The man from the Cambridgeshire Constabulary regarded the little porter with an expression of disbelief. ‘Stolen a room?’ he repeated.

Wilkin shrugged. ‘That is the only way I can describe it.’

The policeman followed the porter across the courtyard of St Cedd's College. ‘Yes, well you see in my experience people don't usually steal rooms very much,’ he explained patiently. ‘They may steal from rooms, yes, but steal the rooms themselves very rarely. In fact I think, er, never is probably the word I'm looking for here sir. I mean, where's the advantage in it? Not much of a black market in rooms is there? Wouldn't get much for it.’

Wilkin came to a halt and faced the policeman. ‘I know it's very difficult to understand, officer, and it's also very easy to be sarcastic.’

‘Sarcastic, sir?’ replied the policeman. ‘I don't know the word. Now, why don't you run over the salient points again?’ he suggested.

Wilkin nodded, and began walking again, and the policeman trailed after him. ‘Oh well, I got to the door of the room and I opened it, and beyond it there was nothing.’

‘Nothing at all, sir?’

‘Absolutely nothing at all,’ confirmed the porter. Then he reconsidered. ‘Well, nothing except for this sort of blue haze.’ He opened a door, and led the way through a passage towards a staircase.

‘Ah, well,’ replied the policeman knowingly. ‘You see, a blue haze could be the sort of vital clue that we are searching for.’

Wilkin caught his implied meaning instantly, and turned to the policeman when he reached the stair landing. ‘And I was not drinking,’ he insisted.

The policeman refrained from saying anything else until they reached their destination. The porter showed him to a door in a hall on the second floor of the building.

‘And this is the famous door, is it sir?’ the officer inquired.


‘Behind which you saw your blue haze?’

Wilkin made a concerted effort to remain polite. ‘Yes.’

The policeman looked at the porter for a moment, and then knocked on the door.

‘Come in!’ called a voice from within.

The policeman gave Wilkin a hard stare, and then opened the door into Professor Chronotis's study. ‘Well sir,’ he said. ‘Whoever took it seems to have brought it back, don't they?’

The Doctor, Romana, Chris Parsons, Clare Keightley and Professor Chronotis were all sitting around in armchairs. The Doctor was reading aloud from a copy of Charles Dickens' The Old Curiosity Shop: ‘“‘Her little homely dress, her favourite!’ cried the old man, pressing it to his breast, and patting it with his shrivelled hand. ‘She will miss it when she wakes...’”’ The Doctor hesitated, as Chronotis looked up and noticed the two men standing in the doorway.

‘Hello? Can I help you?’ asked the Professor.

‘Routine inquiry, sir,’ explained the policeman, walking into the room. ‘A report that this room has been stolen...’

This prompted a laugh from the Doctor. ‘Stolen?’ repeated the Professor. ‘I don't think so, officer.’ The Professor reached across to Chris with a cup and saucer. ‘Here you are - a cup of tea and some asprin.’

‘Asprin, sir?’ asked the policeman.

Chris gratefully accepted the cup from the Professor. ‘Ah, yes,’ he replied. ‘Headache.’

‘Bad night last night?’ the officer continued. Chris nodded, grinning. ‘Yes, you could say that.’

The policeman turned to the porter. ‘A lot of celebrating going on at College last night, was there sir?’ he asked levelly.

‘Nothing out of the ordinary,’ Wilkin replied, thoroughly confused.

‘The normal hi-jinks that would be then, would it?’ the officer inquired. ‘Students roaming the streets stealing policemen's helmets and bollards...’ He stopped as he suddenly noticed a police box standing in a corner of the room. The policeman slowly turned to Professor Chronotis. ‘Might I ask where you got that, sir?’ he asked sternly, producing his notebook and pen.

The Doctor jumped to his feet. ‘Yes, it's mine.’

‘Oh really?’ It was clear from the tone of the policeman's voice that he didn't believe the Doctor.

‘Yes, really,’ the Doctor assured him, and turned to the others. ‘Well Professor, this is all very pleasant, but I think it's time Romana and I were on our way. Come on, Romana.’

Romana obediently got to her feet and joined the Doctor beside the TARDIS.

The Doctor opened the door and then turned back to the others. ‘Bye Wilkin, Bristol, Clare. Goodbye Professor - don't worry, your secret's safe with us.’ He waved, and disappeared inside the police box.

‘Goodbye everybody,’ smiled Romana, and followed him in.

‘Goodbye,’ called out the Professor, Chris and Clare, just as the door shut behind Romana.

‘Secret, sir?’ said the policeman, fixing the Professor with a stern look. ‘What secret would that be?’

Chronotis didn't answer immediately. All eyes were on the police box. With a wheezing groaning noise, it dematerialised. ‘Cup of tea?’ offered the Professor, when the noise had died away.

‘Where did that police box go?’ demanded the officer.

Chronotis glanced around the room, and then assumed his most innocent expression. ‘What police box would that be, officer?’

The policeman put away his notebook and pen. ‘Right,’ he said firmly. ‘Right, coats on everybody - you're all taking a little walk with me down to the bridewell.’

The Doctor was checking the readings on the TARDIS console.

‘How did Skagra manage to find out so much about the Time Lords? Where was he from?’ asked Romana.

The Doctor looked up, but it was K9 who answered. ‘My metabolic analysis reveals that he was from the planet Drornid, Mistress.’

‘Ah, there's your answer,’ said the Doctor. ‘Remember your history. There was a schism in the College of Cardinals, the rival President set up shop on Drornid. They forced him to come back by totally ignoring him.’

‘And the Professor was the great Salyavin,’ Romana continued. ‘It seems hard to believe, he's such a nice old man. I wonder if the stories of Salyavin were exaggerated?’

The Doctor rested a hand on the handle of the randomiser, and considered Romana's speculation. ‘More than likely,’ he agreed. ‘The Time Lords over react to everything. Look at the way they treat me. I expect that one day in a few hundred years time someone will meet me and say: “Is that really the Doctor? How strange. He seems such a nice old man.”’

Prologue | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | Epilogue
Author's Notes for this chapter