So this is London?” Camilla didn’t seem overly impressed as she looked at the viewscreen. “Your favourite city?”


“It seems a bit… built up.” Clearly the early 21st century city street of houses, pavement and parked cars was not what she had been expecting. “It looked prettier in the pictures I've seen.”

“This is North London. You saw pictures of the major landmarks of the City,” Chrístõ explained as he set the console in ‘parked’ mode and turned towards the door, carrying his leather jacket over his shoulder. It was late spring and sunny and he knew he wouldn’t need it until later in the afternoon. Camilla and Kohb followed him. They smiled as they turned with him and looked at the TARDIS. It was disguised as a mustard yellow sports car.

“Show off,” Chrístõ said to the car, grinning happily. Then he noticed something that spoiled his good humour slightly. He put his hand in his pocket and deposited coins in a machine by the roadside, then he returned to the TARDIS. A few moments later the windscreen of the disguised ship had a ticket in it. The words “Pay and display” and a date and time stamp with some small print about what happens if the time is exceeded were printed on it.

“Why couldn’t you be a phone box?” Chrístõ asked as he gently kicked one of the faux tyres. “Nobody gives a phone box a parking ticket. Phone boxes don’t get clamped if they’re parked up for too long. But you have to be flash. A Porsche, no less! Just mind nobody pinches your hubcaps.”

Kohb and Camilla were standing on the pavement laughing at him. When he turned to them he was laughing too. He was in a very good mood. Better than either expected him to be after leaving Julia back home again.

“Let’s find a pub that does food,” he said. “Lunch is on me.”

“I understand ‘parking’ cars and I understand ‘pub’,” Camilla said as they finished their meal and relaxed with a drink. Kohb had tried a pint of lager and was appreciative of it. Camilla and Chrístõ both had a chilled glass of white wine. “What I don’t understand is these shirts we’re all wearing. And why so many other people in this room are wearing identical ones.”

Chrístõ had given both of his friends matching shirts to wear. They all had their names on the back, along with a number. On the front, along with a crest and a brand name was the word ‘Enterprise’. Kohb had looked it up in the TARDIS database and as far as he could make out, it was either a warship of the United States navy or a fictional starship in a television programme. Neither quite seemed to have anything to do with them or the other people in the pub.

Whatever it was, it had a VERY good effect on Chrístõ. Neither of his friends had seen him as relaxed and happy.

“I’m being me for a while,” he said in explanation. “I’m not Ambassador de Lœngbærrow, representing my world. I’m not saving any planet from tyranny and trying to convince my government to make it official policy to do the same. I’m just me, Chrístõ, in London to see my football team in the play off final for the last place in the Premiership.”

“We’re going to a football match?” Camilla looked doubtful. “Will I like that?”

“You’ll love it,” he assured them. “I’ve supported Preston North End since they first did the double in 1889. I started when I was seventy-four. I did an ongoing project about Earth culture. I followed the team year after year, watching their progress. It was great when I got my own TARDIS and I was able to go and SEE some of the classic matches.”

He looked at his friends. Camilla especially was looking lost.

“I’m still not sure what ‘the double’ is,” she admitted.

“You lost me about there, too,” Kohb admitted. “But never mind. We’re here to watch a football match. So who’s going to win this one?”

“I don’t know. It spoils it to know ahead of the game. I’m up to this year in my own personal time. So I make very sure when I’m anywhere further on in Earth history not to look at any football results. I have no more idea what will happen this afternoon than anyone else here.”

Five young men wearing the same shirts were singing a song with the refrain ‘Going up, going up, going up,” which implied that they DID know what was going to happen.

“Well, I hope so,” Chrístõ said with a smile. He was glad he had his own friends with him on this occasion. If he was honest, he did find the social interaction difficult. Most of the fans came in groups. He was on his own, and even if he joined in with a crowd it was difficult. When they asked questions like ‘where are you from’ he wasn’t very good at lying. And he didn’t enjoy drinking beer as much as Humans did. He often found himself alone in the crowd on occasions like this. But it didn’t curb his enthusiasm for what was a strange hobby for a Time Lord, and he WAS looking forward to a fun afternoon.

Kohb and Camilla weren’t sure whether THEY were going to enjoy it or not, but they appreciated that Chrístõ really did need an afternoon with nothing to worry about except whether his team won this game.

The TARDIS was not having a very good afternoon. Its hubcaps hadn’t been stolen, but twice somebody tried to break into it. Since both attempts were through the passenger side door, which wasn’t a real door, the attempts were doomed to failure and didn’t set off the psychic tamper alarm that would have spoiled Chrístõ’s afternoon by signalling a loud, painful noise in his head. But today’s choice of disguise was not as incongruous as its designers intended it to be.

And then it was the innocent victim of a car accident. The owner of the Audi parked in front of it came back in the middle of a row with his girlfriend. The details of the argument were recorded on the TARDIS’s security system that also had the abuses of the two would be thieves and a small stray dog saved for posterity, but when Chrístõ looked over the log later and deleted it he wasn’t terribly interested in their personal problems. What did interest him when he put together the sequence of events was that they were still rowing when the driver reversed instead of going forward, crunching into the mustard yellow Porsche.

The driver’s girlfriend was even less impressed with him as the two of them jumped out of the car and ran to inspect the damage. The same data recording established, inbetween a colourful display of some Earth colloquialisms that Chrístõ usually pronounced in Low Gallifreyan, that the driver was an idiot, that he was probably ‘over the limit’, that he had no insurance, and was ‘dumped’.

The girlfriend walked away in a hurry. The driver bent and looked at the broken headlamp and slightly dented bumper of the Porsche and the considerably worse damage to the back of his own car. He was puzzled about that. The Porsche was SMALLER than his Audi. It should have been more badly damaged.

Even so, he didn’t fancy paying for the repairs out of his own pocket. The driver looked around to see if anyone had noticed the accident. A couple of lace curtains were twitching on the other side of the road, but otherwise it was quiet. He picked up his own number plate that had come off in the collision, threw it on the back seat and drove away.

Nobody noticed the Porsche shimmer and turn into a grey rectangular box momentarily and then settle back down again with the superficial damage repaired. Despite the evidence of the pieces of broken headlamp light and mustard yellow paint flakes among the debris left behind by the crumpled Audi, the Porsche did not appear to have suffered any damage at all.

Nobody noticed, not even the TARDIS, that it had forgotten one detail.

The Pay and Display sticker was missing.

Camilla was finding herself the centre of some interesting attention as an attractive woman in a football shirt. When she went to the bar to purchase more drinks for the three of them, a transaction that should not have been a problem to a skilled and highly experienced diplomat, she found three men willing to buy her a drink and one who offered her a good time if she ditched the two ‘losers’ she was with. She was new to Earth, but she knew what a ‘good time’ was. She had experienced exactly that sort of good time in five different galaxies and with at least a dozen species. And she knew that those offering themselves right now would fail to live up to their promises. When she brought the drinks back to their table, though, she had a lot to say about her first experience of Human men.

“The mating rituals of this planet are far from sophisticated,” she said. “And even on Haollstrom, where we enjoy free relationships with each other, it is customary to ask before putting hands inside each other’s clothing.”

Kohb looked around angrily at the man who, in local parlance, had tried to ‘touch up’ his lover. Chrístõ put a restraining hand on him.

“He’s wearing the opposition shirt. We don’t want to be taken for football hooligans. It would be letting the side down.”

Kohb conceded his superior knowledge of local customs.

“It’s very sweet of you to want to defend my honour,” Camilla assured him, kissing him on the cheek. That, Chrístõ noted, raised a cheer from those wearing the white shirts. The man who had pressed his unwanted attentions on Camilla was too busy being shown out by the doorman to appreciate it. Honour was satisfied. As long as he wasn’t lurking around the corner wanting to make something of it later.

“This seems to be a male-dominated event,” Kohb noted. “Perhaps that is why Camilla’s presence is causing so much unrest. Would it be better if she reverted to Cam for the afternoon?”

“Not if you keep holding his hand and kissing him like that,” Chrístõ answered. “This is the early 21st century. It hasn’t quite come to terms with the idea.”

The uninsured driver was long gone when the traffic warden came by. This being a match day and parking being at a premium anywhere in the vicinity of Wembley stadium he was especially vigilant today and had already issued tickets to a whole row of vehicles that had parked for longer than the allowed 20 minutes and one which had snuck back within the no return period. He had also called the clampers out to seven different individual cars and had two towed away.

And it wasn’t even one o’clock in the afternoon.

They finished their drinks and headed towards the stadium, Chrístõ talking excitedly about the “New” Wembley and comparing it with the ‘Old’.

“I remember the 1938 FA Cup final,” he enthused. “What an atmosphere there was. Thousands came down by train from Preston and Huddersfield. The northern working classes swamped London. I had a drink in that very same pub we were in just now and then just went with the crowds, swept along into the stadium. Everyone was so excited, and determined that it wouldn’t be a repeat of the 1937 final when Sunderland beat us 3-1 in a second half slaughter. It was a dull game in the end, 0-0 after ninety minutes and then into extra time. Twenty-nine minutes of the thirty had gone and still no score, then Mutch was brought down in the goal mouth and he scored from the penalty spot. The place erupted! Afterwards, everyone was singing and cheering and we were just swept along, high on emotion, all the way back to the train station. I’d left the TARDIS in the goods yard disguised as a very large crate.”

He stopped and looked at the brand new Wembley with its arch of curving steel girders rising up over it that put him in mind of the memorial arch of Ka-Hik Iosis, dedicated to those who fell in their war of independence from the Draconian Empire.

He felt excited. He had been travelling the universe on his own since he was 180. Even before then he had seen a lot of it on vacation trips with his father. He sometimes worried that he had already seen and done everything. But walking up this causeway, surrounded by humans who would never live a fraction of the life before him, catching their enthusiasm as if it was infectious, the universe felt as fresh and new to him as this shiny, recently completed football stadium.

Kohb looked at him and caught some of that feeling in him. He was glad this experience was so life-affirming for Chrístõ. He was still a little dubious himself. But it seemed to be doing his friend some good.

The traffic warden looked at the mustard yellow Porsche and did a mental calculation of how long it would take him to afford a car like that if he saved every spare penny he earned. He reckoned he would be too old to want one by the time he could afford it.

“And the cheapskate couldn’t be bothered to find off-road parking!” he muttered.

The plain old fashioned sin of envy stirred as he began to look for a Pay and Display sticker inside the windscreen. He felt something like joy when he discovered there wasn’t one and his emotion as he wrote out the parking ticket was a very negative one, indeed.

Chrístõ’s emotions were all good ones as he stopped at almost every hawker’s stand along the way, buying hats, scarves, flags, inflatables and programmes as well as an assortment of easily carried foodstuffs like chocolate and crisps. When he looked with interest at a hot dog vender Kohb put his foot down.

“We ATE an hour ago,” he said.

“Yes, I know,” Chrístõ answered. “But we’ll be a good two, three hours in there, maybe more if the game goes to extra time. “And I don’t know why, but I always feel hungry at football matches.”

“I think I know why,” Camilla noted. “All this brings out the HUMAN part of you.”

Chrístõ looked at her and smiled. “You know, I never thought of it that way, but I think you’re right.”

“That’s a good thing?” Kohb queried.

“Yes,” Chrístõ assured him. “My mother was Human. My father always told me to treasure my Human qualities.”

True, he had meant the finer qualities like humility, courage, kindness, not a craving for junk food. But it was part of it. When he talked of being himself for a change, of taking time off from his responsibilities, it was not quite true. He was NOT being himself. He was being something and somebody else.

He was being Human. And he liked it. He had liked being Human when he lived in Victorian London, although the pressure of living a lie had started to tell on him after a while. For one afternoon he thought he could manage not to slip up and reveal himself as an alien being, and really enjoy himself.

“I don’t know,” Kohb pointed out. “It doesn’t do to lose your true self.”

“I can be Human without doing anything that betrays my dignity as a proud citizen of Gallifrey,” Chrístõ assured him.

“In THAT hat?” Camilla replied, suppressing a snigger that was quite unbecoming her own social position. “Are you sure?”

Chrístõ laughed. So did Kohb.

“You’ve never seen a Gallifreyan ceremonial costume,” he told his Haollstromnian sweetheart. “That hat is perfectly dignified and restrained in comparison. And perhaps Chrístõ is right. It won’t hurt any of us to not be ourselves for a few hours.” At that he put a scarf around Camilla’s neck and wrapped a flag around his shoulders and conceded to those Earth axioms “When in Rome…” and “If you can’t beat them…”


The traffic warden came around to the same street again. The Porsche was still sitting there with its parking ticket flapping in a slight spring breeze. He looked at it again. Then he noticed something odd about it. He looked closer.

The tax disc and the number plate matched. And the tax was valid for several more months. But the number looked wrong. The traffic warden looked at it for several minutes before he realised what the problem was.

The prefix letters of the plate were PY. That was all right. It signified a car registered in the North-West of England. He’d been seeing them all day. The three letters at the end were a common enough combination.

But instead of two digits inbetween the characters appeared, both on the registration and on the tax disc.

The traffic warden looked at his notes from earlier. He had put the two digits down as 03. He was sure that was what they were when he wrote the ticket. But now…

He blinked. He looked at the registration plate and at the tax disc.

It DID say 03. PY03 ALN. It was a valid registration after all. Perhaps he needed to see an optician. Perhaps he needed a break. Perhaps…

He blinked and looked again.

The numerals again looked more like than 03.

The traffic warden reached for his radio and contacted his headquarters, requesting a registration check.

Chrístõ’s enthusiasm was starting to infect his friends as they entered the stadium. They went through the turnstiles, showing their tickets. Kohb clung on to Camilla’s hand as they found their seats. They weren’t the ‘best’ seats in so far as being the most expensive. Those, Chrístõ had found when he used the TARDIS computer to order the tickets, were allocated to corporate season tickets. He wanted to sit with the FANS, not businessmen. But within that restriction they were good seats, within sight of the bench where the manager and substitutes of his team would be sitting. He settled down happily to watch the stadium fill up.

The traffic warden smiled malevolently as he ordered the tow truck to come and take away the mustard yellow Porsche. The registration and tax were both fakes. The car had no valid registration, no valid tax. It almost certainly had no insurance. It should not be on the road.

He didn’t consider himself a vindictive man.

He just believed in the letter of the law.

And that letter was neither T nor S.

Camilla was stunned by what was happening around her. She was a woman – and a lot of the time a man – used to dealing with all kinds of stressful situations. Cam had brokered deals that stopped bloody wars. Camilla had been the centre of attention in ambassadorial balls and functions where hundreds of people had watched her with admiring eyes.

But right now, sitting in that stadium, surrounded by thousands of people, cheering, singing, sighing with dismay, whooping with delight, she felt so very small and insignificant.

It was a strange and disturbing feeling.

And yet, one she knew she would remember for a long time.

It was exciting, too. She didn’t quite feel Chrístõ’s passion for the action on the pitch, and she would sooner tackle the fine points of a multi-party peace deal than try to explain the ‘offside rule’ to anyone who wasn’t born on planet Earth. But she felt the excitement. She felt buoyed up by the positive energy that was emanating from the people all around her.

She was having fun.

The tow truck arrived. The offending Porsche was attached to the winch.

The winch broke. The chain ricocheted back and the truck operator dived out of the way. When it was safe to look he examined the Porsche. It wasn’t so much as scratched.

He said he would call out a bigger truck.

Kohb was having a more interesting time than he expected. He was actually enjoying himself. He could see that there was a skill involved in the passing and tackling. He watched carefully, finding that taking a partisan interest in the match was more satisfying than trying to remain impartial and judge each team on its merits. He found himself jumping up in excitement as the team wearing the same shirt he was wearing came close to scoring, shared the disappointment when the effort failed, felt the adrenaline rush subside, his hearts return to their normal beat.

“Why don’t we have football on Gallifrey?” he asked.

“Hah!” Chrístõ laughed. “Can you imagine the High Council getting into the spirit?”

“Some of the High Council would die of shock.”

“I’ve suspected that SOME of the High Council were preserved in formaldehyde decades ago,” Chrístõ answered. It was a disrespectful comment that he would not have dared make anywhere else, though he knew he was not the only person who thought so. He and Kohb laughed at the idea together. And that was something. Yes, they had bridged the gulf between Oldblood and Caretaker already. But somehow, sharing that laughter, sharing that unique experience together, they seemed to have cemented the bridge, made it complete.

The bigger truck came. A low loader with a crane for lifting heavy vehicles onto it. The operator looked at the Porsche and wondered why he had been called out.

“It’s a sports car,” he said. “They’re light. They’re MEANT to be light. For speed.”

“This one isn’t,” the traffic warden said. “And it’s illegal. It’s got to be taken to the yard and put in the crusher.”

“Crushing a beautiful car like that! It’s a tragedy,” the low loader operator said.

“It’s the law,” the traffic warden said. “No tax, no registration. No insurance. It gets crushed.”

“Shame!” somebody said and the traffic warden realised he had an audience. A whole group of people had gathered to watch what was going on with a huge breakdown lorry and a lifting crane in the street.

“It’s the LAW,” the traffic warden repeated.

“Nuts to the law,” somebody else said and there were murmurs and grumbles about traffic wardens and congestion charges and general discontent on that theme.

“You want your streets kept clear of illegally parked cars don’t you?” he argued. “Don’t go painting me as the bad guy here.”

“Go away, then,” he was told. “And leave decent people alone.”

“I’ll go when this illegally parked car is towed to the yard,” he replied and told the lorry driver and his mate to get on with the job. They did so, fixing the thick chains from the crane onto the front bumper of the Porsche. The driver switched on the machinery and it began to winch the TARDIS Porsche up.

“It’s gonna go!” shouted somebody in the crowd, and the driver stopped the winch and let it out again. He stared at the crane mounted on the low-loader. It was bending over, wrenched loose from the mountings.

“Needs a bigger crane,” was the suggestion from the crowd that was now getting even bigger.

“There’s a building site down the way. They’ve got some big ones.”

The match was over. Chrístõ was philosophical about the result.

“Oh well,” he said. “Next year, perhaps they’ll get automatic promotion and not have to play off.”

Camilla put her arm around his waist reassuringly. Kohb patted him on the back.

“It WAS a very good game,” he said.

“That it was,” Kohb agreed.

“It was different,” Camilla added. “Can you remember where we left the TARDIS? All the streets look the same to me.”

“I know where it is,” Chrístõ answered. “The TARDIS and I are symbiotic. If I was lost in a jungle I’d be able to find my way back to it.”

“We’ll remind you of that if we’re ever lost in a jungle with you,” Camilla told him. “But what about here and now?”

“It’s this way,” he said and set off purposefully in what he was sure was the right direction.

“This is getting us nowhere,” the driver of the low-loader said. “Let’s try again. Come on, some of you lot, help push it.”

It was something akin to the Roman guard hauling Simon of Cyrene out of the crowd to help carry the cross. Well, perhaps not to those who were press-ganged by the traffic warden, but Chrístõ thought of it later when he got to that part of the playback. He notice that, even though they had been reluctantly called in, even though they had been against the idea of the car being towed away, the crowd were enthusiastic enough about helping to push it onto the low loader. It became a participation sport on Sunday afternoon. Something a bit more entertaining than what usually happened in the street. They complained about the weight and several people pointed out quite logically that Porsches shouldn’t weigh that much. A few refused to have anything to do with it. But inch by inch they pushed it up the ramp of the low-loader. The front wheels came up off the road as the back was pushed down, and when the load was settled evenly the low-loader seemed even lower than usual and creaked ominously. But the job was done.

“Ok, get it out of here,” said the policeman who had arrived to see what the disturbance was. “The rest of you go on off to your homes. There’s nothing to see.”

And there wasn’t, for nearly half an hour. The low-loader drove away with the Porsche squatting on its back like a mustard-yellow beetle on a log, The crowd dispersed and the policeman went on his way. The traffic warden went to check on the maximum 30 minute parking zone two streets away. The only evidence of anything unusual having happened was the debris from the original collision of the Audi and the surprisingly strong Porsche.

Then Chrístõ and his friends arrived in the street. They were teasing him for having got them slightly lost.

“I’m never exploring a jungle with you, Chrístõ,” Camilla told him.

“Jungles don’t have streets with six foot walls across the end making them into dead ends. And all those back alleys.” Chrístõ defended his honour manfully. “Jungles just have man eating animals and poisonous insects and snakes, They don’t have London traffic and people swearing at you because you start to cross when the green man is flashing!”

“So where is the TARDIS?” Kohb asked.

“It should be in this street,” Chrístõ answered. He panicked slightly as he looked around and didn’t see a mustard-yellow Porsche.

“You got the wrong street,” Camilla told him. “AGAIN.”

“It’s probably the next one,” Kohb said.

“No,” Chrístõ answered him. “No, look.” He knelt down and examined the broken piece of headlamp and the flakes of yellow paint. He didn’t have his sonic screwdriver on him. He left it behind in case they did a body search at the turnstile. The screwdriver didn’t exactly look like anything banned from inside football grounds, but it wasn’t something he could easily explain, either. He couldn’t confirm, therefore, that this definitely was glass and paint created by the TARDIS’s morphic field. But he knew instinctively it was.

“It’s been stolen?” Camilla looked worried.

“It couldn’t be,” Chrístõ insisted against all evidence to the contrary. He turned and looked around. He ran to a woman who was sweeping her doorstep. “Did you see a yellow sports car parked there? What happened to it?”

“Yes,” she answered. “It was a nice car, too. THAT man had it towed away.”

Chrístõ looked as the traffic warden turned into the street once more. One of the other parked vehicles was minutes away from the maximum Pay and Display time. One more act of public duty before his shift was up.

“What did you DO to my car?” Chrístõ demanded with the full weight of his aristocratic ancestry in the question. Most men would have quailed before him. But the traffic warden had the full weight of the law behind him and he rallied after the initial shock and told him that his illegally parked car with the suspicious registration had been towed away to the crushing yard.

“What!” Chrístõ exclaimed. “No, you can’t DO that!”

“Yes, I can,” the traffic warden answered. “I can, and I have.”

Chrístõ’s eyes flashed angrily and the traffic warden wondered if he was about to get hit. That happened often enough. Then he turned and ran. His two friends approached and demanded to know what was going on.

“It’s a diplomatic CAR,” Camilla lied, pulling out a piece of psychic paper from the pocket of her well-fitted jeans. We’re ALL diplomats. See.“

“Dressed like that?” the traffic warden countered.

“It’s our day off,” she responded. “Now where have you taken that car?”

Chrístõ COULD sense the TARDIS if he was within a mile of it. He knew he WAS within a mile of it. But all the problems he mentioned before about trying to find his way around London dogged him as he tried to catch up. Once, he thought he caught a sight of the mustard-yellow car being transported through the late afternoon traffic. But it turned at a junction and by the time he got there it had gone. Still, he felt the proximity of it. The symbiotic tie between him and his ship wasn’t letting him down.

He WAS worried. He wasn’t sure whether the TARDIS COULD be crushed in a car crushing machine or not. It WAS much stronger on the outside than it ever appeared to be. It was never really wood when it was a hut or steel when it was a car, or a canvas tent. It surely wouldn’t crush.

But what if it did?

What if the containment field was breached? What if the Eye of Harmony was exposed? The consequences for this planet, this galaxy, could be catastrophic.

At BEST, he would end up with a TARDIS crushed to the size of a large cube on the outside, perfectly intact on the inside, that he would be unable to open.

And poor old Humphrey trapped inside. He wondered if his strangest friend knew what was going on, if he knew of the danger.

He should have contrived some way for Humphrey to get in and out of the TARDIS.

A dog flap! He laughed at the idea before panic gripped his hearts again and he picked up the pace. Humphrey was only one reason why he didn’t want the TARDIS destroyed. It was more than just a ship to him. It was home, it was a friend. Then there was Natalie. He didn’t feel her actual presence in the TARDIS any more. He knew he wouldn’t. But he was certain some of her personality had rubbed off on the TARDIS in a strange kind of way.

Although he didn’t think it was Natalie’s personality that chose to be a flash looking car.

Natalie would have made it a phone box or something sensible, he was sure. Something that would have been there still when he got back to it. Reliable, dependable.

He stopped running to take a breath. He had forgotten in his anxiety the two things he had always to remind himself of when he was on Earth. Breathing and blinking. He concentrated on those two things for a minute then focussed his mind on the TARDIS. It seemed to be stationary now. And that might not be a good thing. It might mean it was already at the crushing yard. He might be too late.

He imagined the humiliation of having to admit he lost his TARDIS in such a silly way. His old enemies who thought him a weakling half-blood would be in their element. Those who believed in him would be disappointed. His job in the diplomatic corps would probably evaporate. He would almost certainly be recalled home. He would never be trusted with a TARDIS again.

His life would be ruined because of an awkward-minded man with a book of parking tickets.

Camilla and Kohb didn’t run. They calmly found out from the witnesses in the street the name of the company that had provided the low-loader and the location of their yard. They then called a taxi. Despite being stuck for a while in some of that London traffic, swelled by the fact that there had been a football match on this afternoon, they got there before Chrístõ and tried to remonstrate with the foreman, insisting that the Porsche was diplomatic property. But despite the psychic paper providing them with impeccable credentials the foreman insisted that the crushing went ahead.

“It’s paperwork,” he said. “The paperwork’s been done already.”

“Nonsense,” Camilla retorted. “You’re just as stubborn as that silly little man with his tickets. I don’t believe you’ve done any paperwork at all.”

“If this is what Human beings are really like,” Kohb said. “It’s a wonder Chrístõ is as nice as he is.”

The foreman looked at him strangely. Camilla squeezed his arm and reminded him not to talk about Humans in that way. Then both looked on in horror as the Porsche was attached to a very strong crane winch and lifted onto the crusher.

“Just like that?” she demanded. “No chance of appeal? That can’t be right. Stop. Please.”

Kohb gave a sudden yell as somebody moved past him in a blur. It had to be Chrístõ in a time fold.

“No!” Camilla screamed and began to run after him. “No. You’ll be killed.”

The crusher was already descending on the Porsche when they saw Chrístõ jump into the machine. They lost sight of him and the car as the heavy crushing lid pressed down. There was resistance. A grinding and screeching of gears. And then Camilla’s scream almost overwhelmed the sound of the machinery as the crusher suddenly descended quickly as if there was no longer any resistance.

Kohb ran forward as the foreman reached the controls and raised the lid. He wasn’t sure what he expected, hoped, or dreaded to find. The TARDIS crushed to a square block of metal such as he had seen next to the machine? Chrístõ’s bloody, broken body? Even a Time Lord couldn’t survive that.

He was relieved to see that the crusher was empty. There was no broken TARDIS. No broken body. No blood. Nothing.

He ignored the astonished questions from the foreman and the workers. He turned and took Camilla by the arm and walked calmly back through the wrecking yard. When she asked he just shook his head and held her arm firmly.

Just outside the yard there was a telephone box. Anyone paying particular attention to it might have noticed, as well as the out of order sign, the letters instead of the British Telecom logo. Camilla gave a sigh of relief as the door opened and Chrístõ stood aside to let them in.

It was late evening now. The lights were low. Chrístõ sat on a chair with his feet pressed against the console, watching the playback of what had happened to the TARDIS in his absence. Humphrey hovered near him, no worse for his experience.

“I made cocoa,” Cam said and he looked around and took the cup from him. He was still wearing the unisex football shirt but on his young male form it looked subtly different than on Camilla’s body shape.

“YOU made cocoa?” Chrístõ smiled at the idea of either version of his friend being that domestic.

“Well, since we spent the day pretending to be Human, it seemed a Human thing to do.”

“It’s a nice thing to do, thanks.” He looked at the screen and laughed as he saw the winch snap on the first attempt to move the TARDIS. “It was a bit hairy at the end there, but it’s a bit funny, too. I never thought of the TARDIS having its own adventures without me.” He patted the console. “Never would have happened if you’d just been a PHONE BOX!” he added.

Cam laughed and kissed him on the cheek.

“We’re off to bed now. Don’t stay up too late. I had a good day, you know. It WAS nice to take time out from our lives. And I think Kohb might become a real football fan.”

“I think we can call this a successful day, then,” Chrístõ answered. “Goodnight, Cam.”

He smiled as he watched his friend disappear through the inner door. He stood up and switched off the playback viewer and checked they were on course for their next destination. He patted Humphrey fondly and then went to find a space on the floor. After a day of being Human he needed a night as a Time Lord, he reflected as he knelt and put himself into a deep level meditation.