The Belphegor Inheritance
In its close orbit around the dying Kasterborus Gamma, the Hand of Omega received its new instructions. It began to execute the program.
The Hand reached through a dimensional conduit, to reclaim the lost solar mass from the sub dimensional tract into which it had been siphoned. The star started to expand. The Hand dropped through the chromosphere, and dipped beneath the surface of the photosphere. It continued to sink through the burning gases, until finally it plunged into the core.
The dying fusion process was being refuelled by the regained solar
gases. The chain reaction was slow, and needed a catalyst to speed it up.
The Hand triggered a thermonuclear explosion. Kasterborus Gamma glowed
brilliant white for an instant, and was restored to its former glory.
Pandak released the last of the power cables. He let it fall to the floor, and stood back to admire his achievement.
The monolith of the Eye of Harmony suddenly split into six panels, that folded downwards, opening like a flower. From the centre rose an inconceivable object. It was completely black, so black that there was nothing to see. Pandak only knew it was there because his eyes were receiving no light whatsoever.
He was standing two metres away from the nucleus of a black hole. He stood where no man had stood since Rassilon. Now, all power was his. He would rule Gallifrey and possess total mastery over time and space. And he would be immortal, as Belphegor had promised. There would be no end to the reign of Pandak.
In his exultation, Pandak threw his arms wide, letting go of the Rod of Rassilon, which fell lightly to the dais. It was an artifact of a pathetic historical figure. Rassilon had rejected the true power that could have belonged to the Time Lords. He deserved to be forgotten, discarded like his Rod.
As he contemplated his triumph, Pandak slowly began to realize that he was no longer standing a couple of metres from the black hole. He was moving towards it. He was pulled off his feet, as if plucked by an invisible hand. The Sash of Rassilon remained hanging in the air behind him. He had been snatched out from its protective field. Pandak felt himself tumbling through the air, straight towards the black hole.
And yet, his speed was slowing. The force on him seemed to be slackening. His progress towards the black hole became a gentle drift, and finally it seemed to stop altogether. Pandak had reached the event horizon. Perceived time had come to a standstill. In that infinite moment, he could see every instant in time, the past and the future.
Pandak knew that he had failed. And yet, in some way, he had gained mastery over Time after all. He had experienced the entire history of the Universe. He felt strangely calm, daunted by his own insignificance amidst the splendour of the cosmos.
Then the gravitational forces crushed him into non existence.
The President watched in amazement as Pandak was sucked from inside the Sash of Rassilon and disappeared into the black hole. She didn't understand why she was still alive, and why Pandak was dead. Why had the Sash failed to protect him?
She felt the grip of the technician upon her slacken. She managed to pull her arms free. With the death of Pandak, the rebels had lost much of their power. They couldn't hope to compete with Time Lords, not when there were so few of them. This was not a popular revolution like that which had first toppled Pandak.
The President took a step towards the dais, but then stopped. She was afraid to go any closer, afraid that what had happened to Pandak would happen to her.
The Sash of Rassilon moved silently towards the unleashed Eye of
Harmony. Somehow it managed to wrap itself around the empty darkness,
encircling the black hole. The Rod of Rassilon lay on the dais where it had
fallen. The President could not bring herself to retrieve either artifact.
She had no idea what was going on.
The Doctor looked up at Chancellor Cabulas, and beamed a huge smile. "Well," he said, "I don't like to blow my own trumpet, but I think I did it."
Cabulas nodded. "Since we are still here," he said solemnly, "I think we can assume that is true." Then suddenly, he smiled and cried out jubilantly, "Doctor, you've done it!"
Rhonwen let go of the pillar she had been clutching. The ground was no longer shaking. "Is it really all over?" she asked.
"Well, not quite," the Doctor replied. "The Eye has to be returned to its containment field and restabilized, but that can wait. As long as the force field holds, the gravitational forces can't affect us."
"But Doctor," began Cabulas, "I don't understand. How did you protect Gallifrey from the black hole?"
"The Great Key," said the Doctor, pointing to the ancient relic connected to his control board. "It may look like it would unlock an old shed, but it's Rassilon's greatest achievement. It controls and harnesses all the forces of time, space, matter and radiation. It was this that locked the black hole into the Eye of Harmony in the first place."
"Yes, but what did you do?" Cabulas insisted.
"I used the Key's power to tap into the Sash of Rassilon, and turn the field inside out."
Cabulas laughed. "As simple as that?"
"I don't understand, Doctor," said Rhonwen.
"The Sash is a shield that protects the wearer from the forces of a black hole," the Doctor explained. "Turn it inside out, and it will protect everything outside the Sash, rather than inside it."
"The Panopticon will remain stable," added Cabulas.
"The Panopticon, the Capitol, the whole planet saved by the Sash of Rassilon," said the Doctor. "The only area that would be affected is that inside the Sash. In other words, whoever was wearing it."
"Pandak?" gasped Rhonwen.
"Well, I'd be very surprised if it wasn't."
Rodan waited on the approach to the Panopticon precinct. Pandak's forces were still securely holding the entrance to the great hall, and with snipers on the rooftops, it would be difficult to dislodge them.
Turning, the Castellan saw Stalred moving along the street towards her. "The reinforcements will be here in about ten minutes," he reported. "I think we need to get onto the rooftops and remove the snipers first."
"My thoughts exactly, Commander," said Rodan. She was annoyed that Stalred seemed to have forgotten who was in charge of security in the Capitol. "Our priority will have to be ensuring the safety of the President and Cardinal Zelara, if they are still alive."
"Even if the snipers are dealt with," said Stalred, "Pandak still has a number of troops in the square. And we don't know how many inside the Panopticon. A lot of my men have been killed, Castellan. We may not be strong enough to take on all Pandak's forces."
Rodan nodded angrily. She wanted to blame Stalred for failing in his duty, but it was not the Commander's fault. The Chancellery Guard had never been organized to deal with armed assailants. It was a ceremonial body.
After the Sontaran invasion, there had been calls for the military capability of Gallifrey to be stepped up, but they had been rejected by successive High Councils. It was felt that nothing could get through the Transduction Barrier, and that the Sontaran attack had been an isolated incident which would never be repeated.
Rodan herself had suggested improving the Chancellery Guard following the revolution. Although she had supported the popular movement against Pandak, she had no desire to be thrown out of her office if the new President should prove unpopular. Once they had tasted a morsel of democracy, the lower classes were likely to get ideas above their station.
The President had rejected such measures, feeling that the Council needed to win the people's support by a show of trust, and by ruling with fairness and justice. So far, the President had been proved correct - although she had never conceived that one day she would be facing an armed rebellion, and that her predecessor would hold her hostage.
Rodan sighed. "I'm open to suggestions, Commander," she said.
Entering the Council chamber, the Doctor continued with his discourse. "The Hand of Omega will now return to the security vault. And like the Validium, you must ensure that it never sees the light of day again."
"It shall be done, Doctor," said Cabulas.
In his hand, the Doctor held a small portion of his control panel, that part which contained the Great Key. It was still controlling the force field that kept them all alive.
They approached the conference table, where the Doctor's previous body was still lying. Suddenly the Doctor himself staggered, and almost fell. He managed to regain his balance almost immediately, but he clutched his hand to his head as if he felt very faint.
Rhonwen took hold of the Doctor's arm, and helped to support him. "What's the matter?" she asked.
The Doctor took a couple of deep breaths, and waved her hand away. "I'm all right now," he said. "There was a brief fluctuation in my life force."
"What do you mean?"
The Doctor smiled. "Well, I'm not really here, you see. I'm just a psycho-temporal projection of the Doctor's next incarnation." He pointed to the body of the Scotsman. "Don't you see? I've died in a previous regeneration. Because I'm in a different time stream, the fact of my death hasn't caught me up yet."
"Why don't you release the life force," asked Cabulas, "and trigger the regenerative cycle?"
"I can't," replied the Doctor. "Not yet. The body may be dead, but Belphegor is immortal. He's still inside the mind of my previous self. If I regenerate now, the possession will continue. This is our next task, Cabulas. We have to take my other body to a Matrix terminal. When Belphegor realizes that his host isn't going to regenerate, he'll have no choice but to flee back into the Matrix."
"Very well, Doctor," nodded Cabulas. He went to the door to tell the
guards to fetch a stretcher.
The President tore her eyes away from the strange sight presented by the Eye of Harmony. She turned to look at Pandak's followers who still stood in the Panopticon.
Fixing her gaze on the technician who had held her pinioned, the President said, "Pandak is dead. Your rebellion is over."
The technician looked up at her uncertainly. He knew that his options were limited now. Even if the rest of Pandak's men decided to keep the rebellion going, there was little they could do. They were not Time Lords, and they could not control the powers and forces that the Time Lords could.
Pandak had promised them power, that they would become Time Lords in his new order. But without him, that promise would never be fulfilled. The technician said, "What would you have me do?"
"Throw down your weapon," replied the President. "Surrender yourself to justice."
"So that you can execute us?"
"All will be treated fairly," the President declared. "Those who surrender promptly will be treated more leniently. This I swear. The Rassilonic Law will be upheld by my administration. Unlike Pandak, who summarily executed those who disagreed with him." She gestured towards the crumpled body of Cardinal Zelara.
The technician looked at his fellows. They were clearly all uncertain what to do, but one thing was obvious. They couldn't escape. They could kill the President now, but that would only worsen their position. "Allow us to discuss it," the technician begged.
The President waved a magnanimous hand. The technician and his fellows
gathered into a huddle and started to whisper.
"A direct frontal attack would be suicidal," argued Stalred. "Even without the snipers, my men would be massacred. And the followers of Pandak would have ample warning. They would be able to execute the President."
"I don't see that there is any other way to retake the Panopticon," said Rodan.
"Perhaps we could make a surprise attack from an unexpected direction," Stalred suggested. "It would mean researching the old vaults and tunnels. There may be a way into the Panopticon from beneath."
"All of which would take time. If we are to save the President, we cannot afford to wait. I suggest-"
"Castellan," Stalred interrupted hastily. "Something's happening."
As they watched, a technician came out of the Panopticon. He spoke to some of the men guarding the entrance. An argument seemed to break out between them, but after some moments of heated discussion it was resolved.
Then, before Rodan's astonished eyes, the rebels started to throw down their stasers. The technician who had emerged from the Panopticon raised his empty hands above his head, and shouted out. "We are surrendering. The President is unharmed. We are releasing her."
He turned and gestured to someone inside the Panopticon. A moment later, there was a shimmer of white and silver, and the President walked from the entrance unhindered. She crossed the square, and moved towards Rodan and Stalred.
Regaining her composure, the Castellan started to give orders. "Commander, take your men. Arrest those rebels."
"Do not use excessive force," the President admonished as she approached. "They have surrendered freely. They throw themselves upon the mercy of the Rassilonic Law."
"And Pandak?" asked Rodan.
"Pandak is dead."
The mortal remains of the Doctor's Scottish persona were borne on a stretcher by four Chancellery Guard officers. They carried the body carefully into the Presidential throne room, where Chancellor Cabulas had opened up the Matrix terminal usually reserved for the President's personal use. It was the nearest terminal to the Council chamber.
Since the President made contact with the Matrix through the Circlet, Cabulas had specially attached two neural connectors to the terminal. The stretcher was laid down beside the Presidential throne, and Cabulas placed the electrodes on the Scotsman's battered head.
Watching, the Doctor suddenly staggered, his arms flailing. He managed to grab hold of the throne to stop himself from falling completely.
Completing his work with the neural connexions, Cabulas looked up sharply. "You can't hold onto that life force indefinitely," he warned. "What if the fact of your death should overtake you? Regenerate now, while there's still a chance."
"No," insisted the Doctor. "Not while Belphegor's still in there. I'm not going to go through all that again."
He turned his attention to the Matrix controls. "Now, I want you to close off the panatropic net, except along this route."
Cabulas followed the path the Doctor traced. "Where does that lead?" he asked.
"To the rest of Belphegor's mind," said the Doctor, "which remains imprisoned. Somehow parts of his higher consciousness were able to get through the trap that Rassilon laid, and buried themselves in the depths of my mind. I'm gambling that the free part of Belphegor will be able to pass back through the trap and rejoin the rest of him."
The Doctor screwed up his eyes, as if he had lost the power to concentrate. With an effort he went on. "Lacking an available host, Belphegor would at least want to be whole, even if he was confined. He could always wait then for another unwitting host to come along, and start the whole process again."
"We must prevent that somehow," said Cabulas.
"Oh yes. Keep monitoring. When Belphegor is whole, you'll have to isolate that panatropic register. Then eject that portion of the net into the vortex and time loop it. Can you do that?"
Cabulas pondered. "It will require some adroit manipulation of the controls," he said, "but it should be possible."
The Doctor staggered again, and found himself caught by Rhonwen. She helped him to stand. The Doctor placed a hand against the wall, and leant his weight against it. He blinked several times in quick succession to try and clear his head.
He found himself thinking of his wife again. The wife he had forgotten, despite his promise to the contrary. This was something he didn't need reminding of, not at this time. But they said that your life flashed before your eyes when you were about to die. If he was going to see his life played back, the Doctor thought, it would need a full double programme with an interval and a plastic tub of ice cream.
"Doctor," said Rhonwen in concern. "You mustn't do this to yourself."
The Doctor glanced at Cabulas, who looked up briefly from the Matrix controls and shook his head. No sign of Belphegor yet. "I have to," the Doctor said. "It's my only chance."
The door opened, and Commander Stalred came in. "Your Excellency, Doctor, there you are. I've been looking everywhere for you."
The Doctor looked up and smiled. "What is it?" he asked.
"The President is very worried about the Eye of Harmony," said Stalred. "The black hole is out of the monolith."
"Oh yes, I forgot all about that. I'd better take a look at it."
Turning to Cabulas, Stalred enquired, "Your Excellency?"
The Chancellor gestured at the Matrix controls. "I really don't think I should leave this."
"Quite right," said the Doctor. "I'll go. It will help to keep my mind
off thoughts of my encroaching mortality." He held up the electronic
component that contained the Great Key. "I've got all I need here."
By the time the Doctor arrived at the Panopticon, the guards had taken away the last of Pandak's men. A crowd of people had started to gather in the square, servitors, Shobogans, and even a few junior Time Lords. Somehow rumours had spread that Gallifrey had been saved, and that the Doctor was responsible. The crowd started to cheer him.
Turning to Rhonwen and Stalred, the Doctor shrugged his shoulders and smiled in mock embarrassment. "I don't know what I've done to deserve this," he said. "We'd better hurry before I get besieged by autograph hunters."
They darted through the crowd, and entered the Panopticon. The President and Rodan were standing before the dais.
The Doctor looked up at the black hole, and raised his eyebrows at the sight of the Sash of Rassilon wrapped around it. "Ah," he said, "so that's what the best dressed black holes are wearing this year."
He suddenly collapsed, falling to the floor. Rodan and the President dashed to his side. Recovering almost at once, the Doctor said, "It's all right. I'm becoming used to this."
"What happened, Doctor?" asked the President.
"A warning," the Doctor muttered, as they helped him to stand. "Now I really must do something about this black hole."
He moved towards the dais, his eyes fixed upon the empty darkness that hovered above the open monolith. A feeling of great trepidation overwhelmed the Doctor. He was unsure of his next step. Could he really walk up to a black hole, and repeat Rassilon's great achievement?
He had to try. It was the only way. The Doctor climbed up onto the dais, and approached to within a metre of the black hole. He reached into his jacket pocket, and took out the Great Key. A cloud started to spread over his mind. The Doctor tried to shake his head to clear it, blinking his eyes and breathing deeply. It was as if he were plunging into an abyss. For a terrible moment, the Doctor thought that he was falling into the black hole. But no, his speed seemed to be increasing. He was tumbling into the depths of his own consciousness.
His grip on his life force was slackening. He did not have much time. Images started to rise from the pit of his memory. Old enemies arose to threaten him with destruction. Friends came to offer reassurance. The Doctor tried to push them all away. He needed to concentrate on the present now. At the bottom of the pit was his wife, looking out of the window towards the town at the foot of the mountain. She did not turn around. He couldn't see her face.
The Doctor squeezed his hand tightly around the Great Key, and felt the metal edges bite into his palm. It gave him something to concentrate upon. He was aware of the present once more.
Extending his arm, the Doctor pointed the Key towards the heart of the black hole. He then let his arm slowly fall towards the floor. The black hole started to descend, dragged by the Key, as a powerful magnet would drag a metal weight. The Sash of Rassilon remained hanging in the air behind it.
The black hole sank into the base of the dais, and the six sides of the monolith folded up to enclose it. The Doctor took hold of the free end of the Sash and pulled it clear. The panels came together, and the monolith was complete once more.
Draping the Sash casually over his shoulder, the Doctor picked up the first power cable and connected it in place. He moved around the monolith, attaching the other three cables in turn. The containment field once more bound the Eye of Harmony.
Then the Doctor bent down to gather up the Rod of Rassilon. Placing it into the slot in the dais, he gave the Rod a twist, and the Eye of Harmony started to descend into the floor once more. The panel closed over it, flush with the surface so that no one would ever have known it was there.
The Doctor stepped back. He turned to the President and handed her the Sash and the Rod. "You'd better have these back, my Lady," he said.
Nodding gratefully, the President replied, "Let us hope they never need be used again as anything more than ceremonial relics."
The Doctor held out his other hand, that contained the Great Key. But before the President could take it, he snatched it back. Rassilon's wisdom had decreed that the Key should never be given to the President, so that no one person could hold absolute power.
The Doctor gave the Key to Rodan instead. "Look after that, Castellan," he warned. "Make sure you only give it to the Chancellor."
"Yes, Doctor," said Rodan quietly, awed by the responsibility of guarding the Great Key.
The Doctor felt his consciousness blacken. He rolled up his eyes, and fell crashing to the floor.
Concerned figures started to move around him, trying to lift him up. Rodan and the President, Stalred and Rhonwen. The Doctor didn't think he could go on much longer. It was no easy task, holding on to his life force like this. He was cheating death. Only the force of his will was keeping him ahead of the fact that his previous incarnation had died.
Turning urgently to Rhonwen, the Doctor gasped, "Get me back to Cabulas.
Must go back. No more time."
The Doctor was rushed along the streets of the Capitol, one arm around Stalred's shoulders, the other around Rhonwen. They were supporting most of his weight. Rhonwen began to think that he wouldn't make it. And what would happen to her then? Would the other Time Lords take her home, or would they just forget about her?
How could she think of herself at a time like this? The Doctor had saved all of them, and now he was dying. They had to do all they could to save him.
Rodan went ahead of them with some of the guards, clearing the curious crowds out of the way.
Eventually they reached the Citadel, and the Doctor was rushed into the Presidential throne room. The Surgeon General had been called, and he fussed about trying to examine the Doctor.
Recovering a little, the Doctor laid a restraining hand on the physician's arm. "There's nothing you can do," he said. "It's all up to me now."
He moved over to where Cabulas was still watching the Matrix controls. "Well?" he demanded.
"No, Doctor," said Cabulas, shaking his head sadly.
The Doctor let out an involuntary moan. All the colour seemed to have drained from his face. It was clear he was clinging on to life by a mere thread.
Rhonwen took him gently by the arm, and helped him to stand. "You can't go on," she said. "If you can save yourself, you have to do it. You've saved all of us. We can't watch you die."
"You may have to," the Doctor said. "I won't let Belphegor keep control of my body. To prevent that, I'll make the ultimate sacrifice if I have to."
"Doctor," Cabulas shouted excitedly. "I'm reading him now. There is a definite panatropic pulse entering the Matrix from your mind. I mean, your other self's mind. You've won, Doctor. You can let go now. Let nature take its course."
The Doctor nodded. He gently pushed Rhonwen away from him. Crossing to the body of the Scotsman, he removed the neural connectors from the wounded head. It wouldn't do to have Belphegor doubling back.
"Good luck, Doctor," whispered Cabulas.
The Doctor closed his eyes, and his entire body seemed to go limp. It was as if he was going to faint, but instead he remained standing up. All his limbs sagged. Then before Rhonwen's astonished eyes, he seemed to blur and distort. She couldn't believe it. The Doctor's body was expanding outwards, turning into a strange intangible haze of coloured light.
"What's happening?" she asked.
"It may be difficult for him," Cabulas explained. "No Time Lord has ever held his life force in a projected state for so long. There comes a point when the regenerative cycle of the original body has decayed too far, and cannot be restored. Let us hope that the Doctor has not yet reached that point."
As Rhonwen watched, the hovering mass of blurred light that had been the Doctor descended upon the corpse of the Scotsman. The little body was bathed in a strange shimmering glow.
Some remarkable things happened. First, the damaged skull repaired itself. The crushed bone seemed to rise back into its original shape. The broken skin grew back over the top. There was not a blemish left on the Scotsman's head.
Then his features started to glow brightly. His entire face seemed to be changing. His hair grew visibly longer, and lighter in colour. His whole body seemed to grow taller, his arms and legs extending out of the ends of his clothes. The shimmering light faded.
Rhonwen stared in amazement. Where the Scotsman had been, the Doctor was now lying. Her Doctor, John Smith as he had called himself at the LSE. His eyes were closed. He appeared to be unconscious. But the colour had returned to his face.
The Surgeon General moved forward and started to examine the body.
Cabulas had returned his attention to the Matrix controls. Once he had ascertained that the Doctor's regenerative cycle was still viable, he had lost interest. One regeneration was very much like another.
He watched as the free part of Belphegor's mind travelled the restricted path through the Matrix. It crossed into the sealed register, and Belphegor became whole once more.
The Doctor slowly opened his eyes. "Where were we?" he asked. "We were discussing the Romanovs, I think."
"Doctor, you're back," Rhonwen exclaimed.
"Am I?" he said, sitting up. "Where have I been?" He climbed rather unsteadily to his feet. He still felt a bit shaky, but he knew it would pass. So close to the Eye of Harmony, his regenerative cycle was operating at peak efficiency. There should be hardly any disorientation at all.
He looked at Cabulas. "Belphegor?" he asked.
The Chancellor hit a control. "I have sealed him into the panatropic register. But I imagine that the free part of himself will be able to cross the barriers, as it did once before."
"You'd better eject that part of the net quickly," the Doctor advised. "Before Belphegor realizes that we're up to something."
Cabulas manipulated the controls. After some minutes, he stood back in relief. "It is done," he announced.
"What?" asked Rhonwen.
The Doctor turned to face her. He looked almost comical in the Scotsman's clothes, which were far too small for him. "Belphegor has been dumped in the time vortex," he said, "and sealed in a time loop."
"What does that do?"
"It encloses him forever in a single moment of time. It's the one thing that even an immortal like Belphegor can't get out of."
Cabulas said, "One is forced to wonder why Rassilon didn't do this in the first place."
The Doctor shrugged. "Who knows? Perhaps he was too compassionate to condemn another Gallifreyan to such a torment. Or perhaps Belphegor still retained some vestige of control over Rassilon's mind, and stayed his hand."
"It does not matter," Cabulas replied. "Belphegor has gone forever. Now
truly Gallifrey can forget about him, as Rassilon intended us to."
Abbot Cho Je opened his eyes, and emerged from his trance. He felt at peace. The Doctor had succeeded in his task. The great evil of Belphegor had been vanquished. The Doctor himself had been given a new life.
Cho Je reached out and rang the bell. After a few moments, the door opened and Tommy entered the sanctum. "Master?" he asked.
Cho Je smiled. "Tommy," he said. "Would you fetch me some buttered tea?"
Tommy nodded, and went out. He showed no sign of ill effects after the attack by the psionic energy. Cho Je had not feared the glowing sphere. Negative forces only had influence over the darkness in one's self, and Cho Je had purged his soul long ago. He had faced the energy head on with his own psychic powers, and commanded it to leave the Earth.
Settling back in his chair, Cho Je smiled to himself. His old friend had
conquered an ancient evil, and discovered himself. Cho Je knew that he
would be unlikely ever to see the Doctor again. But he was at peace.
The Doctor emerged from the TARDIS. He had shed the Scotsman's clothes, and changed into a shabby tweed suit almost identical to his original clothes. This one had leather patches on the elbows.
Rhonwen stood by the entrance to the Panopticon, waiting for him. She was wearing a blue minidress and white boots, which she had found in the TARDIS wardrobe. The Doctor had taken one look at the outfit, and sniffed dismissively, saying that it had once belonged to someone called Jo. Rhonwen was just glad to be wearing some proper clothes again.
The Doctor joined her, and they walked into the Panopticon. The President was waiting by the dais, with Cabulas and Rodan. Stalred stood at the head of a honour guard, a bright new medal displayed proudly on his chest.
In the centre of the hall, two biers had been placed, on which the bodies of Cardinal Tamos and Cardinal Zelara were lying in state. There would be memorial services for the other casualties as well, Co-ordinator Engin, and the dead guards and civilians. But they were not of sufficient status to warrant being placed in the Panopticon.
The Time Lords would probably have forgotten all about K9. They didn't view machines as particularly important. But mainly at the insistence of Commander Stalred, a plaque would be put up to commemorate the dog's heroic sacrifice.
Cardinal Lodar had been quietly forgotten. The Doctor thought this hardly surprising, since the treachery of the Patrex Cardinal was rather embarrassing for the President.
"Doctor," the President announced, "we owe you everything. You are the saviour of Gallifrey."
"Yes," agreed the Doctor, displaying no modesty whatsoever. "It's becoming a habit. You really must learn to take more care of yourselves."
The President took a deep breath. "Perhaps we shall not need to," she began. "The people know what has occurred. Once again, popular opinion is calling for you to assume the highest office."
"What do you think about that?"
"I am prepared to relinquish the Presidency in your favour."
The Doctor smiled. For a few seconds, he was very tempted by the offer. Gallifrey was entering a new and very difficult period of its history. The power of the Time Lords had been eroded. Society needed to be restructured to include every citizen, from the lowest Shobogan upwards. In fact, the class structure had to be dismantled, so that there would be no such thing as a Shobogan.
It was enormously challenging. But it wasn't for him. The three councillors before him were better suited to the task. For one thing, they were riddled with class prejudices themselves. Confronting and overcoming such weaknesses in their own personalities would help them to identify the problem areas in society.
"I don't think so," the Doctor replied. "I really have to take Rhonwen back to Earth. I only brought her here by accident, you see."
And then, to resume his travels. The Doctor felt wonderfully happy. He had regained his soul, and regained his memories. They weren't all pleasant, but they were who he was.
There were some memories that were still missing however. Not because of Belphegor's influence, or as a result of the psychic shock. Simply the effect of elapsing centuries. He was over a thousand years old. He had to expect a few things to fall by the wayside. However, one memory in particular was very important to him, and he needed to rectify its loss before he went.
"You will be leaving Gallifrey, then?" asked the President.
"Yes, presently," the Doctor said. "There's something I have to do first. A promise I have to keep."