“This is what having a Time Lord for a fiancé is all about,” Julia commented happily as she followed Chrístõ out of the TARDIS console room onto the deck of the sleek yacht it had disguised itself as yesterday evening when they arrived at this location. “Scuba diving in Greece for a mid-summer term break. This would hardly have been possible if we still lived in Cambridge where I was born, let alone on Beta Delta, two years deep space travel away.”

“So, basically, you love me for my money or my TARDIS?” Chrístõ answered with a grin as he waved to Riley Davenport aboard a second yacht, named Marine Wanderer, where he had spent the morning with a group of archaeologists from Trinity College, Dublin, of all places, who were going to be diving with them. Riley had made friends with the skipper, a fresh faced young man called Colm, when they had been invited onto the Marine Wanderer for supper last night.

“I love you for being you. But exotic holidays are a bonus.”

“I hope we’ll still be able to have exotic holidays when we’re married,” Chrístõ remarked. “But there aren’t many offworld careers for Time Lords. Southern Gallifrey might be as exotic as it gets for a while.”

“Southern Gallifrey IS exotic,” Julia pointed out.

“Not if you were born there.”

“Which means that Greece isn’t exotic for Greek people.” Julia looked approvingly at the azure sky and the rocky foreshore giving way to green uplands on the southern tip of the area of the Greek mainland called Laconia.

“At this time in the early twenty-first century Greece is an economically depressed place to live. Exotic doesn’t come into it for the locals.”

“Why did we come at this time, then?”

“Every little helps the tourist trade. Besides….” He waved at the wetsuits they were both wearing. “Later in this century this area will be declared off limits to all but a few scientists in order to protect it from further damage. The ban is still in place in your time. Even now, we’re only allowed down with a licenced guide.”

“It’s a unique opportunity,” Julia agreed. “Pavlopetri… lost city under the sea. I did a bit of reading. It’s bronze age, at least a thousand years BC. Which means the name is completely anachronistic. Pavlo… Paul, Petri… Peter. Named after two followers of Jesus, according to early Greek Christian tradition.”

“Nobody really knows what the ancient name for the city was,” Chrístõ noted. “It was lost in an earthquake that caused a whole section of the land to be submerged. The survivors moved to other towns and villages and history forgot all about their city.”

“There were survivors, then?” Julia asked. “It wasn’t like Pompeii, where they all died, really horribly?”

“It probably took a while for the land to completely sink. There would have been time for most of them to escape,” Chrístõ assured her, though in truth he wasn’t entirely sure. There were no written records of casualties. But the bronze age wasn’t noted for its written records.

What there was, of course, was a myth about Atlantis that some theorists attributed to the fall of Pavlopetri. It certainly fitted, though there were several other supposed locations of that fabled city, some of them actually in the Atlantic.

The important thing was that people survived somewhere to tell the story that fell into myth. Some of the people of Pavlopetri must have got away to tell others.

And if they hadn’t, he was happy to let Julia think they did since the idea of visiting an underwater mass grave disturbed her.

“Riley has spent a lot of time with Colm,” Julia remarked with a smile as she watched him and the university divers climb down into the Marine Wanderer’s outboard motor driven dive boat.

“Colm is a marine archaeologist who likes the company of other men. It’s a wonder they haven’t eloped.”

“Do you think they might get that serious?”

“At the moment, I think it’s no more than a holiday fling,” Chrístõ admitted. “Just like the sun bronzed ancient Greeks he enjoyed in Olympia. If he DID find true love with somebody, though, it would be the best thing for him.”

“Won’t it cause a paradox if he lives on Earth outside his proper timeline? “

“Usually paradoxes happen when people who should be dead in their timeline procreate. Riley and Colm – or anyone else - wouldn’t be doing that – at least not without some huge advances in human reproductive science.”

The dive boat drew up beside the disguised TARDIS. Chrístõ and Julia scrambled down the companion ladder to join the group led by Colm. Riley grinned cheerfully as his new friend carefully checked his scuba equipment for him. Chrístõ did the same for Julia as the second least experienced diver of the group. One by one the divers with their face masks in place dropped over the side of the boat. Chrístõ and Julia went last, leaving one safety man aboard with a two way radio and first aid kit in case of accidents.

Beneath the water, Chrístõ could only identify Julia among the group because she was the most petite figure in red neoprene, even allowing for two women in the university group. Following Colm’s lead they dived together through the sun-warmed, crystal clear water of the Mediterranean Sea.

The light from the sun still penetrated the depths even when they reached the wide main street of the ancient city, but artificial lights enhanced the experience, allowing them to see more clearly the low walls that marked where buildings had stood. Some of those were clearly dwellings, small compared to modern houses, but with all the expected features including a larger room where all aspects of family life went on, a separate kitchen, and even an indoor toilet facility, something that later societies up to the mid twentieth century, had sometimes done without.

Other walls enclosed what had to have been grand public buildings with the broken vestiges of wide flights of steps and toppled pillars. There must once have been a beautiful temple in the centre of the city, and public halls for secular purposes, too.

There were very few small, portable artefacts, of course. Those had been collected already by archaeologists who had carefully surveyed and mapped the site. There were examples of amphora and bronze age jewellery from Pavlopetri in museums all over this part of Greece.

Julia was a little disappointed by that, but the fascination of swimming along the drowned streets more than made up for it. Her enthusiasm was obvious with every hand gesture pointing out something new.

Chrístõ felt as if he could stay down there all day in that world full of ancient wonders, but the humans around him could only dive for a limited time. He returned to the surface with them and had coffee and sandwiches aboard the Marine Wanderer before returning to the TARDIS to shower and change out of the wetsuits.

Riley spent a little more time with his friends. Julia had settled down on deck with a hat, book, long fruit drink and moisturising sunscreen lotion to cover the parts of her skin her bikini top and shorts didn’t cover before he scrambled aboard. She watched lazily as the archaeological photographer from the nineteen-twenties skilfully connected his digital camera from the late twenty-fourth century to the USB port of a laptop computer from the early twenty-first in order to show off the photographs he had taken during the dive.

When Chrístõ became unusually excited by what the pictures revealed she sat up reluctantly from a warm, comfortable spot and went to see what the fuss was about.

“It’s a message in Gallifreyan,” she said as Riley enhanced the image on the screen. “Definitely Low Gallifreyan, the ordinary conversational idiom and spelling.”

Both men looked at her curiously.

“I READ Low Gallifreyan. Valena gave me a whole set of books about history and literature and social etiquette, the sort of things I will need to be the wife of an Oldblood Patriarch. Anyway, this is a very short message. After the time and space coordinate, it says, ‘It’s all my fault.’ Then it’s signed Cadan Sanger. I’m not sure what that symbol at the end is, though.”

“That’s a secret identification mark signifying that Cadan Sanger belongs to the Celestial Intention Agency.”

“The Time Lord secret service?” Julia smiled. Riley positively leered.

“One of your friend Hext’s men?” he asked.

“It would appear so,” Chrístõ responded, trying not to be caught up in the innuendo from both his companions. He reached for the laptop and typed rapidly, compensating for the lack of a full Gallifreyan keyboard as he used its built in WiFi to connect with the TARDIS communication controls. He could have gone inside and used the console, but it was too nice out on deck.

Paracell Hext responded immediately to the call. His face filled the laptop screen.

“Are you missing a man called Cadan Sanger?” Chrístõ asked him without preamble.

“Chaos? Have you found him?” Hext responded.

“No, but there’s a strong clue to his whereabouts. He’s one of yours?”

“Not exactly. He was one of the old Agency, before the war, before I reformed it. He’s been missing for years. No surprise, really. Do you recall how inept I was when I first started out as a field agent?”

“You got better,” Chrístõ assured him.

“Cadan didn’t. He once ejected himself from his own TARDIS in the Vortex, and every safety measure possible is supposed to prevent that from happening. He’s not just accident prone, he’s an accident magnet.”

“Do you want him back?” Chrístõ asked.

“I suppose I must,” Hext responded, without enthusiasm. “Though if he’s in more than one piece when you find him, he might not be worth the bother.”

“I’ll take a look, anyway. I’ll call you again when I know more. All my love to Savang and Heléne.”

He was smiling when he closed the communication, but there was a very serious thought trying to override his good humour.

Riley and Julia both thought it for him.

“Chrístõ, are you thinking what we’re thinking….

“Did a clumsy Time Lord….”

“Cause Pavlopetri to fall into the sea?”

“’It’s all my fault’? That could mean something else,” Chrístõ suggested. “It could….”

But he was not even convincing himself. If the message had been found in the blackened ruins of Pudding Lane he would have known that Sanger had caused the Great Fire of London. Here, it could mean only one thing.

“Going to this coordinate could mean landing right in the middle of a catastrophe. Maybe you two shouldn’t….”

He ought to have known better. When the dual protests died down he conceded that he might need some help tracking down Sanger.

“We can’t dematerialise now, in full few of the other yacht,” he pointed out. “Back to sunbathing and cool drinks for a while. We’ll go after supper, when its dark and nobody will notice we’re gone.”

Riley looked a little worried.

“We’ll be back before sun up,” he promised. “You can still have breakfast with Colm.”

That prospect cheered Riley, who, in fact, spent a lot of the afternoon with his new friends. He even changed back into swimming gear to go snorkling in the shallower water. Later, they all ate together on the Marine Wanderer before the three headed back to the TARDIS. When most of the lights on the bigger yacht were out and all quiet Chrístõ set the coordinate for five thousand years BC and hit the dematerialisation switch.

“If anyone asks in the morning, Julia fancied a midnight cruise,” Chrístõ suggested. He was in good humour even though there was an element of danger in their immediate future. Or perhaps BECAUSE of the danger – many people had seen the adrenaline junkie in him and remarked on it. He admitted it himself.

How was he ever going to settle down to the life that awaited him on Gallifrey in just a few years’ time, he and Julia living as Lord and Lady de Lœngbærrow on the country estate according to the predestination that awaited them both? It was going to be hard to mothball the TARDIS and resign himself to that life.

But Julia would be his wife. There would be children. They would have a lifetime together. There were those compensations. He looked at her on the sofa studying Riley’s underwater pictures and knew she was well worth everything he would be giving up.

The materialisation alarm brought him back to the present – or to the current local temporal location, anyway.

He was rather surprised by what he saw on the viewscreen. He opened the door and stepped out to look for himself.

He had fully expected to arrive in the middle of a bustling bronze age city, the most sophisticated civilization of its time.

Instead, there was nothing but grey rocks, barely supporting a few scrubby plants that didn’t need much topsoil. To the south, about a quarter mile away, was the Mediterranean, but here was nothing.

“Did we come to the wrong place?” Julia asked as she and Riley joined him.

“No,” Chrístõ insisted. “It’s the right time, the right place, but ancient Pavlopetri, or whatever it was called then, isn’t here. And no… it hasn’t fallen into the sea, yet.”

“Maybe we should ask that man?” Riley suggested. Chrístõ was startled and worried to see that their arrival, in a TARDIS disguised as a shrine to Iris, the ancient Greek goddess of travel and communication, had been witnessed by an old man who was cooking fish over a small fire.

Before he could say anything at all about the matter, Julia approached the man, smiling warmly and holding out her hands in a gesture of friendship. The old man offered her a morsel of fish which she accepted gratefully but managed to palm away quickly and push away from where she sat. She spoke to the man for several minutes before thanking him and coming back to her companions.

“Thank goodness for the TARDIS translation circuits,” she said. “Ancient Greek is all very well, but ancient old man is another kettle of fish. Speaking of fish, he’s been living on the ones he caught two weeks ago, because when he got back from his night out in his boat he couldn’t find the city. He’s looked everywhere and now he’s just waiting… expecting it to come back eventually. The fact that we turned up out of thin air has given him renewed hope of that happening.”

“Ok….” Chrístõ used the Human colloquialism his father disliked as lazy speech because he really had no other words for what Julia had just told him. He saw no reason to disbelieve her translation of the old man’s testimony, but bronze age cities didn’t just disappear without trace. They were lost under volcanic ash or destroyed by fire, earthquake, floods. Many of them had fallen into the sea like Pavlopetri. But they didn’t just vanish.

“Chrístõ!” He turned to see Julia and Riley both kneeling on the ground peering close at something. He drew closer and saw that a stream of water, presumably what the old man had washed his increasingly ripe fish down with for the past few days, disappeared down a crack in the rocks. It was little more than an inch wide, but it was obviously only recently opened. A dried bed, without any encroaching plant life, continued on the other side.

“What are you looking at?” he asked, curiously.

“Come and look,” Riley answered. “I don’t think you’ll believe us unless you see for yourself.”

Chrístõ knelt and peered through the crack. He sat up and looked around, then peered into the crack again.

He uttered something very rude in Low Gallifreyan and got a reproving look from Julia.

“There was no need for that,” she told him.

“Yes, there was,” Chrístõ answered. “I can scarcely believe….”

“’It’s all my fault’?” Riley quoted. “We assumed the destruction of the city was his fault. But….”

“Back to the TARDIS,” Chrístõ ordered. “Let’s get some technology at work on this. Also, we ALL need to change into contemporary clothes before we come outside again. I should have considered that myself before I came out here.”

Julia and Riley both took longer to choose bronze age clothing than he did. By the time they returned from the Wardrobe he had found what he was looking for in the TARDIS environmental scanners.

“There has been a dimensional accident in this area,” he said to them.

“Accident?” Julia looked at the data but it might as well have been ancient Greek to her.

“The sort of thing that might happen if a TARDIS engine went critical and leaked artron energy.”

“So maybe it WAS his fault? This Cadan Sanger?”

“The clues point to that. Both of you grab a handhold. I’m taking the TARDIS into the anomaly. It WILL be bumpy.”

He didn’t tell them that it was also very dangerous. Bringing his TARDIS into proximity to a dimensional anomaly might tear it apart and its organic occupants with it. For a moment he did wonder if Cadan Sanger, a man who nobody on Gallifrey especially missed, was worth the risk. Then he swallowed that terrible thought. Every soul in the universe was worth the risk.

It was bumpy. It was terrifying. When it was over they all stood up shakily and adjusted their clothes and hair while looking around to see if up was up and down was down once more. The uncertainty about that had been part of the terror.

“The TARDIS doesn’t like being here,” Chrístõ reported. “We shouldn’t stay here more than a few hours. Let’s find Sanger as quickly as possible.”

“The TARDIS doesn’t like being here?” Riley queried as they stepped out into the streets of the city known only posthumously as Pavlopetri. “Does the TARDIS usually have an opinion?”

“I agree with the TARDIS,” Julia said looking around and then up at the extraordinary sky. “This is really odd.”

The city was dark. The reason for the darkness was the lack of sunlight except along a very narrow strip that might have been the crack in the rock as seen from a different angle and a different dimension. Either side of the crack impossibly high cliffs curved around the city, trapping it in a self-contained world. At one place a waterfall fell noisily from the roof of that world into a churning pool.

“Do you think they saw us peering down through the crack?” Julia asked as she looked around at the decidedly nervous citizens who themselves looked everywhere but up at the upsetting sky as they went about their daily business with fatalistic expressions and rather nasty smelling oil lamps to see their way with.

“I do hope not,” Riley answered her. “It would be rather horrible for them.”

“Are we miniaturised?” Julia added as another awful thought occurred to her.

“No,” Chrístõ assured her. “We’re just in a different dimension.”

“I’m not sure that’s better,” Julia told him.

“I don’t even understand about the dimensions,” Riley added. “But please don’t try to explain. I don’t think it would help.”

“I’m not sure I could explain in a way anyone without a doctorate in temporal engineering would understand,” Chrístõ admitted. “I… think Cadan Sanger might be in that house at the end. It’s the core of the residual Artron radiation. It’s the most likely place to find him.”

This was the street they had swum along under water. Julia noted the landmarks as they walked along avoiding eye contact with the worried citizens. This really was Pavlopetri. The thought was disturbing in a way she couldn’t quite explain to herself.

Chrístõ knocked hard on the rough wooden door of the bronze age dwelling house. It was opened after a short wait by a short, almost bald man with the eyes of a frightened rabbit. When he saw Chrístõ his eyes widened with fear.

“I’m sorry,” he quivered. “I’m so very sorry. I didn’t mean to… I didn’t know this would happen. Please… please don’t punish me.”

“Punish you?” Chrístõ knew that Paracell Hext had a personal collection of torture devices, including electronic whips, but he only used them on the very worst criminals. Besides, Cadan Sanger went missing before Hext took over the Agency.

“You’re CIA, aren’t you?”

“Not exactly, though the Director did say ‘long time no see’ – in so many words. We got your message. We’re here to help. How about you invite us in for an amphora of wine and some pressed olives and we’ll talk about it.”

Sanger realised the sense in that and let them into the little house. It was dark and sparsely furnished. There actually wasn’t any wine and certainly no pressed olives. The only food Sanger had was some dried fish. Julia examined it and decided it looked worse than the stuff the old man on the rocks was cooking.

“People are running out of food?” Chrístõ queried as he passed up the offer of refreshments.

“Nobody can get in or out of the city. Some people are better prepared, with olives and flour stored away, but even they will be hungry soon. If I don’t sort this out… they’ll starve.”

“So it WAS your fault?” Julia said accusingly.

“My TARDIS was damaged in an ion storm. That’s how I ended up here. I tried to repair it, but I made a huge mistake. The TARDIS dispersed and the Artron energy pulled the city into the dimensional gap it created.”

“Dispersed?” Riley asked.

“Distributed throughout time and space,” Chrístõ explained. “Probably at a molecular level. It’s a wonder you weren’t dispersed along with it. Of all the dumb things to do. If your capsule was that badly damaged you should have contacted your boss and asked for help.”

“Director Goetz hates me,” Sanger bemoaned. “I didn’t dare.”

“Well, the good news for you is that Director Goetz has been dead for several years. The bad news is the new Director thinks you’re an idiot, too. But I guess I’ll have to take you home to face the music – just as soon as we repair the damage to this city.”

“You can do that, then?” Julia asked hopefully. “We don’t have to just leave them here to starve?”

“As if that would ever be any part of my plan. Even if I have to transport the population to the next town in the TARDIS gym I won’t let them starve, but we’ll try to find a less traumatic solution, first. Come on, Sanger. Pull yourself together. You can assist me. It will stand as mitigation when I report to Director Hext.”

Sanger sighed deeply. He was being rescued from the distressed city, but only to be handed over to the Celestial Intervention Agency. It didn’t bode well for him.

“Get anything you value from here and come on,” Chrístõ told him.

There was nothing he valued, especially. He pulled a cloak around himself and declared that he was ready to leave.

“I never meant to stay here, anyway,” he pointed out. “I wanted to go to Pompeii.”

“Pompeii?” Riley and Julia echoed the word together.

“Pompeii is a fixed point in time. You have no business going anywhere near there,” Chrístõ told him. “Come on.”

“Er… Chrístõ… I’m not sure it’s going to be that easy,” Riley told him from his position near the window. “That looks a lot like a lynching mob heading this way.”

Chrístõ looked and agreed that the angry crowd, led by men who had the bearing of city elders, did look as if they were looking for a scapegoat.

“You don’t have a back door, I suppose?”

It wouldn’t have been a lot of use anyway. Chrístõ looked at Riley and Sanger and calculated their chances of fighting their way to the TARDIS. Sanger ought to have some unarmed combat skills, but all things considered he didn’t want to stake his life, let alone Julia’s, on them.

Then, to his surprise, the mob went past the window. They gathered around another house.

“Old Malko,” Sanger explained. “He’s a… what’s the Earth word… alchemical….”

“Alchemist. But how can they imagine he is responsible for this?”

“Between fire and explosions he’s on his third workshop in two years. He’s not a very good alchemist.”

“You and him should have got together,” Chrístõ noted sarcastically. “All right, while they’re occupied, we can get out of here.”

It was simple enough. The citizens were all completely fixated on arresting the alchemist. They reached the TARDIS without hindrance and were soon safe inside. Chrístõ immediately started a series of complicated calculations, enlisting Sanger’s help with the rapid typing.

Julia gave up watching their blurred hands and turned on the exterior viewscreen. She and Riley watched the mob outside dragging the unfortunate Malko through the streets and up onto the steps of the public hall where a sort of trial ensued. It was clearly not one where the defendant could expect to be fairly represented.

And it was very short.

“I think we can do it,” Chrístõ announced triumphantly. “I can use an inverted dimension array to…..”

Neither Julia nor Riley understood what he was actually saying. It was likely that Cadan Sanger was equally perplexed. The gist was that he could use his TARDIS to reverse the catastrophe and put the city back where it belonged.

“Before you do, something has to be done out there,” Julia told him. “They’re going to kill the old alchemist. I don’t know if they think it’s his fault or if they think his sacrifice would please the gods… or maybe both… but seeing as it ISN’T his fault, we have to rescue him.”

Chrístõ paused just a bit too long in his response.

“Don’t you dare say anything like ‘one life doesn’t matter in the big picture.’ You went to all this trouble for one of your own people. You can’t ignore that man.”

“I wasn’t going to. I’m just wondering how to do it.”

“Stop wondering and do it,” Julia snapped. “Now… or it will be too late.”

With only seconds before Old Malko lost his head there wasn’t time to be elegant about it. Chrístõ materialised the TARDIS around the alchemist and his would-be executioner. The man with the sword nearly fainted in shock and was easy to disarm before Cadan Sanger applied a special pinch to the medulla oblongata that rendered him insensible. He turned to do the same to Old Malko only to find that he actually had passed out through malnutrition and over excitement.

“I’ll sort them out later,” Chrístõ promised. “Right now, everyone hold onto something again.”

To say it was bumpy was an understatement. The TARDIS rivalled the most stomach churning white knuckle ride while lights and colours worthy of a very expensive effects laden Hollywood blockbuster swirled and arced not only on the viewscreen but all around the console room itself.

Then it went very quiet and very still. Everyone – or at least everyone who was conscious – stared around in wonder.

“Did we do it?” Riley asked in a low whisper as if he was afraid to disturb the silence.

“I think so,” Chrístõ answered. He bent and examined the unconscious executioner, then picked him up over his shoulder. He opened the door and stepped outside.

The old fisherman was standing there. He might have been surprised by the re-appearance of the TARDIS in its ‘Iris’ disguise, but he was far more excited by the re-appearance of his city, apparently unscathed.

Chrístõ put the executioner down beside him. The man was slowly regaining consciousness, reaching as if to find his sword.

“Take him home,” he said to the fisherman. Then he turned and went back into the TARDIS. The fisherman probably took its disappearance once again in his stride.

“What about Old Maiko?” Cadan Sanger asked. The alchemist was still unconscious on the TARDIS floor.

“I read both their timelines,” Chrístõ answered. “The executioner… he’s going to die in three years’ time….” He heard Julia gasp out loud at such a stark prediction. “He is going to drown when the earthquake we more or less know about sinks the city into the sea. But he will save fifteen people, first.”

Julia sighed again, unsure if that made it all right or not.

“The end of Pavlopetri is a fixed point. I can’t change it. I was never meant to. Losing it in a dimensional anomaly three years early was not meant to happen, and as far as history is concerned, never did. As for Old Malko….”

He re-materialised the TARDIS. They were in a different place, though still in the area of Greece known as Laconia.

“He has another fifteen years to live, but not in Pavlopetri where they still want to behead him for causing the anomaly. Cadan Sanger….”

“I know… I have to face the Director….”

“The Director isn’t really bothered about you as long as you don’t cause any trouble. I did say you and Malko should get together…. I suggest the two of you go and find yourselves useful employment in that town over there.”

He opened a cupboard beneath the console and brought out a bag of gold dust – a currency in any time or place, and a small cube with Gallifreyan runes on all six sides.

“This should keep you in wine and pressed olives until you find your feet. And… when you want to come home… the communications cube will be a better way of signalling than carved messages in a sunken archaeological site.”

Cadan Sanger looked relieved. He took the two gifts gratefully and lifted the semi-conscious Malko to his feet. They left the TARDIS together and set off on the road to their new home. Chrístõ closed the door and set their return to twenty-first century Laconia.

“Will they be all right?” Julia asked.

“I think they will,” Chrístõ answered. “Though I wouldn’t want to live next door to them when they start experimenting. Insurance premiums will be through the roof.”

“One of your sort living in Ancient Greece, though?” Riley suggested. “You know… I have wondered… technology like the Antikythera mechanism….”

“Could well be,” Chrístõ replied. “Anyway… breakfast with your friend, Colm, and another morning of scuba diving and an afternoon of cool drinks and sunshine is our immediate agenda. Any objections?”

There were none.