It had started out as fun.

Ok, he admitted, he was showing off a bit.

He was showing off a LOT, if he was totally honest.

Riding plasma storms in a TARDIS was the space equivalent of free-boarding. It was a fantastic high. And he had become good at it when he first passed his test and was allowed to take his own ship out into space. He used to race with other students, and usually won, because he was already becoming so symbiotic with his TARDIS that it responded to him far better than it did to those who merely thought of them as machines.

Julia was enjoying it. So was Natalie, though only after he had used a mild form of hypnotism on her to convince her she was NOT travel sick. Humphrey was bouncing up and down like a punk rocker and thoroughly enjoying himself as the TARDIS surfed the storm.

He himself loved to feel the TARDIS react to his every command as his fingers slid across the controls. He felt like a yachtsman adjusting the sail ever so slightly to take best advantage of the wind or a race car driver knowing just how to get that extra little bit more out of his car to win the race. He felt fantastic.

Then it went wrong.

He wasn’t even sure what had happened. One moment everything was fine. The next he was thrown to the floor. He saw Julia on her knees near him and Natalie gripping hold of the console.

He gasped in horror as he saw the TARDIS door open. The force field kicked in straight away preventing decompression and loss of all their air, but it didn’t stop a wave of energised plasma particles sweeping into the TARDIS just like a yacht overwhelmed by the sea as it foundered. His own scream mingled with those of his Human companions and Humphrey’s high-pitched wail as the plasma particles were drawn towards the TARDIS console.

He reached up to the door mechanism. He screamed again as he felt an electric shock course through his body. He fell back, hitting his head on the corner of the console and between that and the shock he barely registered that the doors had closed as everything went black.

“Mama,” he whispered as he regained consciousness slowly. Afterwards he couldn’t remember why he had said that. Had he dreamed of his mother while he was unconscious?

“No, I’m afraid not,” Natalie said to him as she pressed a cool cloth against his forehead. “You HAVE had a bad bang on the head. Poor love.”

“Chrístõ,” Julia said, sitting the other side of the cabin bed and clutching his hand. “Chrístõ, the TARDIS is broken. BAD.”

“How bad?” He asked, sitting up quickly, then swaying so dizzily that Natalie pressed him down onto the bed again. He raised himself up again slowly as soon as the feeling had passed. He swung his legs off the bed and stood up. Natalie held him at first but he shook her off gently and went to the console.

“Oh £$#&*@,” he swore, and was glad that the TARDIS didn’t bother to translate it for his Human companions. It was a VERY rude Low Gallifreyan swear word that he would have been ashamed to use in front of any woman of his home world.

But it summed up his feelings as he viewed the damage to his TARDIS console. Humphrey trilled mournfully in his corner, and the sad sound echoed his thoughts as he checked what worked and what didn’t.

Far more didn’t work than did. There was a LOT of damage caused by the plasma energy overloading the circuits. He was almost in tears as he desperately tried to get important systems to work.

“Oh my…..” Natalie gave a soft cry as he cross-linked two of the least important wires and managed to get the viewscreen to work. At least they could see where they were.

But they weren’t anywhere. Or any time.

“We’re in the vortex,” Julia whispered.

“Yes.” Chrístõ suppressed a sob of despair.

“It’s really bad?”

“Yes,” he said. “The TARDIS has lost all of its drive functions. We’re in the time vortex, travelling constantly, but I have no control. I can’t bring us out and land anywhere.”

“None of the presets work?” she asked.

“No,” he answered. “The database looks as if it's offline. It’s telling me there’s no hard drive there. Which is ridiculous. Because I can see the damn thing from here. But something is broken between the drive and the processor.”

He looked at the swirling vortex. Was it his imagination? Or was it getting faster?

It was his imagination, he assured himself.

“What will happen to us?” Natalie asked. “If we can’t get out of it?”

“Can’t you call your father?” Julia asked. Chrístõ moved to the communications console.

“No,” he said. “That’s dead, too. We’ve had major failures in almost every system. Life support….” He moved to that console. “Life support has separate circuits to the other sections. That’s ok. But…”

He looked at the viewscreen. The vortex was red. They were going forward in time.

They could go forward in time for a very long time. But sooner or later time ended. There WAS a beginning to the universe. There would, one day, be an end. The vortex for all that it was a power beyond the understanding of all beings except the Time Lords themselves, was a thing of the physical universe. When the universe ended, the vortex ended.

Then what?

What would be left when the universe was no more?

A void? Emptiness? The ‘firmament of chaos’ described in the religious texts of many planets?

He didn’t know. He knew one thing. They WOULD survive. The TARDIS COULD in fact be powered beyond the physical universe as he knew it. The fragment of the Eye of Harmony that powered his ship was psychically connected to the greater part of it back on Gallifrey, in the Matrix beneath the Panopticon in the Capitol City. At the end of time, when Gallifrey was no more, that connection would be gone. His TARDIS would be on its own, running on the equivalent of battery power. But that battery power would last for several thousand years. Beyond his own natural lifespan. Beyond that far shorter span given to Humans.

But what kind of life? Trapped together in the TARDIS? Bearable, perhaps, as long as he had their companionship. But after that – thousands of years of solitude?

He shivered. It was a horrible thought.

“Chrístõ…” Julia held him tightly. She was frightened. He could feel her trembling.

“Isn’t there a backup console room on board?” Natalie asked. “I am sure there is. Remember I got lost a couple of days after I first came on board and Humphrey tracked me down for you. I was in a room that looked a bit like this one but the décor was more old-fashioned and the console looked different.”

“Yes,” Chrístõ said. “There IS a backup room, but we can’t get to it.”

“Why not?”

He moved to the door that led into the corridor and to the rest of the TARDIS. He used the sonic screwdriver to open it. Natalie and Julia stared in horror. There was nothing there. Less than nothing. It was just emptiness. He closed the door again.

“Humphrey, stop crying,” he said. “It can’t hurt you. There ARE only four REAL rooms on the TARDIS, that ALWAYS exist. This room, the back up console room, the Cloister Room and the Engine Room. Everything else, everything in between, is created by the TARDIS using the same energy that powers it. Energy is matter… and it can manipulate that matter. That’s why you have your dance studio, Julia, and you have your classroom, Natalie. But… at the moment, the TARDIS is not working properly and the spaces the rooms occupy have collapsed.” He looked at them. He thought they grasped some of what he was saying.

“But if we’re trapped in here… the kitchen… bathroom….”

“There is an emergency food dispenser behind one of the wall panels. It dispenses a sort of chew bar that almost tastes like real food. It can also do water and other liquids. And there IS an emergency toilet that can be activated but I would really rather not have to do that. It’s quite grim.”

The thought of eternity in this one room with artificial food and a chemical toilet in the corner was dismal.

He went to the navigation console. It was the worst affected. Almost all the circuits were damaged. The keyboard was a melted lump of plastic and the screen shattered. He opened up the panel beneath it and carefully tested the circuits.

“I think it might be possible…” he said after what seemed like an endless time. “I think I could programme in a co-ordinate directly, using machine code. I think it would activate the flight control and get us out of the vortex and materialised somewhere.”

“You THINK?” Natalie looked at him nervously. “And if you’re wrong?”

“I could make things a lot worse,” he said. “If I blow the flight controls I’m not even sure we’ll stay in the vortex. We might just be dead in space.”

“Don’t use the word dead in any more sentences, please, Chrístõ,” Natalie told him in a voice that was calmer than she really was.

“The trouble is,” he admitted. “I don’t have ANY co-ordinates. They’re all in the hard drive I can’t get at.”

“You don’t know any from memory?” Julia asked him,

“Time-space co-ordinates are anything up to twenty-six characters long. To pin point a time and a place anywhere in space and time…. it’s got to be accurate. If I missed, for instance, the exact second of our arrival, we would be materialising for the whole of the minute that we should have been arriving at. If I missed the minute, then we’d be stretched out for an hour, like a piece of elastic, slowly arriving. And if the place was wrong, we could materialise inside a volcano or the molten core of a planet or…” He sighed. “It’s my fault,” he said. “I was pushing the TARDIS to her limits. I was trying to be clever.”

“Well,” Natalie said. “You’ve learned your lesson from it. When the TARDIS is repaired, you’ll remember in future not to do that.”

“When?” He smiled at her positive view of the future. “You believe I can do it?”

“Yes,” she told him.

“So do I,” Julia added. “So does Humphrey. Listen. He’s not crying any more. He believes in you.”

“Well, that’s sweet of you all. But I can’t do it without a co-ordinate. I’m sorry. I know, with my brain, I ought to know a couple of co-ordinates by heart. But I don’t. I’m… I’m not as smart as I think I am. I bit off more than I can handle, and I’ve got you both into terrible danger. And… I’m sorry…. I’m sorry for you all. It’s all my fault.”

“Chrístõ…” Julia told him quietly. “I know a co-ordinate.”

He was so wound up in his own misery he didn’t even hear her the first time. She said it again.

“What?” He looked at her. “How could YOU know co-ordinates like that? I’ve never taught you any of that.”

“Chrístõ… please… believe me. I do. Don’t ask me how or why. But I know a co-ordinate. I memorised it over and over. I can say it easily any time. And…. I think THIS is the reason I was given it. Please….”

“Try it,” Natalie said. “What can we lose?”

“Ok,” he said. “Give it to me. Slowly. I have to input it as machine code. Even I have to think for a few seconds about how base ten converts to hexadecimal.” He lay down under the console again and Julia knelt beside him. One number or letter at a time she told him the co-ordinate she had memorised.

“Psi!” Chrístõ sighed. “What is Hex for Psi?” He was fairly fluent in translating the ordinary 38 character Gallifreyan alphabet, and ordinary base 10 numerals. But he struggled to remember the machine code for the Greek letter that completed the co-ordinate.

He pictured the table of symbols in his head and carefully ran down the list until he found Psi. He concentrated until he could see the code he needed.

“&#x3A8!” He cried.

“Are you sure?” Natalie asked him. She was not at all happy with the thought of being thrown into a volcano or the molten core of a planet.

“I’m sure,” he said. “There we go!” He put in the last piece of machine code and jumped up from under the console just as the time rotor wheezed into life. “I don’t know how far it’s taking us, or when, and I can’t promise a smooth ride.”

It was far from a smooth ride. It WAS a very fast ride. Even with the inertial dampeners of the TARDIS they had a distinct feeling of movement, and the vortex blurred into a near uniform red. They were racing forward in time. Chrístõ stopped looking at the screen where the temporal location was displayed. It made even his eyes hurt trying to follow the scrolling figures.

And then they stopped. Chrístõ stared at what seemed to be a dark piece of space with almost no stars in it. He wondered if he HAD got the co-ordinate right. He had half expected to end up on Gallifrey, much as he dreaded that idea. At best, Earth, somewhere in the period when Li Tuo lived there. HE could help him fix the TARDIS.

“Where are we?” Julia asked him.

“I don’t know,” he admitted, and he was starting to worry a little bit. He looked at his navigation console. It wasn’t making a whole lot of sense to begin with. Now he was even less sure about it.

“We SEEM to be on the edge of the known universe, very near the end of the life of the universe,” he said with a nervous stammer as he took in the enormity of that fact.

“Is that possible?” Julia asked him.

“Yes, but I just don’t know why we’re here, or how it would help. Maybe this ISN’T what that co-ordinate was for. Where DID you get it from, anyway?” he asked.

“I got it from you,” she said. “Sort of.” And she quickly related the strange meeting she had when he was asleep in that ordinary park in London in the summer of 1963.

“Julia… that was… I mean… a strange man… he could have been anyone…”

“He wasn’t anyone. He was you. And he was so very nice. A nice old man who remembered being you when he was young... Remembered us being together. He was sad. Spending a little time with me, sitting in the park, made him feel happy again. And he told me to remember that co-ordinate. He said it would help you in a danger that was to come. And… and I am sure this is what he meant.”

“But this doesn’t make any sense,” he said. “There is nothing here. There isn’t meant to be anything here. The universe itself is dying. Almost every race of people that ever lived in it is dead now. Nobody can help us.”

“Chrístõ… look…” Natalie pointed at the viewscreen. He stared. It wasn’t completely empty space. There was something there, right next to them as his TARDIS revolved to face it.

“It’s a TARDIS,” he said. “In default mode. Look. The Seal of Rassilon on all four sides.”

“Who’s TARDIS?” Natalie and Julia BOTH asked that obvious question.

“I don’t think it’s anyone’s,” Chrístõ answered. No power.”

“Well if it's dead…”

“Then nothing and nobody can get into it except…”

“A Time Lord with their own TARDIS! Julia exclaimed. Natalie gasped as she understood.

“It will have parts I can use to repair my TARDIS,” Chrístõ confirmed. “I think it’s even a Type 40. Fully compatible.”

“That’s a huge coincidence,” Natalie pointed out. “Or is this a common type?” She laughed at herself. “Listen to me. As if I would know anything about it. This is the only TARDIS I know. How many types ARE there?”

“The latest model would be the Type 46,” Chrístõ said. “But the 43 and 45 were both withdrawn from service after a very short run. They were never really popular. I like the Type 40. I like MY TARDIS. I want to make her well again.”

Natalie and Julia both smiled as he talked not of repairing his ship, but of ‘making her well.’ They watched, more hopeful now, as he went to the manual drive control and slowly manoeuvred the TARDIS alongside the other one. There was a strange ‘clunk’ and both looked alarmed but Chrístõ told them it was absolutely perfect.

“The two doors have sealed themselves together. When I open it up from this side we can step right through. He dived into a cupboard below the console and pulled out three strange looking helmet like devices. “The air might not be so good in there. These create fresh air for a limited time. They work the same way the TARDIS itself does. They take oxygen and carbon and the other elements of air and mix it together and create new air.”

“Fresh air machines?” Julia laughed. “How clever.” She laughed to see them all in the strange helmets, but it WAS a very good idea.

“Humphrey…” Chrístõ looked at the darkness creature in his corner. “Are you coming with us?” Humphrey backed further into the corner. “Ok, you stay here and keep an eye on things. Julia…” He took her hand in his as he opened the door. They stepped across the threshold from their familiar TARDIS to a very unfamiliar one. It WAS, clearly, a TARDIS. But it looked completely different. Whereas Chrístõ’s TARDIS looked built by technicians, this one looked as if it was organically grown.

“Console rooms can change to reflect their owner,” Chrístõ explained as he switched on a bright portable lamp that illuminated the dead TARDIS. “Mine hasn’t yet, but I’ve only had it fifteen years. Over the centuries, I suppose it will grow more like me.”

“I like OUR TARDIS,” Julia said. Chrístõ smiled about the ‘Our’ part of that sentence.

“So do I. I’ll like it better when it’s fixed. I’d better make a start.”

“Chrístõ… what’s that?” Julia stepped away from the silent console. She had seen something that she was sure didn’t belong in a TARDIS.

“It’s a coffin,” Natalie said. She stepped near it hesitantly. She looked at it closely. “Yes, it is. It’s a coffin. Look…”

Chrístõ came towards the raised dais and confirmed that the object upon it was, undoubtedly an elaborately built coffin. More than a coffin - it was a sarcophagus. It was made of black lacquered wood and silver. The Seal of Rassilon was inlaid in silver on the polished top.

“Why is there a coffin in a TARDIS?” Julia asked. She reached and touched the seal and jumped back as some kind of spring-loaded mechanism activated. The lid began to raise itself. Julia and Natalie had both seen enough films about nameless horrors rising from coffins to step back and clutch at each other. Chrístõ stepped closer.

“It’s all right,” he told them. “This man can’t hurt you.”

Beneath the ornamental lid was a glass one covering the corpse that lay within. It was desiccated with age but otherwise remarkably preserved. He had been old when he died, almost certainly of natural causes. The hair on the head was white. He was tall in life. At least as tall as Chrístõ, slim of build. He had been laid to rest in a white robe with the familiar Seal of Rassilon embroidered across his chest in gold thread.

“He looks like a king,” Julia said as she came closer and looked at the dead man.

“We don’t have kings on Gallifrey,” Chrístõ told her. “We are a meritocracy.”

“But he IS one of your people?” Natalie asked. “A Time Lord?”

“He must be,” Julia said. “His robe… the Seal…. And he’s IN a TARDIS.”

“Oh, yes,” Chrístõ told them. “He must have been a GREAT Time Lord. This is a mark of deep respect to him. Usually Time Lords are usually cremated. Occasionally a very great one is buried in a tomb. There are legends about Rassilon’s Tomb. This man… His TARDIS was launched into space on a preset course. Then the Eye of Harmony was jettisoned and the database wiped, leaving it dead and useless to anybody else who might come across it. It became his tomb, in space, among the stars…. perhaps where he did his greatest deeds.”

“Who was he?” Natalie asked.

“I don’t know. I think he must have been an explorer. One who went beyond our galaxy in pursuit of knowledge, or to bring to other worlds the peaceful values we hold dear.”

He touched the sarcophagus – there WAS no other word for it – and bowed his head respectfully in memory of the man whose life had been so honoured.

“Is that an inscription?” Julia knelt and looked at the swirling design etched into confirmed that it was Ancient Gallifreyan - a language even the TARDIS did not translate, although its psychic resonances would translate the Low and High Gallifreyan used by the modern people of Gallifrey to those who had travelled in it. He knelt beside her and ran his fingers over the fine tracery as he read it.

“THAT is very odd,” he said.

“Why? What does it say?”

“I dreamt the impossible dream… I fought the unbeatable foe.”

“What?” Natalie recognised the words. Julia didn’t. “It’s from a song. An EARTH song, from centuries back.”

“Twentieth century,” Chrístõ said. “The Impossible Dream… from a musical called Man of La Mancha, about a would-be-hero called Don Quixote who set out to right all the wrongs he could find. He actually failed, because the wrongs of even one world, even one country of that world, proved too much for one man. But the desire to do right…”

He thought about the thousands of presets on his own TARDIS computer, worlds with wrongs to be righted. He felt pretty much like Don Quixote himself a lot of the time. For every problem he had solved there were hundreds more.

But this brave man of his own people had accepted that same challenge. He had tilted at the windmills of the universe and at the end of his life his reward had been this eternal honour, to lie within his TARDIS machine, his body preserved, out here on the edge of the universe, on the edge of time.

“A Time Lord who visited Earth,” Natalie said. “Or who had friends on Earth. Why else would a song from Earth’s twentieth century be quoted in his own language on his tomb?”

Chrístõ thought about that. It made sense, though it only deepened the mystery, because Li Tuo was the only other Time Lord he knew with a special affinity with Earth. Even his own father had only spent a little time there.

And he, himself, was probably the only one of the three of them who knew all the words to The Impossible Dream.

He looked at the body within the coffin once more then he closed the lid down. He walked around the dais slowly, his hand touching it the whole time as if he was feeling some deep and personal connection with the dead man of his own race who lay within. Then he looked around at his friends and seemed to remember his prime purpose for coming on this strange, silent ship.

“Julia, give me a hand with this panel,” he said, turning to the console. The external look of it was rather different to his own, but he knew the internal mechanism would be the same.

“It IS a Type 40,” he exclaimed when he got the panel off. “And all of the components are in good condition. I’ll have no trouble fixing the TARDIS, now. A couple of hours and we’ll be back to normal.”

“Is it ok you taking these parts?” Julia asked. “Isn’t it stealing, sort of? Or… or worse… like… grave robbing.”

“Yes, it is,” Chrístõ admitted. “If there was any alternative, I wouldn’t. But… this co-ordinate…. This IS the reason we were given it. We ARE meant to be doing this. You don’t need to worry about that.”

“When we go, we just close the doors and he… he’s left here again?”

“Yes,” Chrístõ told her.

“So why…. Why did they make that beautiful coffin with all the engraving. If nobody was ever going to see it?”

“Maybe they did it for us. So that WE would see it,” Chrístõ said. “So that when we came we would know he was a great Time Lord worthy of our admiration and respect.”

“But…” Julia shook her head. She didn’t understand a lot of what was happening. She DID understand that the reason they were there at all was that Chrístõ’s older self had told her how to get here. HE knew he was sending them to this lonely Time Lord’s tomb in space.


Julia went back to the sarcophagus. She felt drawn to it somehow. She walked around it slowly. There was more of that strange writing all around the base of it. She traced it with her fingers. And as she did she was surprised. The main inscription WAS in Ancient Gallifreyan. She couldn’t read it. But this part was not. It was in High Gallifreyan, the language Chrístõ would speak when he was at home on his world. And as she looked she found that she COULD understand it. The TARDIS worked its influence on her as one of its travellers, and she could read the language.

She read the name of the gallant Time Lord whose body lay encased in glass and enclosed by lacquered wood and silver.

She gasped. She looked around for Chrístõ. He had taken some of the parts from this old TARDIS back into their own ship and was doing the repairs. He couldn’t see or hear her from there.

Natalie did, though. She came to her. She looked, too. She didn’t understand at first what she was looking at even when the words were translated.

“Rassilon’s blessing on this, the last resting place of the great Time Lord, Chrístõdavõreendiamòndhærtmallõupdracœfiredelunmiancuimhne de Lœngbærrow,” Julia recited. “That’s Chrístõ’s full name. You’ve never seen it written down before?”

“No,” Natalie said. “And I never thought to see it written down here…. Julia…”

“This is Chrístõ’s own coffin,” Julia said, remarkably calmly. “That is his body in there. After he died of old age at the end of his life.” She put her hand over the place where his head was. She thought her hand ought to tingle being so close to him like that. But it didn’t. “The Great Time Lord.” She repeated what the inscription had said about him. Her heart swelled with pride for him. She didn’t feel sad knowing he was dead. He wasn’t going to die until he was very, very old. There was no need to be sad about it.

“His older self told me the co-ordinate,” she continued. “Of where his OWN tomb was. His own TARDIS made into his tomb in space.” She looked around her. “He said it would change when he got older. It DID. This is the SAME TARDIS as OURS. But much older.”

“I understand that,” Natalie told her. “But how would his older self KNOW that was where his tomb was… or would be… in the future when he was dead, if he was still alive?”

“Because….” Julia’s brow crinkled as she tried to work it out. “Because CHRÍSTÕ knows the co-ordinate now. Because I TOLD him.”

“But….” Natalie thought about that. “But that means….”

“This all happened now, and his older self remembered it happening and told me the co-ordinate so that I would be able to tell Chrístõ so that he would know it when….”

“It doesn’t make sense.”

“And when he was EVEN older, he remembered the co-ordinate still and told his friends where to send his TARDIS with his body aboard when he died of old age.”


“So that it would be here for him to get the parts he needed for his TARDIS.”

“That makes even less sense. It means that everything in his life is all tied together in a loop.”

“It sort of DOES make sense,” Julia said. “I don’t completely understand it, but it's kind of…. Beautiful... that his life should turn around and around like that. Even in his death, he was there, remembering us all… me and you… making it possible for him to mend the TARDIS and take us back to our proper time. He never stopped caring about us, even thousands of years later, after we were dead.”

Natalie thought about it again.

“Yes,” she said. “I think I understand now.” She paused. “I don’t think we should tell him.”

“That the body there is himself?” Julia said. “No. I don’t think he should know.”

But I DO know, Chrístõ thought as he stood in the doorway between the two versions of the same TARDIS. They had both misjudged his ability to hear far more than any Human could hear of a whispered conversation.

And in any case, he had seen the other inscription.

The one thing it didn’t have was any kind of date. It didn’t say when he died. And it didn’t say how old he was when he died, or how many of his thirteen lives he had used. When in the fullness of time he made these strange, self-fulfilling arrangements, he had left those details off.

He was grateful to his future self for that kindness. He didn’t need to know the span of his life. He didn’t want to know the day of his death. He was 192 years old. He was a teenager by his people’s standards. And his own mortality was not something he wanted to think about any more than he had to.

“You two don’t have to stay in here,” he said to them. “You can go back into our own TARDIS and keep Humphrey company.”

“I…” Julia looked at him. “I want to stay here until we’re ready,” she answered. “He’s been alone for so long. Thousands and thousands of years…. I want to keep him company.”

Chrístõ nodded. There was no use telling her that the body within that sarcophagus was an empty shell, the soul long fled, and that it knew nothing of her little vigil. He went on with his work, collecting more of the components to rebuild his own console. It was going to take a lot more work yet.

“Do you know the rest of the song?” Julia asked Natalie after a while. They sat quietly beside the sarcophagus, keeping their lonely Time Lord company for this brief time.

“What song?”

“The one in the inscription. The Impossible Dream…”

“Some of it,” Natalie said. “It used to be a favourite of mine… of the ‘oldies’. Such brave words.” She thought about it for a moment and began to recite the verses like poetry. She knew the tune, but she didn’t have confidence in her own voice. “To dream ... the impossible dream ... To fight ... the unbeatable foe ... To bear ... with unbearable sorrow ... To run ... where the brave dare not go.” Her brow furrowed as she tried to recall the rest of it. “To right ... the unrightable wrong ... To love ... pure and chaste from afar ... To try ... when your arms are too weary ...To reach ... the unreachable star ...”

“It really sounds like Chrístõ, doesn’t it,” Julia said. “He does all of those things. All the time.”

“Yes,” Natalie agreed with a smile. “Yes, he does. I’m trying to remember the rest of the song. There’s more to it. Something about being scarred or something… I can’t remember.”

“This is my quest, to follow that star ... No matter how hopeless, no matter how far ... To fight for the right, without question or pause ... To be willing to march into Hell, for a Heavenly cause ...”

Both of them looked around as Chrístõ stood in the doorway and sang the next part of the song softly. As he did so he came towards the sarcophagus again.

“And I know if I'll only be true, to this glorious quest, That my heart will lie peaceful and calm, when I'm laid to my rest ...”

He reached out his hands to Julia and Natalie as he completed the song, his soft baritone voice reaching a crescendo that made them both shiver.

“And the world will be better for this: That one man, scorned and covered with scars, Still strove, with his last ounce of courage, To reach ... the unreachable star ...”

“We’re ready to go,” he told them after a long silence in which the song seemed to hang in the air. “The TARDIS is fully operational now. The database is back online. All the co-ordinates are still there. We can go where we want.”

“I want to go to that park,” Julia said. “Where we were that day. But not that same day. Maybe a little later.”

Chrístõ wasn’t sure what she had in mind, but he nodded. They followed him back to their own TARDIS. He closed the door and severed the link to the lonely tomb before he set the co-ordinate.

It was a good choice, Chrístõ thought. This park was a perfect place for them after being stuck in the TARDIS under such difficult circumstances. They all appreciated the big blue sky and the wide expanse of grass and trees and flowers. They were glad of other people around them enjoying the same simple pleasures.

“Julia!” Chrístõ tapped her on the shoulder as they sat on a rug together under the shade of a tree. He pointed. She looked and gave a little cry of excitement as she recognised the old man who stood there, leaning on his walking stick. “Go to him,” she heard Chrístõ tell her.

She was already standing up. She began to walk towards him, then she RAN. When she reached the old man with his loving, trustworthy brown eyes, she didn’t hesitate. She hugged him.

“Hello again, my dear,” he said. “You’ve grown, I think. It’s been a few months in your time. Only a few days in mine.”

“It happens like that sometimes, Julia said. “I just wanted to say thank you,” she said. “We found the TARDIS… and the…”

“Yes,” he said. “I remember it so well. Hexadecimal for Psi….” He chuckled softly. “Imagine me getting stuck on something as simple as that. I still had so much to learn.”

“The body in the sarcophagus… it was… it was you, wasn’t it? But how…”

“Christo can explain all of that,” the old man who called himself The Doctor explained. “If you NEED it to be explained.”

“I don’t think I do, really,” she admitted. “I think I know enough. I think Chrístõ does, too. We don’t need to know any more.”

“Quite right,” The Doctor said. “Quite right, yes, yes, indeed.” He took her hand gently. “My dear Julia.” He looked at Chrístõ and Natalie waiting and watching. “Dear Natalie. Give her my love, too.”

“I will, she promised. “And you...” She hugged him again. He enclosed his arms around her and held her for a long, long time. Then he released her.

“Goodbye, my dear,” he said. “Thank you for letting an old man remember when he was a young man. Now… go back to him, Julia. Take care of him as he takes care of you.”

“I will,” she said. “I always do.” She smiled and held his hand tightly for a few minutes, and then turned and ran. Chrístõ stood and held her in his arms as she reached him. As he held her, he raised his arm and waved once. But when she looked around the old man was gone.

“That’s as it should be,” Chrístõ said.