Chrístõ turned from the viewscreen having said goodbye to his father and went through the concealed door at the side of the main console room. In the changing area of his private dojo he took off the mid-nineteenth century clothes that he had become accustomed to wearing and put on a black gi tied at the waist with a matching belt. Suitably dressed he was able to practice any or all of five different martial arts disciplines with holographic opponents that tested him to the limit. The physical exercise was in itself cathartic. He worked off much of his anger and frustration and his sorrow at things that were beyond repair. When he was done, he showered and looked in another room, loosely called the wardrobe, for an outfit that would serve him for the future. He looked at several possibilities before settling on a pair of black denim jeans that accentuated his long legs and a black cotton shirt over which he put a smart three quarter length leather jacket that had the satisfying look, feel and smell that new leather always had.

“Theta Sigma, the man in black,” he said, looking at the result in the mirror. The black clothing matched his hair and dark eyes, but they contrasted with his pale complexion. It was striking, and yet simple. And he liked it. Vanity was not something he indulged in generally, but for a brief moment he smiled at his reflection and felt that, even if physical appearance was the one thing he had NO control over, it WAS at least something he could count to his advantage.

“The universe awaits you, Thete,” he told himself, using an even more personal form of his school nickname.

He strode back to the console room buoyed by his feeling of new clothes making a new man of him and looked at the controls. It really did need two people to operate effectively. The navigation controls were on the other side of the column to the flight controls. He circled the hexagonal console, thinking. In its databanks were at least 2,000 preset destinations, the times and places his tutors thought he should visit. If he punched in one of those the autopilot would do all the work. But for two reasons he was reluctant to try any of them. Firstly, because he thought his tutors had picked 2,000 of the tamest and least interesting times and locations in the universe for him to visit, and secondly, because he wanted to be free of anything connected with the Prydonian Academy, even its navigation.

“You met Elizabeth in one of those pre-sets.” Was that his better angels reminding him that adventures can be found in any place and time or his demons taunting him with the trouble he nearly caused even in a ‘tame’ location? He wasn’t sure. But he had to concede the point.

He also had to concede that he wasn’t entirely sure how to programme in any other co-ordinates. The TARDIS didn’t come with route maps. Maybe a preset was a place to start. He pulled the list up on the screen. A lot of them were on Earth, his favourite location. Maybe somewhere the leather wouldn’t be out of place, he mused. And then he smiled. There was one preset he would REALLY like to check out. He wasn’t even sure how it got in there. It did not look like the sort of thing his teachers at the Prydonian Academy would have thought educational.

He set the co-ordinates.

Britain was always Chrístõ’s favourite part of Earth, and the Isle of Wight, on August 30th and 31st, 1969 were possibly the coolest two days in the history of that country. Of course he meant that phrase as a teenager, not as a climatologist, although he had also studied that science at the Academy. His TARDIS was cunningly disguised as a tent in the middle of the tent city that had formed on the edge of the festival. His identifying motif, , was incorporated into a psychedelic design on the side of the tent. He rather liked it.

He found that, in a throng of people with no aim except to have fun, he had to adopt a rather different way of walking. He had always strode through life purposefully and in a direct line. Here, direct lines were impossible and there clearly was no purpose. He quickly adapted himself to this. He adapted himself, also, to being kissed at regular intervals by excitable young women.

“Hey, good looking!” A pretty looking girl in a flowery dress jumped in front of him and forced him to stop in his tracks. “You look lonely. Want a girl to keep you company?”

“No, thanks,” he said and she grinned and asked would he prefer a boy. He laughed grimly and told her he came from the planet that invented the word STRAIGHT. He was lost in the crowd before she worked out what he had said, and promptly dismissed it as the sort of thing people say at festivals.

In any case, Chrístõ was there for the music, not the women. And music he got in abundance, non stop through a warm afternoon and a sultry evening with the sun going down in a cloudless sky. The evening in turn softly melted into the night. A velvet sky dotted with stars provided the canopy over the festival as the band he MOST wanted to see came onto the stage.

He might have been an alien with superior intellect, but he thrilled to see rock legends who would span the decades take to the stage with lyrics that he had learnt in a spaceport on the other side of the galaxy four hundred years in the future from this Earth present. Not that lines like “Hope I die before I get old” meant anything personally to somebody whose potential lifespan could be as much as 7,000 years.

Not that getting old meant the same to him either. When he reached 500 he would be able to regenerate his body twelve times and enjoy youthful vigour over again. It was a rather sad lyric for a species whose lives peaked at around forty, he always thought. But even so the song resonated in his soul and he had to check to see if his feet were still on the ground as his telepathic nerves caught the excitement of those around him, enhancing his own feelings and carrying him along on a wave of euphoria.

When it was over it was strange how quickly the concert field cleared and the tent city became alive with people around camp fires making food, making do, or making love. Chrístõ had no need for any of those things and he wandered away up the slight rise above the festival ground, away from the lights that ruined even his night vision, where he could look at the stars. It was what he needed to quieten his mind after so much excitement.

“Hey, man, you ok there?” He was distracted from his star-gazing by a voice and looked around. A couple stood near him, a girl and a boy, both in their late teens, who had obviously come seeking the same kind of peace he looked for.

“Yes,” he said. “I’m ok.”

“It’s just that you looked rather spaced out – like more spaced out than everyone else is.” Chrístõ smiled at that. How “spaced out” could he have looked to cause comment in a place where every natural and unnatural high was so freely available. And he dared to do what he knew he should not do.

“I was just trying to see my home world from here.” He was banking on the fact that NOBODY was going to believe anything anyone said when this festival was over.

“Er…” The boy looked at him oddly but the girl moved closer. He saw that she was a very pretty, dark-skinned girl with black hair that reached loosely down her back, held from her face by a bandana around her forehead. It had a flower stuck in it.

A flower child!

“Can you see it?” she asked, intrigued.

“No,” he sighed. “I should have paid more attention to Earth-based astronomy. The night sky is so different here. I know from here Kasterborus forms the bow of Sagittarius. But I can’t find…..”

“Sagittarius is very low in the sky from Britain,” the boy said, helpfully. “It’s best seen from the southern hemisphere. But here… Look…” And he stood beside Chrístõ and pointed towards the southern horizon, out across the sea. Once he knew which direction he was looking in he found it easily.

“My planet orbits the middle star of the bowstring,” he said to his now captivated audience.

“You’re a long way from home,” the girl mused, taking in his extraordinary claim with apparent ease.

“Yes,” Chrístõ said. “But somehow… being able to see it… that’s all I need.” He sat down on the ground and continued to look at the southern horizon. His two companions did likewise.

“So why are you on Earth?” the young girl asked. “I’m Cassie, by the way. This is Terry.”

“We don’t have rock music on my planet,” Chrístõ answered. “In fact, Earth is the ONLY place you can get GOOD rock music.”

“Wow!” the boy exclaimed. “Is that true? Really? You’re for real?”

“I am for real,” he said. My name is Chrístõdavõreendiam?ndh?rtmal-lõupdracœfiredelunmiancuimhne de Lœngbærrow of Gallifrey.”

“Cool name,” Cassie said.

“Most people call me Chrístõ,” he added.

“Pleased to meet you, Chrístõ,” And she laughed out loud, a pretty laugh that sounded prettier for being heard in the cool darkness of a world that had gone quiet at last as the “Blessed Generation” settled down to sleep in their tents and on their groundsheets, under coats or wherever they could find.

“You ARE for real!” she laughed. “I believe you. I don’t know why. But I do.”

“That’s cool,” Terry said. “An alien comes to our world for Rock music. Not to invade us!”

“How could I invade? There’s only me. And I’m just a student on a field trip.”

“Cool,” Terry said again. “Just like us. We’re studying Egyptology. Next year we’ll be there in the Valley of the Kings, living it.”

“I’m not sure there’s much new to be learnt there,” Chrístõ said absently. “But I am sure you will have a wonderful time.” He reached out and touched Cassie’s hand and gently probed her timeline. He smiled. “You’ll do fine, and you’ll do it together. The two of you.”

“You can tell our future?” Terry asked.

“I can tell anyone’s past or future,” he said. “I can tell when any of the people down there will die, and how and why. But I don’t. Because it’s just too sad to know those things.”

“It must be lonely.” Cassie looked out again at the bow of Sagittarius and thought of the planet that orbits the star in the middle of the bowstring.

“Sometimes it’s nice to be alone,” he said. “Other times… it’s good to meet people. That’s what I’m supposed to do. Meet people, get to understand their culture.”

“Plenty of people here,” Terry said. “We’re maybe the last three not drunk or stoned, but they’re here.”

“Alcohol and drugs have no effect on me,” Chrístõ told him. “My body does not become overcome by them.”

“Just as well.” Terry looked up into the sky and sighed. “Just think, only a month and a bit ago man first walked on the moon. We were all excited. But I suppose that’s nothing to you.”

“Oh, I almost forgot that happened this year,” Chrístõ said. “Yes, indeed, mankind began reaching for the stars this summer. A great achievement for you. I think there is nothing more sublime than when somebody sees their home world from space for the first time.”

“I’d love to see Earth from space,” Terry said. “But you need to be an All American hero type for that, not a couple of London flower-people like us.”

“Not when you know an alien with a spaceship nearby,” Chrístõ whispered and stood up. “Come on! This will blow your minds.” And he ran down the slope with them following. As he did so, he reached in his pocket for his TARDIS key. He pressed it and in the darkness of the tent city a light shone as a beacon for him. He headed for it, pursued by his new friends. He had to crouch to get in through the flap, but inside he stood up. Terry and Cassie appeared seconds later and stared in amazement around the console room of the TARDIS.


“Far out!”

“Not really. A simple sling shot around the Earth.” And he flipped some switches on the navigation panel and told Cassie and Terry to hold onto two handles on it while he moved around to the flight controls on the other side. A few moments later he flipped on the viewscreen and told them to look. At first there was only a starfield, but as the TARDIS gently spun in its orbit around the Earth they saw the moon and then the Earth itself. Cassie and Terry reached for each other’s hands as they looked at their home world from high above it. Their eyes didn’t move from the view as they orbited the Earth, passing over Europe and Asia, marvelling as they saw the high peaks of the Himalayas from above and the Great Wall of China stretching for many thousands of miles, then across the Pacific Ocean and the Americas, and across the Atlantic. It was a slow orbit, taking nearly an hour, purely for the joy of seeing so much of the Earth at once. Chrístõ always enjoyed watching an orbit around any planet, but he did have a fondness for Earth, a very beautiful planet, he always thought. As for his passengers, they were entranced.

“Ready to return to Earth?” he asked them at last.

“I wish we could stay up here forever,” Cassie said. “But I suppose we must go back.”

“Lets make it fun at least,” Chrístõ said with a smile. “Grab that switch.” And as they did as he said, he pulled a lever that put the TARDIS into a fast dive towards Earth. On the screen, the planet came towards them at a terrific rate and Cassie screamed and laughed at the same time as they rode the biggest thrill ride they could possibly imagine. Terry glanced at Chrístõ and wondered for a moment if he was fully in control. He looked as if he was, and indeed, as they came in close to what they recognised as the British Isles he slowed their descent and levelled out the craft so that they cruised over the Solent to the Isle of Wight just like a helicopter might do.

“Doesn’t this craft get seen by our radar and stuff?” Terry asked as they soft landed exactly where they were before in the middle of the tent city.

“Never,” Chrístõ said. “My TARDIS is way too sophisticated for anything Earth has looking up into the skies. Anyway, what did you think?”

“I thought it was fantastic.” Cassie came to his side and kissed him on the cheek. “Thank you for showing us something others can only dream of.”

“Same here,” Terry said. “You made my day. Even Dylan is going to have a hard time topping that.”

“I hope not,” Chrístõ answered. “I came a long way to see him.”

“From Kaster… what was it you said…” Cassie asked.

“Gallifrey in the constellation of Kasterborus. Actually, if truth be told I only came from London. But I had to jump from 1865 to 1969. Moving in time takes a bit more trouble than moving in space.”

“This is a time machine, too?” Terry asked in astonishment.


“Wow! Cool!”

Chrístõ was moving around the console room. He kicked at a panel at the side, and a cabin bed sprang out from it. “If you two would like to sleep a bit, you’d be very welcome,” he said. “We’re still a few hours off morning.”

“Oh, but we couldn’t impose on you,” Cassie protested. But the bed did look an inviting prospect compared to the tent they had somewhere out there. And the chances of finding it in the dark were limited anyway. As they kicked off their shoes and climbed into the bed Chrístõ turned down the bright overhead lights so that only the glow of that central column of the console lit the room. Cassie wondered as she fell asleep what Chrístõ was going to do and she glimpsed him on the other side of the room kneeling on a mat as if preparing to do some kind of meditation. Perhaps, she thought, that’s how people slept where he comes from on the bowstring of Sagittarius.

Cassie awoke in the morning wondering why she was sleeping in a nice, soft bed when last night they had been on a hard groundsheet. Slowly the memories came back, but at first she thought they were dreams. Only when she opened her eyes did she realise it WAS all true. She sat up in the bed, trying not to wake Terry and saw their host working at his strange futuristic space craft console.


“Good morning,” Chrístõ said with a smile at her. “Did you sleep well?”

“Yes, very well.” She looked around. “I thought it was a dream. It isn’t. This really is a spaceship and we went around the world in it last night.”

“Yes. Did you enjoy it?”

“Oh yes. Best trip anyone had around here! But… did you break any rules by taking us?”

“Yes, and no,” Chrístõ told her. “I’m not supposed to tell people from unadvanced societies that I am a traveller. But Earth isn’t unadvanced. It has space flight. Even if it hasn’t made First Contact with extra-terrestrial life, it KNOWS the possibility exists. So I only BENT the rule about that. As for taking passengers – that’s not against the rules because they never wrote a rule saying we can’t.”

“Its amazing to think that Terry and me – two ordinary people – got to see what the Apollo people saw last month just like that. Thank you for that. I will NEVER forget it.”

“I enjoyed it,” hCrístõ said. “Its nice sharing with somebody for once.”

“Why ARE you on your own? Are you the only one of your kind or something?”

“No… Well… yes.” He sighed. “I’m the only half-blood at the Prydonian Academy so I’m the only one of my kind in that way.”


“The Prydonian Academy is where the best of the best go to train to be Time Lords. That is, the elite of our society. Usually, that elite is pure Gallifreyan from old established families. I come from an old established family – Lœngbærrow of Mount Lœng on the southern continent. But my mother was a Human who my father met and fell in love with when he travelled as an ambassador of our world. Some people believe that half-bloods like me should not be allowed to rise through our society. Some people thought I shouldn’t have been BORN,” he added bitterly.

“Oh, I know what that feels like.” Cassie sighed. “My father is from Jamaica, my mother from Islington. And a lot of people thought I had no business being born, either. And Terry’s parents don’t want to know him until he comes home without ME.”

“Seems like all over the universe, no matter how intelligent the beings are, they find ways to hurt each other,” Terry said. Both turned. They didn’t know he was awake. He sat up and embraced Cassie. “I guess you’re not so much different to us, after all, Chrístõ.”

“No,” he reflected. “Are you two hungry? I have a kitchen somewhere that way.” He pointed to the inner door.

By the time they had eaten, the campsite was beginning to wake up around them. The three of them emerged from the tent that wasn’t a tent into a bright Sunday morning full of excitement and expectation. There was nothing much to do yet except wander about enjoying the atmosphere. There seemed an unspoken agreement that they would do it together, though.

It being Sunday there was a religion of a kind being practiced in small pockets around the campsite. Gospel songs and hymns drifted on the air.

“Do you have religion on your planet?” Cassie asked Chrístõ as they walked together, she holding hands with her lover, as well as with the alien who had drifted into their lives a few hours ago.

“We don’t worship any gods,” he said. “Although there ARE several planets where Time Lords are considered to BE gods.”

Cassie gasped and looked down at her hand, closed over his. “I’m holding hands with a God!” she exclaimed.

“NO!” Chrístõ laughed. “Oh, no. I’m not a God. I HATE that about us. I’m not…. never will be… anyone’s object of worship. I’m just me… Chrístõ de Lœngbærrow.”

“Well, I think you’re wonderful.” Cassie lifted her hand and kissed his hand entwined in hers.

The music began at midday and after that there wasn’t much talking. There was too much noise, too much excitement. The field was even more crowded than the previous day. 100,000 people were recorded to have come to that field on the last day of the festival. And among them Chrístõ and his two new friends seemed insignificant. For a while, they escaped the throng and sat up on the rise where they had sat the previous night and listened to the minor acts from there. Chrístõ listened to the music and as well let his psychic radiate out over the field, touching the emotions of those around him. Unsurprisingly, most were excited and happy. Some were already too drunk or high/low on drugs to have any genuine emotion, only the chemically induced one.

Something else was there, though. He frowned and sat up straight. There were jarring notes all over the festival site. Confused thoughts of people searching for others, some frightened and grief-stricken.

“That’s not right…” he said aloud. He tried again, focussing on different parts of the field. There was no mistake. There were people missing.

“What’s not right?” Terry asked and looked at Chrístõ, who was staring up at the sky now.

“I don’t think I’m the only alien here,” he said. “Something is here that DIDN’T come for the music.”

“An invasion?”

Chrístõ looked at his companions. “Invasion of Earth is not that likely. But there are other things the unscrupulous can do.” He was beginning to make his way down the hill. Terry and Cassie followed him.

“Where are you going?” Terry asked as they struggled to keep up with him.

“My TARDIS. I need to find out what’s happening.” He looked around at his friends. “This could be dangerous. You would be better….”

“Let us help,” Cassie said.

“I’m not sure what we COULD do,” Terry added. “But count us in.”

Chrístõ looked at them and knew they were genuine. They wanted to help him. “Come on then,” he said. “Quickly.” And he strode faster than ever, his Human companions running to keep up.

“Chrístõ!” He heard Terry shout urgently and turned. “Cassie…. She’s gone! She was here… holding my hand… and then…”

“They’re using transmat technology,” Chrístõ said.

“Is Cassie in danger?” Terry asked.

“I’m sorry,” Chrístõ said and he touched Terry on the arm comfortingly. “Yes, Cassie IS in danger. There’s no two ways about it. But we have an advantage.”

“What’s that?”

“ME!” Chrístõ grinned and darted inside the tent with the symbol. Terry followed. Chrístõ went straight to his control panel and punched buttons by a viewscreen. Terry went to look at it. Although the TARDIS had not yet moved the screen showed the Earth from orbit. Chrístõ turned a dial and the view moved around until a spacecraft came into view, hanging in orbit.

“An alien ship.” Terry said. “Another alien ship I mean…”

“Yes,” Chrístõ said.

“That wasn’t there last night, was it?”

“No. We’d have seen it.” He moved to the navigation console and keyed in a co-ordinate. “You have to hold this down,” he said, pointing to the main navigation switch. Terry did so while he went to the flight control and the TARDIS dematerialised. It seemed only moments before it re-materialised and the main viewscreen showed the inside of a spacecraft.

Chrístõ turned as they exited the TARDIS and checked that it had properly disguised itself as the entrance to an airlock with his familiar symbol on it.

“How…” Terry began.

“Its called a chameleon circuit – the TARDIS looks like whatever is most incongruous.”

“I’ll take your word for it.”

“This way,” Chrístõ said.

“Is this because of you?” Terry asked as they moved along a corridor from the cargo bay to the main part of the ship. “Did your being here trigger something?”

“No,” Chrístõ answered truthfully. “Possibly your Apollo space flights did. Letting the universe know you were here. Planet Earth is horribly vulnerable. It’s on the verge of reaching for the stars, so it IS noticed by other societies out there. But it’s so not ready yet. It needs some kind of defence, and it hasn’t got one, and won’t have for a century yet. So it is prey to the kind of filth we’re dealing with here.”

“What sort of filth…” Terry looked alarmed at his use of such a word.

“Traactines,” Chrístõ said, the middle vowels sounding in the back of his throat like something distasteful. “They are… I’m sorry, there is no way to make it easier – they’re cannibals. They take live prey for food.”

“No!” Terry blanched at the thought. “Cassie…”

“We’ll find her,” Chrístõ promised.

“Why don’t you tell somebody?” Terry asked. “About the alien threat, I mean. Surely there are authorities…”

“What would they see in me?” he said. “I’m a 19 year old kid to them.”

“But you don’t sound it.” Terry told him. “You talk like you know what you’re about.”

“Yes, well, my REAL age is 10 times that,” he said. “I’m 190. And I’ve been studying the universe since I was three and a half. I know five billion languages, and the history of all the great races of existence.”

“190?” Terry gasped. “I thought you said you were a student.”

“I am. I don’t graduate until I’m 200.”

“Ok, I’m just not going to ask any more!” Terry said. “I just wish… it must be wonderful to have so much knowledge.”

“I’d give it all up to have what you and Cassie have. A life of love stretched before you.”

“You really saw that? We’re meant to be together?” Terry asked.


“Then we have to get her back. I mean, does that mean we DO get her back?”

“Yes, it must,” Chrístõ said. “I never thought of it like that before. Ah.” They came to a large double-sided door and he put his hand on it and looked as if he was trying to look through it. “They’re here.” And he took out a strange looking instrument, bigger than a pen, smaller than a gun. He pointed it at the lock.

“What is that?” Terry asked.

“It’s called a sonic screwdriver. It was in a cupboard on the TARDIS when I took it over. With a manual 1,000 pages long with 10,000 different things it can do. So far I’ve melted locks, used it as a compass, erased a computer’s databank and put up a mirror in the TARDIS’s bathroom with it. It’s actually rubbish at being a screwdriver. But it melts locks really well.” He melted the lock and opened the door and Terry gave a cry of delight when Cassie was one of the first prisoners to realise that they were being rescued. She flung her arms around Terry and kissed him, then Chrístõ.

“I’m glad I know a space traveller,” she said. “But there are some others they’ve taken… I think…. They’re going to…” She gave a shudder.

“I know. I’ll do what I can.” He turned to Terry. “This is the TARDIS key,” he said. “You have to insert it and turn it 45 degrees counter clockwise then 180 degrees clockwise. Otherwise it will assume you are an intruder and lock you out while sending an excruciatingly painful alarm signal direct to my brain. Take everyone back there. Just tell them to sit down around the walls of the console room and sit still. NOBODY touch the console or I could be stuck here with alien cannibals and you could all end up the other end of the galaxy.”

“Are we safe there?” Cassie asked.

“Yes,” he said. “The TARDIS has special protective fields. You’re ALL safe in there. Go on, quick.”

They tried to be quiet, but Chrístõ was sure the sound of their quick footsteps echoing around the metallic walls would alert the Traactines. The fact that they hadn’t met any so far suggested that they must be feeding. The thought turned his stomach, as did the thought that he had no weapons whatsoever to fight these monsters. Pacifism could be tricky when you HAD to fight.

“Chrístõ!” Terry hurried back towards him. “Everyone is safe inside the TARDIS. Cassie is making sure they sit tight. I thought you might need a hand.”

“Thanks,” he said. “But you really should have stayed put.”

“Cassie said I had to help you or she wouldn’t forgive me if you were hurt,” Terry insisted. “I think she has a bit of a crush on you, to be honest.”

“Oh…” Chrístõ was startled by that. “I… I’m sorry, I had no intention….”

“Hey, it’s ok. We’re into free love and all that. But she’s never met an alien before. Neither have I. And we both want you to get out of this alive. Apart from anything else, who’ll get us back to Earth?”

“Good point!” he said with a soft laugh. “Come on…”

He was right. They were feeding. The walkway suddenly opened out onto a balcony, and below, in a gruesome parody of a mess hall, the Traactine crew were feasting. Chrístõ really did feel sick as he looked down and saw several groups of four or five Traactine – green-skinned creatures maybe seven feet in height, with large heads and mouths that seemed all razor sharp teeth. Each group was gathered about a table on which a Human had been eviscerated for their pleasure. He stepped back from the railing and pulled Terry away.

“Is there anyone alive?” Terry asked.

“No,” Chrístõ said. Just to be sure he scanned the area telepathically, looking for a live Human thought. If there had been any they would have been screaming in his brain. There was none. “We can’t help those people. Let’s go…. this way.”

“Where does this go?”

“Engine room. I’m going to blow up this ship.”

“With us on it?” Terry asked nervously.

“No,” he said. “You still have the TARDIS key?”


“Ok then.”

He melted another lock, this time barring their way into the engine room. Immediately inside he dispatched two Traactines on guard by the door with martial arts movements too quick to see with the naked eye. They seemed to be all the guards that the place had. Chrístõ took the steps down to the engine room floor two at a time and began to work feverishly rewiring the computer console that controlled the engines.

“What exactly are you doing?”

“It’s… kind of complicated to explain, but I’m basically feeding the engines with a reversed energy that will cause them to explode in about four minutes. Do you have that key?”

“Here.” Terry handed it over to him and he pressed the centre of the fob. Nothing happened for a long, anxious minute and Terry looked at Chrístõ closely, trying to guess if he was worried or not. His face was strangely inscrutable.

“Chrístõ…” Terry said urgently as the engines gave a harsh whine that suggested the cataclysm was beginning. “We have to get out of here.”

“Stand still,” Chrístõ warned. “Here… right next to me.” And he pulled Terry close beside him, clutching his hand tightly in his. Terry gasped in amazement as he saw two rooms at once – the engine room becoming rapidly less distinct, and the TARDIS console room solidifying around them both. He saw Cassie scramble to her feet, but Chrístõ yelled to her to sit back down again and he pulled Terry towards her. “EVERYONE, hold hands and hold tight.” He and Terry sat between Cassie and a scared looking man in sunglasses who grasped Chrístõ’s free hand tightly. A moment later they all felt the TARDIS lurch as a horrendous explosion happened above, below and around it. On the viewscreen they all saw the alien ship’s engine room become an inferno and disintegrate around them.

As the debris cleared, those who had screamed and cried in fear fell silent and awestruck as they saw the star field that slowly revolved to reveal them in orbit above the Earth. Chrístõ turned and grinned at his two friends, now seasoned TARDIS travellers. Even they were amazed to find that his fantastic craft was capable of surviving the ship it was inside being blown to atoms.

“Let’s take it in fast like last night.” And the three of them ran to the console and watched until the TARDIS had completed its orbit of the Earth before bringing it into a heart-stopping dive towards the south coast of England, then a glide over the Solent and back to the festival site.

The TARDIS re-materialised by the side of the main stage, disguised as a First Aid tent. Chrístõ let the passengers out a few at a time. All looked a little dazed and speechless. If they did tell anyone, he figured, they’d be put down as having smoked the wrong sort of grass.

Only one thing bothered him. He counted six dead in that ghastly hall. He didn’t know who they were but he felt their deaths like knives in his hearts. Cassie, standing with Terry’s arm around hers at the TARDIS door suddenly left her lover and went to embrace Chrístõ. Either she was slightly telepathic herself, he thought, or she was just wonderfully caring and empathic, but her words soothed him.

“So many more would be dead – and I would be one of them – but for you, my beautiful alien.” And she kissed him on the cheek tenderly before stepping back and taking Terry’s hand again.

“Hey, come on,” Terry said. “Dylan is on soon. It’s what we all came for.” And hand in hand the three of them slipped into the very front of the crowd where they had the best view when the legendary Bob Dylan tore their hearts asunder and made them new again with his lyrics. That one of his audience was an alien with two hearts might have made Mr Dylan proud, but he suspected it would not have surprised him too much. The newspapers the next day commented that he was two hours late starting his set. The papers never knew, for he never told them, or anyone, that the reason he was late was that he was being rescued from alien cannibals in another alien’s fantastic ship.

When it was over the Blessed Generation went to their tents and groundsheets once more. Chrístõ and his friends went back to that quiet rise above the camp site where, once again, Chrístõ gazed at the constellation of Sagittarius.

Cassie and Terry sat next to him, not talking. There was no need. The last few hours contained enough experiences to think about without needing words. Presently, though, Cassie noticed a soft sigh come from Chrístõ and she listened to the song lyric he was singing under his breath.

“How does it feel…How does it feel….To be without a home… To be on your own….With no direction home….Like a complete unknown….Like a rolling stone?” Quiet sobs came between each line of Bob Dylan’s famous song, and that gentle empathy of hers suddenly understood what it must be like to be a teenage alien two hundred and fifty million light years from his family. She knelt beside him and kissed his cheek, tasting the so very Human salt tears.

“Your home is on the bowstring of Sagittarius,” she whispered. “And you’re not alone.”

“I will be tomorrow,” he said looking around to her. “When you two go home.”

“We don’t have to go home yet,” Terry whispered to him. He, too, had understood Chrístõ’s sudden melancholy and he came the other side of him and touched his shoulder. “Nobody needs us until the end of September. If you’d like a bit of company….”

Chrístõ looked at them and considered the possibility of not being alone for a little while.

“Would you like to come along with me for a bit?” he asked.

“I’d love to,” Cassie said. “Apart from anything else I might just think this weekend was a dream otherwise. And…” she smiled at Chrístõ. “I don’t care about the TARDIS or space or all of that. But I never met anyone before who really believed that Humanity WAS worth fighting for and that life and living life to the full was the most important thing. And I don’t want you to be a dream, Chrístõ.”