“We’re on Earth,” Chrístõ declared happily as he checked the database for information about the place where they had just materialised. “Wonderful.”

“What part of Earth?” Julia asked. “And when?”

“Amsterdam, in 2003,” Chrístõ answered.

“Oh, lovely,” Julia responded. “I went to Amsterdam once, on a school tour. Before we left Earth. It was very pretty. They preserved all the old 18th and 19th century parts of it. It was almost lost in the mid-21st century, when the sea levels rose. Before they managed to stabilise the ice caps. They had feared that most of the Netherlands would be lost, but they saved it.”

“This is early 21st century,” Chrístõ reminded her. “They’re just starting to worry about that. All of those lovely old buildings are there to be seen, though. Come on. Let’s go and explore.” He pulled on his leather jacket over his usual black shirt and jeans and turned towards the door. Julia, in a skirt and t. shirt with a cardgan and comfortable sandals was ready to join him. Hext reached out to take Romana’s arm as they formed two couples. Romana was in a smart linen skirt suit and blouse, and Hext in slacks and a sweatshirt. They all looked right for this period and this place.

The TARDIS had disguised itself as a disused newspaper kiosk in Dam square, a big, bustling public area, bounded by busy roads and tramlines along which trams rumbled at regular intervals. Romana found it all a bit too busy. She was unused to cities, having been cloistered in the Sisterhood for so long. Hext and Chrístõ took it in their stride. Julia enjoyed it thoroughly, pointing out the tourist attractions around the square. She sighed happily to be in such a lovely place. It was early autumn and the trees were starting to turn to colours that complimented the warm colours of the buildings. Chrístõ knew she was wishing they were there to enjoy the sights like the tourists around them. The necessity to complete each part of this mission and then move on meant that they had so little time to breathe in the air of each new place and get used to being there.

He promised himself he would bring her back when all this was over and they were free to choose where they wanted to go.

“Any idea where your father might be?” Hext asked Chrístõ. “Did he ever mention coming to this city?”

“No,” Chrístõ answered. “But the TARDIS has always brought us quite close to him in previous locations. We should locate him soon enough.”

“I looked this city up on the computer database,” Hext added in a low voice as Julia showed the famous National War Memorial to Romana. “In this era, it is notorious for its red light district and narcotics trade.”

“I looked it up, too,” Chrístõ replied. “It’s famous for the diamond trade.” He laughed softly. “Do you think it says something about the two of us that we noticed such different things about this place?”

“Your father could have been pursuing somebody involved in those illegal activities,” Hext pointed out.

“My father is from a House whose wealth comes from diamonds,” Chrístõ pointed out. “He may be pursuing somebody involved in that trade.”

“Well, I don’t think we want to take the ladies on a tour of the brothels and drug dens of Amsterdam,” Hext decided. “Let’s try your theory first.”

The pursuit of Chrístõ’s theory brought them from Dam Square along the Damrak, and Julia was the one who informed them that Dam Square originally was built upon a huge dam across the Amstel, which was later re-routed through canals. The Damrak was a road built on a partly filled in canal and used to be the heart of the financial district of Amsterdam where the name conjured the same ideas as “Wall Street” did to Americans.

“I like history,” Julia added when she caught Chrístõ’s smile.

“Then it’s a good job you’re practically engaged to a man who can show you lots of history,” he answered her. “Do you know anything about diamonds?”

“Only the ones you’ve given me,” she replied, touching her pendant with the six small but very finely cut stones that represented the constellation of Kasterborus. She was wearing diamond stud earrings that he had given her, too. Small gems, a fraction of a fraction of the family wealth, but a down-payment on the ones he intended to give her when she was older.

“Chrístõ,” Hext called. He had found a tourist information kiosk and brought away a bunch of leaflets he had been given. “I think your theory is right. We’re right on top of the diamond quarter of the city. And look…”

Hext gave Chrístõ a small fold out leaflet. It was very glossy and prettily designed and advertised a special diamond exhibition.

“The Van Der Saar Diamond at the Amsterdam Diamond Centre,” was the translation of the leaflet from Dutch that he read. “The Amsterdam Diamond Centre is proud to display for public viewing the magnificent Van Der Saar Diamond prior to its auction on September 24th, 2003. The diamond, found in Natal in 1987, is a 55.8 carat rare red diamond of particularly splendid colour that has drawn the admiration of diamond experts across the world. It has 56 facets and was cut in teardrop shape from a 65.4 carat rough.”

“It’s beautiful,” Julia agreed as she looked at the photograph of the said diamond on the front of the leaflet. She touched her own pendant again and smiled. She was a girl who wore diamonds every day. She might not be an expert, but she knew what she was looking at must be very special.

“It’s Gallifreyan,” Chrístõ said as he and Hext looked at each other and the same thought came to them at once.

“It’s the Tear of Omega,” Hext added.

“It never is!” Romana exclaimed. “It can’t be.”

“Yes, it is.” Chrístõ turned to the inside page of the leaflet. “Look.”

They all looked. There were several other views of the magnificent diamond, as well as an inset that showed a close up of one of the facets. A symbol had been expertly cut into the shining surface.

The Greek letter Omega.

The leaflet explained that it was a special identifying mark carved by the original stone cutter to indicate just how unique it was.

“Yes, it was,” Chrístõ agreed. “But the cutter was Gallifreyan and he did it about ten thousand years ago. It’s the Tear of Omega. It really is.”

“But the Tear of Omega is in the Panopticon,” Romana protested. “I’ve seen it, many times. I remember my parents bringing me to see it when I was a child. The Dvortatre family own mines. But to see the most fantastic jewel ever to come out of our Gallifreyan soil was breathtaking.”

“Same here,” Chrístõ and Hext both agreed. Their shared heritage as young Gallifreyans was invested in such treasures of their world. They all looked at each other and realised what this discovery meant to them all.

It cannot be here on Earth,” Romana added. “How?”

“In my father’s timeline, it is still nearly two thousand years before any of us were born. It’s possible the Tear was stolen back then.”

“A Gallifreyan diamond on display here on Earth,” Hext said. “And Chrístõ’s father somewhere near here.”

“My father must be investigating it,” Chrístõ deducted. “I think we should go to this diamond centre. I think he’ll be there.”

“It’s that way,” Julia said, pointing down the Damrak. “Sign over there says so. Amsterdam Diamond Centre.”

The Diamond Centre was a tall, multi-storied building of warm red nineteenth century brick with lots of gables and verdigree-covered domes around its steep tiled roof. The fact that the sign over the entrance said “Amsterdam Diamond Center” in American English said something about the influence of the USA on that industry worldwide, as did the fact that diamonds were priced, even here, in US dollars.

The centre was part diamond cutting factory, part very exclusive shop, and part gallery of magnificent collections of diamond jewellery. Getting in was rather more difficult than usual because the security staff were checking all of the visitors as they entered. Handbags were examined and they were all subjected to a discreet but thorough body search.

“Wouldn’t it make more sense as we left, rather than entered?” Chrístõ asked as he submitted to his search. “A thief would be taking diamonds, not bringing.”

“We’re looking for tools that could be used in a theft, sir,” the guard replied. He paused and reached to extract Chrístõ’s sonic screwdriver. “Like this. Could you tell me the purpose of this device, sir?”

“I’m an ophthalmic surgeon,” he replied, liking the feel of the Dutch word for ophthalmic on his tongue. “It’s a tool for looking into the eyes of the patient. Like this.” With a flick of the wrist too fast to see, he took his sonic screwdriver back and shone it briefly in the eyes of the guard. “It’s nothing to worry about. You have no need to detain me further.”

“Of course, sir,” the mildly hypnotised guard said. “Enjoy your visit, sir.”

He could have just accepted a receipt for it and collected it later, of course, he reflected as he waited for Romana and Julia to be passed by the female guard. But he didn’t like being parted from his sonic screwdriver, and besides, it WAS alien technology. It shouldn’t be tampered with by humans.

“I don’t need to steal your diamonds,” Julia said as she submitted to the quick, efficient body search. “I’ve got lots of my own.”

“So you do,” the guard agreed with a friendly smile. “Though not as big as the Van Der Saar diamond. Enjoy your visit, miss.”

The four joined the line of visitors walking around the demonstrations of diamond cutting and polishing and a tourist guide explaining about the difference between industrial diamonds and fine jewels, about carats and colour, luminosity and so on. Chrístõ had seen the cutters and polishers of the Lœngbærrow family workshops at their trade and had even tried it for himself once, though he lacked the patience for such a careful art. Even so, he found it interesting to watch it being done and appreciated the effort that went into turning a rough piece of diamond into a sparkling gem. He admired the displays behind glass of magnificent sets of jewellery – necklaces, brooches, tiaras.

“You should have more diamonds,” he said to Julia. “I should give you more of them as presents.”

“I’m fifteen,” she reminded him. “And school has rules about wearing jewellery. What would I do with more.”

“When you’re older, you’ll have lots of them,” he promised. “Like that one.” He pointed to a very beautiful necklace made of white and red diamonds with one blue solitaire in the pendant surrounded by lots of small white ones. “That’s lovely. You would look beautiful wearing something like that along with one of the gowns Cirena’s dressmaker can create, dancing with me at an ambassadorial ball.”

“I don’t love you because your father owns a diamond mine, you know,” she assured him. “I’d marry you even if you didn’t.”

“I know,” he answered. “But I’d still like to give you as many jewels as they have in this exhibition.”

“What would I do with them? Have my own exhibition?” She laughed and slipped her arm around his waist as they moved in the line towards the special exhibition room where the Van Der Saar Diamond was in a glass case, lit so that its facets were highlighted to perfection. There were information panels as they entered about the history of the diamond, from being found in Natal to now.

“It says here that it has been in the private collection of Ruud Van Der Saar until his death last year,” Julia said. “When it was inherited by his daughter, Margarietje. She decided to auction it to pay for a new children’s hospital in Rotterdam.”

“Well, that’s very nice of her,” Chrístõ said. “But I’m sorry. It’s not hers to sell. It really is the Tear of Omega.” He held his sonic screwdriver in the palm of his hand, concealing the pulsating blue light that indicated the presence of a non-terrestrial mineral. At the same time he looked at a screen beside the display case. A microscopic camera with zoom lens was focussed on that special facet with the Omega symbol etched into it. Looking at it enlarged he recognised that it was cut with the sort of laser that could only have been made on Gallifrey. Here in Amsterdam, downstairs in the demonstration room, he had seen some very good lasers, but nothing good enough to do that without smashing the diamond into useless fragments.

“This story is a lie,” he added, looking at the information panel. “Van Der Saar lied about where he got it from.”

“Maybe we shouldn’t say that around here,” Julia told him. “People might get upset.”

“Your young lady is right,” said a voice near his ear. “So are you. It WAS stolen. But let’s talk about it where we can’t be overheard. Come with me, Son of Gallifrey. Let us renew our acquaintance.”

Chrístõ half turned and looked into his father’s deep brown eyes in yet another new face. He looked middle aged, still, but at least five hundred years must have passed since he saw him last. It was him, though. He recognised his psychic ident at once, and his father’s perplexity as he failed to read his.

“Let’s go,” he said, signalling to Hext and Romana to follow him.

“You’re here for the usual duty, of course,” Chrístõ Mian said as they passed through the security check at the exit and out onto the Damrak again. “Yes, the trigger is still there. But this is the ninth time we’ve done this. It clicked in my head as soon as I saw your face. Anyway, come on. We’re not going to talk about diamonds again until we’re sure nobody can be overhearing us.”

They walked back up to Dam Square and along the road that bordered it at the south side and then along two smaller streets of the charming, old fashioned Dutch houses with their decorated gables and long, tall windows that Julia loved looking at. They came presently to The Singel, the innermost of the horseshoe shaped canals that bounded the old part of Amsterdam city, the Amstel itself closing the two ends. Chrístõ Mian led them down onto a beautifully painted narrowboat. Chrístõ noted that it was called the Dutch equivalent of Lady Lily. This was still at least a thousand years and two regenerations before his father and mother met. Lady Lillianna D’Alba D’Argenlunna was still his father’s only taste of deep love. It was a strange sentimentality for a CIA agent, but Chrístõ found it comforting. It was a sign that this incarnation of Chrístõ Mian was still the man he knew and loved.

“Oh!” Romana exclaimed as they sat on long benches on the deck. There was a familiar vibration as well as the gentle rocking of the barge on the water. “Oh, this is your TARDIS, isn’t it? It disguised itself as a barge.”

“Ours likes to be a boat, too,” Julia said.

Chrístõ Mian cast off the lines and the barge began to move. He had obviously programmed it to move along the canal safely, without any hand at the tiller. He came and sat with them as the faint breeze cooled their faces.

“Where is your TARDIS?” Chrístõ Mian asked after a quiet few minutes.

“Dam Square,” Chrístõ answered. “When we’ve finished talking you should take us back where we started from. That’s as close as the Singel gets to the square. It will save us all some walking.”

“I will do that,” Chrístõ Mian replied. “But since you’re here, you two could help me. Quid pro quo, as it were.”

“Since our mission is to help you in the future it’s hardly that,” Hext pointed out. “But let’s hear the plan. This is something to do with the Tear of Omega?”

“Who is Omega?” Julia asked, feeling that was only one secret that the four Time Lords she was with weren’t sharing with her.

“He was the Time Lord who created the Eye of Harmony by exploding a star and creating the energy rich fragments that power all our TARDISes. It’s what allows us to travel in time and space,” Hext explained. “He died in the process. But every time one of us pilots a TARDIS through the vortex we are conscious of the legacy he bequeathed to us.”

“Some say he went mad,” Chrístõ Mian added. “They say he knew he would die in the attempt. Others say he isn’t really dead, and that he will return to Gallifrey one day.”

“There are a thousand legends about Omega,” Chrístõ continued. “Nearly as many as there are about Rassilon. And some even more mysterious ones about a third Time Lord, known only as ‘The Other’ who helped them both in those early times before the Golden Age.”

“The Tear is nothing to do with him, really, of course,” Romana said. “It was a strangely sentimental act by one of our forebears to call the diamond that. But please, tell us what happened. Was it stolen? And how did it end up here?”

“Yes,” Chrístõ Mian said. “It was stolen from the Panopticon. An inferior copy was left in its place, though that is known only by some members of the High Council and those CIA operatives ordered to find the thief and deal with him accordingly. The trail had gone cold, but then I found out about the so-called Van Der Saar Diamond.”

“Van Der Saar bought it from the thief? Made up the story to give it provenance?” Chrístõ guessed.

“The thief lost it to Van Der Saar in a poker game,” Chrístõ Mian answered. “So I managed to find out. Yes, he faked the provenance. It gave his own diamond business a huge boost to have such a gem in his possession. And it suited the thief to leave it with him until the trail had really gone cold. I think it’s even possible he lost the game deliberately in order to offload the diamond, intending to return and collect it when he was ready.”

Chrístõ Mian paused before continuing.

“He’s ready, now. I have good reason to think that he’s going to try to steal it tonight.”

“And you intend to stop him?”

“I intend to steal it before he does,” Chrístõ Mian answered. “My first priority is returning the Tear to Gallifrey. The thief comes second.”

“You’re going to STEAL the diamond?” Romana looked at him incredulously. “You can’t. That’s…”

“It belongs to Gallifrey. Held in trust for all the people of Gallifrey,” Chrístõ said. “It’s not theft. It’s… repatriation… We have a right, a duty, to take it.”

“What about the children’s hospital?” Julia asked.

“The Van Der Saar diamond is insured for fifteen million US Dollars – the currency in which diamonds are sold across planet Earth,” Chrístõ Mian pointed out. “The hospital will still be built. There just won’t be an auction.”

“Well… that’s all right then… I suppose.”

“It’s not all right,” Chrístõ said. “But it’s what we have to do. You said tonight…”

“Yes. That’s the information I have. He’s going to be there tonight. But I’ll be there first. With you two as back up, I can take the diamond and the thief at the same time. Take him alive and bring him back for trial.”

“As opposed to…” Julia wondered.

“As opposed to simply killing him,” Chrístõ said in a quiet voice, turning his face so as not to make eye contact with his father. “You were going to assassinate him.”

“My superiors don’t care if I bring him back dead or alive,” Chrístõ Mian answered. “Dead would be less embarrassing for whatever family had the misfortune of spawning him. A trial will be bad for them.”

“But it would be a more just way of finishing this,” Chrístõ said. “Better than assassination. I wish you… there should be another way. There ought to be another way.”

Chrístõ Mian looked at Chrístõ and turned to Hext.

“He’s not in the Celestial Intervention Agency, is he? You are. I know that. You understand. But he doesn’t. Even after some of the things we’ve all been through. Even though I’ve seen him handle weapons as well as I do… He even has a similar technique to me. He looks like he’s had CIA training. But he doesn’t have the mindset of an agent.”

“Our Thete is an enigma,” Hext answered. “A pacifist who knows how to fight when it counts. If you’re worried he’ll let us down… I’d trust him with my life. So can you.”

“I wasn’t worried,” Chrístõ Mian assured him. “I just can’t make him out. I understand you. I understand Romana. I understand this young Earth Child. But I do not understand him.”

“You will,” Chrístõ added cryptically. “In the future… you’ll understand me. And I’m coming to understand you a little more every time we meet. I just hope…”

He hoped he would still feel the same about his father when he was whole, when he was awake and they were able to talk about all of this. He hoped he could still love him, knowing so much about him.

“Just…” Chrístõ added. “If there is an alternative to assassination… Can we please try to take that alternative. Not because I’m squeamish about killing, or out of cowardice. But because there SHOULD be another way.”

“Like I said,” Chrístõ Mian answered with a finality to his tone. “My superiors don’t care if I bring him back dead or alive. Now, let’s head back towards Dam Square. I will do that duty to my future self. Then, if only to prove to you that assassins don’t bear grudges, I’ll take you all to dinner. It will pass the time until we’re ready to act.”

Chrístõ, for his part, proved that he didn’t hold grudges, either. He was sociable over dinner, where Chrístõ Mian didn’t refer to any subject that would cause distress, either diamonds or assassinations. Instead he turned his attention to Julia and showed a genuine interest in her dancing and gymnastics. He clearly found her charming, and Chrístõ could hardly disagree with him about that.

Much later, five people crossed a Dam Square that was only a little quieter at night time than it was in the day and slipped inside the closed up newspaper stand. None of the tourists enjoying the grandeur of the Royal Palace and the Nieuwe Kerk beautifully uplit in soft lights noticed when the newspaper stand disappeared.

It re-appeared inside the special exhibition room of the Amsterdam Diamond Centre, circumventing all of the security systems except the one around the Diamond itself.

“I could have materialised over it and we could have taken the diamond and gone,” Chrístõ pointed out before he opened the door. He watched as Hext and his father both checked weapons. Armed robbery! It was hard to believe that they were all three of them the sons of high caste Gallifreyan Houses. Even though the cause was a good one – the Tear of Omega had to be returned to its rightful place – Chrístõ thought there was something distinctly shabby about what they were doing.

Romana and Julia looked at all three of them, then without a word they turned and went to sit by the Zero Cabinet, performing the meditative movements that created a calming aura around the Cabinet. Chrístõ turned and looked at his father and waited for his command to open the door.

They stepped out into the darkened room. There were low level red security lights around the room and the diamond itself was bathed in light within the case. Chrístõ used his sonic screwdriver to indicate where the silent alarms were that would trip if they did not go carefully.

“Perhaps burglary is your forte after all, Thete,” Chrístõ Mian teased as he and Hext flanked him. He used his sonic screwdriver to disable the alarm on the case and then to open it. Chrístõ reached to take the diamond. As his hands closed around it he almost expected it to tingle with some inner power. But it didn’t. It was just a cold piece of rock with aesthetically pleasing light reflecting qualities. He wrapped it in a soft velvet bag and put it into his pocket before he turned around and stepped towards his TARDIS, disguised as a door marked ‘Besloten’ - indicating a restricted area.

As he did so, there were shouts in Dutch, to ‘freeze’ and two security guards rushed through the door, their weapons trained on Chrístõ before they noticed Hext and his father either side. Both of them fired at the same time, wounding the two guards in their gun arms.

“Necessary force,” Hext told Chrístõ as he looked at him. “Come on, let’s get out of here before more of them turn up.”

They all three headed to the TARDIS door. As they did so, they saw it shimmer and heard the sound of a materialisation. Somebody, Chrístõ realised with a shock, had materialised another TARDIS in front of his own TARDIS, mimicking the same disguise. He backed away as the door opened and two men with bastic pistols came towards him. A third man stepped out behind them, also armed. He aimed his weapon directly at Chrístõ’s head. All three gunmen were aiming at his head.

“Your friends are not that fast,” the stranger said. “Even if they stop two of us, one will kill you. Now give me the Tear of Omega and you can all live.”

“I can’t do that,” Chrístõ answered. “It belongs to the people of Gallifrey. You are a traitor and a thief. You will not have it.”

“Then…” The stranger began to speak, but Hext and Chrístõ Mian proved him wrong. They were faster. The two henchmen dropped to the carpeted floor a fraction of a second after each other, both shot through the head by Hext. The Gallifreyan traitor yelped as his hand was pierced by a bullet from Chrístõ Mian’s gun. Moments later, he was being pushed through the TARDIS door.

“Thete, get their weapons,” Chrístõ Mian ordered. “They’re not of this planet or this century. We don’t leave anachronistic technology behind.”

“What about the bodies?” he answered as he obeyed.

“The bodies don’t matter,” Chrístõ Mian replied. “They’re just spaceport scum hired to do his dirty work.”

Chrístõ picked up the weapons and glanced at the two injured humans. Even an assassin knew better than to kill indigenous bystanders. They would live. They would give statements to the police, identify the thieves. Their testimony would probably be dismissed when they reported that the thieves went through a door that then disappeared. He hoped that was put down to them being in pain from their injuries and it didn’t affect their careers unduly.

“I’m sorry,” he whispered as he ran to follow his father and Hext into the thief’s TARDIS.

It was very clearly an older model than his own, but one designed for a single pilot with a smaller, more manageable console. Not that it was being taken anywhere now. The thief was on his knees with Hext and his father both training their guns at him.

Chrístõ was relieved to see his own TARDIS in default mode standing in the middle of the room. He went towards it, intending to make sure Julia and Romana were all right. Then he turned in shock as he heard a single gunshot ring out around the console room. He saw his father holding the gun and the body of the thief collapsing in a heap.

“What!” he cried out. “What have you done. That wasn’t… you didn’t have to… He was your prisoner…”

“I told you,” Chrístõ Mian replied as he and Hext both made their guns safe and put them in their pockets. “My superiors don’t care if he comes back dead or alive. Or at all. I’ll programme this TARDIS to go forward in time until this planet burns up in the supernova at the end of its existence.”

“You didn’t have to do that!” Chrístõ screamed and ran at Chrístõ Mian. His punch connected with his jaw and the older man reeled back in surprise before instinctively responding with a counter punch that left a bruise across Chrístõ’s face.

“You… murdered that man,” Chrístõ cried angrily as he ignored his injury and hit back again and again. “That wasn’t assassination. It wasn’t necessary… it wasn’t kill or be killed. It was cold blooded murder.”

“It was assassination,” Chrístõ Mian insisted as he grabbed Chrístõ by the shoulders and kicked his legs out from under him. He forced him to the floor and pinned him down. “It was assassination. And it WAS necessary. You really don’t understand, do you? You don’t know who that man was.”

“He was a Gallfreyan. You murdered one of our own.”

“He was the younger brother of our president,” Chrístõ Mian answered.

“What?” Chrístõ couldn’t even remember who the president was at this stage in his father’s timeline. Neither could Hext if his puzzled expression was any indication. Hext watched the two of them without interfering. He had supported neither man in their struggle. “What has that got to do with it? He still shouldn’t…”

“Think about it, you idealistic young fool. Do you think we need a trial? What do you think that would do to the presidency? What would it do to our government, to our society? Nobody even knows the Tear of Omega is missing. It will be put back without anyone knowing. The President’s brother will be considered missing, presumed dead. There will be an official period of mourning for the family.”

“You murdered him,” Chrístõ insisted. “I always believed… I always thought that you were an honourable man. I thought you did what you did because it was necessary. You always said… you told me… that you didn’t glory in the deaths you caused.”

“I don’t,” he answered. “Do I look like I’m glorying in anything?” He looked up at Hext. “Get him into his own TARDIS. I’m going to set the co-ordinates on this one. Then we’ll all get out of here.”

Hext stepped forward and picked Chrístõ up from the floor. He resisted at first, then came with his friend. Chrístõ Mian went to the controls of the thief’s TARDIS. Now he was dead, the imprimatur ceased to function. Anyone could set the destination. He did so, allowing himself thirty seconds to dash into Chrístõ’s TARDIS before the dematerialisation.

“Get us out of here, now,” Chrístõ Mian ordered. “Before one of those guards manages to sound an alarm. Take us to the Singel, to my TARDIS.”

Chrístõ did so, but only because that made sense. When the TARDIS materialised on the canal bank, Chrístõ Mian asked him for the Tear of Omega. Chrístõ handed it to him. He turned and walked out. Chrístõ looked at his friends, then ran after him.

“No,” he said. “You won’t walk away from me like that. I can’t let you…”

“You want another fight, here, in public. I’m carrying a valuable, stolen jewel that the police are going to be searching for in a matter of minutes. We would be arrested for more than disturbing the peace if you draw attention to us.”

The sirens of several Dutch police cars and an ambulance for the wounded men converging on the Damrak could be heard on the night air as he spoke. Chrístõ knew he was right. But he was still angry about what had been done.

“I believed you,” he repeated. “I believed in you…”

“Talk to your friend.,” Chrístõ Mian answered. “He’s nearly as young as you, but he knows. He understands. Sometimes what you saw tonight IS necessary. It’s not murder…”

“Yes, it is.”

“All right, maybe it is. But it is necessary murder. And it WAS sanctioned by our government. The one you serve as loyally as I do. You have to accept that. You have to realise that I do a dirty job, and not everything is clear and clean and easy. I do it because Gallifrey asks me to.”

“Then Gallifrey is wrong,” Chrístõ replied. “And so are you.”

“You don’t mean that,” Chrístõ Mian told him. “You’re loyal to Gallifrey. And… to me… the older version of me. I still don’t understand why you’re so attached to my future incarnation… you seem to have some juvenile hero worship… And that took a knock tonight when you saw me do something that offends your moral values. But maybe it was time. If you’re really so naïve, maybe you needed a wake up call.”

“It isn’t…” Chrístõ sobbed as his emotions overwhelmed him. “It’s not… hero worship. It’s… love. I…love you…”

“What?” Chrístõ Mian looked at him in confusion. “I know I must have changed a lot in my later years. But I doubt my preferences will ever run to boys.”

“Not…” Chrístõ half laughed at the misunderstanding. “Not… like THAT. I love you… as a son loves his father. I still love you. But… I think… I have lost some of the RESPECT I had for you. I don’t know you as well as I thought I did.”

“Son…” Chrístõ Mian caught him by the shoulder. He reached out and touched his face, feeling the tears that cooled in the night air. “You’re my… You’re a half blood. Falling in love with Earth Children runs in our family?”

“Yes, it does,” Chrístõ answered. “My mother… was the most gentle, pure hearted woman who ever lived. And she… she would be ashamed of you tonight, too.”

“My own son is ashamed of me?” Chrístõ Mian shook his head. “No. My son doesn’t understand. I wish you could. I feel… the wedge driven between us.”

Chrístõ looked at his father. He was holding him in a tight embrace. Any other time he would have welcomed that intimacy. But he was right. There really was a wedge between them. There was a red haze of anger and confusion and he couldn’t reach out to him.

“Damn it, Chrístõ!” Hext’s voice carried on the air as he approached. “Why couldn’t you have left it? Go back to the TARDIS. I need to erase his memory of all of this conversation. He’s not supposed to know who you are.”

“I don’t care about that,” Chrístõ replied. “I care about…”

“Enough,” Hext was firm. He pulled him away from his father and pushed him towards the TARDIS. Chrístõ went reluctantly. Hext turned to Chrístõ Mian.

“I’ll look after him,” Hext promised. “Sir… you understand I do have to do this.”

“Fine by me. I don’t want to remember a conversation like that… with my own flesh and blood. I just don’t get why he doesn’t understand? Why didn’t I explain it to him before now?”

“I think you will need to talk to him about that… in the future. For now, let me do this, quickly. There is going to be a major hue and cry any minute. We should all get away from here.”

Hext did what he had to do. Chrístõ Mian, slightly dazed from having a highly emotional conversation wiped from his mind and the memory trigger reset so that he would forget all their names and faces until the next meeting, walked down the canal steps to his TARDIS. The canal boat ‘Lady Lily’ vanished from the Singel, never to be seen on it again. Hext turned, noticing a police car slowing to a stop on the bridge as he headed back to the abandoned car that Chrístõ’s TARDIS had disguised itself as. But the Tear of Omega was going back to Gallifrey. It was something else that would not be seen in Amsterdam ever again, and by the time the police reached the canal bank he would not be there to be questioned about his movements.