khristan’s adopted family lived in a spacious and comfortable apartment.

The TARDIS materialised in the foyer of the building, which they remembered as being a pleasantly appointed communal space with water features and lounge seats and a play area for children.

The water features were dry and the play area was closed. There were signs reminding residents of the curfew times and the hours when power and running water were available. Another warning sign urged quiet behaviour in the public streets, where gatherings of two or more individuals were discouraged and numerous other restrictions imposed on what used to be a free and easy lifestyle.

“What is happening here?” The question hung on all their lips. It was pointless to put it into words.

“The power is on at this time,” Davie noted. “But all the same, I think I don’t want to risk using the lift. If it goes off, what do you think the chances are of a maintenance worker after curfew?”

They headed for the stairwell. The same curfew notices and other dire warnings lined the walls. There were lights on each floor, and on the stairs, but they really just made the shadows darker. Questions piled upon questions as they reached the floor they wanted.

Davie took a deep breath before he rang the bell. He was still holding it when the door opened slowly. He let it out in a gasp of astonishment when he saw one of the men he expected to see.

He didn’t expect to see him pointing a shotgun at him.

“Solon!” he exclaimed. “Don’t shoot. It’s… it’s me… Davie… Davie Campbell. Do you remember me? I’m…”

“Oh!” Solon Tully gave an emotional cry. He lowered the shotgun. “Davie… I…”

The lights flickered inside and outside the apartment.

“That’s the signal for the curfew,” Solon noted. “You’d better all come in.”

Spenser took the gun from Solon’s unresisting hands as he stepped over the threshold. He broke it and noted that both barrels were loaded. The cartridges were filled with rock salt, but it would have been nasty at such close range.

“What’s this for?” he asked.

“In case THEY come for me,” Solon answered. “I can’t let them… they already got Grieg…”

“Who’ve got him?” Davie asked. “Solon, what’s happened since…” He stopped speaking mid-sentence. As he stepped into the drawing room his eye fell on the playpen where a two year old child was playing with coloured plastic bricks. He took three steps towards him then hesitated. He looked at Solon. “Is… it all right…”

“Of course it is,” Solon assured him. Davie reached into the playpen and lifted the boy in his arms. He was much bigger, much heavier than the last time he held him, but he knew him as soon as he touched him. He was the baby he had given birth to.

“Khristan,” he whispered. “It’s good to see you.”

The little boy didn’t seem disturbed by a stranger picking him up and hugging him in such a familiar way. Davie held onto him as he turned and saw Solon making something that approximated coffee at the bar in one corner of the well-appointed open plan room. It was weak and there was very little sugar and only artificial milk.

“Food is rationed?” he asked.

“Everything is. Food, fuel, water. But I can still welcome old friends and new into my home… such as it is.”

Davie sat on a chair with the child in his lap. His companions sat, too, drinking the weak coffee out of politeness. He reached into his pocket and found a bar of chocolate. He broke a piece off and gave it to the little boy. He ate it hungrily. Davie gave him another piece.

“I ate so much chocolate when I was pregnant with you,” he said with an indulgent smile. “No wonder you like the taste. But I should be able to do more for you, my precious boy.” Then he looked at Solon. “What HAS happened here? What do you mean about Grieg being taken? Who took him? Where? And WHY?”

Davie held the child in his arms, hugging him tenderly as he listened to Solon’s story. And it was one that chilled his hearts. The idyllic world of Mizzone had literally woken up one morning six weeks ago to find itself under siege. The peaceful planet’s defences had fallen pathetically easily and the government had capitulated. They were, at first, seen on telecasts, urging the citizens to remain calm and to co-operate with the aliens who had arrived in force. But nobody had seen any live images of the President or his Cabinet for more than a week. The feeling was that they were dead.

“The invaders…” Spenser asked. “What are they?” He and Davie exchanged glances. Was this their old enemy, the Dominators? The description of the invasion seemed all too horribly familiar.

“They called themselves Rutarians,” Solon answered. “I don’t really know what they look like. They wear masks and space suits. They patrol the streets in armed hovercraft. At night, they’re the only vehicles out there. Everyone else stays inside. Everyone is scared… nobody knows if they’re going to be taken next.”

“Why did they take people?” Stuart asked. “Where did they take them?”

“They took Grieg because he’s an engineer,” Solon replied. “The first days, they took men with those sort of qualifications – science, engineering. Afterwards, they rounded up others, regardless of their jobs. They’ve all been taken to labour camps. There’s one just outside the city. They’ve invaded the whole planet, so there must be other camps around the continent, wherever there is a population to exploit. The Rutarians seem to want us as a workforce. They’re building something. I don’t know… I’m a graphic artist. They obviously don’t need a poster campaign for their project. I’ve been lucky so far. Every time I go out to buy food, I dread what might happen if I’m rounded up… what would happen to Khristan if I didn’t come home.”

Khristan looked comfortable in Davie’s lap. Solon bit his lip anxiously as he looked at him.

“Maybe I don’t have to worry about that, any more,” he said. “Not now. Davie… you have a space craft... you got here… you could get away… and you can take him with you.”

“What?” Davie clasped his arm around Khristan, his hand caressing the boy’s face tenderly. But what was being suggested startled him. “Solon, you can’t...”

“I don’t know if Grieg is alive or dead. I don’t know what might happen to me. But if Khristan is safe… if he’s with somebody I know will love him as much as I do…”

“No,” Davie said in a firm tone. Solon was surprised. So were Spenser and Stuart.

“No,” he repeated. “I left Khristan with you and Grieg because you would be good parents to him. I left him here on Mizzone because I knew he would be safe… because this is his world and he belongs here. He still belongs here. I love him as much now as I did the day he was born. He’s… beautiful… and I wish he was mine. But he’s not. He’s yours, Solon. He’s a Mizzonian child. He belongs here.”

“But…” It was Stuart who put into words what was etched on Solon’s face. “Davie, Mizzone doesn’t exist any more. His world is gone. You have to help him.”

“I’m going to help,” Davie replied. He stood, lifting Khristan into his arms. “But not by taking my poor little boy away and leaving his parents and everyone else to their fate. I’m going to get his world BACK for him.”

“We’re going to fight?” Spenser’s eyes took on a hopeful glint.

“Now you’re talking,” Stuart added. “What’s the plan?”

“First, I get Solon and Khristan out of here. They’ll be safe in the TARDIS. Come on. Don’t bother packing. I’ve got everything you need. Food, clothes…”

He carried Khristan down the dark stairs. Solon and Stuart followed. Spenser was the rearguard.

They were near the bottom of the stairwell when they heard noises in the foyer. Solon’s face paled as he heard the alien voices and the stamp of heavily booted feet.

“Rutarians?” Davie whispered. He nodded.

“Chaos!” Spenser swore. “We can’t get to the TARDIS.”

“We’ve got to get out of this building,” Stuart said. “They’re… I can smell them now. They’re…”

He suppressed a cough. Davie and Spenser both wondered what the Rutarians smelt like to Stuart, but there really wasn’t time to ask.

“They’re rounding up more people for their slave workforce,” Davie said. “Solon, is there another way out of here?”

“Not from here,” he answered. “The fire escape is the other side of the building. But they’ll be there.”

“Ok…” He pressed Khristan back into Solon’s arms. “Spenser, take them back up to the next floor. Use your sonic screwdriver to break into the first apartment you come to. Deadlock the door behind you. Anyone you find in there… keep them with you. Everyone stay together and wait for me.”

“What are you going to…” Spenser began. But there was no time to ask questions. He was already turning towards the stairwell door. Spenser took charge, urging Stuart and Solon back up the stairs.

Davie looked out through the fire door and saw the beings called Rutarians heading towards him. They had both main stairwells and the fire escape covered as they began a systematic search of the apartment block. Davie looked around and then used his sonic screwdriver to open a small door under the stairs. It was a broom cupboard. It smelt of floor polish. He didn’t care. It was a hiding place until the sound of tramping feet passed him by. Then he moved quickly. He adjusted the sonic screwdriver to laser mode, recalling how often he had been told as a boy that the sonic was a tool not a weapon.

“Sorry, granddad,” he whispered. “But I need a weapon. I can’t afford to be a pacifist right now. My baby needs me to be a warrior.”

There were Rutarians on guard in the foyer, of course. But they weren’t looking at the stairwell. He had a few seconds advantage as he fired at the first two. He aimed the laser beam at the helmets, searing holes in them. The Rutarians died quickly. He had guessed correctly that they wore the helmets because the Mizzonian atmosphere was deadly to them. It only took a small rupture in the pressurised atmosphere suit to kill them.

That was useful to know. The enemy had a weakness he could use. But his first priority was reaching his TARDIS. He took out two more of the guards as he dashed across the floor to the walk in cupboard that had materialised there just before the curfew began. Laser guided weapons returned fire, but he folded time and the bullets merely destroyed the moulding around the water feature. He jammed his key in the lock with his left hand while wielding the sonic screwdriver at two more of the aliens as he pushed the door open.

More bullets strafed the inside of the console room before he slammed the door shut. The guards had called for back up. But they were too late. He used the lifesigns monitor to home in on Spenser and Stuart. He noticed there were another four Mizzonian lifesigns near them, as well as Solon and Khristan. He initiated a wide ranging materialisation. The panicked voices of the family his friends had broken in on and Spenser’s voice urging calm faded in like an old analogue radio broadcast as the TARDIS solidified around them.

The sound of gunfire hitting the outside of the TARDIS was a counterpoint to the shouts of panic. The Rutarians had broken into the apartment. Davie hit the dematerialisation switch and brought the TARDIS into geo-stationary orbit over the planet before he turned and looked at his collection of passengers.

“That was cutting it fine, Davie!” Spenser told him.

“I had a fight of it downstairs,” he answered in explanation. “Is everyone all right? Solon? Are you and Khristan…”

“We’re fine,” he answered. He turned to the other man and the three boys who clung to him. “This is Mihles Garvey. His youngest goes to the same crèche as Khristan. Or he did before…”

“You’re safe here, Mihles,” Davie said. “You and your children. I promise you that much. Is your partner a prisoner of the invaders, too?”

“Yes,” Mihles told him. “But.. .you… are an alien? This… this place…”

“This is my spaceship,” Davie explained. “Yes, I’m an alien to your world. But I’m on your side. I’m here to help. You can trust me.”

“I think I do,” Mihles Garvey conceded. “But what can you do? One man… Do you have a space battlefleet at your command? Do you have an army to fight the one that took our world from us?”

“No,” he admitted. “But I’ve got a plan. The first part of it I’m doing now. I’m calling my brother who’s got another ship like this one. He can bring food and medical supplies and be ready to take on refugees.”

He did that, then he moved around the console, pressing buttons and adjusting dials. He looked up at the main viewscreen as an image of a large ship came into view. Solon and Mihles both gasped in astonishment as they saw it. So did Stuart, who, despite being the son of extra-terrestrial migrants who settled on planet Earth, had little experience of other alien lifeforms and their ships.

“How big is that?” he asked. “It looks huge on screen. But there’s no perspective. It could be the size of a house or…”

“It’s four miles wide,” Davie answered him. “And I’m reading half a million Rutarian lifesigns within.”

“Half a million!” The astonished response from all of the adults around him was almost gestalt. It was Solon who managed to ask the supplementary question.


“I don’t know, and I don’t think I care,” Davie replied. “They invaded Mizzone. They’re the aggressors. They started a war… and I’m going to end it.”

Mihles and Solon both stared at the young man who was single-handedly declaring war on over half a million foes. Stuart and Spenser looked at him, too. Stuart’s expression matched the two Mizzonian men for astonishment. Spenser, though, knew just what Davie was capable of. He had seen him in action against the Dominators and their clone armies. He knew he was capable of dealing a deep wound to the Rutarians. Whether he could beat them in open warfare was another matter.

“The problem is, there are four separate fronts where the battle has to be met,” he continued. “The mothership, and these three camps where the Mizzonian prisoners are.” He pointed to the highlighted areas on a schematic of the central continent of Mizzone. “I can do it. I know I can… I can do this.”

“WE can do it,” Spenser told him. “We did before. You didn’t fight the Dominators single-handedly. I was with you all the way.”

“Count me in,” Stuart added. “I’ve seen enough to know these creeps need to be dealt with. I don’t know what I can do apart from smell them out, but I’ll try.”

“No,” Spenser protested. “You came along for the ride – as a sightseer. You can’t…”

“You came to visit a baby,” Stuart countered. “None of us expected to be in the middle of a war. But seeing as we are, I’m ready to help.”

Davie began to protest again. Then he nodded and smiled. “Thanks.”

“What is the plan, anyway?” Spenser asked.

“First, I’m going to deal with those camps,” he answered. “I’m going to free the prisoners.”

“Three camps. Only three of us and one TARDIS. How can you do that?” Stuart asked. “Even if you could liberate one camp… they’ll get word to the mothership and they’ll reinforce the other locations. They might even start killing the prisoners or something…”

“This is a TARDIS,” Davie answered cryptically. Then he pulled a lever. They all felt the TARDIS dematerialise and then rematerialise in a different place. Solon and Mihles, sitting on the sofa with their children gathered close to them were startled to see the viewscreen resolve into the inside of what was very clearly a prison. Barred cells contained hundreds of people who were too tired and dispirited even to wonder what had caused a sudden noise and displacement of air in the corridor outside their places of confinement.

“It’s all right,” Davie assured them as he moved around the console once more. “The TARDIS is, among other things, impregnable. Anyone inside its doors is safe. Spenser, I’m putting you in charge of prison breaks. The transmat can take ten Mizzonians at a time and bring them in here. Start doing that. Mihles, take Khristan and your own children through the inner door and into the room immediately to the right. It’s my Dojo. Sit there and wait. You’ll be safe. Solon, when the released men start coming in bring them through there. Stuart, you’re with me. We’re going out there.”

“To do what?” Stuart asked.

“The Rutarians will know something is happening. They’ll try to stop it. We’ve got to fight them back.”

“You want me… not Spenser…”

“You don’t know how to operate the transmat. But you DO have a unique way of knowing where the enemy is. Did you decide what they smell of?”

“Two day old kippers,” Stuart replied. “I’ll know if there are any around.”

“Ok, then.” Davie looked around to be sure his instructions were being carried out then he wielded his sonic screwdriver like a weapon and opened the door.

His TARDIS had disguised itself as a bulkhead door in the blank metal wall of the corridor. He seemed to be roughly halfway along the length of it and there were prisoners in cells both ways. In the closest cell some of them started to notice their presence.

“It’s all right,” Davie said as he examined the lock on the cell door and set to work melting it with the laser mode of his sonic screwdriver. “I’m here to help. Is there a Grieg Tully here?”

He wasn’t. But one of the Mizzonians said he knew Grieg and he was in the facility somewhere.

“Ok. Run to that door over there. Get inside. Somebody will tell you where to go. You’re going to be safe.”

He had begun to empty that first cell when the first guards appeared at the end of the corridor. Davie folded time and became a blur as he ran towards them. As soon as he was in range the laser of his sonic screwdriver pierced the helmets and the two guards died instantly. He grabbed one of their own weapons and turned quickly, firing at the three more who poured into the corridor. Then he passed the gun to Stuart and opened the nearest cell. The men inside had seen what he had done.

“We’ve got four spare weapons,” he said as he unlocked the door. Four of you… help me defend this area until everyone is safe.”

Most of the men just wanted to get to the safe door he told them to run to, but a few paused and picked up the weapons. One of them he recognised.

“Grieg!” he cried out.

“Davie!” Grieg Tully recognised him straight away. “It’s you… how did you…”

“Never mind that. Solon and Khristan are safe. They’re in my ship. And I’m going to get the rest of you away. That’s all that matters.”

Grieg was buoyed by the news that his partner and child were not only safe but close by. He and the other armed Mizzonians took up position by the door. Davie ran down the corridor opening the cell doors. Already three of them were empty anyway. Spenser was operating the transmat so fast it must have been smoking. The rest waited anxiously. This close to rescue it would have been terrible if they were left behind.

But they weren’t. In less time than anyone would have thought possible, there were only six of them left in the corridor. Davie, Stuart and the four Mizzonians who were defending the door to the detention area.

Then there was only Davie and Stuart. Spenser had obviously turned the transmat on the last of the Mizzonians. They looked at each other and ran for the TARDIS door.

Inside, Spenser was directing the last prisoners into the inner corridor. Grieg and Solon were embracing lovingly. As soon as Davie closed the door, though, he ran to him.

“We’ve got to destroy this plant,” he said. “Do you have any idea what they’re building here?”

“I was hoping you would know,” Davie answered.

“It’s an atmospheric conversion system,” Grieg explained. “It will turn our oxygen based atmosphere to what is poison for us… but breathable to them. It will kill millions and turn Mizzone into THEIR planet.”

“That’s what this is all about?” Davie was astonished. It was worse than he thought. “Spenser… do we have every Mizzonian prisoner aboard, now?”

“Just running a lifesigns check,” Spenser answered. “Yes. The only lifesigns I’m reading now are Rutarian.”

“Good.” Davie studied the environmental monitor quickly then went to the drive control and set a co-ordinate. The time rotor moved up and down only briefly before the TARDIS stopped again. Davie told everyone to stay put and went outside. He came back a few minutes later and put the TARDIS back into orbit over Mizzone.

“What did you do?” Grieg asked.

“Set the power station at the heart of the complex to overload and blow sky high in approximately six minutes. Along with any Rutarian guards looking for their workforce.”

“But what about the other two plants?” Stuart reminded him of his concern about retribution against the remaining prisoners.

“I told you. I have a time machine.” Davie looked steadily at the temporal clock on the console. Spenser and Stuart followed his gaze and exclaimed as he set a co-ordinate inside the second of the three industrial plants. As the TARDIS materialised the contemporary time – the time it was in the place they had landed – jumped back thirty minutes.

“We’ve arrived here at exactly the same time we hit the first factory,” Stuart said. “We still have the element of surprise. They haven’t had time for a warning.”

“No!” Spenser exclaimed. “You can’t. That’s… against all of the laws of time… of causality… physics… we can’t be here and there as well.”

“Eventually we’ll be all three places,” Davie said. “I’m a Time Lord. What’s the point of it if I can’t use time to give me the upper hand over a bunch of despots? If I had three TARDISes here I’d deploy them simultaneously. I don’t. So I’m deploying myself simultaneously. Along with anyone else who wants to bring one of those Rutarian guns and hold them off like we did last time.”

“The Laws of Time,” Spenser repeated.

“I like to think of them as guidelines,” Davie responded with a grin. But Spenser wasn’t having it.

“Davie… this is too much like what my father would do… flying in the face of the rules…”

“But he did it for all the wrong reasons,” Davie replied. “I’m doing it for the right ones.”


“We don’t have time right now. We’ll debate the morality of it later over a drink at the Ship Inn. Here and now, I’m going out there to rescue Mizzonian citizens. Who’s with me?”

Stuart stepped forward again, despite Spenser’s protest. So did Grieg and a small group of Mizzonians. Spenser agreed to start transmatting prisoners out as fast as he could while Davie rescued them manually again.

It worked exactly the same way. They met with opposition from the guards, and two Mizzonian suffered injuries as they held the entrance to the cells from the enemy. But none were serious and they transmatted back to the TARDIS as soon as every last man was aboard.

The same principle held in the third plant, except while Davie was setting the power plant to blow, Spenser discovered a small pocket of Mizzonians held in a separate part of the complex. They transmatted them all out with seconds to go. When they were safely back in temporal orbit Davie turned his attention to this group of men and noted that they all looked as if they had suffered physical torture at the hands of their captors.

“It’s… President Vanda,” Grieg Tully exclaimed. He stepped forward and grasped the hands of one badly beaten man who looked as if he had slept rough and not eaten for days. “Sir… we thought you were dead.”

“We didn’t expect to survive,” Vanda replied on behalf of his cabinet. Despite their wounds and their physical condition, they stood proud in front of the citizens of Mizzone who were present in the console room. “I… thank you… whoever you are.” He turned to Davie and Spenser.

“Friends of Mizzone,” Davie replied. “I’ve got a couple of bathrooms where you can make yourselves presentable in a minute. And I’ll see about food for everyone, too. But first… I have to deal with that mothership…”

He stopped. There was a muffled clunking noise and a judder that they all felt in the soles of their shoes. Davie grinned widely and stepped towards the door. It opened wide and his brother stepped through from his own Gothic TARDIS coupled with the Chinese one.

“Hey,” Chris said reaching to hug him. “You seem to have a very full TARDIS. I’m picking up over a thousand lifesigns.”

“I’m in the middle of a war,” Davie answered. “Just about to finish it for good. I need you to take some civilian refugees to safety first.”

“You’re going to war?” Chris shook his head slowly. “Davie…”

“I know what you’re going to say,” he answered. “But this isn’t the time for meditation. Those fiends invaded a peaceful planet. They made prisoners of innocent people. They were going to turn the planet to a wasteland and kill half a billion people. But I’ve put a stop to that, and now I’m going to blow their mothership out of the sky. After that the patrols still down below will be cut off, at the mercy of the Mizzone people themselves….”

“You can’t do that,” Chris told him.

“Yes, I can.”

“No, you can’t. Davie, did you find out about the people you want to fight?”

“I know what kills them,” he responded. “Fresh air is deadly to them. And I intend to give them a dose of it. All half million of them if I can…”

“No,” Chris insisted. “It would be genocide. I looked them up on the database on my way here. The half a million individuals on that ship are the last of the Rutarians. They’re all that could be saved when their planet was destroyed. Davie, their world used to lie BETWEEN the planets of the Rutan and the Sontarans. Did you notice the similarity in their species name! They’re vaguely related to them, somewhere down the evolutionary line…”

“Then the universe would be better off without them,” Davie snapped. “They’re murdering scum just like their relatives. Murderers, kidnappers, and Rassilon knows what else. And I’m taking Khristan’s world back from them.”

“Who is Khristan?” Chris looked puzzled. “Never mind. It doesn’t matter. Whatever your motives you can’t do it by blowing up the mothership. The people on board aren’t combatants. They’re just as innocent of all this as the people down on the planet. The Rutarian have been travelling through space and time using warp shunt technology, avoiding their enemies and looking for a planet to colonise.”

“Well they’re not having THIS planet. It belongs to my baby…”

“Your… what…”

“Never mind. Just… Chris, take them, please. Look after them. I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.”

“No,” Chris responded. “I’m not going to let you do this… not that way. I don’t know why you’re behaving this way. You’ve never been so gung ho before…. But I WON’T let you commit genocide.”

“Do you really think you could stop me?” Davie asked.

“If I have to,” Chris replied.

His face was impassive. Davie looked at him and tried to read his thoughts, but they were blocked to him. He and his brother faced each other off and for a wild moment he thought he really was going to have to fight Chris as well as the Rutarians.

“Davie!” Another voice broke the impasse. He felt Solon Tully’s hand on his shoulder before he pressed Khristan into his arms. “Davie, remember what this was all about. You wanted to make his world safe for him. But at what cost? Do you think he would want to grow up knowing that half a million souls died for his peace? Even those creatures who hurt us so much…”

Davie hugged the little boy in his arms. He looked at his peace-loving brother who he had named his baby after, and something of the heat of his warrior blood cooled.

“All right,” he said. “What’s your plan?”

Chris explained. Davie was impressed. So was President Vanda, who, despite his wretched condition rightly asked to be included in strategies that affected the peace of his world. He gave his consent to Chris’s idea.

With two TARDISes, three smart young Time Lords with pressurised space suits and a transmat beam, it worked easily. Within only a half hour of temporal time, they were back in orbit beside the mothership. They watched the three industrial plants explode simultaneously, and then Davie made contact with the commander of the mothership. He stood back and let President Vanda take control. It was for him to take it from here. He let Solon press Khristan back into his arms and he held his child as he watched the last acts of the Mizzonian counter-offensive against the Rutarian invaders.

“Sir,” President Vanda said in a cool, calm, politician’s voice. “Right now your transmat beams are being overridden. They are being used to bring the last of your invasion force from the planet below to the cryogenic chamber at the heart of your ship. In less than six minutes that chamber and its control centre will be the only parts of the ship not filling with an oxygen rich atmosphere that is deadly to your species. You have that long to reach the chamber and save yourselves. Internal transmats have been fixed to allow you to get there quickly. When you do, put yourselves into cryogenic sleep. Your ship will remain in geo-stationary orbit over Mizzone until a suitable planet is located with an atmosphere conducive to your form of life. My allies from the Gallifreyan empire have given word that they will search for one. Until then you are prisoners of Mizzone. You have MY word that no harm will come to you as long as you remain in cryogenic sleep and are no threat to the peaceful people of our world.”

The Rutarian commander looked as if he would have launched a thermic torpedo at the heart of Mizzone, but Davie had made sure the weapons array was disabled and alarms were going off warning the Rutarians on the bridge of their impending doom. Already many of them were taking the hint and heading for the transmat pods. The commander stayed his ground until almost the last minute before he, too, ran for the transmat. At his own console, Chris confirmed that the Rutarians were putting themselves into cryogenic cells.

“Next job – repatriating all your guests,” Chris said as he stepped back into the Chinese TARDIS and embraced his brother. “And you can explain how you got involved in this little war in the first place. I thought you were spending the afternoon in Northumbria sampling Stuart’s real ales.”

The explanations took place back in Grieg and Solon’s apartment. Outside in the streets there were shouts of joy and jubilation. Fireworks lit the sky. Reunion parties were taking place in every apartment, despite it being near midnight by now. Grieg and Solon were happy to play host to their welcome alien guests. Chris provided food from his own TARDIS’s stores while Davie explained his story to his brother.

“That… child… is yours?” Chris looked at Khristan, sitting placidly on Davie’s knee. “You were pregnant? Oh, my brother…”

“He’s… not really mine,” Davie explained. “I was the host parent. But his DNA is Mizzonian. That’s why I decided he should live here. And why I had to fight for this world – for him to grow up safely here.”

“Yes... but…”

“Are you sure about that?” Stuart asked. “About his DNA?” He reached and picked up the child from Davie’s arms. “He’s mostly Mizzonian. But there is a trace… that sweet chestnut smell of a Gallifreyan. There’s something of you in him, Davie.”

“There shouldn’t be. That’s not how it works here. The baby growing in the host parent’s womb is fertilised by pathogenesis by his partner before implantation. I just nurtured him for five months…”

“But you’re a Time Lord,” Chris reminded him. “And our genes are persistent. It’s dominated through three generations of mixed marriage to produce the two of us, with only a fraction of Human DNA in us. It’s possible something of you was fused with the child’s DNA when you were ‘pregnant’.”

“Then…” Davie took Khristan back from Stuart and hugged him close. He could look, of course. He could read Khristan’s DNA with the power of his own mind. But he didn’t have to. Stuart might well be right. But he had made his decision long ago. He kissed the little boy’s cheek tenderly and then gave him back to Solon. “He’s your son,” he said. “Khristan Tully. If… you would let me… I should like to visit now and again. I’d like to see how he’s getting on. But he’s yours. You and Grieg. And… and Rassilon’s blessing on you all. May you grow in peace and happiness.”

There were tears pricking his eyes as he said that. But he composed himself. He sat down again and felt his brother’s mind touching his, soothing him.

“You did the right thing,” he heard Chris tell him. “Except you should have told me. I’ve never been an uncle before.”

“You will be,” Davie assured him. “Brenda can’t wait for us to be a family. And… neither can I. But when she’s fourteen months pregnant with twins and having a rough time of it, I am going to be the most understanding husband in the universe. I will know EXACTLY what she’s going through.”