Unfinished Business, Doctor Who, Dr. Who, Chris Eccleston, Christopher Eccleston, Doctor who Fiction

“How does this look?” Ray asked as she stepped into the console room in an outfit she had found in the wardrobe. The Doctor looked at her and smiled. She was wearing an outfit something like she had worn in her younger days when rock and roll and motorbikes dominated her life – black jeans and a t-shirt and a leather jacket to complete the ensemble.

The Doctor looked again and recognised the leather jacket. He had worn it when he was a teenager – or the nearest equivalent to one in the long and often painful process of Gallifreyan youthhood.

Ray looked like an older, female version of the teenage version of him.

Why not.

“Where are we going next?” she asked. “And what kind of people will we meet? The diplomatic reception on Alpha Centauri was quite an eye-opener. The different kinds of people – those ones with the golden wings – the lady Ambassador wanted to dance with you all night. And the Canusan – with the dog heads. The Alpha Centaurians themselves are a pretty far out species. And yet they all thought I was odd, being Human.”

“We were in the late twenty-first century by your calendar. Humans had reached their outer solar system, established habitats as far out as Pluto, but they hadn’t yet gone inter-stellar. You were a rare species to them.”

Ray considered that idea – that she was the rarity among so many unusual looking people – and nodded. Yes, she was in space. She was the traveller and other people were natives of their worlds – not aliens.

“The planet I’m taking you to now is in a later time in your history, when colonies have been established and Human is the dominant species in the galaxy,” The Doctor added. “Once you did break out of your earthly bonds there was no stopping you.”

“Were we an asset to the galaxy or something like an infestation of rats plaguing everywhere we touched?” Ray asked cautiously.

“For the most part, an asset,” The Doctor assured her. “Though there have been a few mistakes in your colony programmes. This isn’t one of them. The Humans who call Appi Fesso home are a decent lot, peaceful, hospitable, interested in art and culture. The opera house in the Central City is bigger than the royal palace, and their sculpture gardens are magnificent.”

“We’re going to the opera?” Ray asked wondering if she was underdressed after all.

“Not yet,” The Doctor replied. “We’re landing in Western City and taking the train. There is a magnificent hyper-rail service between the cities. You’ll enjoy seeing the scenery that way. It is early evening in autumn. The sun will set on the way. It will be magnificent on the Great Plain.”

“Good enough,” Ray decided. She watched as the viewscreen showed a planet that looked like a purple, green and blue streaked marble with white capping the two frozen poles. It had a silvery ring system like Saturn and at least three moons. “Beautiful,” she added.

“Oh, it is,” The Doctor agreed. He smiled. He was looking forward to a visit to a place with no tyranny to be fought or invading forces to repel. He was looking forward to seeing the friends he had made the last time he was there. It was a while back, now. A lifetime ago, when he had rather less taste in clothing and Peri, who had very good taste in everything, was his companion. She had enjoyed the visit, too.

Peri was now Queen of Krontep, married to King Yrcanos and ruling a warrior race who kept the peace on the conquered Thoros Betas with his iron fist inside her velvet glove. That was a reunion visit he should make one day!

He shook himself out of his reverie as the TARDIS materialised in the freight yard of the hyper-rail station of Western City. He found his umbrella and jacket and got ready for a trip by a vehicle other than his own.

He was rather surprised and disconcerted when he found himself under arrest by the Appi Fessi equivalent of the British Transport Police and taken to a detention room on the central platform of the station.

Ray was required to accompany him. She sat opposite him at a plain table and looked around at the notice board containing train schedules, health and safety rules and a very large wanted poster. It had The Doctor’s photograph on it, as well as a very accurate drawing of the TARDIS and the additional information that he usually travelled with a female companion.

The Doctor was wanted for High Treason.

“What did you do?” Ray asked.

“Not a thing,” he answered. “I had a very pleasant time on my last visit, here. I stayed here in Western City at the summer palace of the Crown-Prince and Princess and entertained them with my spoon-playing and effle-juggling. An effle is a sort of octagonal ball with a liquid centre that makes it unpredictable. Juggling them is….”

“Doctor, I doubt you’re being accused of High Treason for a mis-caught effle. There has to be something else.”

“Yes,” he sighed. “But I can’t think what it could be. I simply can’t. When I left the Princess bestowed the High Order of Fesso on me. Everyone was perfectly Happy on Appi.”

Ray was glad that terrible pun was over and done with. She had seen it coming from orbit. But the more serious problem remained – The Doctor was accused of High Treason and she was almost certainly being considered his accomplice.

“Do they have a death penalty on Appi Fesso?” she asked. The Doctor was about to answer her when the door opened. A man in the deep purple uniform of the Royal Guard entered. He looked at the two prisoners sternly.

“I am Kapitone Adomas. You have been placed in my custody. I am to take you and your companion to the palace in Western City to face the evidence of your crime.”

“What crime?” The Doctor asked. “I don’t understand.” Adomas pulled a set of metal rings from his pocket and fixed one around Ray’s wrist, first. Then he reached to do the same to The Doctor before putting the third on his own wrist. “Ah, electronic cuffs. Very useful. If the prisoner moves more than a few metres from the guard he will be zapped with a debilitating charge.”

"One metre,” Adomas answered. “I don’t intend to let either of you get far from me until you’re kneeling in front of the crown prince begging for his mercy.”

“Of course not,” The Doctor said, surprisingly calmly. “You are a very good, honest policeman, doing your job, and I apologise for this.”

The Doctor stood up and grasped Ray’s hand before racing to the detention room door. A single step took him more than a metre from the Kapitone. Adomas yelped in pain as he was jolted by an electronic charge.

The Doctor kept running along the platform. There was a long, sleek, hyper train about to leave the station for the Central City. He leapt aboard, pulling Ray up behind him, just before the automatic door sealed,.

“Talk about the nick of time. Let’s find a couple of seats and settle down. We’re safe for a while. We’re on the express to Central City. That gives me three hours to think things over.”

“You… you….” Ray composed herself as The Doctor found a pair of seats with a table between. She sat down and looked out of the window. The train had already left the station and was moving through the middle of Western City. The backs of tall, majestic buildings rose up on either side like steel and glass cliffsides. Soon those buildings gave way to lower roofs of homes and schools and other parts of the clean suburbs.

“Tickets, please,” said a voice that could have belonged to any British Rail ticket collector. It wasn’t. It was a robot that hummed along an inch or so above the floor on a spinning silver gravity wheel. It had a credit card slot and ticket dispenser in the middle of its ‘chest’ and a scanner in the palm of its one extendable metal hand for checking the validity of tickets already purchased.

Ray held her breath as the robot came closer, and The Doctor calmly pulled an assortment of objects out of his pocket - a handkerchief, collection of alien coins, a tin of barley sugar sweets and, finally, a travel pass that was accepted by the ticket robot.

“Fifty year season ticket, for two,” The Doctor said as the robot passed by. “I fished it out when I decided to come to Appi Fesso. Don’t you think the hyper-train is a lovely way to travel? The wheels hover a millimetre above the rail and turn by anti-friction. It’s not only near silent, but utterly eco-friendly.”

“Eco-friendly?” The expression was new to Ray. She had left Earth in the early 1970s. She would have worked it out for herself if she wasn’t still worried about the far more important problem.

“We’re fugitives,” she pointed out. “From the law.”

“Yes, I know.”

“By the way, what did you do to the Kapitone?”

“Just a little bit of sleight of hand. I switched his cuff with mine. I’m afraid that means I have the one that will zap you if you move away, so if you need anything from the buffet I’ll have to come with you.”

Ray thought there was at least one other problem on a train that was travelling non-stop for three hours, but she didn’t mention that for now.

“I’m not going anywhere. The Vincent is in the TARDIS which is back at the station, getting further away by the minute. But, Doctor….”

“I don’t KNOW what this is all about,” he said. “I hope to find out. But I can’t do anything until we reach Central City. We’re safe until then. Relax. Enjoy the journey. This is the magnificent scenery I brought you here to see.”

Kapitome Adomas was only temporarily incapacitated by the jolt from the electronic cuff. His pride was hurt far more. One of his subordinates finally found a key and released him from the cuff. By then it was obvious that The Doctor and the young woman who was with him were not in the station.

“They couldn’t have got out,” said Seržantas Gedeminas, his assistant. “Every exit was guarded, and we have his ‘police box’ in our custody, now.”

“What about the TRAINS?” Adomas asked.

“Trains, sir?” Gedeminas looked uncharacteristically non-plussed.

“Trains. This is a station. Trains leave from it. At least a dozen every hour.”

“We stopped those within minutes of the escape,” Gedeminas answered. “They have all been searched, the passenger identifications all checked. We have had to let most of them continue on their journeys. It was becoming difficult….”

Adomas swore in the dialect of Fessan he spoke as a boy in a peaceful rural town where he dreamt of being a big city detective arresting dastardly criminals. He glanced at the train schedule and then at his watch.

“The express to Central City was ready to leave at the eighteenth hour, just about when I was cuffing the prisoners. Did it….”

Gedeminas tried to think of a swear word as good as the one the Kapitone had just used.

“It left before we ordered them to stop,” he admitted, knowing the mistake was going to haunt him for a very long time. “But Kapitone, why would The Doctor get onto a train going TO Central City, where his crime was committed? Wouldn’t he try to get as far away from there as possible?”

That was a very good question. Adomas didn’t dismiss it as some men might have done in his position. He filed it away in his mind for later.

“I want a hover-copter and a fully armed SWOOP Team,” he said.

The scenery WAS magnificent. They had left the city behind as the ticket collector was passing by and now they were crossing a wide, deep valley on a high viaduct that curved gracefully so that Ray could see the tall archways of cream-coloured stone that supported it. Below a river flowed through the valley. Tall fir trees covered the slope on one side and on the other was yellow-red grass where a small domestic animal like a goat or sheep grazed in grey-blue woolly herds. The setting sun was dropping low at the end of the valley which ran north-south as the train crossed it in a west-east direction. The sun set to the north on this planet.

The train cleared the viaduct and increased speed as it crossed a wide plain covered in long yellow grass. Huge beasts roamed the plain. They looked something like elephants crossed with giraffes. They strode across the countryside like giants, their shadows stretching even longer than their bodies in the sunset.

Ray wondered what stopped them striding across the city they had just left.

The Doctor watched the scenery calmly, too. He seemed unconcerned by his predicament. When the buffet trolley came along the aisle, pushed by another of those fantastic looking robots, he calmly bought sandwiches, cakes and coffee, putting coins into the slot on the robot’s chest and receiving a receipt and change in return. Ray ate the food because she was hungry, but she was still worried, and even the novelty of elephant-giraffes couldn’t quite make her forget that the train was likely to have armed police waiting for it at the other end of the journey. They would surely have guessed that The Doctor had got on the train. She wondered why they hadn’t stopped the train anyway and come aboard to arrest them.

“The train doesn’t stop for anything short of a body on the line,” The Doctor said when she brought it up. “The driver is robot, too. Transportation is all fully automated on Appi Fesso.”

“But what if they needed to stop the train, because a couple of criminals were aboard?” she suggested. “You know… a couple of wanted people who had evaded the law once already, having caused grievous bodily harm to a policeman in the course of their escape.”

“Well, it’s not as if they don’t know where to look for them at the end of the journey,” The Doctor answered. “Don’t worry. It will all come out in the wash.”

And that was as much as he said on the subject for the next hour. Ray fretted and watched herds of elephant-giraffes on the plain until something came up that she could no longer ignore.

“Doctor, I need the BATHROOM,” she said pointedly.

“Oh… it’s just down the end of the carriage,” he answered in a nonchalant way.

“YOU need to come with me,” she pointed out, tapping the cuff on her wrist. “And I still haven’t worked out how that’s going to work.”

“I’ll wait right outside,” The Doctor assured her. “The cubicles are not very big. You won’t be more than a metre away from me.”

He took hold of her hand as they walked along the central aisle to the end of the carriage. Ray tried not to look at the people in the seats. She hoped none of them were looking at her and The Doctor. But it was a long train journey and two people moving from their seat provided a curiously welcome distraction from the elephant-giraffes in the sunset, from thick novels, Sudoku compendiums and hand-held computer consoles. Everyone in the carriage looked around at them before they went through the connecting door to where the toilet cubicles were.

“Somebody must have recognised you,” Ray said as she pushed open the door and slipped inside, leaving the door not quite closed. The Doctor put his hand through the gap, getting his cuff as close to hers as possible while studiously looking the other way and hoping nobody walked past. “Doctor,” she continued while she went on with her business. “Those people have newspapers and little hand held televisions, and portable telephones in their pockets. They MUST know who you are. They can tell the authorities.”

“Even if they do, that changes nothing. They won’t stop the train until it reaches Central City.”

But as he spoke they were both aware of a change in speed. The train WAS slowing down.

“We must be reaching another viaduct,” The Doctor said. “There ARE four of them on the route.”

“No,” Ray answered him. “The train is stopping.”

“You’re right, it is,” The Doctor agreed. “Quickly… let me in.”

“I’m not finished,” Ray answered. There was a small sound of an eco-friendly water saving flush and then a hurried hand wash. Ray opened the door fully and The Doctor slipped inside the cramped cubicle meant for one person at a time to do what was necessary. He locked the door behind him.

“They will look in the toilet,” she pointed out.

“Of course, they will,” The Doctor answered. He was examining the floor, of all things. “There is always an access panel,” he said. “And they invariably put it in the toilet cubicle.”

He rummaged in his pocket and pulled out an ordinary Phillips screwdriver, murmuring something about missing his ‘old sonic’. Ray watched him for a few moments before taking the screwdriver from him and swiftly unscrewing the dozen small headed screws that held the panel in place. She lifted it and looked down at the ground still whizzing by at about seventy miles per hour, half of its normal inter-city speed. It was going to be a few minutes before the train stopped fully.

“Just so that I know,” Ray said. “What exactly do we DO when it stops? I know it looks kind of obvious… but… seriously… climbing down under the train?”

The Doctor smiled knowingly and watched the sleepers under the rails and the stones that made up the bed of the railtrack become increasingly easier to see as the train slowed more and more. Soon they felt the slight jerk backwards as it stopped completely. That was followed by shouted orders outside and the unmistakeable sound of men in strong boots boarding the train. The Doctor stood up and pressed himself against the partition wall beside the door. Ray looked at him and understood what he planned. She did the same.

“This can’t work,” she whispered to him as one of the policemen tried the door and then called to his colleagues. “It can’t possible work.” There were three loud crashes before the door burst open, swinging back and catching Ray on the side of her face. She bit her lip and held her breath as one of the policemen bent to examine the access panel and gave an angry exclamation.

“Kapitome Adomas, they’ve escaped again,” Seržantas Gedeminas called out. There was an outraged exclamation and some scuffling as the Kapitome pushed past his sergeant to look at the access panel. “They can’t have gone far. Get the hover-copter back in the air, and men on the ground, too. We’ll have them, now.”

The two men withdrew from the toilet cubicle. The door swung back even though its lock was broken. Ray dared to make a small, soft sigh.

“I can’t believe that worked,” she said. “Now what?”

“Wait,” The Doctor said. They waited until the sounds of heavy-booted feet receded and the train started to move again. Then The Doctor took Ray by the hand once more and they went back to their seat in the carriage. There was a lot more conversation going on, now, louder and on one single topic. The Doctor listened to it while apparently paying careful attention to a newspaper he pulled out of a waste receptacle on his way past. The people were speculating about why the police had stopped the usually unstoppable train, and quickly concluding that it had SOMETHING to do with the act of Treason that had occurred a few days before.

“That is upside down,” Ray told him. The Doctor looked over the top of the paper at her and smiled disarmingly before turning it around. Ray looked at the headlines. The main one was about the critical condition of the Crown Princess, who had been poisoned three days ago by a malicious traitor.

Further down the page was a picture of the traitor.

The Doctor.

But that wasn’t possible. They weren’t here three days ago. They had still been on Alpha Centauri attending the Ambassador’s reception.

But The Doctor had a time machine. He could easily have been here three days ago. He could have come long before she started travelling with him, or long after for that matter. He could do it while she was asleep in the TARDIS, an unwitting accomplice.

Except she didn’t believe that for one minute. The very first time she met The Doctor, back in 1958, when Burton ran Shangri La and she was in love with Billy, she had known he was somebody she could trust. She had told him everything about herself, all about her disappointments every time Billy failed to notice that she was a woman, not a motorbike accessory, all of her frustrations about living one day after another and each of them seeming exactly the same. She had felt safe with him as she had never felt with anyone before. then he had saved her life when the Bannermen attacked. He had saved everyone. But even if he hadn’t, even if he had been no more than a gentle shoulder to cry on, she would still have trusted him to the end of the universe.

And she did.

The Doctor was not a poisoner. He wasn’t a traitor. He would never do a thing like that. She knew it in the core of her Welsh soul.

Which meant that he must have been framed.

“Doctor, I believe in you,” she said. He looked up at her over the newspaper and smiled.

“Thank you, Ray,” he answered. “That is good to know.”

It seemed as if that was the only thing that worried him. But she, Rachel Dedwydd of Barry Island, Wales, was the only person on this planet who DID believe that The Doctor was innocent.

Kapitome Adomas and Seržantas Gedeminas waited on the central platform of the Central City Grand Central Station. The platform would normally be full of passengers waiting to get on the train returning to Western City within the hour, but they had all been moved over to platform two to await a replacement train. The only people on the platform were his men.

“But, surely, sir,” Seržantas Gedeminas said. “They escaped before the Majestic Gorge viaduct when we stopped the train. Why are we here?”

“Because The Doctor is a very clever man,” Adomas answered. “And I am no fool.”

No fool at all. But if the fugitive and his female companion escaped once again he would start to look like one. He had already had an unpleasant exchange of words with Komisaras Jurgis about the failure to produce results despite expensive use of equipment and men in the pursuit.

He stood firm as the sound of an approaching train got louder. He looked to the far end of the long, police-lined platform and saw the lights of the Western-Central Express in the darkness outside the station. The lights were brighter as it came across the last bridge and slowed rapidly as it finally reached the great glass canopy of the station. His men got ready to act on his command.

“Come on,” The Doctor said as the train approached the station and passengers around them began to look for their luggage. The sight of the police waiting for the train added to the frissance in the carriage as they slipped back out to the toilet with an out of order sign lit up above it. The Doctor and Ray crushed inside the cubicle again and waited for the train to stop before they dropped down through the panel in the floor. Taking care not to get more than a metre away from each other they crept carefully under the train until they came to the end of the platform. The Doctor looked carefully and noted that most of the police were busy watching the doors as the passengers alighted one by one in front of their careful gaze. The train itself was being carefully searched as it emptied to make sure the fugitives weren’t still hiding aboard.

They had the advantage of darkness here at the far end of the station as they moved quickly across the lines to the far platform where the local trains came in, the small, slow ones that went to the suburbs and the villages outside the main city. They walked back up the platform and joined the crowds who had come off one of those trains as they swarmed towards the ticket gate.

“There are police there,” Ray noted.

“I know,” The Doctor said. “This could be tricky. Then again….”

A little ahead of them the press of people was flowing either side of a woman with a big pram and two small children to manage, as well as a large suitcase that she balanced on the pram. The Doctor approached her with a friendly smile and lifted the suitcase while Ray took the handle of the pram. The woman thanked them both gratefully for their help.

The police weren’t looking for a man with a big suitcase or a woman pushing a pram. They hardly glanced at them as they passed through the gate and out of the station.

“What now?” Ray asked after they had seen the woman and her children into a taxi and waved them off.

“Now, we find a quiet place for the night,” The Doctor answered. He looked around and then headed for the kind of street that every city has close to its main railway station, a street where once genteel town houses had been turned into cheap hotels for those who had travelled enough for one day. He chose the one that looked as if it lived up to its promise of ‘clean rooms’ and introduced himself to the landlady as Mr Smidtt, travelling with his wife, Mrs Smidtt.

“Wife?” Ray asked when they were alone in the clean but barely furnished room after dining on a meat and potato pie and gravy that qualified as ‘evening meal’.

“You didn’t want separate rooms,” The Doctor pointed out. “Not when we’re still bound by these cuffs. The landlady thinks we’re a lovely couple, the way we held hands so much over supper.”

Ray thought of several very rude Welsh swear words that rivalled the dialect curses of Kapitome Adomas. As if the toilet on the train hadn’t been a silly enough situation, now she had the prospect of spending the night in the same bed with The Doctor.

Well, of course, she trusted him. If he had ever meant anything untoward he could have done it when she was alone with him in the TARDIS. But there was something about a double bed in a hotel that was something more than ordinarily improper.

The Doctor took off his coat and shoes and lay down on top of the bed. Ray took off her shoes and jacket and got under the duvet. He said goodnight and turned off the light. Everything was quite above board. It just didn’t feel like it was.

She slept. She was tired. She wanted to sleep. Her dreams were disturbing ones, though. She was haunted by visions of The Doctor in chains, brought before the Crown Prince, an order for his immediate execution, gallows looming….

She woke just before dawn with a stomach ache and a cold sweat. She remembered that the bathrooms were down the hall. She would have to wake The Doctor and go through the same mad palaver again.

She felt the cuff on her wrist. It was tight, but not so tight that she couldn’t turn it around like a bracelet. It was probably intended for a man’s wrist, not her far slender one. Maybe….

She scrunched her hand up as small as possible and pushed the cuff up as far as it would go. It was painfully tight over the base of her thumb, but if she could get it past that point her hand got narrower afterwards. She tried again, moving it a fraction more. There was no give in the strong metal, but there was just enough in her hand. She felt the cuff slide a little more. It was over the knuckle of her thumb. She had scraped the skin and the bone would ache for hours, but she was almost there.

One more push.

The cuff slid off over her fingers and dropped onto the bed. Ray picked it up gingerly and tossed it across the room. There was a static crackle and a smell of singed carpet, but she was free of it.

She got up and crept out of the room quietly. She found the bathroom and took her time, glad of the peace and quiet – and the privacy. She felt much better afterwards.

She had her hand on the bathroom door when she heard voices on the stairs. One of them was Kapitome Adomas the other was the landlady directing the police upstairs to her front guest room. Then there was the unmistakeable sound of booted feet coming closer. She peeped out and saw the Kapitome and his Seržantas. Just the two of them. The rest were probably surrounding the building. The Doctor was trapped.

She might be able to get away if they didn’t search for her. He was the one they wanted, after all.

But even if she did, where could she go? She was alone in a strange city, on a planet millions of light years from home. Where could she possibly go?

Besides, she couldn’t abandon The Doctor.

“Leave him alone,” she cried, jumping onto the Kapitome’s back and pummelling him around the head. “Leave The Doctor alone. He’s innocent. He would never hurt anyone. I believe in him.”

Seržantas Gedeminas pulled the dervish of a woman off the Kapitome’s back. As he restrained her, firmly but without hurting her, the bedroom door opened. The Doctor stepped out, his jacket and shoes on and his umbrella hooked on his arm. He was carrying Ray’s jacket and shoes.

“It is quite all right,” he said. “We will come quietly, Kapitome. Ray, it was brave of you to fight for me, but there is no need. We will co-operate. I am sure everything will be all right in the end.”

He handed over his umbrella as if surrendering his sword. The Kapitome allowed Ray to put her shoes and jacket on before they were escorted down the stairs, past the worried looking landlady and out into the street where a car waited. They were driven to the royal palace, a grand building with a gilded roof and marble walls….

….And a dungeon.

Ray sighed dismally as the car was directed in through an archway with an old fashioned portcullis and a more modern electronic gate that closed behind them. She remembered her dreams and felt a little sick.

They were taken down a long flight of stone stairs, very deep underground. The dungeon was not dark or damp, being well lit by strong lights and surprisingly warm, but it was clearly a dungeon, a place of detention.

Ray was brought into a room with a long table and two chairs on both sides. The Doctor was taken somewhere else. Seržantas Gedeminas brought her a drink that was a little bit like coffee. He smiled reassuringly at her and didn’t seem to bear any grudges about her attack on him. A few minutes later Kapitome Adomas came in and sat beside her.

“I am sorry for this unfortunate business,” Kapitome Adomas said. “We have been looking for your friend for some time, as you know. Fortunately Madam Grazyna remembered where she had seen her overnight guest before and called the hotline.”

“He is INNOCENT,” Ray insisted. “He has been framed.”

“Framed?” The word obviously had no meaning in the local language. Both Adomas and Seržantas Gedeminas were puzzled by it.

“Somebody wanted The Doctor to be blamed,” Ray explained.

“That is a possibility I have been considering,” Adomas said. “But I am not yet completely certain…..”

He went on to ask her a number of questions. He did so in a gentle tone, questioning rather than interrogating. He wanted to know how long she had known The Doctor, where she first met him, how long she had been travelling with him. She answered as honestly as possible. He seemed satisfied.

“So… you would know the Doctor easily enough?” he said to her. “You would recognise him at once?”

That seemed a very strange question to her, but she confirmed that she would know him easily enough.

Kapitome Adomas nodded to the Seržantas and he in turn nodded to the guard on the door. A few minutes’ later two prisoners were brought into the room and told to sit on the chairs opposite. Ray stared at them.

It was The Doctor – both of them. They were identical - both dressed in loose fitting grey prison overalls.

“Which of these is the REAL Doctor?” Kapitome Adomas asked. “The one you arrived with yesterday at Western City Station?”

Ray thought she knew, but she wasn’t absolutely certain.

“Am I allowed to ask them questions?” she asked.

“Go ahead,” Kapitome Adomas told her.

“Beth yw enw fy gwersyll gwyliau yng Nghymru?” she asked. Kapitome Adomas was surprised. He didn’t understand Welsh.

Neither did the Doctor on the left. Or if he did, he didn’t know the answer to the question, though the flicker of uncertainty on his face was quickly replaced by the inscrutable expression of before.

“Parc Gwersyllwyr Fodlon,” said The Doctor on the right. “Happy Campers Park, although Fodlon properly translates as satisfied or even compliant. It’s not exactly the right word for happy holidaymakers. You would have been better choosing something like siriol, meaning cheerful or llawen meaning joyful. Or even….”

“That’s MY Doctor,” Ray confirmed as he continued to discuss Welsh adjectives. “And we both arrived this morning. Where did the other one come from?”

“Exactly what I was going to ask,” The Doctor said. “Kapitome Adomas, what is happening?”

Seržantas Gedeminas and a guard had quietly flanked the other Doctor and now they took hold of him. He gave an angry cry that didn’t sound anything like The Doctor.

“Wait a minute!” The real Doctor turned and reached out to the fake one, pulling at his chin. To everyone’s surprise his face peeled off like a rubber mask to reveal an angry woman who spat Low Gallifreyan curses that would have made Kapitome Adomas blush if he understood them.

The Doctor DID understand them.

“Rani!” he said in a disgusted tone as she was cuffed and taken away. “I should have known.”

“I really should have guessed,” The Doctor explained later when he and Ray were in a far more comfortable place on the ground level of the palace, enjoying a sumptuous breakfast with as much of the coffee-like stuff as they could drink. “She is, I am sorry to say, from my own world. She is a criminal, through and through. I don’t know what her motive for poisoning the princess is, unless it was pure jealousy. Perhaps she found out that I was in favour with the royal family and decided to blacken my name. She must hate me far more than I thought. Normally she wouldn’t bother her head with any plan that didn’t mean profit of some sort for her.”

“What a charming woman,” Ray commented.

“Indeed,” Kapitome Adomas agreed.

“Perhaps it would have been better if we hadn’t run,” she added. “We might have cleared this up right away.”

“As it happens,” the Kapitome answered. “Your escape and evasion led to the arrest of the true culprit. If you had been arrested at Western City Station the hue and cry would have been called off. The police would not have been watching the spaceport at Eastern City and she would not have been captured. I am afraid the Komisaras is not likely to see it that way. He will blame me for wasting time and effort on my pursuit of the train. But since, with your assistance, I exposed the true criminal, it will not be too great a black mark on my reputation. I am satisfied with the end result. I hope you will forgive me for pursuing you with such zeal.”

“As I said to you, Kapitome, you are an honest policeman doing your job. I hope you will forgive ME for my trick with the cuffs,” The Doctor answered.

The Kapitome forgave him. Then he stood to attention as the Crown Prince entered the room. The Doctor stood, too. So did Ray. All three bowed. Ray thought she probably ought to curtsey, but she wasn’t sure she knew how to properly.

“I am happy to tell you that the Crown Princess is almost recovered from her illness,” he said. “Doctor, my friend, we were taken in by a charlatan, but now that she is under lock and key, may we enjoy your company as we have done in the past, and may all be forgiven and forgotten.”

“Forgotten already, your Highness,” The Doctor answered with another bow.

“Ydy, yn wir,” Ray agreed.