Chrístõ smiled as he saw the viewscreen flicker from the view of the space time vortex to the incoming videophone symbol and then to his father's face.

"Father," he cried happily. "I wasn't expecting to hear from you."

"I wanted to see you," his father said. "I have had such uneasy dreams of late. Of you, in mortal danger. I had to know you were all right."

"I'm fine," he said. "Father, don't worry about me." Bo came to him as he stood before the viewscreen. He put his arm about her.

"Who is that pretty young woman?" his father asked, smiling at her.

"This is Hui Ying Bo Juan," Chrístõ said. "A special friend who is travelling with me. Bo, precious, this is my father, Chrístõ De Lœngbærrow senior."

"Sir," Bo said, and bowed dutifully. "It is an honour." His father, to her surprise, made the same gesture.

"I am always delighted to meet any friends my son has," his father said. "I am glad he has found people he trusts to travel with. I am less concerned for his safety."

"Father," Chrístõ said, more seriously. "I don't want you to think I am telling tales… but... Rõgæn Oakdaene… is it possible to get him recalled to Gallifrey? We came across him a few days ago, and… well he has behaved dishonourably to say the least."

"Rõgæn?" His father frowned. "He was ORDERED to return some months ago. He had an official reprimand. But he is not responding to any communications from Gallifrey."

"An official reprimand?" Chrístõ's eyes narrowed. "For what?"

"Misuse of time travel for personal gain. Apparently he has been using his TARDIS to discover results of the space chariot races of the Pallisda sector and travel back to place bets."

"That's all?" Terry and Cassie came to Chrístõ's side. "But he's…." Chrístõ touched Terry's arm as he spoke and cut him off. He didn't want the sordid story to get out.

"More friends?" his father said, and Chrístõ introduced them. "You have a busy TARDIS there, my son."

"I DO," he said. "But…about Rõgæn…gambling is not the worst of his abuses. I can't say any more, but…"

"I will try to see what we can do," his father pomised. "But if he won't come in voluntarily there is little to be done except a recall for all the Type 40 training TARDIS's. And that won't do."

"No, it won't," Chrístõ said. "Because I WON'T come back. Not for anything. And… that would mean I'd be up for a reprimand, too."

"Chrístõ shouldn't be punished," Terry insisted. "Rõgæn Oakdaene should be."

Cassie and Bo both said the same, loudly and indignantly and all three put their arms about his shoulder protectively.

"Christo, you have a precious thing there… loyalty of friends." His father smiled. "I think you will be all right after all."

"I told you I would be."

"Yes, you did. But I'm your father. It's my job to worry." He nodded. "Very well, I will try to make sure a general recall is not made. But that may mean that Rõgæn gets away with his troublemaking. Try to keep out of his way, at least."

"I've got no wish to meet him again."

"Well, take care of yourself, and your friends. I will talk to you again soon, my son. Goodbye until then."

"Goodbye, father. I love you."

The screen went blank for a moment, then it changed to the view of the vortex again. Chrístõ gave a soft sigh and turned to his friends.

"Thank you," he said. "For being here, with me." He hugged them all before he went to the console and began to prepare it for a landing. "Its time we went somewhere. According to my tutorial notes, the Citadel of Presoria V is worth seeing for its magnificent architecture."

"Ok," everyone else agreed. Terry took his accustomed spot by the navigation control and Cassie the environmental control. Bo stood beside Chrístõ as they brought the TARDIS into a perfect landing on the planet.

The Citadel WAS impressive. Their view of it was from the broad valley below, where a river snaked its way to the sea. Above the valley a cliff rose sheer, and on top of it was the Citadel, pure white, like marble, but there could not be that much marble in the universe. Its walls were as sheer as the cliff, and above it dozens of towers and spires rose up.

"That's one big building, right enough," Terry said. "But why exactly did your teachers think we ought to see it?"

"For the architecture and for an example of autocratic government," he said. "The Emperor lives in the Citadel above while the ordinary people live in the valley below under his patronage."

"Patronage?" Cassie looked up at the Citadel. She didn't like it. It was too big and too powerful looking. She thought the village they strolled towards looked more inviting.

And it was. Though the houses looked poor, with their simple whitewashed walls and thatched roofs, the people were very friendly. The village inn supplied the four strangers with food that was simple but nourishing. Accommodation was a little harder. This was not the sort of village that saw visitors often and there was nowhere for them to stay except for the hayloft of the stable by the inn. With bread and cheese and wine to sustain them through the night, though, the four travellers gratefully accepted the rough and ready arrangement and prepared to stay the night.

"Tomorrow, how about we try the 'Marquess de Lœngbærrow' bit and get an invite to the Citadel instead." Terry suggested as they ate their supper by the light of an oil lantern. "We might get nicer beds out of it."

"We could have just gone back to the TARDIS," Cassie pointed out. "We don't HAVE to stay anywhere."

"Hardly the point of being explorers," Chrístõ said as he took off his jacket to make a pillow for his head and lay down as comfortably as if he was in a feather bed. "We have to experience the life of a place fully."

"Did none of you notice anything strange about this village?" Bo said as she prepared to lie down beside Chrístõ. She didn't care where she slept as long as she could be next to him. She accepted that they couldn't be lovers, but that did not stop her loving him. As she stretched herself at his side, he coiled his arm around her shoulders.

"It was very quiet," Terry said as he and Cassie likewise settled down close to each other.

"There were no children about," Cassie realised. "Which IS kind of odd, really."

"Yes, it is," Chrístõ said in an almost lazy voice. "We'll find out why tomorrow." And he snapped his fingers and the oil lamp went out. "Goodnight, my friends," he whispered. Bo snuggled closer to him in the dark and kissed him and he knew that not sleeping, because he was a Time Lord and only needed a fraction of the sleep his Human friends needed, would be a sweet pleasure with her pressed against his side, her head leaning on his chest making it just that little harder to slow his hearts and relax into his usual meditative state.

They woke early and shook the hay from their clothes and made themselves presentable. Terry made another hint about the Marquess de Lœngbærrow and the way they lived much more comfortably when Chrístõ was in aristocrat mode. But the strange thing was, HE WAS in aristocrat mode. Regardless of how he was dressed he always seemed to exude elitism.

They went back to the inn. There was a young woman cleaning the tables and she squealed in fright as they walked in and ran into the back. A moment later the landlord came running. He recognised the paying customers from the day before and immediately was less defensive but Chrístõ thought he still seemed nervous.

"We simply seek food," he said. "And possibly information."

"Food we have for a fair price," the landlord replied. "Information… well, begging your pardon young sir, but you're strangers."

"Fair enough," Chrístõ conceded. "Then let's just have the food. And I am sure the price will be fine."

They sat at a table and presently a meal was brought to them by a middle aged woman who tried to hide how nervous she was. Chrístõ tried to engage her in conversation but she would not take the bait. She remained polite, but would not answer even his most benign questions.

“The girl we saw earlier,” Cassie reminded them. “She was pregnant.”

"Yes, I noticed," Chrístõ said. "I wonder…" He turned and looked at the door to the kitchen area, where the landlord, his wife, and what he guessed was their daughter had retreated away from these strangers with their uncomfortable questions. He stood and quietly moved to the door and he listened with his Time Lord hearing that could easily pick up whispered conversations. Not that this one WAS whispered.

"They're strangers," the landlord was saying. "We can't trust them."

"The one in black… who seems to lead the others… I think he can be trusted," the woman answered. "Call me a silly old woman, Dollf, but when I touched his hand as I was serving… I felt as if a good spirit had settled on my soul. He is a good man and he can be trusted."

"You ARE a silly old woman, Magra," her husband chided her. "Good spirits. They're more likely spies for the Emperor. Do you want your daughter to disappear?"

The young woman said nothing, but Chrístõ heard her sobs. He pushed open the door and stepped into the kitchen. The three people all looked at him in horror.

"Magra's instinct was correct, Dollf," he said calmly. "You CAN trust me, and if you WILL trust me and tell me the problem, I WILL try to help. Because it's what I do."

"Sir…" Magra said and came forward to him. She touched his hand and smiled. "I do trust you. Dolff, please, come here and take his hand and you will understand what I mean."

"You have a receptive soul, Magra," Chrístõ said kindly. "You see the good or the bad in people - and you must know that most people are neither one nor the other solely. But Dolff is too weary of this world and its disappointments. He must either trust me or not. Nothing I can do can make his mind up."

"If you're a spy… then our daughter is lost to us already," Dollf said. "You've seen her."

"I'm not a spy. I'm not even from this place. I don't know anything about your Emperor except that he lives in the Citadel and rules here."

"He took all the children," Magra said. "And women found to be with child…. They are taken away. We don't know if they are killed or…"

"Why?" Chrístõ said. "If no new children are born, how will the land be looked after in another generation?"

"We do not know. But the Emperor took all the children away. I think… I believe they are prisoners in the Citadel. We pray they are alive."

"You have children there?" Magra and Dollf looked at each other.

"Breena is our eldest girl. She was left. But our two youngest…"

"I am going to try to help," Chrístõ promised.

"Who are you?" Dollf asked. "And why WOULD you help us? What do you stand to gain?"

"I am Chrístõ de Lœngbærrow," he said. "I would help you because I believe there is a great wrong here that I would like to set right. I stand to gain nothing -and if my activities are reported to those who have power over me I may lose much. But I would still try." He looked at the girl called Breena. "I would try…for her sake."

"Thank you," Magra said and she put her hands either side of his head and kissed him on both cheeks. "All I ever dreamt of when my son was a baby… was for him one day to be a man… such as you."

When he returned his friends were ready to leave. They had anticipated his next move exactly.

"To the Citadel?" Terry said.


"As the Marquess de Lœngbærrow and friends?"


"You know," Cassie mused as they walked up the steep road to the entrance to the Citadel. "In the western pictures at the cinema the bad guys are the ones in black. But Chrístõ is our black-clad good guy."

"The Shaolin masters wear black," Bo pointed out to them.

"I like wearing black," Chrístõ said. "That's all. Don't you think it suits me?"

"You look smouldering," Cassie assured him.

"You're a very handsome man," Bo told him.

"You're one in a million, Chrístõ," Terry said. "Wear what you like."

They reached the outer gates of the Citadel at last, and the three companions watched in knowing glee as Chrístõ went into full high Gallifreyan autocrat mode, as they called it. He went straight to the gate and knocked loudly and when a face appeared at the postern demanding to know his business he drew himself up and without even seeming to take a breath…

"I am Chrístõdavõreendiamõndhærtmallõupdracœfiredelunmiancuimhne de Lœngbærrow, Time Lord of Gallifrey, and I am here as an ambassador of my planet to see the Emperor. These are my retinue and do not keep us standing at the door like commoners."

There was, his friends knew, absolutely no reason to believe he was what he said other than the tone of his voice, yet the guards of this great Citadel suddenly became animated as if they were clockwork dolls set in motion. The great door swung fully open. No ambassador from Gallifrey was going to come in through the postern. And a uniformed retainer came to escort them through the long corridors of the Citadel, which became more and more elaborate as they got higher.

"My Lord Emperor…" the retainer said at last, throwing open two great and elaborate doors. "Lord Chrístõ…de…er…" The man looked around at Chrístõ in horror, trying to recall the name he had been told. Chrístõ took pity on him. After all, getting a guest's name wrong might be a hanging offence here and it wasn't anyone's fault that his full name needed several hours of patient practice just to say in one breath.

"Chrístõdavõreendiamõndhærtmallõupdracœfiredelunmiancuimhne de Lœngbærrow, Time Lord of Gallifrey," Chrístõ said, stepping forward and introducing himself. "Ambassador of my people to the Emperor." He looked at the Emperor and carefully composed himself not to show any surprise. He had expected a powerful man. Instead there was a youth who looked about the same age as he looked - around nineteen years old, dressed in fine clothes and lying on a silken bed.

"We are honoured that Gallifrey, one of the greatest of people, have honoured us thus," said a man with an oily voice and robes of state that were mostly gold and dark red with gilded buttons and adornments.

"And you are, sir?" Chrístõ responded coldly.

"I am the Emperor's chief advisor."

"Ah," Chrístõ said. "Well, you are, I am sure, a fine administrator, but as you have heard of Gallifrey, I am sure you have heard my people described as The Princes of the Universe, and as such we would hardly expect to talk to an advisor. My greetings must be delivered to the Emperor himself."

"Go away Finaan," the Emperor commanded in a lazy voice. "This one interests me. I shall speak with him alone."

"But sire…"

"Go, Finaan, do not dare to question my judgement."

"Sire…" the man bowed and backed away out of the room. Chrístõ was beckoned forward, while his three companions were taken to a side alcove where he saw servants plying them with food and drink before they were, finally, left alone.

"So," the Emperor said. "This is what a Time Lord looks like?"

"It is what I look like," Chrístõ answered. "But we come in many shapes and sizes."

"Haha," the Emperor laughed. "You're funny. I like you. Sit at my side." Chrístõ moved closer. "Gallifrey is interested in diplomatic relations with our small - though great - planet? That is news indeed. We little knew our fame had spread to such parts of the galaxy."

"Your fame as a ruler is known throughout the galaxies," Chrístõ said. "And it seemed a tragedy to my people that we had no formal ties."

"You are young," the Emperor noted. "On your planet, too, youth is honoured before the wisdom of age?"

"We endeavour to have wisdom and youth on the one side," he said.

"I like it," the Emperor said. "Gallifrey and Presoria will be allies from now on."

"That is good news. Though there are, of course, certain formalities to go through. We must ensure that our two peoples are compatible. Tell me, does Presoria approve of the death penalty for prisoners?"

"Not at all," the Emperor said. "That is a waste of labour. We set our prisoners to work."

"To work?" Chrístõ feigned surprise. "What work would you trust criminals with?"

"All the menial tasks of the palace here are done by the prisoners."

"Ah, a most thrifty way of ensuring your own comfort. Well done. But surely not in the kitchens?"

"Indeed. But you need not fear. All the food is tasted by the prisoners themselves before it is brought to my chambers. They would poison themselves first."

"Clever." Chrístõ said. "And you so young. How are you so wise in so few years?"

"I am older than I look," the Emperor replied. Chrístõ looked at him in surprise, hearing the explanation he so often gave for his own knowledge of life beyond his apparent youth.

"Really? What is your secret?"

"Blood. The blood of children."

Chrístõ's blood froze. But he kept his voice steady.

"A serum made up from the blood of the young, which I take daily. It allows me to stay young. I have taken the serum for over twenty years."

"Twenty years? No wonder there are no children in the village we passed. Do you kill them one at a time or…"

"Oh, they are not killed,” the Emperor corrected him. "The children are kept here in the Citadel and put to work for me. That was an idea I had a few years ago. Saves all the trouble of bringing them in for my use. And when blood is needed they are 'milked' just as, I am told, cows are. Though I have never actually seen a cow. I don't see children very often either, for that matter. They are kept far away from me."

"So you can live forever, as long as there are children to harvest?"


"But… surely there is a flaw in your plan. If there are no new children born, where will your serum come from?"

"Ah, I thought of that. All babies born here are my property. They are raised in my nurseries to be my future stock."

"Ah." Chrístõ's self-control was being thoroughly tested now. He looked at the smiling face of this man and thought he was going to be sick.

"Indeed, I shall live forever. I shall be immortal. Just like your own race, my Time Lord friend."

"Time Lords are not immortal," Chrístõ said. "We simply live long lives. And we do not need such barbaric methods as you employ. Nor would we ever." He stood up. "I am leaving now. My people will never have diplomatic links with one such as you."

His friends were already prepared to leave. They had followed the conversation and as soon as it took such a sinister tone they had been expecting Chrístõ to make a move.

"You will not leave until I give you permission," the Emperor cried out in rage as he realised that Chrístõ was not, after all, on his side. "And you will not turn your back on me."

Cassie was looking his way and gave a cry as the Emperor grabbed a dagger and threw it at Chrístõ's retreating back. It hit him in the arm but he reached and pulled it out and barely stopped in his stride. But before he had reached the door it was blocked by Finaan the chief advisor. "Stop him!" the Emperor cried. "He has insulted my person."

"Oh, get out of my way," Chrístõ said. His arm hurt, even though it was not a bad wound and was already mending. But Finaan blocked him still. He did not want to fight anyone. Finaan pulled a long dagger from a sheathe at his side. Chrístõ sighed and pocketed the one he taken from his arm. He certainly wasn't going to get involved in a knife fight. But one man with a knife was hardly a problem for somebody with his knowledge of unarmed combat, and nor was he. Moments later Finaan was lying on the floor sleeping not exactly like a baby.

"Terry, look out that door will you and tell me how many people are in the ante-room." Chrístõ took a breath and time folded himself and moved back towards the Emperor who saw only a blur before finding himself yanked from his luxurious seat. Chrístõ held him around the neck with one arm with which he could quite easily break the Emperor's neck if he increased the pressure one small amount.

"There are about a dozen servants," Terry said "Some of them look like they're armed."

"If they think I will kill you, will they back off?" Chrístõ asked.

"Yes," the Emperor said. "But I have an army here. You cannot possibly imagine you can usurp me."

"Usurp you? I don't want your throne. I just want the children of this planet to be safe from a fiend like you."

"They are MY subjects. I can use them as I please."

"No, you can't. That's not what power is about. Power is about caring for those you have power over. Ok, I had in mind bringing you out as hostage but I have a better plan. Terry, keep an eye on the door."

Chrístõ pushed the Emperor back down on the bed again and held him down with his knee on his chest. He put his hands on his head either side and forced himself into the Emperor's mind. He saw the mad ambition to rule forever that had overruled any sense of Humanity. He looked beyond it to a man who had ONCE meant well, who had intended to rule well. He had come to power as a child himself and had tried to rule wisely through his advisers, but his own ambition had slowly eroded his good intentions. Good advisers had given way to sycophants and worse. And when Finaan had introduced him to the 'youth serum' he had given into the temptation and slowly lost his sense of proportion.

"You fool," he said to him and probed deeper. He looked into the man's body. He could SEE the change he had made to his body with the serum. And he could see it was all superficial. It had not changed his DNA. It was no more than a rather gruesome face mask. He breathed in deeply and concentrated hard and forced the serum to leave the man's bloodstream. "If you don't take the serum, what will happen?"

"I will return to my true age," the Emperor said, painfully, aware that Chrístõ was doing something to him.

"Then return. Face your reality. Face yourself." Chrístõ's own head felt as if it was going to burst. It was a very hard mental task and it hurt him, too, the more so because the idea of the serum repulsed him and he didn't want to 'touch' it even mentally. He felt contaminated by it. But slowly he cleaned the man's body of the filth. What he couldn't clean was his soul.

"Stand up," Chrístõ said. The Emperor obeyed silently. Cassie and Bo both gave a gasp of astonishment as they saw, not a 20 year old, but a forty-year old man who looked even for that age as if he was prematurely aging. His hair was going grey and his face lined. Chrístõ pushed him towards a large mirror and made him look at himself. "THIS is the real you. This is what you are. A monster."

"What have you done to me?" the Emperor screamed as he saw his face.

"This is the REAL you." Chrístõ made him look again. And while he did, he probed his mind again and found the nugget of good intentions he once had and he touched that part of his mind and forced it to surface.

"See what you used to be, and what you have become. You COULD have ruled this place wisely. But you chose to be a MONSTER."

"No!" the Emperor fell to his knees, crying as his suppressed memories pressed upon him. "No…"

"Yes," Chrístõ said.

"What can I do?"

"You can change, obviously," Chrístõ said. "Maybe it's not TOO late. You can release the children you have as prisoners, for a start. And the mothers and babies. That is the most vile idea EVER."

"Yes, yes, I will do that." The Emperor said, shaking in fear of Chrístõ and what he was capable of doing to him as well as self-loathing.

"Chrístõ," Terry warned. "There are people coming."

"Get up," Chrístõ said to the Emperor and forced him to his feet. "Who are you expecting?"

"My ministers," he said.

"Then this is the perfect time for a new beginning." He stood close behind the Emperor with his hand on his neck. "I can turn you into a vegetable with one squeeze of my hand here. So you had better be on the level."

"I am…I have… realised… my error."

"How do we know he's telling the truth?" Terry asked suspiciously. "He might just be saying that until his guards come in."

"Because I can see straight into his mind, and he IS truly sorry for the evil he has caused," Chrístõ said. "But just in case he has a change of mind at a later date…" Chrístõ closed his eyes and concentrated and the Emperor gave a cry of pain. "I have put a little of me in your mind, and I will know what you are thinking no matter where I am and I can do that to you from anywhere in the universe. So just bear that in mind if you ever think of straying from the path of good and benevolent rule again."

"I will," the Emperor said with a quaver in his voice. But as the doors opened and his ministers were ushered in he drew himself up. They all looked down at the unconscious adviser and then stared at the Emperor, surprised by his changed features.

"I am still your Emperor and lord," he said in a commanding voice that Cassie thought sounded so very like Chrístõ when he was in 'aristocrat mode'. "And you still owe me allegiance, regardless of my appearance. IS that not so?"

"Yes, Sire," the ministers said, bowing low to him.

"Then first of all, that man…" he pointed to his advisor, Finaan. "Take him and lock him securely away. He is dismissed from my service and tomorrow he will be sentenced and… and…." He faltered, unsure of what punishment he could mete out that would meet with Chrístõ's approval.

"He should be banished from your empire," Chrístõ said to him quietly. "Away from the people he helped to hurt."

"Yes," the Emperor drew himself up again with renewed confidence and ordered that Finaan should be banished. "Next, the children, and the mothers and babies must be released. And…" he felt a sort of nudge in his mind. "All the prisoners working in the Citadel are to be released."

"Sire?" the ministers looked puzzled.

"Do you question my judgement?" he asked fiercely, and again, Cassie, looking on, was reminded of Chrístõ's style of acting towards inferiors. She wondered if he was actually putting words into the Emperor's mouth in some psychic way.

"No, sire, no," the chief minister said. "It will be done."

"We will be coming to see it done," Chrístõ said, and the Emperor nodded in agreement.

Chrístõ walked alongside the Emperor. He kept a psychic connection with him and gave him a jolt every so often to remind him he was there. He had lied, of course, about being able to do it from anywhere in the universe, but the Emperor didn't know that, and he knew that as long as he BELIEVED it the fear of what he thought Chrístõ could do would keep him from any further wrong-doing.

They came, after a long walk through the great Citadel to the cells, many floors below. Chrístõ noted as they passed down through the many corridors that in fact the Citadel was not very well guarded at all. And much of it did not need to be. Many of the rooms were decaying and abandoned. The great building, while magnificent to look at, was a sham hiding a crumbling empire. But if the Emperor tried to rule well, if he made the effort FOR his people rather than taking their dearest blood - literally - for his own selfish desires, then maybe it could be repaired. Autocracy did not have to be wrong, if the autocrat was a caring man. There was hope for this place, perhaps.

They came first to what had been called 'the nursery'. It was the grimmest place Chrístõ had ever seen. There were, indeed, cots for babies and small children up to about five years or so, and beds for the mothers, but otherwise it was a grey prison with no joy, no cheer. Chrístõ walked into the cell and looked around. Mothers feeding babies looked up at him and clearly wondered who he was, but had no reason to think he was there to do them any good until he told them they were free and could go home. Even then, it was a few moments before most of them realised what he had said. Slowly they all picked up their babies and looked at him.

Chrístõ turned and told the Emperor that transport would be needed. He nodded and sent one of his retainers to go ahead and organise it while two others were set to escort the women and babies from their prison to freedom.

"Now the children," Chrístõ said. The Emperor nodded and showed him the way. When they came to the place Chrístõ stepped right up to the great gate of the huge cell which contained hundreds of children, all looking exhausted from working in the kitchen or the laundry or other tasks and beaten down by the misery of their slavery. Some of the children looked up at him. Most did not. The silence of them was most worrying. Children should be noisy. These spoke in whispers, if at all, a low susurration of their combined voices adding to the unpleasantness of the scene.

"Which of you are the children of Dollf and Magra who run the inn below in the village?" he called. And after a moment he heard two small voices call out in reply. "Come here," he called. "Don't be afraid. Let them through, please, children." The others moved aside as a girl and a boy, aged about 12 and 10 came forward. They looked thin and tired and beaten, but they looked at him with the bright curiosity of children.

“Open this gate,” he ordered to the guard who looked at him, then briefly his Emperor, then obeyed Chrístõ’s order. He reached and took the hands of the two children he had singled out. “I’m taking you two home.” He looked at the others. “You’re all going home. Come along. Those of you from the local village, come with me. The rest of you, there will be transport of some kind. This man will look after you.”

He pushed the Emperor forward. “Look at them. Look at the childhoods stolen by you. And do all you can, now, to help them.”

"Yes," he said. "I will." Chrístõ gave him one last psychic jolt to ensure his sincerity, then he stepped back as the village children gathered about him.

He walked with the two children of the innkeeper in front of the straggling crocodile of children. Cassie, Bo and Terry all instinctively took hold of children's hands and walked with them, keeping the stragglers together.

They were joined, even before they reached the Citadel entrancoe, by a group of adults from the village who were the 'criminals' the Emperor had spoken of. Their crimes were petty, or not even recognised as crimes anywhere else. They had served long years as slaves for their punishment, but now at last they were free. They, too, took the hands of children and it was a group that dared to be happy that walked down the cliff path, eyes dazzled by unaccustomed sunlight.

When they reached the edge of the village the group broke up as children and adults alike ran for their own homes. Chrístõ and his friends went to the inn. They walked inside and for a moment the woman, Magra, stared in disbelief. Then she gave a cry of unrestrained joy and embraced the children. Dollf, hearing his wife's cry came running from the kitchen and he, too, cried out in joy. The young girl came hesitantly to the door. Chrístõ went to her and touched her on the shoulder.

"All is well now," he told her. Then Magra turned and came to him. Her arms embraced him for a long minute and she spoke quickly and incoherently, but her tone was one of gratitude. When she finally released him, he turned to his friends and told them they could go now. "We are not needed," he said.

"WILL he keep his word?" Cassie asked as they walked back to the TARDIS.

"He thinks I can pulverise his brain with my thoughts if he doesn't," Chrístõ answered. "But, yes, I think he will. He was criminally, evilly stupid, but there was some good deep in him and I think that might have risen up and suppressed the evil."

"A job well done, Chrístõ," Terry said.

"Job?" he looked at Terry. "I don't do this for a job. I do it because it's the right thing to do."

"We still have to find a planet where nothing happens and enjoy some piece and quiet," Cassie reminded him.

"I am sure there must be ONE in my list of presets. I am sure my tutors didn't intend that I would spend my whole time righting wrongs. Especially since it's against the Laws of Time to interfere with other worlds anyway."