The Lord Chancellor of Gallifrey looked up from his desk as the door to his chamber in the Panopticon opened abruptly.

“It is appropriate to knock before entering my office,” he said to the Chancellery Guard captain who quickly removed his helmet and stood to attention. “What is it?”

“A Type 40 TARDIS has been detected entering Gallifreyan space,” the captain said. “The Castellan believes… that it is….”

“Sweet Mother of Chaos!” The Chancellor swore, standing up so quickly his chair almost tipped over backwards. “It can’t be! What is happening with it?”

“Nothing, yet, sir,” the captain answered. “The Castellan sent me to fetch you to the control centre.”

“How considerate of him!” The Chancellor responded dryly. “He wishes me to watch while my brother’s time capsule is blasted out of existence?”

“I….” The Captain was lost for words. The Chancellor was known for his often unGallifreyan emotionalism, but it was the first time he had personally had to face it.

“I’m coming, obviously,” The Chancellor added. “You don’t need to escort me. I know the way to the Transduction Barrier control centre. It is, after all, within the same building as the High Council chambers.”

The Captain kept close escort, all the same, and the two men set a brisk pace without actually appearing to be running or displaying any obvious urgency. The turbo lift that brought them up the top of the Citadel’s central tower felt as if it was taking an interminable length of time, even though, as a Time Lord, The Chancellor was fully aware, in every fibre of his being, of the evenly measured passage of time.

They emerged into the control room where a dozen members of the Civil Service’s External Transport Service manned wide control panels with huge video screens before them showing sectors of space outside of the Transduction Barrier that enclosed Gallifrey in an impenetrable shield against all possible forms of attack.

Three of the screens currently focussed on one object outside of the Barrier. Its outward physical form was a metallic grey cabinet a little taller than a grown man and wide enough for him to pass through a door on one of the six sides.

“It’s definitely a Type 40 capsule?” The Chancellor asked the chief controller.

“It’s THE Type 40 capsule,” he answered. “The one stolen by the Renegade fifty years ago.”

The Renegade! Chancellor D’Arpexia-De Lœngbærrow shuddered at the use of such a pejorative word. In the privacy of his own Chamber he had used a very different word for the man they believed to be piloting that TARDIS. It had dumbfounded the Captain that he could speak that word aloud. Elsewhere in the Citadel it would be virtually a blasphemy.

“Why has he returned?” The Chancellor asked. It was a rhetorical question, spoken aloud, but hardly expecting a response.

“Not by choice,” answered the Castellan, Lord Patrexean. “The capsule is badly damaged. It appears to have automatically triggered a recall protocol.”

“Damaged? Then… it is possible the TARDIS is unmanned. The… pilot… might be injured… or dead?”

“Those possibilities were not considered,” The Castellan replied. “The capsule is under surveillance, but it is not possible to ascertain how many lifeforms are aboard.”

“Then consider them right now,” The Chancellor ordered. “Bring the TARDIS through the Transduction Barrier and have a medical team on standby.”

Chrístõ woke slowly with his head aching badly. He still hadn’t opened his eyes when he raised his hand to his forehead and was aware that he was wearing psychic dampening cuffs. He was being restrained both physically and mentally.

He risked opening his eyes and saw a glass cage around him. He was in custody on Gallifrey. This was the high security cell in the Castellan’s department of the Citadel.


The last time he woke up in a cell it was when he had got drunk with Lord Azmael. The details had been hazy, but at least there had been details.

This time, he knew he hadn’t been drinking.

His TARDIS had been caught up in the middle of a space battle between the Rutans and Sontarans. The capsule was buffeted by their thermal weapons and the time rotor had jammed, preventing him from getting away. He had been trying to repair it when the TARDIS was hit twice in succession and tipped over. He had fallen against the console and there were sparks and loose conduits flying around. He remembered a live cable close to his arm. He might have been electrocuted. He remembered banging his head badly. He was sure he broke a limb and perhaps some ribs, too, when the TARDIS tipped again and the floor became a wall.

But how did he wake up from all of that in a maximum security cell on Gallifrey?

He sat up and noted that he had electronic manacles on his feet, too. He was wearing nothing but a pair of white shorts and a bandage around his chest. It was loose and he pulled it off. There was no wound beneath and he felt fine apart from the pounding in his head. The bandage dissolved in his hands. It was designed to do that. He had seen prisoners in Hext’s Tower with wounds covered with bio-bandages. They disintegrated once they were no longer in contact with the skin.

That prevented the prisoners from using the bandage as a weapon or – in extreme cases – a means of killing themselves.

Did somebody imagine he might do either of those things?

Of course, he could see nothing outside the cell. The glass was polarised so that he could see nothing but blackness beyond, but for all he knew the entire Chancellery Guard could be watching him.

He sat down again on the black lacquered floor and adopted a meditative position. At least he might get rid of the headache before deciding what, if any, his options were.

The Lord Chancellor looked through the polarised glass at the prisoner. His two hearts were more conflicted than they had been since the day his brother so notoriously left Gallifrey, or the day the High Council declared him a Renegade and thus removed him from the family line. From that day forward The Chancellor had no brother. The thoughts that conflicted him were officially meaningless.

But erasing a name from the history of the Gallifreyan aristocracy wasn’t the same as erasing it from the memories of his immediate family. True, there had been conflicts between them in recent years – bitter ones that tainted earlier memories of close sibling affection.

As a child, yes, The Chancellor had been close to his brother. He had sought to emulate him in every possible way except that yearning for adventure and the trouble that went with it, and his obstinate refusal to accept any measure of authority over him, even the very highest in the land.

The Chancellor, patriarch of two Oldblood Houses, one by birthright, the other by transference of his disgraced brother’s inheritance, had always been loyal to Gallifrey, and to its sometimes stringent code of ethics. He was a born politician and a shrewd businessman. In both spheres he had strong allies.

And all would have been shocked by the thoughts going through his mind right now. They were neither political nor business-like.

He was thinking about the last year of his official childhood, when his older brother had taught him to ride a bicycle, taken him to see the roan herds in their winter coats roaming the snow-covered plain, read strange stories about magic boxes and talking animals to him at night, taken him camping on the beautiful planet called the Eye of Orion….

“Chancellor, it is not appropriate for you to be here when I question the prisoner,” said the Castellan approaching across the glass walkway that separated the maximum security cage from the rest of the Chancellery Guard headquarters. A void that was only partially in the same congruent reality sucked at the eyeball either side and would almost certainly suck a falling body into the dungeon dimensions. The Chancellor wasn’t afraid of heights, or depths, but he didn’t like that walkway. He stepped carefully across it and breathed a sigh of relief on the other side.

Chrístõ opened his eyes and stood as he felt a presence close by. He looked at the man outside the now transparent wall. He wore the insignia of the Castellan, but he didn’t recognise him at all. The Castellan he knew was Lord Braxietel, a friend of his father’s.

“Why am I here?” he asked. “What is happening?”

“A very good question, malfeasant,” The Castellan answered coldly. “Why did you return to Gallifrey?”

“I don’t know. I was not intending to do so,” Chrístõ answered. “But why shouldn’t I? It is my home.”

“It has not been your home for more than fifty years,” The Castellan snapped back. You know full well the penalty for returning.”

“No, I don’t,” Chrístõ answered. “I… fifty years? I don’t understand. I’m not… this isn’t…. What year is it?”

“I am asking the questions, not you,” The Castellan insisted. “What is your current assignment?”

“Assignment? I don’t HAVE an assignment,” Chrístõ replied.

“Your assignment for the Celestial Intervention Agency.”

“I certainly don’t have an assignment from Hext,” Chrístõ insisted. “I was travelling to my home on Beta Delta IV. I teach English literature in a high school. I stay away from Gallifrey, from its politics, and from the Agency as much as possible.”

“That is a lie.”

“It is not. I don’t lie. My honour as a Time Lord forbids….”

“You have no honour,” The Castellan snapped angrily. “You are a Renegade and a criminal.”

“I am neither, and I demand to speak to a member of the High Council. This… is utterly incorrect. I am innocent of any crime you may bring against me.”

“We shall see,” The Castellan said. “We shall see about that. Meanwhile you will remain here and you will have no contact with any citizen of this planet except my guards.”

“That is….” Chrístõ began to protest, but The Castellan turned away. The wall automatically darkened. There was nothing he could say now that would be given any hearing.

It didn’t make sense. Fifty years? But it wasn’t possible to travel into Gallifrey’s past or future. No wonder they thought he was a Renegade. That was one of the Cardinal Laws of Time.

He shuddered. What would they do to him for breaking that law, even inadvertently as it appeared to be? What could he say in his defence when he didn’t even remember how he arrived on his home planet?

The Chancellor had gone to the Chancellery control room. He watched The Castellan questioning the prisoner on a monitor. He noted the green lights that flashed sequentially whenever the prisoner spoke.

“He is telling the truth,” he said.

“He appears to be,” answered the Guard who sat at the monitoring desk. “But that could easily be a memory implant. He might even have done it to himself to appear innocent.”

“That is very unlikely. Besides, look at him. Look at his medical files. He is NOT the man the malfeasance order relates to. He is barely two hundred years old. He is….”

“He is a genetic match to the criminal who evaded our justice system,” The Castellan said. “That alone would be enough to proceed with a trial in any ordinary circumstance.”

“This is NOT an ordinary circumstance.”

“Which is why the Lord President does not wish an ordinary trial to be held. The High Council will meet in emergency Session at nightfall to discuss the matter.”

“And what happens to him in the meantime? I want to speak to him. I need to hear his story.”

“Any contact with the prisoner would make it mandatory for you to recuse yourself from the Session on grounds of personal bias.”

“Do they seriously think this matter is not personal to me anyway?” The Chancellor asked. “That is ridiculous.”

“Perhaps your abstention from the matter would be advisable, then, Lord D’Arpexia,” The Castellan suggested.

“I think not. And my full title is Lord D’Arpexia-De Lœngbærrow. Do not forget it. Honour and loyalty are long held precepts of both Houses.”

“That is questionable, all things considered,” The Castellan responded.

“Lord Castellan, even in these unusual circumstances, the Honour of the House of Arpexia and the House of Lœngbærrow are NOT matters of speculation. I charge you to mind your manners. As for the Session, I will be attending. Somebody should be a voice of reason in that assembly.”

The Castellan did not reply to that. Perhaps he was minding his manners. The Chancellor turned away and left the control room. He glanced across the void to that chilling form of solitary confinement, cut off from all telepathic thought, every sound or speck of light from outside blocked, even the prisoner’s awareness of the passage of time in custody was stalled because of a null time field within the cell.

And what was the terrible crime that prisoner had committed? At worst, he had been too passionate in his dissent from the accepted political thinking.

Was that really such a terrible thing after all? Should it be an act of Treason to disagree with the High Council? He, himself, was the second highest of them and he sometimes disagreed with them. When it came to the isolationist views of Lord President Gant himself, Chancellor D’Arpexia-De Lœngbærrow had often spoken in opposition. He would continue to do so whenever he felt that he was going too far. Would he, too, be designated a Renegade one of these days?

A stubborn streak that everyone used to say he got from his brother – before they stopped talking about his brother – made him think that he would be proud rather than ashamed to be so branded in these severe times. Then he remembered his wife and children and his father and mother. He remembered the honour of two great Oldblood Houses that lived in him.

As much as he privately thought that Gallifrey was heading for a dark time in its political history, he knew he had to keep himself from attracting notoriety. He had too much to lose.

“My Lord….” A young Chancellery Guard barred his way at the bottom of the stairwell he had taken without consciously thinking about it. “You may not enter here without The Castellan’s permission.”

“I am Lord Chancellor,” he reminded the young and slightly nervous guard. “I am above the Castellan. I wish to see the prisoner’s time capsule. I understand it is here.”

“Sir… My Lord….”

He got his way. He stepped into the secure compound where the default capsule was subject to the most powerful forcefield possible. He had to insist that it was dropped before he could get close.

“We have not been able to open it,” the guard said. “That is why the forcefield was placed upon it. The capsule could not be disabled any other way to prevent it being taken by the Renegade.”

“How is he supposed to do that when he is under extreme incarceration elsewhere?” Chancellor D'Arpexia De Lœngbærrow enquired. He stepped up to the door and put his hand upon it. He wasn’t entirely surprised when there was a slight click and the door opened.

The guard was. He took several seconds to follow The Chancellor inside the TARDIS. By then he had got to the console and removed the time-space element from the drive console and concealed it inside his robe.

The TARDIS was in a bad state after some kind of violent confrontation, but many of the circuits had auto-repaired by now. This was the point of the automatic recall. Once safely returned to Gallifrey the auto-repair would begin to analyse and repair essential functions.

The rest were not essential for time-space travel. The TARDIS owner would have to sort them out for himself.

A movement out of the corner of his eye surprised him at first, then he remembered something else from his childhood.

“Humphrey!” he called out. The darkness creature emerged from the shadows. The guard retreated to the door in fright. Chancellor D'Arpexia De Lœngbærrow, a serious man, laughed as he was enveloped in a shadow that ‘hugged’ telepathically. “Hello, old friend. Yes, you know me, don’t you? I’m glad.”

Despite the friendly hug, Humphrey was worried. The Chancellor tried to reassure him, but there didn’t seem to be very much he could say.

“You stay in here. You’ll be safe, no matter what happens.”

Humphrey keened softly. The Chancellor felt like joining him in it. This was a difficult situation, made more difficult by the minute.

“There’s nothing else to see here,” he said to the guard. “Get out now. I will close the door and it will remain closed until the matter is resolved – one way or another.”

Chrístõ passed the uncertain time in mediation. He didn’t even know how long it was. The null time effect inside the cage even disrupted his internal body clock. He knew it must have been hours.

What was it all about? He still didn’t understand, because nobody would tell him anything. Nobody had even spoken to him except for The Castellan, and he had told him nothing.

He sat in the middle of the floor and let himself drop into a first level trance. It was the only way he knew to endure this isolation and uncertainty, by letting his mind free of it altogether. He couldn’t reach beyond the walls of the cage, of course. He was cut off from everyone he had ever known on the planet of his birth – his father, his brother, any friend he might have counted on.

That was something he couldn’t dwell upon. He knew he was almost certainly being observed all the time. He couldn’t show any emotional weakness in front of his enemies.

He closed his eyes and straightened his back and limbs and let his mind clear of all possible distraction, all fears and apprehensions. It wasn’t easy. It tested all of his will, but he managed it.

“He doesn’t look like a criminal,” said the guard keeping close watch outside the cage. “He’s so calm and… untroubled.”

“He has no shame, that is why,” answered The Castellan. “He betrayed our world. Do not be fooled by outward appearances.”

The Lord Chancellor stepped into the Panopticon. It was strangely quiet, closed to all but the High Council itself. The public gallery was empty of students and interested parties. Even the ordinary councillors were kept out of this secret session.

He took his place on the hexagonal dais in the centre of the panopticon where the High Council sat around five sides of a table made of black obsidian. The sixth side was detached and raised a foot higher than the others. The Lord High President sat there, highest of all men on Gallifrey.

Lord President Gant sat in that high seat like a living god, his expression humourless and his dark eyes glowering. He was a strong politician who was a good friend to those who supported him.

But Chancellor D’Arpexia de Lœngbærrow had never supported him. He didn’t vote for him as President. He rarely agreed with his policies. He didn’t even like him as a person.

He was expecting this to be difficult.

“The quorum is complete,” said the Premier Cardinal. “We may begin this extraordinary meeting of the High Council in the year of Rassilon 345??43. The only item on the agenda, the disposal of Prisoner S?ß?¥T.”

“Disposal?” The Senior Pradhan, an archaic title for the oldest member of the High Council, queried the word before the Lord Chancellor himself had a chance to express an opinion. Several others, including the First Secretary and Gold Usher thought it sounded too drastic.

“Is this a meeting of the High Council or a tyro grammar lesson?” Gant snapped. “The prisoner, already convicted in his absence of High Treason, gross Interference, and theft of a time capsule….”

“The Type 4 TARDIS was not technically stolen,” the Premier Cardinal pointed out. “He owned the capsule outright. But he left Gallifrey without proper authorisation, using a dangerous trick to open the Transduction Barrier.”

“It matters not. The removal of the time capsule is the lesser charge, and in any case, having returned to Gallifrey outside of his proper time stream he has committed an even greater crime, the punishment for which is death.”

“He crossed the time stream accidentally, in a damaged capsule, while unconscious and suffering life-threatening wounds,” Chancellor D’Arpexia de Lœngbærrow pointed out. “There is room for clemency in this case.”

“Your view in this matter is hardly unbiased,” the Premier Cardinal told him. “A plea for clemency from your lips needs to be taken with due consideration of other facts.”

“Nevertheless, it is a valid plea,” the Minister for Extra-Terrestrial Affairs added. “The prisoner… in his own timeline… has not yet committed the offences listed by the Premier Cardinal. He does not even know that he committed them… or will commit them. He has been kept in isolation since his arrest. We cannot punish him for what he has not done.”

“Not done, YET,” Gant interjected. “But he IS, without doubt, the traitor and renegade. His bio-identity has been confirmed. We have the chance to deal with a poisonous opposition to the peace and stability of this planet once and for all.”

“You mean you will have him executed for what he has not yet done?” Chancellor D’Arpexia de Lœngbærrow could not disguise his outrage. “You cannot do that.”

“Cannot?” Gant’s anger rose. A lesser man than the Patriarch of the House of Arpexia would have been cowed. “There is nothing I cannot do. I am the Lord High President of the Time Lords. I can do anything I choose to do.”

“You CANNOT execute an innocent man retrospectively to prevent him being your chief political opponent,” The Chancellor insisted. His own deep brown eyes were wells of anger that matched Gant’s. “It is immoral… it is dishonourable… and it is against every precept. To kill him when he is still a young man… before he was married, before he had a child of his own…. That is exactly why the protocols are in place in the first place, why Time Lords are not allowed to interfere with each other’s timelines. You CANNOT do it.”

Gold Usher and the Senior Pradhan agreed straight away with The Chancellor’s point. So did two more High Councillors. Others remained stonily silent and looked towards Lord President Gant.

“Yes,” The Chancellor continued. “Yes, I will no doubt lose if it comes to a vote. You have bribed and intimidated enough members of the High Council to side with you on even the most outrageous injustice. I know I risk my liberty and the safety of my family in opposing you. But this time you have gone too far, Rassilon Gant. Enough is enough.”

There was a tense silence. He thought he might have swayed one or two of Gant’s opponents, but some of those who had agreed with him now looked nervous about taking such a dangerous stand. The next few moments would determine not only his own future, but the future of his whole world.

Chrístõ looked up in surprise as a man stepped into the cage. After hours of isolation it was the first time anyone had come physically near to him.

He was even more surprised when the man used a sonic laser to remove the cuffs from his wrists and ankles. The sudden release of pressure on his psychic nerves left him dizzy and disorientated, but he didn’t have time to worry about that.

“Chrístõ, you must come at once. There may not be much time.”

He was too surprised by the urgency of the instruction to realise he had been addressed by name for the first time since he awoke. He followed the stranger out of the cage and across the walkway with the void either side. He had to step over the bodies of three Chancellery Guards and he stopped to examine one of them, but his companion urged him on.

“They’re just stunned,” he assured him. “They’ll be all right. Come on. We have to get off this corridor quickly.”

“Who are you?” Chrístõ asked as he watched his rescuer open a panel in the wall that led to a narrow passage. “What’s this?”

“It’s a secret passage used by the Celestial Intervention Agency to keep an eye on what goes on in the Citadel.”

“You’re CIA?”


“Paracell Hext sent you?”

“He did.”

“He’s… still my friend?”

“He told me not to say anything. For your own good, Chrístõ, for your future good – you’re not supposed to know anything about this. I’m taking you somewhere safe. That’s all that matters.”

“You know me,” Chrístõ said. “Do I know you?”

“Yes, you do. But this isn’t really about you. It’s not about friendships or even blood ties. It’s… politics.”

Chrístõ accepted that for the moment. He followed the oddly familiar stranger through a maze of narrow passages and even narrower stairways until they emerged on the roof of the Citadel. There, a fast personal shuttle was waiting with the engine running and the pilot ready to take off as soon as they were safely strapped into the seats. The shuttle quickly reached sub-sonic speed with the windows closed off and inertial dampeners functioning.

“Is there any pursuit?” the CIA man asked the pilot.

“None at all, sir,” he replied.

“Good. Proceed to the Tower without diversion.”

“The Tower?” Chrístõ queried. “The Tower of Silis Bonnoenfant… at the Calderon?”

“It hasn’t been called that for a very long time. These days it is just ‘The Tower’, but yes, that is where we are going.”

“Am I swapping one prison for another? The Chancellery Guard for the Celestial Intervention Agency?”

“No,” he was assured. “You are not a prisoner of the Agency. You are under its protection. We don’t expect the Chancellery Guard to take any action, but if they do, they will find it very difficult to launch a counter-attack.”

“Yes, I would imagine so. But… are you telling me that the Celestial Intervention Agency are prepared to fight the Chancellery Guard over me?”

“It’s not just about you. But protecting you until we can get you and your TARDIS off Gallifrey is imperative.”

“I DO know you, don’t I?” he added. “There’s something about your voice and your mannerisms.”

The CIA man didn’t give him any clues. Besides, he had more pressing things to worry about. Something much bigger than his own life and liberty was at stake. He was just a pawn in some game of politics.

The Chancellor stood his ground, facing President Gant. He knew he was seconds away from being arrested by the Chancellery Guard at the President’s order.

The great doors crashed open behind him, the ceremonial entrance normally used only during important formal occasions. There were shouts and scuffling sounds, but he didn’t dare take his eyes off Rassilon Gant, and his attention didn’t waver, either. The rest of the High Council rose from their seats in alarm, staring at the intruders.

There were Chancellery Guards among them, but they weren’t there at the President’s command. Instead, they were disarmed and forced into the room by another militia, dressed in dark grey and black combat outfits. Ahead of them strode the director of the Celestial Intervention Agency in his own grey and black with a leather baldric studded with silver. He stood between the President and Chancellor, his eyes glittering fervently.

“Rassilon Gant, you are under arrest,” he said. “For corruption, bringing the Presidential oath into disrepute, and breaking one of the Cardinal Laws of Time by forcing a Time Lord’s TARDIS to land on Gallifrey outside of his timeline.”

“That’s what happened?” The Chancellor gasped. “He MADE my brother’s capsule come here… so that he could arrest him and have him executed for breaking the Laws of Time?”

“Yes,” Paracell Hext answered shortly.

“Are you mad?” Gant protested as Hext’s agents took him into custody. “I am Lord High President. You cannot arrest me. I am above every man on Gallifrey.”

“The Celestial Intervention Agency are higher than anyone, even the President, when he commits Treason,” Hext said. “But in any case, there is a quorum here. Would any of the High Council like to put forward a motion for impeachment?”

“Yes, I would,” Chancellor D’Arpexia De Lœngbærrow answered him. To his surprise, the Castellan immediately seconded him. The vote was carried unanimously. Hext nodded to his men who took the former president away.

“My brother….” The Chancellor began.

“He’s safe,” Hext answered. “And I intend him to stay that way. You know that you need to keep away from him. The less he knows about his future, the better, and you’re too close to him.”

“I know. But… can you at least tell him….”

The Chancellor stopped. He wasn’t sure what he could say. a long time ago he had loved his brother dearly. He had hero-worshipped him, hung on every word to deed of his. Then they had become divided by politics and family affairs. Their last words to each other had been very bitter. Even if he had known they were going to be the last, The Chancellor wasn’t sure he could have done anything to make them less bitter. He certainly couldn’t have stopped what followed. Things had already become so bad between them personally and Gallifrey had become a place his brother no longer wanted to call home. Nothing could have changed that.

“I’ll tell him you wish him the best,” Hext said before turning away to follow his men. The Chancellor turned back to the group of High Councillors. In the space of his conversation with the CIA director four of Gant’s former allies had tendered their resignation. Another bowed to him as the most senior member of the Council after the President and left the table.

“You are interim President,” the Premier Cardinal told him. “Pending an election of the Councillors. It falls to you to replace those who no longer feel they can sit at this table.”

“Yes,” he said. He sighed with relief. It seemed incredible that a mere twenty minutes had passed since he had faced prison and perhaps torture and possibly execution for defying Gant and now that tyrannical and deceitful reign was over. now Gallifrey could take a deep breath with him and they could begin to repair a century and a half of damage done to their society. That was his task, now, and he accepted it with trepidation, but also heartsfelt gladness.

Chrístõ arrived at The Tower still slightly apprehensive about what was going to happen to him. It was a far worse place of detention than the Chancellery. He had seen and heard tortures of the worst kind carried out on men accused of betraying Gallifrey. But he wasn’t taken to the cells. Instead he found himself in a comfortable room where he was given food and urged to rest.

He ate, and he rested. He felt a little less anxious about everything, but there were still a lot of questions to be answered and when he woke from his rest, his head was full of them.

“You’re not going to get any answers, Chrístõ,” said a very familiar voice. He sat up on the comfortable bed and accepted a mug of latte coffee from a man who still looked like his old friend, though he was much more than fifty years older than when he saw him last.

“Hext?” he queried. “That really IS you, isn’t it? But you look… about eight hundred.”

“Thanks,” he replied sarcastically. “Actually, I’m only… Well, less than eight-hundred.”

“Yes… but it’s definitely more than fifty years since my own time.”

“And that’s more than you need to know. Stop asking questions or I’ll have to wipe your memory to prevent you having any dangerous foreknowledge. You need to stay here until we can retrieve your TARDIS and repair the essential functions. You’ve got to do exactly as I say for the first time in your life.”

“Stay here?” Chrístõ looked around the room and wondered if, after all, prison cells always had locks.

“Stay here,” Hext insisted. “I think we have everything under control, now, but there might be a backlash. I can’t risk you complicating things even further.”

Grudgingly, Chrístõ accepted that he was a bit player in whatever drama surrounded him. He drank his coffee and looked out of the high window at the spectacular view of the Calderon below.

Hext closed the door behind him, but didn’t lock it. He didn’t know if he could trust Chrístõ to stay in the room, but he didn’t have the hearts to lock him in after all that had gone on.

He went to his office. His second in command was waiting with a report.

“We’ve arrested all of the Chancellery Guards who supported Gant’s regime,” the deputy director said. “And the Castellan. There have been twelve resignations from the High Council. My uncle has a tall order putting a government back together.”

“He can do it,” Hext answered. “He’s more like his brother than most people realise. Gant certainly didn’t realise until he pushed him too far. He stood up to him magnificently.”

“Glad to hear it,” Remy de Lœngbærrow said. “But Chrístõ…. You know, he almost recognised me. He’ll probably work it out.”

“I might have to wipe his memory after all,” Hext sighed. “There’s too much he can’t know about – the reasons why he himself became a Renegade, the rift between him and his brother, his father’s self-imposed exile on Ventura.”

“Not to mention the fact that the Agency pulled off a bloodless coup this afternoon because of him,” Remy added. “That was Gant’s fatal move, trying to use Chrístõ in his mischief.”

“That was the high point of his insanity. But if I hadn’t built up plenty of other evidence we’d all be Renegades along with Chrístõ, now. There would be no future for any of us on Gallifrey if Gant had wriggled out of this. I just hope we can build a society now where he can come home again and wipe the slate clean.”

“I’ll second that,” Remy agreed.