Chrístõ was in the Cloister Room, deep in a meditative trance that formed part of the eight hour Rite of Souls practiced by the contemplative monks of Mount Lœng. He had never been inclined to join the sect fully. He lacked the patience of the contemplative life, but he did practice their disciplines when he had time. He found them a powerful restorative to his soul and body.

Despite the level of his trance, he was aware of somebody coming into the room. He felt the ripples of movement in the air. He brought himself gently to full consciousness and looked around to see Natalie hovering uncertainly just outside the pattern of light cast by the great Seal of Rassilon window.

"Are you all right?" he asked her. "Are you lost again?"

"No," she assured him. "I can always find my way to this room. The Eye calls to me."

"It does what?" Chrístõ stood up, a little stiffly. This was the fifth hour of the rite.

"It calls to me. It speaks to me," she explained. "I come down here sometimes at night, when my head is aching. I feel better in here. And the Eye. I listen to its voice. It sings to me."

Chrístõ looked at Natalie. She was NOT a woman who normally had fanciful ideas. If she thought the Eye was singing to her then it must be. But it was news to him that it could do that.

"You never told me you have headaches at night. I'll give you something for them. As for the Eye… Singing? Really? The Eye is the heart and soul of the TARDIS. But…" He paused and looked at her. "If you want to come in here, it's all right. It's not off limits. And the aura in here may be therapeutic. But don't try to open the Eye. It is dangerous as well as beautiful."

"I won't," she promised. "But… Oh, silly me. Talking nonsense when I came here with an important message. Chrístõ, your father is on the videophone. Will you come? I told him what you were doing and how long for, but he still asked me to wake you."

"If he did that, it must be urgent." Chrístõ quickened his pace, but not so much that Natalie could not keep up. "Is he on Adano-Ambrado or Gallifrey?"

"I'm sorry, I didn't ask," Natalie admitted.


Chrístõ reached the console room and smiled despite his anxiety as he saw Julia chatting amiably with his father. He was asking her about her school work. She was telling him about her first lessons in Gallifreyan social studies.

"It is very different from Earth," she told him. "Only one government and one country on the whole planet. And… is it true that when I marry Chrístõ I shall have to call him My Lord?"

"Not if you don't want to," The Ambassador laughed, amused by her juxtaposition of Gallifreyan politics with the customs of marriage. "Though many wives do use that formal term, and Chrístõ will inherit the title of Lord of the Southern Continent when I retire."

"Don't frighten her father," Chrístõ said as he stepped behind her and put his arms around her shoulders. "When we are married you may call me what you please," he told her. Then he looked serious as he turned to his father. He recognised their home on Gallifrey in the background. "Is something wrong?" he asked.

"I hope not," The Ambassador replied. "But Chrístõ, I need you to return to Gallifrey…"

"No," he shouted angrily, his mood changing at once. "No, I will not…"

"Chrístõ," The Ambassador's voice was sharp. "You should know better than to interrupt an elder when he is speaking."

"I apologise, father, for interrupting you. But…"

"Chrístõ, my son, I need you to return, bringing Penne with you."

"Penne… but…"

"He must attend an investigative session of the High Council. It has come to their knowledge - I do not know how - that he is of Gallifreyan blood and of a dishonoured House. There are questions about whether we should have trade and diplomatic ties with the son of a banished murderer. I have answered some rather tricky questions already about what I knew of his ancestry. Your involvement was called to question, too. The Chancellor is rather annoyed with us both."

"Uncle Remonte? Your brother?"

"Yes," The Ambassador smiled. "He thinks we have both shown disrespect to Gallifrey in keeping Penne's family secret."

"I would never disrespect Gallifrey," Chrístõ protested. "But Penne is one of my dearest friends."

"Indeed he is, and I have come to love him dearly as an adopted son. But do not worry. This could be a blessing for him. If he can give a good account of himself before the Council we might get his banishment lifted, and even, possibly, restore his House."

"Oh." That news startled Chrístõ. "But… the House of Ixion..."

"Please bring him here," The Ambassador said. "And we shall see what falls out."

"I want it understood," Chrístõ said. "When I am free to leave again I will do so. I will not be tied down on Gallifrey until I must be. When I graduate and take my place in our great society. But not until then."

"I understand, Chrístõ," his father told him. "And yet, will you not spend a little while at home. Do you not miss it a little?"

"I miss you, father. Our home is just a house."

"It is your home, and your friends will all be honoured guests in it."


Julia was excited by the prospect of visiting Chrístõ's home planet. Penne, when he explained it to him, was less enthusiastic.

"I am king-emperor of seven planets," he smouldered angrily. "What right has your High Council to demand my attendance at their whim?"

"I'm sorry for the manner of it," Chrístõ told him. "But trust my father. He believes it could be for the best."

"I have always trusted your father, and you, my brother in spirit. Cirena and I will come with you to Gallifrey. But your High Council should bear in mind that THEY need my trade more than I need theirs and if I don't like their manners I shall not lose any sleep over them."


Chrístõ looked at his planet on the viewscreen. The first time in years he had seen it 'live' and not in pictures and televideo. It had not changed. Of course not. He had only been away twelve years yet. Not long enough for a place like Gallifrey, where changes happened slowly, if at all, to look any different.

"It's very pretty," Cirena remarked as his friends looked with him. And he sighed happily as he pointed out the landmarks. The great ocean and the two continents. The northern continent, mostly the Great Red Desert, except foThe Capitol in the south-west. And the southern Continent, swith less desert and more watered, verdant places like his home near Mount Lœng. He pointed out that great peak to his friends.


"It is beautiful," Julia told him.

"Adano Menor is beautiful," Penne said. "Where I was born. And it has far less useless desert."

"Earth is the MOST beautiful planet I know," Natalie added. "But we all love our home world best, I suppose."

"Gallifrey is where your people come from, Penne," Chrístõ told him. "You don't feel anything for it?"

"No," Penne answered. "I'm sorry, Chrístõ. I know you were hoping for something. You thought that when I saw it, some racial memory would trigger and I would love it as you do. But there is nothing. Adano is my birthplace, my home."

"Type 40 TARDIS," an imperious voice called as the view resolved into Gallifrey immigration control. "How many non-Gallifreyan citizens are aboard your ship?"

"Twenty," Chrístõ replied.

"Of what designation?" he was asked.

"Two Earth Human females, the King-Emperor and Queen of Adano-Ambrado and their entourage, two secretaries, two personal aides, eight CPO's, four domestic servants. They are all fully expected. Also one unknown entity called Humphrey who has special clearance on condition that h remains on board my TARDIS at all times.”

He wasn’t sure how his uncle had managed to get him the clearance code he transmitted, but he had insisted that he WASN’T coming home unless Humphrey was guaranteed his sanctuary aboard the TARDIS.

"You are cleared to pass through the Transduction Barrier. But you are to land at these co-ordinates and stand by."

"Stand by?" Chrístõ queried. "I have the head of state of one of Gallifrey's richest allies on board. And you wish me to land…." He checked the co-ordinate. "At the Chancellery Guard house? You intend for royalty to be subjected to Gallifreyan immigration control?"

"Stand by," he was told and the communication was cut.

"Call me fussy," Penne said. "But that doesn't sound like the sort of reception I'm accustomed to when I visit an allied planet."

"Indeed not," Cirena added. "Though we can't always expect the sort of grand parade we had on Ventura. Especially on worlds that have republican governments."

"I don't know what this is about," Chrístõ sighed as he prepared to materialise his ship on Gallifreyan soil. He was already starting to remember the reasons why he liked to travel away from home.

Matters were little improved when they landed. They stepped out of the TARDIS to be met by a detail of the Chancellery Guard. And they were clearly not an honour escort for the royal couple.

"Which of you is the son of the renegade, the one known as Penne Dúre?" the captain of the guard demanded.

"I am," Penne said, stepping forward. The members of the Guardia Real who came as his personal protection stepped forward in front of him, reaching for their weapons. "Stand down," he warned them at once. "We are not at war with these people. I am sure this can be sorted out." Even so, Cirena gave a distressed cry as he was taken in hand by two of the Guards and hustled away. Meanwhile the Guardia Real were disarmed by the Chancellery guard, despite Chrístõ's protests.

"The rest of the aliens can wait in the hospitality room until they are cleared," the Captain said. More Guards ushered them into a room which was, they noted, locked behind them.

Chrístõ wondered why HE was locked in there too, since he was a Gallifreyan citizen.

"This is a nice room," Natalie said as she picked up a fruit from the basket on a low table with large, soft sofas either side. She went to the window and looked out at the view over that red desert they saw from above. "Even so, I don't like being locked in."

"Nor do I," Cirena said. "And I should like to know where Penne is."

"So would I," Chrístõ told her. "I am not happy about this. I hope it's a mistake."

It HAD to be a mistake, he thought. It wasn't possible that he had brought Penne here on false pretences. His father would not have done that to either of them.

And what was it about? Penne's parents were renegades, yes. But there was nothing against Penne himself. Why would they arrest him?

Had he been arrested?

It certainly looked like it.


It had been three hours. Three long, tedious, and worrying hours. Cirena was keeping calm outwardly, but everyone could tell she was worried about Penne. They were ALL worried about Penne, and they had no idea what was going to happen to him or any of them. Even Chrístõ wasn't certain of his own fate.

And the fact that nobody told them anything made it worse.

At last they heard the door unlocked and they turned and looked as it opened. Chrístõ was not the only one relieved to see Penne enter along with two of the guards and his uncle, Remonte De Lœngbærrow, the Chancellor of the High Council. Penne ran to embrace Cirena. Remonte stepped towards them both and bowed graciously. He apologised for the mistake on the part of the immigration control, and the lack of respect for an honoured guest of Gallifrey.

"That is hardly good enough," Chrístõ said to him. "And where is my father?"

"Your father is at home," Remonte told him. "He did not wish to leave the house today. Your brother is ill."

"Half brother," Chrístõ said automatically. "What's the matter with him?"

"Your father has called a physician. We shall doubtless know more in time. Meanwhile, I have arranged transport for you all. Chrístõ…" His father's brother looked at him carefully. "It is a long time since I saw you. You have changed."

"I think it was my father's Alliance to Valena," he said coolly. "The last great family gathering. But I don't think we talked."

"No, I think we did not. I hope we will have a better chance to get to know each other while you are here with us," Remonte said.

"It would help if you stopped arresting my friends and treating them as unwanted aliens," Chrístõ retorted.

"Your father mentioned that you seem to have lost your manners while you have been away," Remonte said. "Is disrespect for elders common on the planets you have been visiting?"

"I believe respect is a mutual thing." Chrístõ replied. "I have seen a great lack of it for myself and my friends since I arrived. But that is nothing new. I am still the half-blood abomination in the eyes of many, aren't I, uncle."

"I never called you that," Remonte assured him.

"You never called anyone to account for saying it." He sighed. "I didn't come back to Gallifrey to renew old enmities. I wish to go home now. You said there was transport. I hope it is swift. We are all tired."

It was swift. Those who had never visited Gallifrey before were impressed despite their indignation at their less than friendly welcome. They travelled up to the roof of the Chancellery Guard building by turbo lift to find an executive jet waiting. It took off vertically from the roof and swiftly left the city behind. They were all thinking that it was not going to be swift enough, remembering that Chrístõ's home was on a separate continent when shields closed off the windows and they felt the sight change in the atmosphere as the inertial dampeners set in.

"We're going much faster than it feels," Chrístõ told Julia as she sat beside him looking puzzled. "Without the inertial dampeners it would be fatal to travel at this speed. And no, you don't want to see out of the window. It would be too disturbing. They'll raise the shields when we decelerate. We should get a nice view of the coast as we come in."

"This is how people get around on your planet then?" Julia asked him.

"This jet is a bit flash. They're trying to make up for the business earlier. But yes. I used to travel home from the Academy at weekends by a shuttle that worked in the same way. Hated that place. If I didn't get to come home for a few days each week I'd have gone nuts."

"I treasured my years at the Academy," Remonte told him.

"YOU aren't a half-blood," Chrístõ replied. He looked away from his uncle. Penne and Cirena were talking quietly together. Natalie was sitting with an eyemask over her eyes. When he asked she told him she had a headache. She seemed to have a lot of headaches lately. He made a note to stop off soon at a medical space station and book an ECG for her. Just in case.

"There," he said as the jet slowed again and the shields were raised quietly. "Julia, this is the southern continent. My birthplace. That's Mount Lœng ahead. But this is the coast and that river…. That's the Baerrow. Its source is on Mount Lœng. About fifty miles of it actually runs through the corner of our family property. It's a great place to walk."

Chrístõ actually did look animated now as he pointed out the landmarks to Julia. It occurred to him in a way it had never done before that one day the two of them would live here together. When she came here as his wife. He wanted her to love this part of Gallifrey, even if the Capitol's charms had failed both of them for now.

"Oh, is that your home?" Julia cried as the jet began to descend towards the lawn in front of a beautiful house in a style not unlike that called Georgian on Earth.

"It's my father's house," he answered. Home? That was a question that remained to be answered. He had been away so long. Would it still feel like home? He didn't yet know.

Wide steps led up to an elegant portico over the front door. As the jet came to a halt on the gravel before it, Chrístõ saw his father standing between the pillars waiting for him as he always did when he came home from the Academy on those much needed weekend respites.

"I'm gad you're here," his father said as he brought them all inside. "I'm sorry for the problems…"

"There is nothing for YOU to apologise for," Penne told him. "And those who should apologise haven't."

"I am sorry for that, too," The Ambassador said. "You always offered me the most gracious courtesy and I am sorry my planet could not offer you and your wife the same."

"The ladies are all tired," Penne said. "They need rest. For myself a little food and drink would replenish me."

"Rooms have been made ready for you all. My staff are on hand to help."

"Remonte told me that Garrick is ill," Chrístõ said as the butler escorted Cirena, Julia and Natalie upstairs followed by Cirena's personal staff. "Is it all right if I…"

"Valena is with him in the nursery," his father told him. "You may go up."

Chrístõ left his father and Penne and went to the nursery beside the master bedroom. It had never been his room. His earliest memories were not of this house, the ancestral home on Gallifrey, but the Gallifreyan Ambassador's residence on Ventura. His father had brought him 'home' after his mother died and he had been given a different room, a big, beautiful bedroom with a playroom next door full of toys. Later that room became his study as his father brought in tutors to prepare him for entry into the Prydonian Academy.

"Chrístõ," Valena whispered as he stepped into the nursery. "It is good to see you. Home at last."

"I would not be here if my friend had not been summoned to Gallifrey," he said coolly. "And I am leaving again as soon as we are done here." He looked to the crib where his half brother slept. He was shocked to see how ill he really did look. His skin was yellow and shiny and his sleep looked too deep to be normal.

"Liver failure," Chrístõ said.

"What?" Valena looked at him. "No. The physician said he just had a little colic and to keep his fluids up."

"The physician is wrong. The trouble with this planet… people don't get sick very often. The physicians don't recognise illnesses when they see them. Garrick has liver failure." Chrístõ lifted him up from his crib and held him carefully. He touched the child carefully. He was right.

"Chrístõ, you are just a boy…. You… you cannot know more than our physicians."

"I am a doctor," he said. "I trained on Earth, where people get sick all the time. I've seen this kind of thing in babies before. Lots of times."

"They survive? The Earth babies?"

"Not in the 1860s when I did my training. Later.... by the 20th century… they could do transplants."

"Transplants?" Valena looked at him as if the word was unfamiliar to her.

"We are so confident about our ability to regenerate our bodies we never even developed the technology. And you and my father may live to regret that. This is not something that will get better. The only treatments will slow it down. But little by little he will get worse. He will die. If you're lucky he will be comatose and not feel any pain."

Valena gave a soft gasp. Chrístõ looked again at the baby and placed him in his mother's arms.

"For what it's worth, I am sorry for that. I am sorry that you and my father will be grieved by his death. I would not wish that on anyone."

He turned and walked out of the nursery. He walked without even thinking about it, to his own room. The same room he had as a child. It evolved over the years into the room of an adolescent. It contained books and computers and the playroom that had become a schoolroom had become a sort of laboratory where he indulged his interest in sciences.

The room was tidy, of course. And clean. But it was exactly as he had left it twelve years ago.

His father fully expected him to come home and be his teenage son again as if his years of travel had not changed anything.

But surely his father realised that wasn't going to happen. He had been a boy when he left. Full of enthusiasms and ideas. He still was full of enthusiasms and ideas. But he wasn't a boy any more. He had already seen and done more than many Time Lords ever would who never travelled from Gallifrey. In the eight years he planned to travel before his graduation he expected to see and do so much more yet. And when he did return to stay, he would be returning with Julia as his intended bride. He would not be the son and heir after that. He would be the new master of Mount Lœng house. His father would settle his inheritance on him and he and Valena and Garrick would move to the lodge by the Baerrow.

Garrick. Chrístõ felt a little sick as he thought about it. As things stood, Garrick would not be moving anywhere. The child would be dead in days unless he got better treatment than was being offered so far.

And for all his ambiguous feelings about his half-brother, he didn't want that to happen.

He turned and left the room and went downstairs. He found his father and Penne in the drawing room. Penne was standing by the fireplace, his hand on the great ornamental dagger that was kept there in pride of place, almost identical to the one in Penne's family home on Adano Menor. This one had the crest of Lœngbærrow on the pommel. An honoured House. The dagger that was Penne's family heirloom had the dishonoured crest of Ixion upon it.

But Penne was not concerned with family history just now. He was voicing his dissatisfaction at what had taken place since he arrived on Gallifrey.

"We did not come here on a State Visit, but I did not expect quite such open hostility. I seem to be held in some suspicion at several levels of your government. I have been subjected to a great deal of personal insult already. Do you have ANY idea why your government ordered a blood sample be taken from me by force?"

"By force was not necessary," The Ambassador said. "I am sorry for that, Penne. But the blood sample is to establish that you ARE a Gallifreyan and of the House of Ixion as believed."

"Is my word held in doubt?" Penne looked at The Ambassador. "I count you as my friend," he said. "I know you did not ask Chrístõ to bring me here under false pretences. I KNOW he was not party to anything underhand. But… do others have an agenda to cause me trouble?"

"I do not know," The Ambassador said. "There has been a great deal of debate in the Council Chamber. Both openly and in camera. It has come as a shock to many of them to discover that an ally of this world, with whom we have trade agreements worth a great deal of money to both economies, is a member of a dishonoured House. There are some who wish to cut off all ties with Adano-Ambrado. But there are others who support you and would like to see you restored to honour as a Time Lord - as one of our own."

"I would like to know how the information came to the notice of your High Council," Penne said. "And I would like to know what difference it would make to me if I am 'restored to honour.'"

"The first question I have been trying to find out the answer to. I suspect something underhand going on. The second… I cannot answer at all. That is for you to decide. But you ARE Gallifreyan, Penne. You ARE a Time Lord. And it would please me to see you recognised as such."

"Then that is one reason to go through with this charade," Penne replied. "To please you, sir, whom I owe so much. But there is little other reason on my own part." He looked around then and saw Chrístõ at the door. "My blood brother is tie enough to this planet for me," he said and reached out his hand to him. Chrístõ stepped forward and let Penne embrace him in the brotherly way he always did when they were private.

"I am glad our friendship is not strained by this," Chrístõ told him. "But…" He turned to his father and told him of what he had discovered in the nursery. He saw his father's face turn white and if he was not a Gallifreyan he was sure he would be crying now.

"My son is dying?"

"I am sorry," Chrístõ told him. "Truly I am."

"Gallifrey, with all its great science, cannot cure the child?" Penne was astonished.

"Gallifrey's sciences have never made any great progress in the field of medicine," Chrístõ explained. "Adult Gallifreyans have very few illnesses. But as you can see, that leaves us with difficulties when it comes to the youngest of us. If Garrick was an adult, his liver would regenerate itself. The diseased cells would be replaced by healthy ones. But he would not begin to have those functions for maybe eighteen years. He hasn't got that long."

"And nobody on this planet can do a transplant?" Penne asked.

"Valena had never even heard of the word," Chrístõ pointed out. "It is just not done here."

"It is done on Adano-Gran," Penne said. "When this inquiry is over and we are all free to leave, Garrick will have the finest surgeons in my empire. I owe the house of Lœngbærrow no less a debt for all you have done for me."

"Then let us hope this inquiry is dealt with quickly," Chrístõ said. "I don't think Garrick can afford it to be a drawn out affair."

The inquiry began the next morning. It meant another trip by executive jet, back to the capitol. Natalie stayed behind. She told Chrístõ her head would not take another trip by that jet so soon and sitting in a stuffy courtroom all day would not improve things.

"It's not a courtroom as such," he told her. "The Council are sitting in the Panopticon. But you would be better staying here. Take a walk in the garden. It is lovely this time of year. And maybe Valena would like some company."

"I am sure she would. I am so sorry to hear about your brother."

"Half brother," Chrístõ automatically said. "Yes, I am sorry, too. But we must deal with this other matter now." He hugged Natalie and wished her a pleasant day. He wished he, too, was spending the day in the family demesne with fields and gardens and woodlands to roam with Julia by his side.

She WAS by his side, but not in a place he wanted to take her. If he could, he would have had her stay at the house, too. But she had told him her place was at his side and he had been surprised to find both his father and step-mother backing her up.

"She is your chosen one," his father said. "When she is your wife it will be no less than her duty to do what she willingly does for you now."


"This is the Panopticon," Chrístõ told Julia as he brought her to a seat in the huge room. They were in the front row facing a long table where the High Council would sit. She looked around and saw balconies and galleries all around. They were full of Time Lords, all in long robes with rich embroidery denoting their Houses and status. Chrístõ and his father both wore gold robes with the scarlet of the Prydonian Academy. Penne, who was known as a colourful character most of the time, for this occasion wore a black robe with a dark red cloak over it fastened with silver trimmings. Chrístõ noticed they had the crest of Adano-Ambrado on them. It was loosely based on the crest of the House of Ixion.

Penne and Cirena sat next to Chrístõ and his father. They held themselves erect regally and nobody was in any doubt of their importance even among crowds of high ranking Gallifreyans.

"I outrank them all except the President," Penne made a point of saying as he looked around. "If they expect me to feel intimidated…."

"They do expect it," The Ambassador said. "But I am confident you will surprise them."

Chrístõ looked at his father. He looked a little weary. He had spent a large part of the night in the nursery with Garrick. Chrístõ had looked in on him after breakfast. He did not look significantly worse, but he was never going to get better until he had the right treatment.

"Is this room only used for trials and inquiries?" Julia asked.

"No," Chrístõ told her. "Usually it is used for our special ceremonies. The induction of the President and Chancellor takes place here. So do funerals of important Time Lords. And the highest ranking families have weddings and naming ceremonies here." He smiled as Julia looked at him. "Yes," he said. "I am high ranking enough. WE shall be married here."

Julia clearly had more questions to ask him about that, but a hush came upon the crowd as the big doors opened and the High Council entered in procession and took their places, the Chancellor and President taking their seats last of all. There was a brief pause before a man Chrístõ recognised as Lord Ravenswode, patriarch of one of the other great families of the southern continent, rose to make the opening statements of the inquiry. He spoke at length about the honour and dignity of Gallifrey.

"It came to my attention that both the honour and the dignity of our great society are being made a mockery of among the twelve galaxies by the son of a renegade. The son of Mordlock de Ixion, who evaded a death sentence passed for a dreadful capital crime three hundred years ago and was subsequently banished under pain of immediate execution should he set foot on Gallifreyan soil."

"The House of Ixion!" The name susurrated around the Panopticon and eyes turned on Penne. Some of them curious, some hostile.

"IF that be the case, of course," Ravenswode added. "It has come to my attention that this son of Ixion may not be anything of the sort. The individual in question may be the offspring of a simpler, but no less scandalous union."

"What are you talking about Ravenswode?" Chancellor Remonte demanded. "The question we are considering is whether to recognise this man, Dúre as a Time Lord of Gallifrey. What have scandals got to do with it?"

"I believe Dúre MAY be a Time Lord, or the son of a Time Lord at least," Ravenswode said. "But not Mordlock Ixion. I believe he is the illegitimate progeny of Lord de Lœngbærrow."

"What?" Chancellor Remonte stood as voices murmured all around the room. "What is the meaning of such an accusation? What evidence do you have?"

"The evidence of my eyes," Ravenswode said. "Stand up!" he demanded of Penne.

"Ravenswode," The Lord High President said with a warning note in his voice. "Whatever else this man may be he is the head of state of an ally. I suggest you address him with more respect."

"Of course," Ravenswode replied with a slight bow towards the President and an even slighter one to Penne. "Would you please stand, your Majesty."

Penne did so. Ravenswode asked him to state his age and the season of his birth, and he replied that he was 191 in Gallifreyan years and born in the spring.

"And you," Ravenswode continued, turning to Chrístõ. "Stand up."

Chrístõ did so and answered the same question.

"It is plainly obvious that these two are at least half-brothers. Lord de Lœngbærrow caused enough scandal by marrying an alien woman. Is it surprising that one so cavalier with our traditions and our culture should have had a second union that produced another son? It would explain, of course, why his Lordship has spent so much time offworld in the company of the Emperor of Adano-Ambrado."

"That is an outrageous lie," The Ambassador said, rising to his feet in protest.

"Is it?" Ravenswode asked him. "How then do you explain their identical features?"

"Coincidence," The Ambassador declared. "Nothing more. And I demand an apology for the insult to me and to my late wife implicit in your accusation that I was unfaithful to the mother of my son in any way."

"I DEMAND that blood samples be taken to prove paternity," Raveswode countered.

"I have no objection to giving a blood sample," The Ambassador replied. "But I do question the point of this. Was a full inquiry of the High Council called to listen to malicious rumours about my private life? Is this about the heir to the House of Ixion or about slandering the House of Lœngbærrow?"

"It is about truth," Ravenswode said. "You and your sons will be required to provide samples."

"You KNOW my youngest son is ill," The Ambassador told Ravenswode. "He will NOT be interfered with to prove an irrelevant point. My eldest son is a loyal Gallifreyan who will co-operate fully with the will of the High Council if they believe this necessary."

Ravenswode looked to the President. He in turn looked to the Chancellor who rose to his feet.

"This is a malicious and foolish piece of slander. But in the nature of things, unless it is proved to be false, it will pass from being rumour to being 'fact'. The inquiry will recess. Prepare blood samples. We will await the results before continuing." With that, the Council rose and left the Panopticon. Chrístõ and his father rose, too, and went with a steward to where they could give the blood sample that was required.

"This was Ravenswode's plan all along," The Ambassador said as they returned to the Panopticon afterwards. "He wants to expose me as an adulterer. It is all about disgracing our House."

"Because Penne and I look alike?" Chrístõ looked at his father. "It's all about that?"

"I still wonder how he knew. Penne has never set foot on this planet before. And Ravenswode hasn't set foot off it."

When they returned to the Panopticon they both found themselves uncomfortably the subject of gossip and unashamedly open staring. They heard snatches of the conversations easily enough. And it was clear that Ravenswode's accusation had taken hold of the imagination. Everyone believed that Penne was The Ambassador's illegitimate son from an affair conducted at the same time as his son was conceived by his Human wife.

"How easily gossip becomes accepted as truth," The Ambassador sighed. "I would not care," he added. "But for the insult to your mother, Chrístõ. I have thought of Penne as a son. If he WERE my flesh and blood I would be proud of him. I AM proud of him. But what is being accepted so very readily here is malevolent."

"The penalty for adultery is a public flogging," Chrístõ said.

"That it is," The Ambassador replied. "And yet, if I had set aside your mother when it seemed she could not conceive - set her up in a house somewhere with servants and whatever comfort she needed - and took a second wife from among the socially acceptable - THAT would have been considered politically prudent. The double standards of our society verge on the obscene." He turned sharply as he caught a particularly vile slander among the hubbub of voices. He stared at the culprit and he had scruples enough to look away in shame.

"Who is that with Julia?" Chrístõ asked as they came down to where they were sitting.

"That is young Romana," The Ambassador told him.

"Romana? But…" Chrístõ took the steps two at a time to reach her. This was a more pleasant turn of events at least.


"Romana!" Chrístõ's smile was warm as he greeted her, but his eyes were puzzled. She was wearing the robes of a novitiate of the Sisters of Pazithi Gallifreya, a closed community of female Time Lords who practiced meditation and philosophy. The pale blue silk covered her from neck to ankle and a headdress hid all but the smallest part of her face. She looked, he thought, the very picture of chastity.

"Hello, Chrístõ," she said as she looked up at him.

"I didn't think you were the type," he said, referring to the clothes.

"Then you didn't know that my mother was a member of the Sisterhood from her graduation to her first regeneration at the age of 900. She gave her first life to contemplation and her second to being a wife and mother."

"Do you intend to do the same?" Chrístõ asked. "To shut yourself away for a lifetime?"

"I think so," she said. "I will be a novice for one century at least. I will be allowed to visit the outside world and decide if it is right for me."

"Then you will still be able to come to my wedding - in twelve years time?"

"Nothing would keep me away," she said.

"Are you…" Chrístõ blushed as he asked a question telepathically. He didn't want Julia to hear. "This is conceited of me, I'm afraid. But… is this because you and I never worked out?"

"No," she told him gently. "This was always a wish of mine. If you and I had a destiny together I might have set it aside. For you I would have happily changed my plan. But no. We will always be friends, Chrístõ. I will think fondly of you always. But this is a decision I made of my own free will. Which is more than can be said for your dear cousin, Rani."

"Rani? What about her?"

"Her father sent her to the Sisterhood by force. She is to stay there until she is of age. He wants to keep her away from Epsilon's influence."

"I can understand that. He has not been seen on Gallifrey?"

"He wouldn't dare. He would be arrested."

"Then at least here we're safe from him," Chrístõ sighed. "But poor Rani. Is it true that novitiates are required to do all the cleaning and menial tasks?"

"It is true. It teaches humility. We do our allotted share."

"Rani will love that part."

"Indeed, though schadenfreude is not encouraged by the Sisters."

"I suppose not." He reached and kissed her gently on the cheek. "Romana, I hope you will be happy in your choice. Bless you." She kissed him in return before saying goodbye to Julia and returning to where she had been sitting with her father. They, at least, he noted, were not joining in the gossip. They waited patiently for the inquiry to begin again.

And it did very soon. Ravenswode smirked as he watched a big video screen set up so that the whole of the assembled crowd could see the results of the test. He looked confident that he was going to be proved right. For a cold, horrible moment Chrístõ wondered if it WAS true. He imagined his father publicly disgraced, taken from the Panopticon as a prisoner and punished for adultery.

But it couldn't be. The first time he met Penne, he remembered, he had looked at his DNA and seen that he was no relation to him at all.

"My Lords." Raveswode sat down, smirking still, as a man in a laboratory coat came before them. "These are the results of the blood tests carried out on the sample taken from the alien subject Penne Dúre yesterday and of Ambassador de Lœngbærrow and his son today. As you can see…" He paused and waited for the results to be displayed. "As you can see, the two samples taken today prove a father son relationship. The younger Lœngbærrow's DNA is almost identical to his father's. It is not possible to get a closer match without cloning. The Human DNA of the other parent…"

"My late wife, Lady de Lœngbærrow," The Ambassador cut in. "You will show her that much respect. This is Gallifrey, not the Andromeda sector."

"My apologies, Lordship," the expert said with a bow of his head towards The Ambassador. "Turning to the other sample, however, I can find no common denominator at all. The subject named Penne Dúre…"

"Again," The Ambassador complained. "A lack of respect. Penne Dúre is a man of wealth, position and power, and that he submits to this charade at all is a sign of his graciousness."

"The subject," the expert continued. "Is NOT related to the other two. All I can say from this sample is that he IS a Gallifreyan. But he is NOT the son of The Ambassador De Lœngbærrow."

"It is a mistake," Ravenswode cried out angrily. "You made a mistake. Or you doctored the results."

"I did nothing of the sort," the expert replied. "And I protest at the insult to my profession."

"I agree," the President said as Ravenswode got ready to make a reply. "This line of inquiry has resulted in nothing but insults all round. Sir, your work is done. You may be relieved. Lord Ravenswode, before we continue you will apologise to Lord de Lœngbærrow for the unfounded slander against his name."

Ravenswode had no choice. He made a grudging apology. But he was not done yet. He turned towards Penne and his voice was filled with hatred as he spoke.

"The tests prove one thing without doubt. HE is a Gallifreyan by blood, if not by place of birth. And his parentage is questionable."

"It is not," Penne replied, and he stepped forward from his seat. "Lord President, Chancellor, members of the High Council of Gallifrey, I am Penne Dúre, King-Emperor of Adano-Ambrado. I stand before you as an equal and I have nothing to be ashamed of. My parents were, indeed, Mordlock and Dannan de Ixion. They were of this planet. And yes, I have been told of the dreadful crime they committed."

"Then you know you have no right to be here on Gallifrey, that your presence here is an affront."

"I was SUMMONED here to answer your inquiry about my family," Penne replied to Ravenswode. "I would not have come otherwise, even though my Empire has forged strong and binding trade and diplomatic ties with Gallifrey."

"These trade ties," Ravenswode continued. "Who helped you to forge them? Was it not The Lord de Lœngbærrow?"

"It was," Penne answered. "He and his son have offered me their most gracious friendship. But they did so first as individuals, as they have every right to do. Lord de Lœngbærrow only came to represent Gallifrey in a diplomatic capacity AFTER formal ties had been established between our worlds. There is no wrong-doing involved. There is nothing you can hold against Lord de Lœngbærrow. And I question why you appear to be building a case against his Lordship. I don't know very many Gallifreyans. But I am glad the first ones that I met were gracious and decent men like them and not YOU. Or there would NOT be any ties between us. I only hope that the Lœngbærrow family are far more representative of the majority on this planet than Ravenswode. Because if I meet any more hostility such as you are demonstrating… if there is one more insult against me and my gracious wife, the Queen of Adano-Ambrado and Terrigna, then those ties will be severely strained."

“Your majesty,” The President of the High Council said. “Please accept my apologies for any personal slight against you and your wife. I am satisfied of your own honour. However, regardless of how you yourself are regarded within this Council Room, the main point of this inquiry remains clear. Can we continue to have diplomatic and trade ties with the son of a mass murderer who escaped justice here five hundred years ago? You see our dilemma.”

“I see that Gallifrey sets store by honour. And that the House of Ixion was dishonoured. And for good reason. I do not dispute that. I do not deny that I am the son of the last son of the House of Ixion. That much I know about my parentage. And that is about all. I have never been known by that name. I have always been Penne Dúre. I lead my people, I have their love and respect and loyalty, by that name. I have no use for any dishonoured name that died out before I was born. I am certainly not guilty, and will not be made to FEEL guilty, of the crimes committed by the House of Ixion. Gallifrey can accept me for who I am, as Penne Dúre, or it can reject me. It can lift the banishment upon me for something I did not do, or not. Gallifrey can continue to be a favoured planet which enjoys tariff free trade with my empire, or it can pay its taxes like everyone else.”

“Or we can end those trade agreements and go elsewhere for the minerals we import,” somebody said. He looked around at the member of the High Council who had spoken.

“Indeed you can,” Penne answered him. “You are perfectly free to do that any time. But your treasury ministers will tell you that the terms by which you import from my empire are far better than you will get elsewhere, even WITHOUT the tariff free arrangement which is purely goodwill on my part.”

Penne finished speaking and took his seat regally as he waited for the President to reply to him.

“Your Majesty,” he said at last after consulting with the Chancellor and others. “We must now retire to consider the issues here. Firstly, whether we can officially recognise in any way at all, diplomatically or economically, an empire ruled by the son of a most notorious outlaw from our society, secondly, whether that history can be set aside and the banishment upon you, who was born long after that capital crime was committed, may be lifted. Thirdly, whether the House of Ixion should now be restored with you as its patriarch.” He paused and looked at Penne. “I realise that none of these matters affect you as much as they affect us. You may leave Gallifrey any time you wish and be no worse off than you were before you came here. But I would be glad if you would remain until we have considered these questions.”

“I will wait one Gallifreyan day,” Penne said. “No longer. There are more vital issues at stake than this.”

"I never thought I would see the day when the High Council of Gallifrey would be forced to debate on a time limit!" somebody exclaimed as the doors to the Panopticon were opened and the Time Lords made their way out. "That is one remarkable young man. What will he be like when he comes of age?"

"What indeed," The Ambassador thought with a smile at his surrogate son and his queen as they walked regally, the crowds parting before them. Then his smile faded as he saw Natalie pushing her way through the ranks of Time Lords. She was crying. The Ambassador's hearts froze as he realised there could be only one reason why she was there.

"Sir," she sobbed as The Ambassador caught her by the arm. "Oh, I'm so glad I found you. You must come. Your little boy… he's been taken to the hospital. He's dying."

"My wife is with him?" The Ambassador asked.

"Yes," Natalie told him. "She asked me to find you, to tell you…. to come quickly."

"Damn it," Penne swore. "This ridiculous inquiry. We should have left them to it and taken the child to Adano-Ambrado."

"Let's not waste any more time," The Ambassador said.


"Valena!" The Ambassador ran into the intensive care ward. His wife looked up from beside the incubator crib where their child lay, looking even sicker than before. "Oh my love."

Chrístõ stepped forward to the crib as his father and stepmother embraced each other. He was so used to living among Humans these days that he was almost surprised that they weren't crying. But their grief was evident. He reached into the crib and touched the child whose existence he had bitterly and jealously resented. A dark corner of his soul reminded him that all he had to do was wait a few hours and there would be nothing to resent.

Then he remembered the Hippocratic oath he never actually took because circumstances prevented him doing so.

Then he looked at his father and stepmother.

He looked at the child.

"Is it too late to get him to Adano-Ambrado?" Penne asked. Chrístõ looked around and saw him and Cirena standing at the door. Julia and Natalie were there, too. They were crying enough for everyone.

"Yes," he said. "But it's not too late to do something. He is in the best hospital we have on this planet. Penne… tell them to make an operating theatre ready. We're going to do a transplant…"

"What?" Valena looked at him. "How?"

"He's only a baby. His liver is a very small organ yet. A piece taken from an adult donor would work perfectly adequately for him. It can be done. We just need a donor who is genetically close to him."

"You?" Valena stood and came to him. "Chrístõ… you would do that much for my son. After all that has been between us?"

"I would do it for any child who needed such help," he replied. "But I didn't, in fact, mean me. I am the only person on this planet who has even SEEN a transplant operation performed. I'm going to DO it." He looked at his father. "We are both your sons," he said. "We both have YOUR DNA."

"Chrístõ!" Valena looked at him, then to her husband. "You mean you will… Your own father… He is on his last life, you know. If this goes wrong…."

"I know," Chrístõ told her. "But I know he loves both of us, and he would die for either one of us."

"That I would," The Ambassador said. "But you don't ask that much of me. I trust you, Chrístõ. I believe you can do this."

Chrístõ nodded and went to get ready to perform an operation that was beyond anything he had yet done. On Earth in the 1860s he had done surgery regularly. He was good at it. His fast, nimble hands had saved the lives of hundreds of poor Londoners. And afterwards he had studied advanced surgery by watching videos of operations performed in the late 20th, 21st, 22nd, and even later centuries. He understood the principles. He only lacked the actual experience.

Operating simultaneously on his own father and baby brother was a definition of 'in at the deep end' even he would not have cared to contemplate. But there was no choice.


"Can he do it?" Valena asked as she sat in the waiting area. Julia and Natalie both tried to ease her anxiety. So did Penne and Cirena. "Chrístõ… is he good enough?"

"He is a very good doctor," Natalie told her. "He looks after me. But I don't know. This is much more complicated."

"He CAN do it," Julia insisted. "Chrístõ can do anything."

"You're a very sweet girl," Valena told Julia. "I know you love him very much. But Chrístõ… he's just a boy. He's not… I can't even believe he is trying. He hates me. He hates my son…."

"No he doesn't," Penne told her. "Chrístõ told me a long time ago how he feels about you and his brother…"

"Half-brother," Julia said.

"HE always says that," Valena told her. "Whenever anyone calls Garrick his brother, he always says, almost as if it was an automatic response, 'half-brother'. He can't accept him as anything closer than that."

"But he doesn't hate him," Penne insisted.

"If he did, would he be trying to do all he can to save him?" Cirena pointed out.

"I know," Valena said. "That's what is so puzzling. He could have walked away. Done nothing. But he didn't. And now he is doing everything he can for my baby."

"That's the sort of man he is," Penne told her. "He could have given me up as a waste of time when we first met. But he didn't. I owe him a lot. I…."

Whatever he was going to say next was lost. The women he was keeping company with all screamed as the door was slammed open. The two CPOs by the door were taken by surprise as their two comrades who were outside were pushed into the room by the first of four dark clad men with guns who spread out as they poured in, covering them all. Penne stood and stepped in front of his wife and his friends as he cursed the idiot who demanded that his security detail was disarmed.

Or was this WHY they were disarmed?

"What is the meaning of this?" he demanded.

"Shut up, and sit down," he was told. "Do as you're told and you may be allowed to live."

Penne looked at the men who threatened him. He stayed standing. He wasn't looking at the women but he could feel as well as hear their fear as they clung to each other. And he wondered what he should do next.

He wondered what Chrístõ would do.