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

“Portsmouth?” Rory queried as he looked across the to the Spinnaker Tower that represented the new and innovative in a port town whose history went back more than half a millennia. “Yep, definitely Portsmouth, and it must be around about our time judging by the clothes and the cars. Mind you, those aren’t the sort of cars anyone in Leadworth drives, not even UPPER Leadworth.” He cast his eye enviously over a collection of sports cars that would make Jeremy Clarkson drool and then turned to the yachts in the Marina that probably cost just as much as the cars. “Are we just a little bit out of our league here?”

“Not at all,” The Doctor replied. “I thought I’d take you on a little get away from it all holiday. Here’s our transport, now.”

A motor launch entered the Marina and pulled up to the embarkation pier next to them. It was piloted by a man who, in any woman’s dictionary would be described as a ‘hunk’. Amy tried not too look too interested in the way his muscles rippled underneath the designer sports shirt or the way he smiled at her as he took charge of the baggage she had brought along, having been promised a weekend of luxury by The Doctor. She had been a little suspicious at first. When The Doctor promised Rio they ended up in Wales. When he said skiing they had landed on a desert planet.

A weekend of luxury and a sea-faring location probably meant they were going to be press-ganged into deck-swabbing.

But she had decided to be optimistic and packed, among other things, three different bathing costumes, four ballgowns and a cocktail dress, and made sure Rory was similarly equipped in case The Doctor got it right this time.

But until the launch arrived she was ready to be confounded as usual.

“Are we going on a ship?” she asked as the launch headed out of Portsmouth harbour into the Solent. “Did you arrange for some kind of cruise weekend? How come we’re meeting the ship this way, then?”

The Doctor smiled enigmatically and turned his face into the wind so that his mad hair blew back from his face. Rory and Amy shrugged and looked out for a sleek luxury liner in the distance.

Instead the launch drew closer to what, at first glance looked like an old rusting gasometer and didn’t improve on a second glance. The stark concrete edifice rising from the sea was topped by a lighthouse on the seaward side and that was the only indication of a practical function for the thing.


“Doctor, you haven’t got us involved in some sort of reality show survival thing, have you?” Rory asked suspiciously.

“Oh, I hope not!” Amy said. “I HATE those things, and I packed a bikini! I’m not wearing THAT in front of the sort of people who watch Channel 4.”

The Doctor smiled enigmatically as the launch tied up beside a platform at the bottom of a set of narrow stone steps that zig-zagged up the side of the curious construction. Amy looked up and realised just how high it was and didn’t relish the climb. Again she wondered just what The Doctor had got them into.

Then as they stepped onto the platform a metal bulkhead door opened beside the steps. A man in the sort of neat uniform a luxury liner employed picked up their luggage. They followed him inside.

“Wow!” Amy and Rory said together. They were tempted to step back outside to see if their eyes deceived them. The exterior was a rusting heap of concrete. Inside was a reception worthy of the luxury liner. They were directed to a suite of rooms to die for, and one freshen up and change later they headed by a shiny high speed lift to the upper sun deck – for cocktails before lunch. Despite the fact that they were in the Solent, the upper sun deck turned out to be a tropical paradise. A wide round roof of glass and wrought iron kept the rain off and diffused the direct sunlight so that guests could relax by the swimming pool or the ornamental fountain or at tables under wide umbrellas while waiters brought long drinks with matching umbrellas.

“So...what is this place?” Amy asked The Doctor, who had left off his tweed Jacket as a concession to the holiday atmosphere and looked ‘casual’ in blue braces and bow tie. “Some kind of James Bond Villain Hideaway?”

“It’s Nomansland Fort,” The Doctor replied. “Built on the orders of Lord Palmerston in the 1860s to stop the French invading England.”

“Were they in any danger of doing that in the 1860s?” Amy asked.

“Old Palmy thought so,” The Doctor said. “So did enough of his friends for them to go to a lot of trouble building four of these magnificent edifices.”

“I take it the cocktails and sun loungers weren’t part of the fittings back then?” Rory commented.

“Those are a recent addition, when Nomansland was turned into a luxury get-away-from-it-all for shy and retiring rich people. You should have seen it when I was here last, in the early 1970s – dark and cold and under attack from Sea Devils.”

“Sea Devils?” Rory and Amy chorused.

“Aquatic relatives of our friends the Silurians,” The Doctor explained. “It wasn’t a happy encounter between them and mankind. The tribe that lived under the Solent were pretty much wiped out by the Navy. Pity, really. I think we could have worked something out if it wasn’t for the war-mongers.”

“The military wing of the Sea Devil community?” Amy asked, remembering her encounter with the Silurians beneath South Wales.

“No, the Royal Navy,” The Doctor said with a dark tone. “Or at least the leadership they had at the time. I’ve known some good sailors in my time. No complaints about them. But their commanders were too quick to drop depth charges and ask questions later.” He shook his head sadly and then took a long, noisy draught of his cocktail through a bendy straw.

“Are we here because of them?” Amy asked. “Are you expecting the Sea Devils to invade this place again?”

“Not at all,” The Doctor assured her. “I brought you both here for a nice weekend reunion with a couple of friends.” He sat up in his chair and waved. Amy looked around and smiled warmly at the couple who approached. Anthony and Angela Patterson-Mathers, the show-biz couple of the moment after their glitzy wedding at their Irish castle home were looking blissfully happy together. Amy noticed the way they held hands. It was the same way she and Rory held hands. The gossip columnists who thought she was his trophy wife or that she just wanted his money were so wrong.

They came to sit with them. Amy immediately fell to chatting with Angela. They came from different worlds. Angela had a career on both stage and screen and Amy couldn’t honestly say she had a career at all, but they had become soul mates the last time they met and that friendship continued now. Rory left them to it and held his own in the conversation between Tony Mathers and The Doctor.

“I thought about buying one of these forts,” Tony said. “Fascinating places. But awfully isolated. I’m not really the reclusive type. Neither is Angela. The castle suits us better. But when we were sent an invitation to this weekend ‘retreat’...”

“You were invited?” Rory was intrigued. “Who by?”

“You know, that’s the odd thing. I THOUGHT it came from my London agent, Nicholas Beck, but he got an invitation that he thought was from me.” Tony waved to a man who climbed out of the pool and pulled a black silk kimono style robe over his bathing trunks before going to the bar for a long fruity drink in several deliciously layered colours. He went to sit with a dark haired woman who Rory thought he recognised from TV. “Nadia Elm, from Eastenders 1940, the retro-soap,” Tony said. “Nicholas just put her on his books.”

“Is everyone else here from showbiz?” Rory asked.

“Not as A. List as my party last year,” Tony answered. “That’s Diane Essex, the record producer, and her latest girlfriend, Heather Alexander, the new Radio One morning show host.” He pointed to two women wearing sheer sarongs over their low cut swimming costumes as they sipped their cocktails. Rory hastily stopped looking. Amy and Angela had divested themselves of outer clothing and dived into the swimming pool. Neither of them were worried who he was looking at, but he turned away from the women anyway.

Only to find himself looking at another woman in a skimpy bikini lying on a sun lounger.

“That’s Louise Morten,” Tony added. “She works for Metropolitan magazine.”

“Does she, indeed,” The Doctor commented. “I know another of their lady journalists. Sarah Jane Smith. She won quite a few awards for her exposés of corrupt businesses.”

“Louise does exposés of celebrity lifestyles,” Tony responded. “Not quite in the same league, perhaps.”

“So we’re the only people here not connected with show business of some sort?” Rory summed up. “I could start to feel inferior.”

“I don’t,” The Doctor responded with a grin. “I’m a Lord of Time. That beats a celebrity any day.”

“Yeah, but nobody wants your picture for Hello magazine.”

“Which is a good thing,” Tony Mathers said wryly. “Celebrity has its drawbacks.”

Amy and Angela finished their swim and came to join the men for cocktails and show-business gossip. Nobody noticed that The Doctor was not a part of the conversation. He was moving around the lounge talking to the other guests. He wasn’t a celebrity, but he seemed to have no trouble engaging with them. Rory watched him laughing, gesticulating wildly with those long, expressive hands of his, as if he was telling some kind of tall story that the three women, the soap actress, the movie producer and the journalist, all found hysterically funny. His conversation with Nicholas Beck, the entertainment agent, was a little more restrained, but went on for longer. Rory wondered what he was up to. The Doctor wasn’t somebody who went in for aimless chatter. He had to be talking to them for a reason.

“So, what’s going on, Doctor?” Rory challenged him. Amy and Angela were swimming again. Tony had gone to talk to Nicholas. “There’s some kind of mystery, isn’t there?”

“Not really,” he answered. “Not up to my usual standard, anyway. It’s just that everyone here, all ten guests, were sent an anonymous invitation – or an invitation that didn’t come from the person they thought it came from.”

“Including us?” Rory asked.

The Doctor nodded.

“I have so many invitations, from so many places, I never gave it a passing thought. I just thought you two would enjoy the idea of a luxury hotel in the middle of the Solent. I never thought about thinking about it...”

The Doctor looked thoroughly disconcerted. No wonder he wasn’t entirely making sense.

“If it’s some kind of promotional thing, then the others all make sense. Nicholas is an agent, Tony is a show producer, the DJ, the entertainment journalist... they all fit. We’re the odd ones out.”

“Yeesss...” The Doctor drawled, deep in thought. Then he looked around and grinned his usual manic grin. “Don’t worry about it. Enjoy the facilities. It really is a HUGE improvement on the last time I was here.”

Rory enjoyed the facilities. So did Amy, who teamed up with Angela for most of the afternoon getting a sauna and a facial and a hairdo to go with her ‘posh frock’ for dinner which was served in a grand dining room that had everything expected of it except windows, since it was on one of the decks enclosed within the steel and concrete fort. The judicious use of stud walls and lots of drapes made it easy to forget that they were eating in the middle of the Solent, but Rory thought that missed the point a little. Surely the fact that they were eating dinner in the middle of the Solent was the main selling point and they ought to be reminded of the fact all the time.

The Doctor’s story about when he was here in the 1970s, when Nomansland Fort was attacked by the Sea Devils, proved a surprisingly popular after dinner story. The celebrity guests were fascinated by the idea of a hibernating species deep below the ground, waiting to reclaim their planet, and finding humans settled in instead.

It was the fascination of people around a camp fire listening to tales of the wolf in the forest around them. Nadia Elm, soap starlet, stared at the round walls of the dining room, and Rory knew she was well aware of where she was. She was picturing in her mind the cold grey-green waves crashing around the thick fortifications. The other women had little trouble with such visions, either. Perhaps they could as easily imagine creatures with scaly skin the same colour as the sea climbing up the sides, coming to get them in the night.

“They’re not down there now, are they Doctor?” Nicholas Beck asked with a very slight note of nervousness in his voice.

“No, they’re not,” he responded, and his voice had an unmistakeable note of bitterness in it. “The tribe that were under the Solent were wiped out by foolish humans who panicked when faced with something they didn’t understand. You may all sleep soundly in your beds tonight, certain that Sea Devils won’t bother you. But only because of an act of genocide.”

Even Rory and Amy were startled by the ferocity with which he delivered those words. Around the table nine humans all looked collectively guilty for the folly of their species before The Doctor let them off the hook by pointing out that Nicolas and Tony were the only humans among them who were born when the bad deed happened, and they were only children, so the guilt was not theirs. Everyone looked at The Doctor, who scarcely looked old enough to remember the 1980s clearly, let alone the 1970s, and found themselves completely convinced by him.

He didn’t worry about whether they slept well knowing the history of Nomansland Fort. He did. So did Rory and Amy in their luxury room with everything they could want except a view. There was no window.

That was why, when Rory woke early, he decided to go for a walk on the upper deck and get some sea air.

That was how he was the first to find out there was something not quite right on the fort. He forgot about sea air and roused The Doctor, who didn’t waste any time disbelieving him. He sent him and Amy to wake the rest of the guests.

Which was how they found the first victim.

“She isn’t dead,” The Doctor assured the hysterical Heather Alexander, record producer who had discovered her girlfriend, Diane the radio DJ, on the floor of the en suite bathroom, lying face up, her hands by her side and legs straight. Her eyes were wide open but unseeing and her flesh cold.

“Not... not dead?” Heather stammered. “But... but... she’s... I mean... look at her...”

“She’s in an extreme state of suspended animation,” The Doctor explained. “Her body has been slowed down to the point where her heart beats only once every few minutes, respiration the same, and the other organs follow suit - brain functions minimal. My people are very good at this sort of thing, but the only humans I know who can achieve this level are a few very genuine Indian fakirs. She hasn’t taken lessons from a fakir, has she?”

“Fake what?” Heather replied. “What are you talking about? What did this to Heather? Is it those Sea Devils you talked about?”

“No,” The Doctor said with absolute certainty. “Sea Devils don’t do this.” He lifted the stricken woman off the bathroom floor and carried her to the bedroom.

“What’s that?” Amy asked. Something fell from Diane’s hand as The Doctor moved her. She reached and picked it up. “Strange. It’s...”

“Part of a doll,” Rory observed. “The torso of a small plastic doll.”

“I’ve never seen that before,” Heather confirmed. “I don’t know what it has to do with anything. Doctor, what happened to Diane?”

“I don’t know,” The Doctor answered her. “But I intend...”

He was interrupted by an anguished cry in the corridor outside the bedroom. Rory ran to find out what was happening and found Nicholas Beck bending over the body of his girlfriend, Nadia Elm, the soap star. He yelled for The Doctor, who confirmed that Nadia was in the same state of suspended animation as Diane.

“We were heading for the upper sun deck, where you told us to go, Doctor,” Nicolas said. “Nadia turned back. She wanted her matching Louis Vuitton handbag and shoes... Yes, I know, she’s an empty headed clothes horse who thinks of nothing but designer labels. But I love her... and... and...”

“Look in her hand,” Amy said. She reached and took two small objects from Nadia’s fingers. She looked at them and then connected the pair of plastic legs to the doll torso and showed it to Rory.

“That is the creepiest thing I’ve ever seen,” Rory said. “A headless, armless doll...”

“Yes, but it means these aren’t random attacks. They’re connected somehow... the doll... it’s something to do with why this is happening.”

The Doctor lifted Nadia from the floor. He told Rory to go back and get Diane.

“We should stick together,” he said. “Everyone to the sun deck. We don’t leave anyone behind.”

The party made their way up to the sun deck. It was only just after dawn and the sun’s rays hadn’t actually reached the sun roof, yet, but there was natural light there. It almost seemed impossible in such a nice place to believe something sinister was happening, if it wasn’t for the two victims.

Three victims.

Louise Morten was lying beside the cocktail bar, a spilled drink pooled around her. The Doctor examined her quickly and confirmed she was the same as the others then picked her up and laid her on a sun lounger alongside Diane and Nadia.

Amy took something from her hand.

“The arms of the doll,” she said, holding it up. With arms it looked a little less sinister, but Rory wished briefly that they could find the head, then realised that would mean another victim.

“So where are the staff?” Amy asked. “How come we’re alone here?”

“The launch is gone,” Rory said. “I think they all left in the night. They abandoned us.”

“There must be a radio,” Nicholas Beck said. “We can call for help.”

“There is one,” Rory answered. “I saw a floor plan.” He stood up as if to go on his own. Then Nicholas Beck said he would go with him. The Doctor nodded in agreement. Two men looking out for each other should be safe.

“But... why is this happening?” Tony Mathers asked in the silence that followed their departure.

“I think...” Amy began. Then she shook her head. “No... that’s silly. It can’t be that.”

“Go on,” The Doctor prompted her encouragingly.

“Well... I thought... it’s sort of... like... there’s that Agatha Christie story... Ten Little... Well, they changed the title, because that’s not a nice word to say... but you know the one... there were these ten people... they were on a lighthouse, and had no way to escape. This is a bit posher than a lighthouse, but we’re still stranded on it. Anyway... they kept being killed one by one... and... I can’t remember exactly, but all of them were responsible in some way for somebody dying, and a relative was getting revenge... and...”

She stopped. She felt a little self-conscious about the way everyone was looking at her.

“Well I’ve never killed anyone,” Heather Alexander pointed out indignantly. “And neither has Diane. And Louise was once accused of murdering the English language with her style of sensationalist journalism, but she hardly...”

Heather yelped in surprise as something dropped into her lap. She picked it up and stared at it, then fell back in her seat, eyes staring. Amy reached her first. The Doctor was on his feet with his sonic screwdriver pointed at the glass ceiling. But there was nobody there. He turned to see Tony lifting Heather and placing her beside Diane on the sun lounger while Amy put the doll’s dress that Heather had picked up on the still headless figure.

“This looks strangely familiar,” she said. The dress was made of thin lycra covered in glitter, like something a pop starlet might wear on stage. “I’m sure I’ve seen something like it before...”

But nobody was paying her any attention. They were all looking towards the lift door when Rory staggered out carrying Nicholas Beck.

“He was right behind me... outside the radio room. There was a soft noise... a sort of ‘whoosh’ and he fell down.” He laid Nicholas on the same sun lounger as his girlfriend, Nadia, and then turned to Amy. He passed her a small object that turned out to be the doll’s head. It was made up with glittering eyeliner and starry spangles on the cheeks and the long black hair shone with glitter stuck into it.

“I HAVE seen it before,” she said as she fitted it in place. “It’s a Jinny Fabria doll. Rory, do you remember my mum buying me one like this when I was fifteen. She thought it might get my mind off raggedy doctors. There was a whole set of them in different glitzy outfits, all modelled on a real pop star. Mum bought me all of them, and the light up stage and the music cds that went with them. Then the real Jinny died of a drug overdose and she decided that maybe she wasn’t such a good role model after all...”

“Oh!” Angela reached and took the doll from Amy. She held it gently, reverently. Tears pricked her eyes. “Oh, Tony... that’s what it’s all about. We’re all... all of us... we all did it to her... at least... I always felt we did. Tony, do you realise... I didn’t until just now... but the last time all of us were together... Nicholas and Nadia, Louise, Heather and Diane, was Jinny’s funeral.”

“It wasn’t our fault,” Tony insisted. “If anyone thinks it was, then they are very misguided.” He put his arm around his wife’s shoulders comfortingly and turned to The Doctor. He looked around at the five stricken people and those who remained. Then he reached and took the doll from Angela. He looked at it critically.

“Amy, you had one of these? Does this look complete to you? Are there any more parts to it?”

“Yes,” she answered. “Unless... No... the complete figure came with little glittery high heel shoes and a microphone. That was how she dressed when she won Star Factor – sparkling all over under the studio lights. I lost the shoes and microphone after about a week. They don’t stay on very well at all.”

“Then you two are targets, still,” The Doctor said to Angela and Tony who clung to each other fearfully. He carefully adjusted a setting on the sonic screwdriver and swept it around in a long deliberate arc as if he was enclosing them all in some kind of invisible magic circle.

“It’s a sort of invisible magic circle,” he said nonchalantly. “Well, a sonic circle, anyway. If anyone comes close with any kind of technology, I’ll know. Meanwhile... I don’t read Hello Magazine. I’m not up with the showbiz gossip. Remind me who Jinny Fabria is and how she died... and how any of you are connected to her.”

“Jennifer Fallon,” Tony began. “That was her real name. And a perfectly good name, in my opinion. Jinny Fabria sounds like something out of a girls comic. But that’s what we made her into. What she was, from the beginning, was a very pretty, very talented girl. Not like the usual here today, gone tomorrow sort that win those TV talent shows. She had a beautiful singing voice even when she was new on the scene. When Nicholas arranged for her to have some professional voice coaching she was even better. The recording contract with Diane’s company was part of the prize for winning the contest. The first single went to Number One; the first album rocketed up the charts. She went on a tour of the country. Nicholas, as her agent, went with her. I suppose it was then that they started to be a romantic item. I’m pretty sure Nicholas was serious about her. He would have married her. Everything was looking good for her, and for everyone around her.”

Angela was still sobbing quietly. Rory and Amy held hands tightly. They both knew the story, at least through the newspaper reports. They knew it didn’t end well.

“It was just after the tour ended,” Tony continued. “She was in studio starting the second album. There were problems, by all accounts. She wasn’t happy with the sort of songs they wanted her to record. She’d written some herself but Diane thought they weren’t up to standard and brought in songwriters for her. Then she collapsed in the studio. The story given out to the press was that she was suffering from exhaustion. The truth was, she lost a baby.”

“Oh, poor thing,” Amy commented. “That’s rotten. It was... Nicholas?” She looked around at his still body lying next to his current girlfriend. Nadia was, she noted, dark haired and very much the same body shape as Jinny, but she was an actress rather than a singer.

“Like I said, he would have married her. He was nuts about her. But she was very depressed afterwards. She didn’t exactly blame him for what happened, but she cooled towards him. He was patient. He thought she’d be all right given a little time to grieve. But the depression deepened. She started taking pills for it. Then the second album bombed. There was no reason why it did. I’ve been in the business twenty-five years and I could see no reason why it didn’t sell except that, with all the delays, people had lost interest. She blamed Diane for not letting her do her own songs. There may be some truth in that, but I couldn’t say for sure. What is true, is that Heather made matters worse. She had a slot on her show where people nominate the records they think should be binned. Jinny’s second single was binned. Heather made some careless comments about one hit wonders... Which came across as extra cruel since she was Diane’s partner, of course. It seemed as if the two of them were ganging up on her. I don’t think they were. Neither of them are cruel women. But Heather didn’t think her throwaway remarks on the radio would affect her so much.”

“And then Louise did one of her exposés,” Angela added. “She portrayed Jinny as drugged up, burnt out...”

“All of which was very close to being the truth at that point,” Tony added. “She was on uppers to wake her up and downers to get to sleep, and goodness knows what else. Louise told the truth, but the way she told it... the impression she gave of Jinny... it wasn’t wholly true. She was a naïve girl who wasn’t ready for a cutthroat business and it swallowed her up. Louise could have been a bit kinder...”

“Nicholas was the lover who wronged her... sort of...” Amy summed up. “Diane, Heather and Louise all messed up her career. What about Nadia? What did she have to do with it?”

“Nothing,” Angela replied. “She and Nicholas got together AFTER Jinny’s death. She’s never said a bad word about her. Neither has Nicholas. He was devastated when she took the overdose. I remember her funeral... He cried. Everyone did.”

“But I suppose somebody might get the idea that Nadia took him from her...” Rory suggested. “Somebody who was really bitter about it all.”

“If Nadia is on the hitlist for that... then I should be,” Angela admitted. “And Tony... If they’re counting people who wronged Jinny.... Tony wanted to help her get back on track. He offered her the lead role in Rock Cinderella... the musical using the music of Status Quo to tell the fairy story. I was her understudy. But Tony dropped her three weeks before the opening night and made me up to lead.”

“I had to,” Tony said in defence of himself. “She wasn’t coping. She turned up for rehearsals doped up on sleeping pills, she forgot lines, missed cues, fell asleep back stage during breaks and was so spaced out afterwards we had to cancel rehearsals. Four times she didn’t turn up at all. There was no way she would have been ready for opening night, and we were doing six nights a week and four matinees. The pressure would have been too much for her. I didn’t ditch her out of cruelty. It was for her own good as well as all the people whose jobs depended on the production going ahead.”

“And Angela got the critics praising her instead of Jinny,” Rory summarised.

“She died the night of Rock Cinderella’s press preview,” Angela said. “While I was being photographed and interviewed and being plied with champagne. I don’t know if that was the final straw for her or if it was coincidence. I have often wondered. And I’m sorry for what happened to her. I really am.”

“So am I,” Tony added. “I know I must have contributed to her misery. I let her down.”

“You didn’t mean to hurt her,” Amy said. “You can’t blame yourself. And nobody else should. You did nothing wrong.”

Tony smiled sadly at Amy and thanked her for that.

“Whether we feel ourselves guilty or not, it seems somebody has marked us all out as responsible and taken revenge.”

“Yes,” The Doctor said. “And it’s time for him to stop lurking around and face those he accuses.” He stood up and pulled out his sonic screwdriver again. He aimed it very deliberately at an empty space beside a potted palm tree. There were collected gasps as a figure wearing a strange kind of all over outfit like Spiderman’s costume but in pale yellow appeared out of thin air. “The game is over. Come forward and explain yourself.”

The figure looked at first as if he might run. Then he became defensive, raising a weapon that looked as if it was designed for a 1950s episode of Flash Gordon. It had a distinctive science fiction ray gun style.

The Doctor adjusted the sonic screwdriver and aimed at the weapon. The man yelped and dropped it. Rory leapt from his seat and grabbed it while Tony took hold of the man and pulled off the head cover. The Spiderman allusion was even more obvious when they saw the very ordinary looking man who was wearing the suit.

That or Scooby Do.

“I think you’re supposed to say something like ‘I would have gotten away with it if it weren’t for those interfering kids and that dumb dog’,” The Doctor said. “Would you like to tell us who you are?”

“I know who he is,” Tony responded. “He’s Matthew Fallon, Jinny’s older brother. He brought her to some of the rehearsals – the ones she did arrive on time for.”

The Doctor grabbed Fallon’s hand and gently prised it open to find two tiny plastic high heeled shoes liberally sprinkled with glitter and a plastic microphone. Amy took them and quietly completed the Jinny Fabria doll’s outfit while The Doctor gave his attention to Fallon.

“You were listening all the time,” he said. “So you heard Tony and Angela talking about Jinny. You heard them say they were sorry for what happened to her?”

“I heard, but I don’t believe them. Words are easy to such as them.”

The Doctor nodded. Then he reached out his hand to Angela. She came to him, a little nervously, but trusting him implicitly, even when he put his hand on her forehead and she felt the touch of his mind on hers. He reached out the same way to Fallon, but he shied away. Rory pushed him towards The Doctor.

“These are Angela’s thoughts,” The Doctor said as he made connection with Fallon’s mind, too. “This is what she truly thinks about what happened to your sister. She has no mental walls to hide behind, no delusions that might distort the facts. This is the simple unvarnished truth. Do you accept it? Do you see that this young woman has done no harm to your sister, that her part in these affairs was purely incidental?”

“I see that,” Fallon replied.

“Tony...” Tony Mathers stood at The Doctor’s command and he, too, allowed him to touch his thoughts. “You were directly involved. You dropped Jinny from your show. But tell me again, why you did that.”

“Because she was too emotionally fragile. Live theatre is hard, physically and mentally. You need to be one hundred percent sure of yourself to do it. Jinny was a wreck. It would have finished her off completely. I told her that. And I promised her I would find another role for her in the future, when she was feeling better. I hoped she would get medical help. When she killed herself, I was horrified. It was the last thing I wanted.”

“Do you believe him?” The Doctor asked Fallon.

“Yes,” he admitted. “But those...” He pointed accusingly at the row of unconscious people on the sun loungers. “They did it to her... they drove her to her death.”

“I doubt if any of them really wanted her to kill herself,” The Doctor said. “Nicholas certainly didn’t. He cared deeply for her. The others... some of them were thoughtless in their words. But they don’t deserve the hurt you’ve caused them.”

“I wanted justice for my sister.”

“No, you wanted revenge,” The Doctor replied. “That’s not the same thing at all. And unless you want me to show you the difference in very painful ways, you’d better tell me how to revive them, right now.”

“How did he do it, anyway?” Rory asked. “Ray guns, invisibility suits... Is he Human?”

“Oh, one hundred per cent Human. Only a Human would get so worked up and twisted in the head that they would come up with a plan like this out of revenge. Other species go mad and they decide to annihilate the universe. Only Humans do revenge.” He took the headpiece from the invisibility suit and examined it carefully. “There are races who have worked out how to bend light waves – that’s how cloaking devices work on space ships. Humans are a long way from discovering anything like that. Except... Jinny was the musically talented one in your family. Let me guess, you’re the scientific one. And you were recruited by a not very well known organisation called Torchwood. This is right up their street. I bet they developed it from some captured alien technology. And the neural disrupter gun – all part of their plan to protect Great Britain from the scourge of the universe. And I suppose you stole them in the chaos when Torchwood London was destroyed and laid your plan?”

Fallon didn’t say anything, but his expression was enough to show that The Doctor was right first time.

“So why are WE here?” Rory asked. “We didn’t have anything to do with what happened to her. My mum BOUGHT her second album, the one that ‘bombed’. She liked it. We... never did anything to hurt her.”

“That’s a very good point,” The Doctor answered. He turned to Fallon and raised an eyebrow questioningly. “You sent the invitation to me? That’s actually quite a clever thing to do. I’m not in very many people’s address books.”

“You’re in Torchwood’s address book,” he explained. “I... needed a witness... somebody who would understand why it was done. Somebody who would...”

“Somebody who would catch you,” The Doctor said in a softer tone. “You knew what you were doing was wrong. You wanted to be caught once you had finished. Getting away with it was never part of your plan.”

Fallon again didn’t need to say anything. His expression spoke volumes.

“What are we going to do with him?” Amy asked. “And what about them? Can we get them back to normal?”

“Now that I have the gismo that did it, reversing the effect should be a doddle,” The Doctor replied, examining the gun he had called a neural disrupter carefully. “Yep, absolute doddle. The question is...”

The sun roof over the deck was obviously sound proof. Nobody heard the helicopters hovering overhead, but their shadows cut off the sun and made them all look up. Fallon took his chance and tried to escape, but Rory was on the case, bringing him down simply by sticking out his leg and tripping him up.

“I don’t think you’re going anywhere, sunshine,” he said, hauling him up again. “Is that the cavalry, Doctor?”

“I do believe it is,” The Doctor replied. “If you can call the airborne section of the Unified Intelligence Taskforce the cavalry. I don’t think they’ve ever had horses. But, yes, they’re the cavalry, if you like.”

They poured into the sun deck, anyway, and were surprised not to find some kind of alien threat to fight, just ten people, five of whom were still unconscious. The Doctor identified himself, and there were a short interlude while the commander of the assault group double checked with his superiors and confirmed that this was the latest version of The Doctor in the U.N.I.T database.

“The entire staff from the Fort were found aboard the launch, all semi-conscious,” the Commander explained. “When they were airlifted to hospital they all claimed to have been knocked out by an invisible entity. That’s why we were deployed. In case it was... you know... something from under the sea.”

“No,” The Doctor confirmed. “Not this time. Just a sadly deluded man. You’ll want to take him into U.N.I.T custody and question him about stolen alien technology, but I would recommend treating him kindly.”

“Your recommendation will be taken into consideration, Doctor,” the Commander said before saluting smartly. The Doctor ignored that and turned his attention to the still unconscious victims. He looked at the disrupter carefully. He thought he’d reversed its polarity. It ought to revive them. But if he was wrong it could cut off the little brain activity they still had, permanently. He hesitated, wondering which of five humans who he had no grudge against, he ought to choose as the test subject.

“Eenie meany...” he began before realising that was a very silly way to decide the fate of a Human being. He closed his eyes and aimed at the nearest body. He opened his eyes again and sighed with relief as Louise Morten gave a soft cry and struggled to sit up on the sun lounger.

“What happened to me?” she asked. “And... why is the room full of soldiers? How did I...”

“I’ll explain it all when I’ve revived your friends,” The Doctor said to her as he turned to Nadia and Nicholas. “But don’t even think about writing an article about it. If you want to know why, go and visit my old friend Sarah Jane Smith, possibly the best journalist in the world, who has had to bury more juicy stories than she ever got published.”