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The Xoloans, Part Four
“Your desires are irrelevant to this operation,” said Mr. Jones. “This operation is over. The difficulty is getting too high. We will leave this place at once and seek out a different TARDIS.”
“Excellent,” said Romana. “But when the Xoloans hear of this, and they will hear of this, you will be hunted across all of space. And when the Time Lords hear of this, you will be hunted all across time.”
“That will not happen,” said Mr. Jones, as Mr. Smith and Mr. Johnson joined him.
“And why not?” Romana queried.
“Because we will reduce this planet to a single point before we leave.”
Romana and Dwight stared at him dumbly for a second.
“Well, that’s not very sporting, is it?” Said Romana.
“What is ‘Sporting?’” asked Mr. Jones.
Romana started to reply, but Mr. Jones cut her off. “Mr. Smith,” he said, “prepare to reduce the planet.”
“By your command, Mr. Jones.”
“Wait! Wait,” said Romana. “All right. I’ll make you a deal. Spare the planet, and I’ll give you my TARDIS.”
“Your TARDIS is non-functional,” said Mr. Jones. “It is of no use to us.”
“Then fix it,” Romana said. “You know how to operate one. You even know what’s wrong. Why can’t you fix it?”
“Our knowledge is limited to how to operate TARDISes and routine maintenance. We do not know how to repair a quantum tube malfunction.”
Romana got a strained look on her face. “Oh, all right. I’ll fix it for you. If you promise to leave here with it, and harm no one.”
Mr. Jones raised an eyebrow. “You have no quantum tube. And I will not allow you to contact the Time Lords, so there can be no replacement.”
Romana made a shooing motion with her hand. “I can make one. Don’t worry about that.”
Mr. Jones thought it over. “Very well. You will make a replacement quantum tube, then repair your TARDIS. Then, you and this human,” he indicated Dwight, “will accompany us on our journey.”
“Why should I want to go with you? And why would you want to bring Dwight?”
“Yes,” said Dwight, “I’d rather like to know the answer to that as well.”
Jones looked at Romana with suspicion. “You will join us, so that if you sabotage the operational systems of your TARDIS, you will share our fate-“
“Thought of that, eh?” Romana interjected, looking glum.
“-and the human will accompany us so that he, too will share in our fate. You may be willing to sacrifice yourself, but the typical Time Lord is not willing to sacrifice an innocent local.”
Romana pursed her lips. “Well, I shall have to fix it for real, then, I suppose. Come along. Let’s to my TARDIS.”
“Lead,” instructed Mr. Jones.
Romana and Dwight left Robert’s TARDIS, then the office, at gunpoint. After they departed, Sally climbed out from under the desk. She looked at the empty doorway with her eyes as wide as a frightened doe’s. “Cor!”
“How much longer?” Asked Mr. Smith.
“A few more hours,” Romana absently replied.
Lord Robert’s study had been transformed into a makeshift lab. Many pieces of equipment from Romana’s TARDIS were in evidence, as well as dozens of examples of Earth technology. Televisions, radios, blenders, and all manor of other pieces of equipment lay strewn around the room, each dismantled with wires hanging haphazardly out.
Romana worked on the jury-rigged quantum tube, with Dwight as her assistant, under the auspices of the three Xoloans in the back of the room.
“Hand me that spanner, would you, Dwight?”
Dwight handed her the tool. “You know they’ll kill us as soon as you fix your TARDIS,” he said quietly.
“Not quite,” she whispered back, continuing her work. “They won’t kill us until they’ve successfully reached wherever it is they want to go. Just in case they need me to fix something else. Then they’ll kill us.”
“A minute difference in my opinion, madam.”
“Don’t worry,” said Romana, confidently. “I have a plan.”
“And that is?”
“I’ll explain later. But do whatever they tell you to do. Don’t make waves.”
“Romana, I want to make waves. Large, tidal variety waves. They’ve killed Lord Robert!” Dwight’s voice reached a hissing crescendo.
Romana and Dwight both looked back at the Xoloans guarding them. They betrayed no interest in their conversation. Romana smiled at them and returned to her work.
“There’s no point in dwelling on that,” she whispered. “There’s nothing we can do about it. You’re going to have to trust me.”
Miles away, a police dispatcher sat at her desk, speaking on the phone. She had a nearly mischievous glint in her eye as she spoke with the party on the other end of the line. “I think I have your story straight, now, ma’am. I’ll report it to the appropriate people immediately,” she said with condescending servitude. “…Yes ma’am, I surely will. Goodbye.”
She hung up the phone and laughed.
Her captain walked around from his desk, sipping his tea. “What was that all about, Patrolwoman Keller?”
Keller snickered slightly. “Just a crank call, Sir. But an imaginative one. The lady claimed to be one of the servants up at Haverfield manor. She claims the manor has been taken over by aliens, who have killed the Lord, and are demanding that the head butler and a woman she’d never met before repair something called a TARDIS.”
Keller laughed openly again, while the Captain struck a thoughtful pose.
“What is it, Sir?” Said the patrolwoman.
“TARDIS…TARDIS…” mused the Captain. “That sounds familiar. Something related to a memo or something. Now what was it about TARDIS I should be remembering? Something from the Home Office, if I recall correctly…hmm…” He walked over to a filing cabinet.
“Now, Captain, you can’t seriously-“
“Well, I don’t know what she has wrong with her,” said the Captain, sorting through the files in the top drawer, “but there was a memo or something that mentioned TARDIS…Ah! Here it is!” He pulled out a single piece of paper.
“It reads: To all stations and law enforcement affiliates: Any mention of the following words, in any report, should be reported to UNIT immediately: Nestine, Silurian, Anyone calling themselves ‘The Master’ or ‘The Doctor’, Dalek, Cyberman, Zygon, Sea Devil, Sutekh, Yeti, Axon, TARDIS… there’s more, but there it is right there. Any mention of TARDIS means we have to call UNIT.”
Patrolwoman Keller stuck a serious expression. “I’ll phone them immediately, Captain.”
Captain Stowe of the United
Nations Intelligence Taskforce sat at his desk, filling out paperwork. The day
had been a slow one, like most days of UNIT service. It was a difficult job,
being the head of UNIT North. All the really interesting things seemed to
The phone on his desk rang. He let it ring while he finished his sentence on his report.
Absently, he picked up the phone and said “Captain Stowe, here.”
Suddenly, his full attention was on the phone He stood as he talked. “Brigadier! What can I-…I see…Yes, Haverfield Manor. I’ll go immediately.” He hung up the phone.
Sally walked out of the kitchen after having made her call, and went back to the hall outside the study. She had been spying on Dwight and the aliens for some time. She only hoped the woman at the police station took her seriously. She wrung her hands and listened. For quite a while, she heard nothing but Romana fiddling with whatever she was working on, and the occasional inaudible conversation between her and Dwight. The bad men in the back never spoke nor even moved, from what she could hear.
She periodically checked her watch. It has been over half an hour, now.
“Oh, where are the police?” She whispered to herself.
“Nearly there,” said Romana to whomever was interested. “I don’t suppose one of you chaps could reduce this transformer to one quarter its size, could you?” She held up a cannibalized transformer from a radio.
Mr. Smith and Mr. Johnson looked to Mr. Jones for instructions. Mr. Jones nodded to Mr. Johnson.
Mr. Johnson walked over and concentrated on the transformer. It glowed slightly and began to shrink in Romana’s hand.
“Careful, now. It’s got to shrink steadily,” Romana warned. “It will do me no good to have a small non-functional transformer.”
Mr. Johnson scowled at her and continued with his task. Soon, the transformer was one-fourth it’s original size.
“Thank you. You see how nice things can be when we all work together?” Romana said cheerfully. She hunched over her makeshift quantum tube and inserted the transformer. “There. It Should be functional, now.”
Dwight stood and stretched. “Time to install it, then?”
“Up to them, I suppose,” said Romana, jerking a thumb in the direction of the Xoloans.
Mr. Jones stepped forward. “You will make appropriate tests here to ensure that it works. Otherwise, you could intentionally make repeated mistakes and continually install and reinstall it to buy time.”
Romana shrugged. “Then I’ll need some equipment from my TARDIS to test it.”
Mr. Jones cocked his head and listened. Shortly, all could hear the sound of a vehicle approaching.
Mr. Smith went to the windows and looked out. “There is an internal combustion vehicle approaching along the main road, Mr. Jones. It is 5 miles away.” He concentrated on the road, himself, and the intervening space. The space contracted in an unobtrusive way, so that the light from the car traveled only three feet to get to his eyes. “It contains contemporary soldiers. The front of the vehicle reads ‘UNIT’.”
“What is UNIT?” Demanded Mr. Jones, pointing his weapon at Dwight.
Dwight raised his hands. “My dear sir, it’s no good asking me. I’ve never heard of any ‘UNIT’.”
“What is UNIT?” Mr. Jones repeated, swinging his weapon over toward Romana.
Romana playfully clasped her hands behind her back. “UNIT?”
Mr. Jones pushed his weapon barrel against Romana’s abdomen.
“Oh, UNIT,” she said with sudden recognition. “Yes. They are the United Nations Intelligence Taskforce.”
“What do they do?” Asked Mr. Jones.
“They deal with alien invaders, mostly. Quite effective, or so I’ve heard.” She smiled.
“They can not succeed against our technology and powers.”
“From what I’ve heard, they’ve stopped around 10 alien invasions from happening. Including Daleks,” she said. “But suit yourself.”
Mr. Smith turned a very-close-to-worried expression toward Mr. Jones. “If they were able to defeat Daleks. They can defeat us.”
“Your assumption is probably correct, Mr. Smith. We shall retire to Romana’s TARDIS. You,” he pointed to Romana, “bring the quantum tube.”
Romana reached out and grabbed it. “By your command, Mr. Jones,” she mocked.
“Move,” commanded Mr. Jones.
Sally, outside, heard the exchange and quickly ducked into a nearby room, silently closing the door behind her. As the Xoloans, Romana, and Dwight passed by, Sally listened with interest to their receding footfalls. Once she heard them round the corner, she emerged from her hiding place and followed them discreetly.
Romana led the way holding the quantum tube with Dwight in tow. The Xoloans, taking no chances, had their weapons at the ready. They entered the trophy room, where Romana pulled out her TARDIS key and opened the door to her TARDIS, disguised as a 16th century trophy case.
“Here we are. In you get,” she said.
“You first,” ordered Mr. Jones.
Romana sighed and entered, followed by Dwight and the Xoloans.
Once inside, Romana instinctively pulled the door control lever, closing the doors.
“You will repair your TARDIS, now.”
“You’ve got to understand. I haven’t had a chance to test this,” Romana protested. “It might just fail, or worse yet, it might partially work with completely unpredictable results. We could all die.”
“If it doesn’t work,” Mr. Jones warned, “You and the human will certainly die. Install it.”
Romana shrugged. “As you like it.” She lay on the floor and opened the access panel to the console and began pulling out components, leaving them scattered on the floor.
Dwight stood against the wall, nearly at attention, his hands clasped behind his back. Once a butler, always a butler, and if he was to die at the hands of mysterious aliens, he was going to do it on his terms.
“What is it you want a TARDIS for, anyway?” Romana’s voice floated out from the console she was half engulfed in.
“It is not your concern,” Mr. Jones answered.
“You’re all Xoloans. You’re the masters of space. You can go anywhere you want without a TARDIS. Or is it time travel you want?”
“We have no need of time travel,” said Mr. Jones. “Continue with your work.”
“What could you possibly want it for?”
“Silence or be silenced,” said Mr. Smith.
“Thank you, Mr. Smith,” said Mr. Jones.
“By your command, Mr. Jones,” said Mr. Smith.
Sally approached the trophy case, still in awe at what she had just seen. All five of them walked right in to the case, then closed the doors. They couldn’t possibly all fit in there. There couldn’t be a hole in the wall, because it would lead to the hall she was just in, and she would have noticed.
She listened at the doors, hearing nothing. She crossed her arms and frowned. “And I didn’t get a chance to clean up in that case, neither!”
The main doorbell rang, breaking what served as Sally’s concentration.
“The police!” She smiled.
She ran from the room.
Romana silently worked under the console, occasionally pulling out or putting back a component. She decided she had spent enough time pretending to work on getting the dimensional stabilizer. She had succeeded in what she set out to do: She had components all over the floor, and had wasted a good ten minutes.
Finally, she came out of the access panel with the stabilizer in her hands. Her hair was a mess and her face hands had grease all over them.
“Whew,” she said, wiping her forehead with her arm. The result was merely to reapportion the grease on both. She opened the stabilizer and inserted the new quantum tube. “There we go.”
“Now what is to be done?” Asked Mr. Jones.
“Now I put all this back, and we pray my substitute quantum tube doesn’t kill us all,” Romana said.
“Continue your work,” ordered Mr. Jones.
“Aye-aye!” Romana saluted him and crawled back under the console.
“This is taking too long,” Mr. Jones said. “The military men will be here, soon. Mr. Johnson, activate the external scanner.”
Mr. Johnson walked up to the console, stepping over Romana’s prone form. He flipped the switch to open the scanner, and the section of wall it resided in slid away to reveal the screen. On screen was the view of the trophy room. Shortly, they saw Sally enter the room with several UNIT soldiers. She was pointing at the TARDIS and speaking to the commander of the group.
“Audio,” said Mr. Jones.
Mr. Johnson flipped another switch.
They heard Sally speaking. “-know it’s hard to believe, Captain, but they all got in to this case. All five of them. Oh, how am I going to convince you?”
“On the contrary, ma’am,” said Captain Stowe. “I believe you utterly. Men,” he barked, “Form a perimeter around the trophy case. All guns trained on the door, but for God’s sake don’t fire unless I give the order.”
Mr. Smith, looking at the screen, noted “They appear to be armed with mere chemical projectile weapons, Mr. Jones.”
Mr. Jones replied “We will not underestimate an organization that has defeated Daleks, Mr. Smith. We will stay in here.” He gently kicked Romana’s leg.
Romana popped her head out from under the console. “Yes?”
“The UNIT men are here,” Mr. Jones said. “If they are able to gain entry, I will kill you and the human.”
“Well, I better get back to work, then,” said Romana. “You should know, by the way, that my navigational computer is on the fritz.”
“We know the coordinates of our destination,” said Mr. Jones.
“And what would that be?”
“Get back to work,” Mr. Jones ordered.
Romana grabbed a handful of components and started putting them back in their places. All was going well. She didn’t know how UNIT got involved, but she was able to bluff the Xoloans into believing they were a genuine threat. She didn’t lie, exactly. After all, UNIT had defeated Daleks in the past. She used that to get the Xoloans in a hurry, and it worked.
She was genuinely worried about the quantum tube, though. She did rather “throw it together”. She was telling the truth when she spoke about it. If it didn’t work right, they would all die and her scheme would be for nothing .
“Work faster,” said Mr. Jones.
“Working as fast as I can,” said Romana. “If you think you could do better, be my guest.”
Mr. Jones thought for a moment. “Work,” he said.
“Charming conversationalist,” Romana grumbled.
“Could I lend a hand?” Asked Dwight.
“I doubt it,” said Romana, “Unless you know how to realign a phased-multiwatt injector.”
“They don’t teach that at butler school, madam.”
“I rather thought not.”
Outside, the UNIT men had their guns trained on the door. Captain Stowe wondered how long this could last. If necessary, he thought, he would have shifts of men guarding the door.
Romana put the last component into place and sealed the access hatch. “There we are,” she said. “All done.”
“We shall see,” said Mr. Jones. “Mr. Johnson, investigate her work.”
“By your command, Mr. Jones,” said Mr. Johnson, opening the access hatch and looking at the components inside. “All components are in their proper places. None are missing.”
“Set the coordinates and dematerialize, Mr. Johnson.”
“By your command, Mr. Jones,” said Mr. Johnson.
Romana watched as Mr. Johnson set the controls with ease. She watched very closely. “Those coordinates seem familiar somehow, what are they?”
“Silence or be silenced,” said Mr. Smith. “Stand with the human.”
Romana went to the wall and stood by Dwight. “An interesting day, eh, Dwight?”
Dwight looked away from her. “More than likely, it will be my last, thanks to you.”
“Chin up, Dwight. All is not as bad as it seems.”
“Is your machine working, now?”
“I believe so. I’m not sure about the quantum tube. I did try my best, though.”
“You didn’t sabotage anything?”
“Now why would I want to do that? We are aboard, you know.”
“Once they get where they’re going, they’ll kill us,” Dwight complained.
“Puts a spring in your step, doesn’t it? It’s been centuries since someone threatened to kill me. It’s refreshing, really. Good to be back in the game, I say.”
“You’re not the first to say so.”
Mr. Johnson finished entering the coordinates. “We are ready to depart, Mr. Jones.”
“Do so, Mr. Johnson,” ordered Mr. Jones.
Mr. Johnson activated the dematerialization sequence.
With a raspy coughing noise, the trophy case disappeared. The UNIT men all looked to Captain Stowe.
“That was more or less expected, actually,” he said.
“What!?” said Sally.
“Let’s move out, lads. Show’s over.”
“What!?” said Sally.
“Give us a call, luv, if you see them again.”
The Time Rotor bobbed up and down indicating that the TARDIS was in motion.
“Well, we’re going strong, it would appear,” said Romana.
“So our deaths are growing closer,” said Dwight. “That is charming.”
“Don’t be so down in the mouth. I told you I had a plan. I wish I could remember what those coordinates he set were for…” She furrowed her brow in thought.
“Report, Mr. Johnson,” said Mr. Jones.
“Course laid in, Mr. Jones. We should be there shortly.”
“Your TARDIS operational skills are exemplary, Mr. Johnson,” said Mr. Jones.
“Thank you, Mr. Jones,” said Mr. Johnson.
Dwight leaned to Romana. “What does it matter where we’re going? We’re going to be shot when we get there.”
“Just a matter of curiosity, Dwight. Ah! I remember now! Oh, my…”
“Hey, Xoloan!” Said Romana.
“What do you want from me?” Asked Mr. Jones.
“I remember what those coordinates are, now. We’re going to the Eye of Harmony, aren’t we?”
Silence reigned inside the TARDIS for several moments.
“You are correct,” said Mr. Jones.
“You see, Dwight?” Said Romana. “We won’t be shot when we land after all.”
“And why is that?”
“Because the Eye of Harmony is a black hole. In fact, it’s the source of power for my home planet. We’ll be crushed in an instant. Even the TARDIS won’t survive.”
“Ah. Much better.”
Romana stammered. “Well, yes, after a fashion.” She turned to Mr. Jones. “I know your plan, now. It’s painfully obvious. You intend to take control of the Eye of Harmony, and harness its power for your own nefarious purposes.”
“We will rebuild the Xoloan race in our image,” said Mr. Jones. “With the power of the Eye of Harmony, we will be able to accomplish anything. The Eye of Harmony is the most powerful black hole in the universe. Created by your Omega specifically to be a power source.”
“And since Xoloans feel right at home inside black holes, you’ll have the run of the place.”
“So how does your TARDIS fit in to all of this?” Asked Dwight. “Can’t they just teleport wherever they want to go?”
“Not quite,” said Romana, lifting an eyebrow at Mr. Jones. “The Time Lords may be stogy, but they aren’t daft. The Eye of Harmony is protected by force fields and defenses that even Xoloans can’t bypass.”
“But TARDISes can,” Mr. Jones confirmed. “We are pitting Time Lord technology against Time Lord technology. And with this TARDIS, we shall gain entry into the Eye. Your TARDIS will disintegrate around us, as will you, and we will be left to do as we please in the Eye.”
“We will materialize in 30 seconds, Mr. Jones,” said Mr. Johnson.
“You shall shortly die,” said Mr. Jones.
“Pity, that,” said Romana, stepping back to Dwight’s side.
“Well,” she confided to him, “that does throw a spanner in the works.”
Dwight rolled his eyes. “Madam, how does our exact method of dying matter?”
Romana put a hand on his arm. “Now listen closely, Dwight. I don’t have time to explain. Edge slowly toward the doors. When they open, you leave at once, do you hear me. At once.”
“They won’t open. We’re going to a black-“
“Sst!” Said Romana. “They will. Because I’ll open them once we land. When they open, you get out fast. I’ll be right behind you.”
“But as soon as we land-“
The Time Rotor stopped oscillating, and settled into place. One of the system readouts on the console made a metallic beep.
“We have landed, Mr. Jones,” said Mr. Johnson.
Mr. Jones looked around him. “Why has the TARDIS not been crushed, Mr. Johnson?”
“I do not know, Mr. Jones. Perhaps TARDISes are more resilient than we suspected.”
“It is unlikely, Mr. Johnson,” said Mr. Smith. “More likely is that the Time Lady sabotaged something.”
Romana stormed to the console. “I take offense to that, I’ll have you know! I put everything back together in good faith. Look!” She pointed at the controls. “All the navigation controls are in working order. You can see I put no resident programs in to secretly take us somewhere else. Even the door lever works properly. See?” She pulled the door lever, and the doors swung open. “Now, Dwight!”
Dwight ran out the doors, straight into several men in red uniforms pointing guns at him.
“Freeze!” their leader shouted. Even as he barked the command, ten of his men stormed into the TARDIS, all of them with their weapons out.
Dwight put his hands up in the face of this new enemy.
Inside, Romana and the Xoloans were swamped by the troops. Romana put her hands in the air with a smile.
Mr. Smith tried to bring his weapon to bear on one of the troops, but the soldier was too fast for him, shooting him instantly. Mr. Smith crumpled to the floor without a sound.
Mr. Johnson had put his weapon on the console to operate the controls, and was caught completely off guard. He looked to Mr. Jones for instructions.
Mr. Jones became translucent, and blurry, then snapped sharply back in to focus with a scream and fell to the floor.
Several of the men pointed their guns at Mr. Johnson. “Don’t move a muscle, Xoloan. As you can see, your space control powers don’t work here.”
“Good work, Captain,” said Romana.
“Thank you, Lady Romana,” he said.
Romana strode confidently out of the TARDIS. Several men pointed guns at her.
“Oh, no need for those, gentlemen. The situation is well in hand.”
They did not lower their weapons, but did not fire, either. The men in the TARDIS carried the two unconscious Xoloans out, and frog-marched Mr. Johnson out past Romana and Dwight.
“Welcome to Gallefrey,” said Romana to Mr. Johnson as he passed. To Dwight, she said, “You can put your hands down, now. You’re safe.”
“What just happened?” Asked Dwight, relaxing his arms.
Romana glanced around. “Hmm? Oh. This is my home planet. We are on the Citadel on Gallefrey. I didn’t tell you the whole story. You see, I stole this TARDIS. I wasn’t at all myself when I did it. The Time Lords can recall a TARDIS whenever they like. One of the first things I did was remove that component from my TARDIS so that they couldn’t.”
“All right. So far, I’m following you.”
“Well, when the Xoloans made me replace the quantum tube, I took the liberty of replacing the callback circuit as well. I made the reasonable assumption that the Time Lords would be constantly trying to recall my TARDIS. So as soon as it took flight with that call back circuit back in and working…”
“We ended up here,” Dwight completed. “So it didn’t matter where they set the coordinates, we were destined to come here.”
Romana smiled. “Yes, indeed. And they could have looked over the components all they wanted for as long as they wanted because they truly were all in proper working order. They simply had no way of knowing that my particular TARDIS was being constantly called by the Time Lords.”
“Very ingenious, milady,” said Dwight. “But how did your countrymen, here,” he gestured to the Citadel guardsmen all around them, “manage to capture the Xoloans? Why didn’t they just teleport away?”
“Actually,” Romana explained, “Mr. Jones tried to. But, you see, this room is a secure area specifically designed to hold a TARDIS against its will. The technology behind it was carefully designed to ensure that no space warping could take place at all. Hence, the Xoloan’s powers were useless.”
The Captain of the Guard came to Romana. “Lady Romana, this warrants some explanation, I think.”
“Certainly. These Xoloans are criminals and tried to take control of my TARDIS.”
“Very well. That TARDIS. I put the recall circuit back in to land us here. They intended to take control of the Eye of Harmony.”
The Captain raised his brow. “We shall have to get the Xoloan ambassador down here.”
“Probably a good plan, Captain, carry on.”
The Captain ordered his men to clear the area.
Once the room was cleared, only Romana and Dwight remained in the holding area. They had been there quite some time. Dwight stood against a wall, while Romana lay on the ground, propped up on her elbows.
Dwight looked at the TARDIS. “I couldn’t help but notice.”
“Yes,” Romana replied.
“Your TARDIS seems to have become a white cabinet. Wasn’t it more of a trophy case?”
“It blends in with its surroundings.”
They sat in silence some more.
“So, what is it we’re doing, here?” asked Dwight.
“Well,” said Romana. “I suspect they’re a bit peeved that I stole a TARDIS.”
“So, what will happen?”
“Oh,” said Romana, “they’ll finish dealing with the Xoloans, probably put them in a cell like this one. Then they’ll come back to tell me I’ve been a naughty girl stealing a TARDIS. It’s actually a very serious crime. So, I’ll need to rot here until they can clear everything up. Then, they’ll forgive me because I had just regenerated and wasn’t in my right mind.”
“I’ll explain later. Anyway. I’ll resume my boring job as Minister of the Interior, and they’ll give you a lift back to Earth.”
“You’re their Minister of the Interior? I thought you were the President.”
“I was. Now I’m the minister of the Interior. I’ll explain later.”
“You say that a lot.”
“You need a lot of explanations.”
“So how long will all this take?”
“Not long. The President is rather pleased with me, I suspect. I’ll get a full pardon for everything, and the Guard won’t hold me too long because they won’t want to incur disfavor from the President.”
“Why is the President pleased with you?”
“Because I recently thwarted an assassination attempt against her.”
“You really are a busy woman.”
“Only lately. The past several hundred years have been an absolute bore.”
The door to the holding cell opened. Two ornately robed men entered. One of them bore the deep black eyes of a Xoloan. The other, Romana recognized, was the Castellan, chief of all security for Gallefrey.
Dwight stood and backed against a wall. “Watch out, Romana! Another Xoloan!”
“Relax,” said Romana, springing to her feet. “They’re mostly good people, remember.”
“We try to be,” said the Xoloan in the flat tones Dwight had heard far too much recently. “I am Mr. Ambassador, the Xoloan Ambassador to Gallefrey. I have come to thank you on behalf of my people for aiding in the capture of the three wanted criminals you know as Misters Jones, Smith, and Johnson.”
“No thanks necessary, Mr. Ambassador.”
“They are given, just the same,” said Ambassador.
“So, what will be done to them?” Asked Dwight.
Ambassador intoned “They have committed high crimes against Xoloas. We Xoloans shall create a pocket space for them to be imprisoned.”
“And we Time Lords,” The Castellan added, “will see to it that the pocket space lasts for all time.”
“Good show, Castellan,” said Romana. “Now, hurry up and tell me not to steal any more TARDISes so I can get back to my despicable job.”
The Castellan looked to the Xoloan Ambassador. “Could you leave us, please?”
“Certainly,” said Ambassador. He stepped through the doorway, and thus out of the protected area, and disappeared, teleporting away to parts elsewhere.
“I’m afraid it’s not that simple,” the Castellan said to Romana. “You are under arrest.”
Romana snorted. “Oh come, now. I brought it back. Hardly a scratch on it. Besides, I was under severe mental strain. I’d just been shot and regenerated. You can’t hold me responsible for my actions at a time like that.”
The Castellan stammered. “You are under arrest for the assassination of Lady President Flavia.”
Romana stared at the Castellan with her mouth open. “But I stopped it happening. And surely you mean attempted assassination?”
“No. You were successful on your second attempt.”
Romana became deadly serious. “President Flavia is dead!?”
The Castellan nodded. “Yes, and we have incontrovertible proof that you are the murderer.”
Romana and Dwight looked at each other.