Julia went to change out of her ballgown as Chrístõ set the TARDIS to return them to the Earth Federation transwarp executive liner that had been their home for the past fortnight. It was a tricky manoeuvre. In the four hours that they had been away, enjoying dinner in the private dining room of the royal palace of Adano-Ambrado with the King-Emperor and his queen, the Starship Harlan Ellison had travelled several thousand light years. He had to literally catch up with it.

When she returned from the wardrobe, wearing a pair of yellow-flowered pyjamas, a plaid dressing gown and bedroom slippers shaped like pandas that were a complete contrast to the sophistication of her ballgown made by the queen’s dressmaker, Chrístõ had completed the manoeuvre. The TARDIS was in parking mode on deck three of the accommodation section of the ship. Part of the console room was partitioned off behind a false wall and looked, even to the closest inspection, like a single person’s berth with a bed, armchair, desk and a wardrobe as well as a small exo-glass window with a view of the starfield they were travelling so rapidly across.

“You want to stay the night with me? Chrístõ asked, noting the bedtime attire.

“Yes,” she answered. “Why not? This IS my nineteenth birthday. Hence the celebration dinner with Penne and Cirene. On Adano-Ambrado I am now old enough to get married without anyone’s permission. Snuggling up to my fiancée for the night would only offend the most rigid moralists.”

“Like those on Gallifrey, where you would still be an infant, and even I’m not quite old enough to consider marriage,” Chrístõ pointed out. “And where we only dispensed with the old chaperone laws completely in my father’s generation.”

Julia gave him a dark look. He laughed.

“Of course you can stay,” he promised her. “You get into bed while I go and get changed and make a couple of mugs of low-fat, full flavour Ambradan hot chocolate with caramba nut essence.”

That arrangement suited Julia just fine. When he returned to the ‘berth’ in black silk pyjamas and bearing two steaming mugs she was sitting up in the bed. He slid beside her, noting that something of the TARDIS’s special properties were at work. The bed looked like a standard single one, but there was actually more than enough room for them to sleep comfortably together.

“What do you think anyone would find if they opened the door to your cabin when we were away in the TARDIS?” Julia wondered.

“I put a deadlock on the door so nobody could,” Chrístõ pointed out. “But if they did they would find an ordinary cabin just like this.” He laughed softly. “The first time I tried to do this kind of thing, years ago when I lived in London for a while, I got it completely wrong. When I moved the TARDIS it left a huge empty space, no floor, ceiling or walls behind the door. Fortunately I know how to get it right, now, or there would be a hole in the ship’s hull when we go off on our extra-curricular trips.”

Julia shook with laughter and put her empty mug on the bedside table. Chrístõ did the same. He snapped his fingers and the lights went out. He heard Humphrey trill contentedly and slide out from under the bed to hover at the end of it like a pet dog. Chrístõ made himself comfortable in the bed with his arm around Julia’s shoulders and her head against his chest. He gave a soft, happy sigh. If he hadn’t taken the job as one of the official chaperones for the Beta Deltan Olympic team, he would have been missing Julia desperately by now. Instead he had her in his arms. Yes, they were breaking the rules big time. Chaperones were definitely not supposed to have team members in their beds. But he didn’t care as long as he could lie there and listen to her slow breathing as she fell asleep and feel her single heartbeat close to his own double syncopated one.

Early in what was deemed to be morning according to the ships clocks synchronised to an Earth twenty-four hour cycle, Julia rose from his side. She showered and dressed in a leotard and practice skirt as she always did. She ate a slice of toast and marmalade in the TARDIS kitchen before going to the dojo/gym.

She was in the middle of one of her asymmetric bar routines when Chrístõ, dressed in a black gi that didn’t look very much different from his bedtime pyjamas, came into the dojo and started his own morning martial arts routine. She carefully avoided being distracted by the sight of his lithe body performing the very precise movements of Malvorian Sun Ko Du.

He didn’t allow the sight of her petite form twisting around those bars so elegantly distract him from what would have been certain death if the white guideline across the dojo floor was actually the spar of narrow wood across a deep chasm in the mountains of Malvoria that the monks practiced on.

She finished first and went to shower before dressing casually and heading out of the TARDIS, checking first on the lifesigns scanner that there was nobody in the corridor outside. She headed for the turbo lift up to the refectory for the ‘proper’ breakfast. The toast had just been ballast for her workout. Now she needed the meal that was served to all of the passengers.

“Hi, Sophia,” she said as one of her friends from the swimming team passed her. The girl looked pre-occupied and almost didn’t answer her. “Hey, you’re going in the wrong direction for breakfast, you know,” she added.

“Oh… yes…” Sophia responded in a surprised tone. “Yes, I’ll be there in a little while.”

She hurried away. Julia watched her go curiously. Was she skipping breakfast? That was absolutely against the rules. This ship had a thousand athletes aboard from the different disciplines of a full Olympiad. They spent their days in the same dedicated training they had followed in order to be picked for their teams. Their coaches and teachers, as well as the extra chaperones, ensured that everyone led a safe, healthy daily routine, and that meant turning up for all of the regular meals. Fad diets, especially the sort where meals were missed altogether, were taboo.

Sophia would be in trouble if she was found out.

Julia thought about catching up with her but she wasn’t meant to be on this level either. Her room was two decks below. Besides, she was hungry. She never skipped breakfast. Her early morning workout always honed her appetite.

When she reached the refectory and joined the queue at the self-service counter she was surprised to see Sophia ahead of her.

“Hey, how did you get back here so fast?” she asked.

“Back from where?” the girl replied.

“From… never mind, it doesn’t matter.”

“How fresh do you think the fresh fruit salad is?” Sophia added, dismissing the question from her mind. “We’ve been in space for two weeks.”

“It’s stored in hermetically sealed packs,” Julia answered. “It’s as fresh as the day it was picked. Time virtually stands still inside the containers. I’d eat it fast, though. It might catch up suddenly.”

Sophia added a bowl of fruit to her tray alongside the orange juice, cereal and wholemeal toast already picked from the food on offer and turned to join her swimming team friends at a table.

Julia was in the middle of a similar meal when Chrístõ sat next to her with the same order plus bacon, eggs and hash browns – a good manly breakfast. He paused with a forkful of bacon and frowned. Julia looked where he was staring but saw nothing but the Beta Deltan field athletics coach who was spooning porridge into a bowl for himself.

“What’s up?”

“I saw that man, two minutes ago, heading in the opposite direction. I assumed he’d already had breakfast.”

“Maybe he’s greedy and came back for seconds?” Julia responded. “Hey, that would explain Sophia, too. She’s not skipping breakfast, she’s doubling it.”

“An Olympian risking double calories, never!” Chrístõ answered with a laugh. Then one of Julia’s gymnastic friends joined them at the table, as well as two of the men’s judo team who knew Chrístõ from the ship’s dojo, and they forgot about the mildly odd coincidence of two people who got about the ship faster than expected.

Julia’s days aboard the ship were very much the same as her days at college. She had practice in the huge and beautifully equipped gym and the classes like sports management and health and fitness that were part of the degree course she was taking. There were also rehearsals for the Beta Deltan contribution to the grand opening ceremony, including the parade of nations and a gymnastic display that she was taking part in. There were also some lessons in etiquette that Julia personally found surplus to requirements since she had learnt how to be presented to kings and presidents long ago, both on Adano Ambrado and Gallifrey. But it was mandatory that the women on the team would be ladies and the men would be gentleman at all times and there were protocols to be gone through. She stuck it out knowing it was the last formal lesson of the day and she was having tea with Chrístõ afterwards.

Chrístõ’s idea of tea was a picnic on the Eye of Orion. It was nice to look at a sky above her head and a sun warming her skin. Two weeks of life aboard a space ship was already a little wearisome in that respect. She was glad of the respite.

“I didn’t notice it as much when we were on the Alduous Huxley,” she said. “I suppose I was too young to miss anything. I was too excited about the trip. Then the vampyres….”

Aboard the Harlan Ellison she hadn’t talked once about the last time she had travelled long distance by starship. The warmth of the Eye of Orion made it possible to face those memories without distress.

“I’m glad you’re ok about it,” Chrístõ said. “I was worried. That’s why I wanted to come with you on this trip. I wanted to be there if you needed me.”

“You expected me to get all sad and depressed and worried about it all?”

“No, but I’d be here if you did.”

“That’s why I love you. You’re so thoughtful and kind and always thinking of me.”

“I thought it was because I’m stunningly handsome, clever and rich,” he joked.

“That, too.” She laughed, driving away darker thoughts. She let him reach out to kiss her. That was another benefit of having him on the trip with her. He could kiss her when he wanted to. Well, at least when they were somewhere private like this.

“We’d better head back to the ship,” Chrístõ said reluctantly. “The dive team are practicing in the pool before supper time and I’m on life-guarding duty.”

“I’m taking part in a parade rehearsal,” Julia added. “It’s fun, but tiring. I probably won’t be much company after supper. I’ll want to chill out in the TV room.”

“I’ll probably be ready to join you by then.”

“I wish we could stay here a bit longer. It’s so nice. I feel renewed.”

“There’s a long, complicated scientific reason for it,” Chrístõ told her. “But I prefer just to think of it as a lovely natural spa therapy. We’ll come again tomorrow tea time if you like. But we’ve got to go now. The longer we stay, the further away the ship gets and the temporal-spatial co-ordinate gets more complicated. I don’t want to make a mistake and we reach the ship in four years time going to the NEXT Olympiad.”

They got back safely, despite the many things that could go wrong. Chrístõ kissed his fiancée one more time before she headed off to the main recreation hall and he headed for the swimming pool.

Life guard was not a job he had ever done before, even though he was eminently qualified. It just wasn’t something an Oldblood of Gallifrey would think of doing. Wearing a t-shirt and shorts and walking the side of the pool while the dive team practiced was a very necessary safety measure, though, and he was happy to help.

He didn’t expect to need his life-saving skills. These were highly trained young men who had been swimming since they could walk. They knew what they were doing.

He was not the only lifeguard on duty, therefore, who was taken by surprise when one of the divers fell off the high board and entered the water in such a way that he would have been knocked unconscious. Chrístõ was furthest away, but he was the first to dive into the pool and first to reach the young man. He brought him to the surface and others reached to help haul him out of the water. Chrístõ pulled himself out and began CPR. He was relieved after a few minutes when the young man started breathing easily, but he regained consciousness terribly slowly, as if he hadn’t any strength in him.

“Did he hit his head on the board?” Chrístõ asked, checking for concussion. “He wasn’t in the water long enough to be this groggy.”

“He fainted,” somebody said, one of the divers who had gathered on the poolside anxiously.

“Fainted?” Chrístõ looked up at the high board. “You mean he was unconscious before he fell into the water?”

A diver wasn’t likely to get vertigo, and he must have been physically fit or he wouldn’t have been allowed to go up there in the first place. It didn’t make sense.

“Let’s get him to the sickbay,” Chrístõ said. “He’s going to need some rest.”

The dive coach and one of the other lifeguards got the young man onto a stretcher while Chrístõ ran to get into some dry clothes then headed to the ship’s well-equipped medical centre to see what the professional opinion was about the cause of the accident.

Sickbay was busy. Doctor Evans, the ship’s medic left one patient in order to examine the young man who had nearly drowned. He told one of the orderlies to put him to bed, but he couldn’t attend to him, yet. He was too busy.

“I’m a medic,” Chrístõ said. “Let me help.”

“You’re qualified?”

“Well, I don’t have my diploma in my pocket right now. Does it matter? I can organise triage, at least, if you don’t think you can trust me with the keys to the medicine cabinet.”

“Do that,” Evans told him before responding to a nurse who called him to another new patient.

Chrístõ got to work. As he did so he thought about the Free Hospital in Victorian London where he had volunteered in the evenings after his medical studies were over. The word ‘triage’ hadn’t been coined then, but when the sick of London’s poorest neighbourhoods poured through the doors he helped put to the front of the queue those with the most immediate needs – those losing blood or in the severest pain – while giving headache powders and first aid to those who could wait.

In the Free Hospital it was easy enough to sort the patients out that way. But here he immediately hit upon a problem. How did he organise a triage system for patients who all had the same symptoms? A few, like the diver, and a cook from the ship’s kitchen who had suffered scalds when he fainted and knocked a cauldron of soup over himself were in obvious need of priority attention. But the only thing he could do for the rest was write numbers on a pad of post-it notes and issue them to each patient. It was a peculiarly low-tech thing to do in a state of the art medical centre, but there was no other way of ensuring that everyone got seen in turn.

It was gone supper time when most of the patients had been attended to by the medical staff. Even then a trickle of new cases kept turning up. Chrístõ looked up from his work to see Julia accompanying one of her friends, the girl called Sophia they had seen before breakfast.

“She fainted in the queue for puddings,” Julia explained. “And don’t you dare make any jokes about that. She’s a swimmer, not a gymnast. Swimmers eat puddings.”

“Of course they do,” Chrístõ replied. He took Sophia’s pulse and noted that it was slow even for an athlete. Her skin was clammy and her temperature was higher than normal. None of that was especially dangerous, though. Like all the patients he had seen already she complained of a headache in a heavy, sleepy voice and had trouble lifting her head to look at him.

“Chrístõ, are all these other people the same?” Julia asked, looking around the medical room. “Because three girls fainted in the parade rehearsal and I recognise two of the gym team over there, and one of the teachers from my college who came along with us. At supper, there were a lot less people in the refectory than there should have been… and I don’t think even these here in the sick bay account for the numbers who didn’t come to eat.”

Chrístõ paused and looked at her, then at the forty-five beds in the sickbay ward. They were all full, while those who weren’t lucky enough to get a bed were sitting in armchairs. They had about sixty people here, all told.

But more than these hadn’t turned up to supper.

“They might have gone to their rooms if they were feeling tired,” he suggested.

“I hope it’s just that,” Julia said. “Because….”

She stopped speaking. She bit her lip as she waited for Chrístõ to realise what was worrying her most.

“No,” he assured her. “It’s not that. Don’t even think about it. Nobody is dead. Nobody is unaccounted for. The doctor’s been taking throat swabs from everyone. He reckons its some kind of flu. That’s the most likely explanation. We’ve got a couple of thousand people all living in air-conditioned rooms, eating in communal areas, spending hours practicing together. It’s a breeding ground for those sorts of viruses.”

“We all had a ton of vaccinations before we left Beta Delta,” Julia pointed out. “So that we wouldn’t get sick like this.”

“I know. But viruses are smart. They mutate, they get around vaccinations. Julia, it’s all right. There are no aliens aboard the ship draining people of their life-force.”

“Promise me that,” Julia said to him. “If you promise… then I’ll believe you - because you always keep your promises to me.”

“I promise,” Chrístõ told her. “I promise there are no aliens aboard this ship, just citizens of the Earth Federation, some of whom may be suffering from the flu.”

“That’s good enough for me.”


“Are you going to stay here all night?” she asked. “Looking after people.”

“It’s what I do,” he reminded her. “I trained as a doctor long ago. And I’m needed here.”

“I’ll stay with you, then. I can help. I can….”

Nearby, one of the patients woke long enough to ask for a drink of water. Julia went to pour it for him. Chrístõ watched her go from bed to bed attending to the small non-medical needs in the overcrowded and understaffed sickbay. He finished attending to the newest patients and then joined Doctor Evans at his workstation.

“I am at a loss,” the doctor said, looking up from the microscope where he was examining throat swabs and blood samples from the patients. “It isn’t flu, or any other virus. One of the patients has the symptoms of chronic anaemia, but as she is one of the gymnastic team I rather think she has been dieting against medical instructions. Besides, anaemia is not a transferable disease. It doesn’t explain the sudden numbers of patients presenting the same inexplicable pathology.”

“This might seem a silly question, but have you checked the amount of blood each patient has, as well as the constituency of it?”

“There are no vampires aboard this ship,” Doctor Evans answered. “Yes, I know what you’re getting at. I’ve read the reports about the SS Aldous Huxley. The medical officer’s logs speak of sudden and baffling deaths. None of these young people are dying. They are simply exhausted beyond all reasonable explanation.”

“We need to look for unreasonable explanations, then,” Chrístõ said. “Or rather, I should. You stick to looking for medical reasons for the illness, doctor. I hope you find one. I’m going to make some other inquiries.”

He headed for the door. Julia saw him going and called out anxiously.

“I’m going to the TARDIS,” he told her. “I need to check something. You’re safe here with Doctor Evans and his staff until I get back.”

“Don’t be long,” she urged him. “We need you.”

He hurried along the corridor towards the turbo lift, noting that it was strangely quiet for the post-supper leisure time. There was no music from the entertainment hall and nobody in the corridors.

At least not until he reached level three of the sleeping deck and literally ran into Sophia, Julia’s swim team friend.

The girl he had left in a hospital bed hardly able to lift her head from the pillow to sip a glass of water.

“Hello, Sophia,” he said. “Have you seen Julia anywhere around?”

“I… think she’s… in the gym,” Sophia responded. “She… usually goes there in the evening.”

“Yes,” Chrístõ responded. “Yes, she does. Oh, well. I won’t disturb her when she’s busy. I wonder… could you come into my room for a minute. I need some help with… a thing I’m doing….”

The fact that Sophia didn’t turn such an invitation down flat only compounded his suspicions about her. He opened the door to his ‘room’ and stood back to let her enter first. He closed the door behind him before she could change her mind.

“You notice the difference right away, don’t you,” he said. “You’re inside a dimensionally transcendental field, cut off from the outside environment... cut off from the real Sophia.”

While she searched for an answer to his comment, he pressed a section of wall. It slid back to reveal his real TARDIS console room with the lights turned down low. Humphrey slipped out from under the console to greet him with a trilling welcome.

“Hello, old friend,” he said. “This is ‘Sophia’. She ISN’T a friend. Feel free to deal with her as you see fit.”

Humphrey trilled again and bowled towards Sophia. She backed away fearfully, but he moved around, blocking the outer door. Not that it would have opened anyway. He had pressed the secure protocol button on the environmental console. He waited and watched without a word as Sophia backed away in a circle around the console room and finally reached the inner door. That opened. She ran for it. Humphrey followed her. On the internal monitor he watched her lifesign running through the corridors and Humphrey following, getting in front of her every so often, blocking her from taking certain passages, herding her down others until they were close to the Zero Room. Humphrey would never go in there. The shadowless soft light worried him, even though it was almost certainly harmless. Sophia dashed through the door and closed it behind her.

A few minutes later, Chrístõ joined Humphrey outside the Zero Room. When he opened the door he saw what he fully expected to see there. He closed the door again and walked back to the console room with Humphrey bowling along beside him.

“Good work old boy,” he said. “Now let’s find Julia and her friends.”

It was a matter of moments to relocate the TARDIS in the medical room. It disguised itself as a linen cupboard with his TS next to the ‘staff only’ sign.

“Chrístõ!” When he stepped out, Julia ran to hug him. “Thank goodness you’re back. Everyone is sick now. Doctor Evans collapsed at his desk. All the nurses, too. Everyone but me and….”

“And Sophia.” He looked past her to the girl who was sitting on the end of the only unoccupied bed looking bewildered.

“She woke up just now. But how did you know?”

“Julia,” he said in reply. “I am really sorry. I was wrong. I promised you there were no aliens on this ship, but I was really, really wrong. There are thousands of them – one for everybody on board except for the two of us, and Sophia.”


“They must have got aboard when you and I were on Adano Ambrado. That’s why they didn’t map our DNA. It’s why we’re the only people not sick now. Come on. I’ll explain the rest as we go along. We have to evacuate everyone into my TARDIS. Sophia, you can help, too.”

He lifted the nearest sleeping patient out of bed and carried him into the linen cupboard. Julia and Sophia brought another between them and laid her on the floor before going back for the next one. It took time to bring everyone from the medical room inside. While they did so, Chrístõ explained what was happening.

“They’re called Assimilators,” he said. “And the clue is in the name. They assimilate lifeforms. I’ve never heard of them doing it en-masse like this. I’m going to have to make a full report about it. Hext will want to know about it. So will the Earth Federation authorities since it happened on one of their ships.”

“They’re dangerous?” Julia asked. “Like the Vampyres? They kill people?”

“Yes, they’re dangerous,” Chrístõ answered. “They’re dangerous like the Vampyres in that they will assimilate everything they come into contact with. Yes, they kill, by slowly draining the life of the organic beings they pattern themselves on. When they’re fully assimilated they take on the life of the being they’ve taken… moving into their home, their family, their job, and assimilating everyone they know. If they succeed here, between the athletes, their teachers, the crew, they could spread through the Hydra system we’re heading for in a matter of months, then Beta Delta when they return… maybe the whole Earth Federation in a few years. Nobody will even know that it’s happened until it’s too late… when Human beings have been replaced by artificial bodies controlled by a foot long worm creature lodged inside the skull.”

Sophia looked sick at Chrístõ’s graphic description. Julia was relieved. It wasn’t vampyres. That was her worst fear.

“You’ve got a plan,” she said. “Tell me you have a plan.”

“I’ve got a plan,” he assured her. “I’ve already tested it. The creature assimilating Sophia started to weaken as soon as I brought her into the TARDIS. When Humphrey chased her into the Zero Room, cut off completely from the universe beyond, it died. The artificial body wasted away and the brain worm shrivelled to a husk.”

Sophia was looking really sick now. Julia grimaced at his description, but she understood what he was saying. The aliens could be defeated.

“We’re going to get them all into the Zero room?” she asked.

“No. I managed to trick one of them, but there’s no way I can get the rest to come in here. We’re taking the humans off the ship. Is that the last from the medical room?”

“Yes,” Sophia confirmed. “Doctor Evans is over there. But this room is full, and there are thousands of people aboard the ship, still. How can you get them all in here?”

“In quite a lot of trips,” he answered. “This could take a while. But you’re all going somewhere safe in the meantime.”

Julia didn’t know what he meant until the TARDIS landed on the Eye of Orion. Yes, that had to be one of the safest places in the galaxy. It certainly felt like it. The positive ions that bombarded the atmosphere made it feel like a spring day on Earth. The feeling extended into the TARDIS and by the time the first dozen patients had been carried out onto the cool grass to recover, the rest were starting to wake up and walk for themselves.

“Julia, look after everyone and try to explain what’s going on. I’m going back to the ship for the next batch.”

It took fifteen trips to bring every unconscious Human from the starship to the Eye of Orion. He brought food and drink, too, and it became a sort of picnic. With their strength and vigour restored some of them played games on the grass. Others were happy to lie under a real sky and soak up the sun.

Chrístõ had no time for either. Even when he had transferred every Human from the starship he wasn’t done. He walked the corridors alone, searching for the remains of the Assimilators. He found most of them in one of the cargo holds, hundreds of shrivelled husks, completely, utterly dead. He dealt with them quickly and easily by opening up the cargo bay door and dropping the shield. Everything not securely fastened down was dragged out into the vacuum of space. The rest of the creatures he simply zapped with the laser mode of his sonic screwdriver, disintegrating them instantly.

Finally he returned to the Eye of Orion.

“I’ve put the ship in parked mode,” he told the captain of the ship. “It will be easier to catch up later. I can use the fast return switch without making course adjustments. I’ll have everyone back on board in an hour. Everyone except you, captain.”

He aimed the sonic screwdriver like a gun at the startled ship’s captain. The second mate and navigation officer stood up warily, prepared to defend him. Then they gaped in astonishment as the captain began to melt in front of their eyes until there was nothing left but a foot long brain worm that shrivelled to a dead husk.

“What did you do?” Julia asked. “How did you know?”

“I used a localised sonic field to break up the molecules of the artificial body. I knew it was him because the captain was the only man on the ship’s bridge with non-sequencing DNA. I’m afraid the real captain must be dead by now. The Assimilator had taken over his life completely. He brought his fellow creatures aboard and waited until we were in deep space, at least four days from the nearest allied planet, before scanning the ship and letting them start assimilating everyone. Fortunately it was the evening I took you away for your birthday. As soon as I saw the lifesigns monitor on board my TARDIS and saw there was one duplicate alien lifesign for every Human on the ship except you and one other, I knew what was going on. And I knew the solution was to separate the humans from the aliens before the assimilations were complete. They couldn’t maintain their copies and you all recovered your strength as soon as you were here with the positive ion bombardment to help.”

He had been answering Julia's question but the crew and many of the passengers had been listening intently.

“Anyway, that’s enough exposition for now,” he said. “I’ll take the crew back first. You’ll need to make a full report about what happened. I’ll make sure you have the data that backs up the story. I dare say there will be some sceptics who won’t believe all this. Doctor Evans, I’ll get you and your staff back in the second batch. I think you’ll have a quieter time, though. Most of your patients are feeling better, now.”

Nobody questioned what he told them. The positive ions in the atmosphere on the Eye of Orion had a secondary effect of making people very agreeable. They continued their picnic while he ferried them all back to the ship. Again, it took quite a bit of time. Finally he picked up Julia and her group of friends who waited with her.

“Time for bed,” he said when he brought the TARDIS back to his cabin for the last time. “It’s gone midnight now, and you gymnastic types are early risers.”

Julia stayed in the TARDIS with him. He smiled warmly at her.

“Are you staying the night with me”?

“You bet.”

“So I’m forgiven for breaking a promise to you? There WERE aliens on the ship after all.”

“I shouldn’t have made you make such a promise,” she answered. “Forgive me?”

Go and get your nightie on and I’ll make cocoa,” he told her.