The Michaelmas Phantoms
The Man in the Library
Crabtree swung the Wolseley hard around the corner that Gates indicated. They had turned into a quiet residential street, which terminated just a short distance ahead of them. Crabtree stopped the car.
"Is it here?" he asked.
Gates studied the instruments in the glove compartment. "We are very close," he said. He looked out through the windscreen. The car could go no further, but a footpath led between the houses at the end of the street. Peering intently, Gates thought he saw a footbridge, and beyond an open space. That appeared to be where the trace was coming from.
"We must proceed on foot," he said. He closed the glove compartment, taking a hand held detector from his jacket pocket. It had a narrow range, but they were close enough now for it to register.
He got out of the car, Crabtree following him. They started to run
towards the footpath.
The sound was filling Rhonwen's head, a snuffling and sniffing, and then a vicious snarling. She could not see anything, but she knew it was there, right in front of her. She wanted to recoil, but she couldn't move.
The unseen creature did not make any further move towards her. It was as if it were playing with her, trying to terrify her. It was succeeding. Perhaps it had sated its hunger with Sergeant Starling, and could now afford to torture her.
Then suddenly, she sensed it rear up, ready to strike. Rhonwen wished she could close her eyes before the end, but she couldn't even move her eyelids.
The end never came, for in that same moment the creature seemed to back away from her. Rhonwen found that she could begin sluggishly to move her legs.
The sound of the creature was still present, but seemed to be fading away. It sounded different now, almost as if it were in pain. Then the sound was lost altogether, and she could no longer sense the creature's presence.
Rhonwen started to experiment with moving her muscles, trying to get the circulation back into her limbs. She moved her head, and caught sight of Starling's body on the ground. She didn't need to examine it. She just knew he was dead.
Before she realized what was happening, Rhonwen found herself in the company of two men. They seemed to have come out of nowhere. She had not seen them in the poor light because of the dark suits they were wearing. One of the men was holding something in his hand, a slim rectangular box with several flashing lights. He swung it all about and studied it, seeming to read some meaning in the patterns of the lights. Rhonwen didn't know who they were, but it seemed to her that they had been responsible for scaring the monster away. She turned to them gratefully, but neither man responded. They ignored both her and the dead body of Peter Starling.
Crabtree was waiting for Gates to report, which initially was more important than dealing with Rhonwen. "Well?" he demanded.
"It has gone," Gates said.
"Are you sure?" Crabtree asked. But he knew Gates did not make mistakes. They had been too late. And yet there appeared to be no evidence here of the anachronaut they sought. There was only one possible source of information now. He turned to Rhonwen and spoke harshly. "What happened?"
"I don't know," Rhonwen stammered, suddenly startled by his manner. "There was some kind of animal."
"An animal?" repeated Crabtree incredulously.
"Yes," said Rhonwen. She didn't know how to describe it. She couldn't understand what was happening. These men had very likely saved her life, and yet now they were offering her no comfort or sympathy at all. "Who are you, anyway?" she asked, feeling hot tears start to well up in her eyes.
Crabtree glared at her. "I ask the questions," he said. "What did this thing look like?"
"I don't know, we didn't see it." Had he no human feeling? There was a man lying dead before them. "It killed him."
Crabtree cast a dispassionate eye over Starling's corpse. "You are unharmed?" he asked.
"If you wish to remain that way, you had best tell no one about this." Crabtree had studied the threats that were effective in this era.
"Is this some sort of sick joke?" Rhonwen demanded. She couldn't take much more of this.
"I do not joke," said Crabtree. "If anything is said about this, it will be the worst for you." He was satisfied that the girl had got the message. He nodded to Gates, and started to lead the way back towards the Wolseley.
Rhonwen watched them disappear into the night. She could not believe what had just happened. The two strangers had not offered to help her, to reassure her, to stay with her. They just seemed interested in trying to scare her. Rhonwen blinked back the tears. She had to go and find the Doctor. He would comfort her. He would know what to do.
She looked down at Starling's body. She felt she couldn't just leave him
there. She bent down, and reached out a hand to touch the corpse. It was
freezing cold, and the skin seemed to have become terribly pale. Rhonwen
couldn't help recoiling from it. She jumped to her feet, and found herself
starting to run from the meadow.
Gates and Crabtree climbed back into their car. Crabtree started the engine, whilst Gates looked at the instruments in the glove compartment once more. "You enjoy that part," Gates said, "do you not?"
"What part?" Crabtree asked.
"The threats," said Gates.
"It is necessary. We must maintain secrecy. If the Time Lords were ever to find out about the anachronauts, they would take drastic action." Crabtree put the car in gear, turned it around and started back towards the main road. "Where are we headed?" he asked.
Gates shook his head. "I have lost both signals."
"We should not have taken that diversion," said Crabtree.
"But that was definitely a temporal disturbance. There was something there, for a moment, just as we arrived."
"Was it connected to the original trace? Or something new?"
"I do not know," said Gates. "There were some distinct differences between the two signals."
"And neither was the normal trace of an anachronaut," said Crabtree.
"As yet I have no explanation for that."
They fell silent. Crabtree drove aimlessly, his eyes fixed on the road ahead. "Do you think that witness will hold her tongue?" he wondered aloud.
Gates turned to look at him. "What can you do if she chooses to speak?"
Through the open door to the accelerator chamber, Saunders could see Wells and Colin checking over the equipment. The Doctor was still with him in the control room, examining some of the instrument displays closely. Saunders sat impatiently, awaiting the verdict. "Well?" he asked.
The Doctor looked up. "Do you still maintain that the power is being drained from outside?"
"It's the only possible explanation," said Saunders.
Colin came in from the accelerator chamber. "Look," he said. "I didn't give your theory much credence, Professor, but I've just completed a physical check of the power output. There's only our cable attached to it."
"So if the power is being drained," said the Doctor, "that implies someone has a greater understanding of the nature of temporal energy than you do."
"Is that possible?" asked Saunders, with very little humility.
"Or it could mean that the equipment isn't functioning the way you expect it to."
"But we've checked everything," said Colin.
"Well, I don't doubt your perspicacity," said the Doctor, "but I would like to make my own examination. I think I'll start with the chronon injectors."
He saw Colin give a satisfied nod and turn away.
The Doctor walked into the accelerator chamber, where Wells was still at work. "Doctor Wells," he began, "perhaps you'd be kind enough to show me this gadget of yours?"
Wells opened his mouth to object, but could not think of any reasonable argument. The Doctor had already opened up the panel that covered the chronon injectors, and was poking about inside.
"Be careful, Doctor," said Wells, hoping to dissuade him. "It may be unsafe. I should prefer to bleed off any excess chronons before you conduct a close inspection."
"I don't think there's any danger from a few loose chronons," the Doctor said. "They could minutely distort a couple of your metabolic rhythms, but not enough for your body to be affected, and the difference would soon be compensated for."
He reached for the central components of the chronon injectors, which were contained in their own metal rack that could slide out. In the centre of this arrangement was a cylinder, about a metre long, made of some crystalline material. To either end of this were attached a number of metal rods, around which were wrapped coils of wire. A series of glass phials contained a sludge-like yellow substance.
"I will try to explain how it works," said Wells.
"There's no need," the Doctor replied airily. "I understand the principles well enough." He started to poke about the various components. "Electrolysis of refined zyton-7 produces a release of sub atomic particles, with a particularly high proportion of chronons. These are channelled through a temporal refraction filter, to drain out the extraneous particles, and the chronons are stored in these power coils."
Wells looked at the Doctor shrewdly. Perhaps his message was being answered.
"There's just one thing you might tell me," the Doctor said.
"Zyton-7 can only be mined on the planet Varos. The refraction filter is made of trisilicate, which since the depletion of the Martian deposits, can only found on Peladon. So perhaps you'd like to explain where you got hold of those materials?"
Wells managed a little smile. "Doctor," he said, "we need to talk."
They were interrupted by Colin putting his head round the door. "Doctor," he called. "I think you'd better come."
Looking past him, the Doctor caught sight of a distraught looking Rhonwen in the control room.
In an instant, the Doctor was through the door and helping her into a chair. "What happened?" he asked.
Sonia McIntyre was standing in the doorway. She had met Rhonwen in the lobby and brought her down immediately. "I reckon you should hear this," she said.
The Doctor crouched beside Rhonwen. He placed what he hoped was a comforting hand on her arm. He was not very good at human emotions, not on a close personal level.
There was something relaxing about the Doctor's manner, something that freed Rhonwen from her fear. She felt calmer, and started to recount her tale fully.
When she had finished, there was a nervous pause in the room. Saunders and Colin looked uncertainly at each other, and obviously did not know quite how to take this story.
Sonia and the Doctor had no such doubts however. Without another word, the Major turned and started towards the door.
"Where are you going?" the Doctor asked.
"Out to Angel Meadow," said Sonia.
"No, wait. There may still be danger. We don't know what's out there."
Sonia did not halt. "One of my men is out there," she said. "I know how to take care of myself." She didn't appreciated being treated like a weak female.
The Doctor realized there was little point arguing. He hoped she'd be all right. He turned his attention back to Rhonwen. "How do you feel?" he asked.
She managed a weak smile. "I'm all right now. Do you know what it was? Why couldn't we see it?"
"I'm not sure," the Doctor replied. "You could hear it, couldn't you? And sense its presence?"
"And the presence was the strongest sensation of all?"
Rhonwen nodded. "It was right in front of me, closer than you are now. I felt sure I was going to die."
"Like the life was being sucked out of you?"
"Yes," said Rhonwen. "It was exactly like that."
The Doctor looked over her shoulder. He wasn't looking at anything, he was staring into space. Rhonwen had seen him do that before when he was thinking. "It sounds like it was feeding on the body's energies. That could be why you were paralysed. It drained all your muscular strength."
"Those two men who turned up," said Rhonwen. "Did they have anything to do with it?"
The Doctor returned his attention to her. "Not directly," he said. He had been half expecting two such individuals to appear. "The fact they did turn up is significant. There must be a temporal distortion involved."
"Was I just imagining it, or did they frighten it off?" asked Rhonwen.
"Very possibly," said the Doctor. That part of the story gave him a clue. "Did you get the temporal vector scanner?" he asked.
"It's all right," the Doctor said reassuringly. "I have to go back to the TARDIS anyway." Now he had another mystery to solve. He turned to face the scientists. "Colin, I wonder if you'd do me a favour?"
"Of course," said Colin.
"Could you take Rhonwen back to her room?"
The Doctor got to his feet, and turned towards the door.
"Where are you going?" asked Rhonwen.
"The local mortuary, I think," said the Doctor. He stopped in the doorway and looked around the control room. "Where's Wells?" he asked.
Saunders and Colin looked around in astonishment. There was no sign of Charles Wells. Colin went into the accelerator chamber, but he wasn't there either.
"He must have gone out while we were listening to the young lady," said Saunders. "Although I'm surprised he never said anything."
The Doctor scratched the back of his head thoughtfully. This wasn't entirely unexpected. The tale of Rhonwen's mysterious saviours must have panicked Wells into flight. There was nothing he could do about it now. "I'll see you in the morning," he said, and shot out of the door with unexpected haste.
"I think he's caught a scent," Rhonwen said.
Thomasine stared at the white sphere. She had been standing here for quite some time. She didn't know why, but she felt she couldn't just go back downstairs. She had to do something about it. Not that she had achieved anything.
She had tried going out and coming in again, but the globe was still obstinately there. She tried closing and opening her eyes several times. Whatever it was, the thing would not go away.
After a while, Thomasine realized just how irrationally she was behaving. The thing was real and it was solid. She was sure however that it had not been here before the top floor was locked off.
She moved closer to the object, shining her torch beam over it. There was an open panel in the surface, which was just about big enough for a person to climb through. But it was half blocked by a mass of wires and electronic components, which were strewn out of the opening and onto the floor.
Thomasine reached out her hand to touch the surface of the sphere. It was cold, like metal, and yet had a texture like plastic. It reminded her of a gigantic ping pong ball.
She reached for the mass of wires and circuitry that was hanging out of the opening. It looked as if someone had been trying to repair it. She sifted a few of the wires in her hands, but they meant nothing to her. She could change a plug, but she was no electronics expert.
Thomasine realized she had been standing here, confused and uncertain, for rather a long time. She ought to have gone home by now. Fortunately, she hadn't arranged to meet Colin this evening.
She took a step back from the globe, examining it once more in the light of the torch. She told herself there had to be a logical explanation for its being here. She decided to go home and worry about it tomorrow. She could make a few enquiries. Someone would be bound to know all about it.
She turned and quickly made her way back to the door, forgetting all about Doctor Leckford's paper. She carefully locked the door behind her, and then started to descend the stairs to the ground floor.
At the bottom of the stairs, Thomasine went into her office. She dropped the keys into her desk drawer, and closed it. She picked up her coat from the back of her chair, and turned towards the entrance hall.
She nearly jumped out of her skin. A man was standing in the doorway. He had not been there a moment ago, and she hadn't heard him come in. He was quite fat, and must have been rather vain, for he was well tanned. He must have spent ages lying beneath a sun lamp to look like that.
A sudden fright ran through Thomasine, that this was the killer stalking the city. Oh God, she thought, please no. I don't want to die.
The man took a step towards her. He didn't seem immediately threatening. He had no obvious weapon. Maybe he strangled his victims. Thomasine fought to stay calm. She didn't want to have to believe the worst, until there was no other option.
The man spread his hands apologetically. "I did not mean to startle you," he said.
Thomasine took a deep breath. She was fighting down the panic. Things seemed a little more hopeful now. "How did you get in here?" she stammered.
The man gestured behind him. "Through the door," he said.
Thomasine had locked the door, she was sure of it. She always locked it when the library closed. She didn't want students wandering in and out and delaying her return home even more. She tried desperately to think back. Had she perhaps forgotten to lock the door tonight? She couldn't accuse the man of breaking in here. With her luck, he was bound to be the master of one of the colleges or something. "What do you want?" she asked.
Charles Wells thought for a moment. It was an inconvenience to find the young woman still here. Usually she had left by this time. In his panic that the Silencers were closing in, he had not bothered to check thoroughly that the building was empty before entering. He needed an excuse. "I came to collect some papers," he said.
Thomasine covered her fright with false anger. "Well, we're closed," she said. "You'll have to come back tomorrow."
"I am sorry to have troubled you," Wells said. "I did not realize. Excuse me." He turned back into the hall and went out through the front door.
Well, thought Thomasine, maybe I did forget to lock it after all. She took several deep breaths, and started to feel more under control. Her panic was subsiding.
She went to the front door, and looked outside. There was no sign of the
man. Perhaps he had been genuine. If he had been the killer, she didn't
think she'd still be alive now. She made sure she locked the front door
properly as she left.
From his vantage point in a nearby bush, Wells watched as Thomasine departed. He believed he had got away with it. With any luck, the young woman would think nothing more of the incident. She was, he understood, a paramour of Colin. Usually she came to meet Colin at the Nuclear Physics building on evenings when they were running the accelerator. Wells wondered why they had changed their plans. Perhaps Colin had decided not to antagonize Major McIntyre further.
Wells had been most careful not to meet the woman, remaining in the accelerator control room until long after Colin had left. As the library was so important to him, he could not risk making himself known to the librarian. Otherwise incidents like this evening's would have been more difficult to explain.
Satisfied now that the coast was clear, Wells emerged from hiding and
went up to the front door. He took a magnopick from his pocket and unlocked
it within seconds. These simple locks posed no difficulty. He went inside.
Sonia McIntyre stood vigil over Starling's body. Her service revolver was in her hand. She was taking no chances. It was quite dark, and any threat would be almost upon her before she saw it. She kept calm and still, her ears finely tuned for the slightest sound.
She had not been here long. Having briefly checked that Starling really was dead, she had pulled out her cellphone. Calling the local police station, she had quoted the most impressive security clearance they had ever heard, and officers had been despatched to the scene of the crime almost immediately.
Sonia became aware of a movement from the direction of the footbridge. There was little cover here, so she dropped to one knee, to provide a smaller target area, and levelled her revolver.
A dark shape slowly came into view, a man about her own age, in a black raincoat. He stopped when he saw her gun, and spread his hands in a gesture of friendship. "Major McIntyre?" he said. "I'm DC Brennan."
Sonia relaxed and got to her feet. From behind Brennan came several other police officers, both uniformed and plain clothes. They started putting tape around the area to seal it off. They set up arc lamps to examine the scene, and forensic officers, wrapped in plastic coveralls, began to root around on the ground. Sonia left them to it.
Brennan said, "The ambulance is on its way, ma'am. As soon as forensic are through, we can take the body to the mortuary."
Sonia nodded. "I'll want full reports from your forensic officers as soon as they're available."
"Yes, ma'am." Brennan wasn't sure quite what authority she could exercise over police officers, but he wasn't going to question it. Her security clearance had been enough to convince him.
"Who's your commanding officer?" Sonia asked.
"Chief Inspector Keane, ma'am. He's gone straight to the mortuary."
"Right," said Sonia. "I'll meet him there. I'll be riding in the
The Doctor came to a door, in which was set a circular window, like a ship's porthole. He peered through it. Within, two bodies were lying on slabs, covered with sheets. This looked like the place.
The mortuary was situated in the basement of the hospital, and was the coldest part of the building. The Doctor was surprised how easy it had been for him to just walk in, without anyone stopping him and checking his credentials.
He pushed open the door and went inside. A number of dissecting instruments were laid out on a work bench along one wall. Beside these was placed a notebook, which was open. Looking carefully at it, the Doctor saw that it contained the pathologist's notes from his last examination. They only confirmed the Doctor's own suspicions.
He went to one of the bodies, and lifted the sheet. A quick glance at the face told him all he needed to know.
"What are you doing here?" said a voice.
The Doctor looked up to see a man standing in the doorway. He was middle aged, wearing sterile blue garments and a plastic apron. Large, black framed spectacles were perched on his nose.
"Did you conduct the autopsies on these two?" the Doctor asked.
Jackson regarded the intruder, and did not know whether or not to be alarmed. Finding a stranger in the examination room was a little disconcerting at first, but the man didn't appear to be up to anything sinister. Jackson supposed it wouldn't be too difficult for an unauthorized person to get in here, particularly this late at night. The hospital trust could barely afford to hire a porter, let alone night security. "Who are you?" Jackson asked.
The stranger looked down at the face of the corpse again. "I'm the Doctor," he said, as if that explained everything. Nodding towards the dead body, he repeated his question. "Did you examine them?"
Jackson dismissed his first wild thoughts that the man was a body stealer, or some freak with a morbid penchant for dead bodies. He had spoken briskly, efficiently, like one who knew he was completely in the right.
"Yes," said Jackson. "I examined them."
The Doctor nodded. "What were your findings?" he asked.
Jackson was about to launch into a detailed report. He stopped himself just in time. He didn't know who this man was, and yet he had been prepared to tell him anything. For all his eccentric appearance, there was something reassuring and compelling about this nameless Doctor.
Smiling at Jackson's reticence, the Doctor said, "Well, I'll start, shall I? You found that they had died instantly when all natural functions of the body abruptly cut off. Wouldn't you call that a little unusual?"
"Perhaps," Jackson said. He was interested in how much the Doctor knew.
"I would," the Doctor said. "How far did the process go? I suppose rigor mortis never set in?"
He seemed to be remarkably well informed, Jackson thought. "Do you know what caused it?" he asked.
"A complete loss of chemical energy," said the Doctor. "In fact a complete loss of all energy. That would be caused by a draining of the life essence."
"The life essence," repeated the Doctor patiently.
"And what's that?"
"It's what God breathed into Adam's nostrils."
"Run that by me again," said Jackson.
The Doctor gestured towards the body. "That's just a mass of inert material, and yet it used to be a living body. There's no physical difference between that and the human being. It's not diseased, it hasn't died in the conventional sense. It has simply ceased to be alive. All of its energy has been removed."
Before Jackson could question him further, the door swung open. Chief Inspector Keane came in, his face drawn and tired. "I've just been dragged out of the pub," he said. "It's a good job you're still here. There's another one coming in."
He stopped when he saw the Doctor. "I didn't realize you had company,"
he said. "Who's this?"
Sonia McIntyre looked down at the body of Peter Starling. She was always angry when a man under her command was killed, but in this case it was worse. Their assignment in Oxford had been a simple security operation, so she had not been expecting any casualties. Otherwise, she might have briefed Starling differently. She was responsible for his death.
She looked at the ambulanceman sitting opposite her. He didn't say anything. Perhaps he sensed that no words could possibly be of help.
She felt the ambulance rattle around another corner. They would soon be at the hospital.
Anger was the only emotion Sonia could feel in such a situation. There might once have been a time when death could still upset her. But it had long gone. She had seen too much of it in recent years. She had lost men under friendly fire in the Gulf, and to snipers in Bosnia. It had desensitized her.
And yet, she had never seen a corpse quite like Starling's before. The
colour of the skin, the condition of his hair. She knew of no weapon which
could do that. Being in UNIT meant she was trained to accept the new and
the unusual. But this clearly wasn't a problem she could solve with normal
military procedures. She would be dependent on the Doctor.
The Doctor smiled hopefully at Chief Inspector Keane. Despite a desperate search through his jacket pockets, he simply could not find his UNIT pass. He so rarely needed to carry identification, he always seemed to mislay it when it was given to him. It was the individualist in him.
He could tell that Keane was not terribly impressed by the items he had managed to produce. The Doctor sighed. He was always meaning to clear his pockets out, but he knew it would be a terrible mistake. An assortment of paper clips and safety pins, an Elvis Presley commemorative belt buckle, a blank Betamax video cassette, a membership card for the Diogenes Club, a Thunderbird Two Dinky toy - there was no telling when such things might come in handy.
"Look," he said reasonably, "I came here to help you. My investigations appear to be coinciding with your own, so we might as well pool our resources."
"And what exactly are you investigating?" Keane asked.
"I've been working on a research project up at the University," the Doctor told him.
He got no further, for the door burst open and a body was wheeled in on a trolley, pushed by a couple of mortuary attendants. The Doctor recognized it as having once been Peter Starling.
"Right," said Keane, "I'm going to get a cup of coffee." He had found it was best to let Jackson work undisturbed. He wouldn't speed up the autopsy by breathing down the pathologist's neck. He turned to the Doctor. "You'd better come with me, until we can verify your identity."
"I'm sure you're capable of doing that without my help," replied the Doctor. "I'll stay and assist with the autopsy."
Keane looked at Jackson, who didn't seem to mind. He was supervising the attendants lifting the body onto the slab. Keane decided it wasn't worth arguing about. He went out into the corridor.
There was a woman outside, wearing a leather jacket. Keane didn't pay her much attention. She was probably just a nurse going off duty.
He was just starting off towards the coffee machine, when the woman came up to him. "Are you Inspector Keane?" she asked, speaking with a Northern accent.
"Chief Inspector," he corrected.
"Good," she said. "I'll be dropping round your office tomorrow, to pick up all documents relating to the case."
"And just who are you?"
"Major McIntyre, United Nations Intelligence Taskforce. I'm taking over this investigation."
Keane was momentarily thrown, but he quickly recovered his composure. "This is a police matter," he said.
"Not any more," said Sonia. "Call department C19 at the Home Office. They'll confirm my authority."
"Look," said Keane, "I have been pursuing this investigation for the past two weeks, and-"
"And how far have you got?" interrupted Sonia.
Keane didn't reply.
"Exactly," said Sonia. "Nowhere. UNIT is better equipped and better qualified to deal with this case. It isn't just a murder investigation. You've done your best, but you can leave it all to the experts now."
Before Keane could answer her back, the Doctor came out of the examination room, beaming at them both. "Ah, you've met," he said. "Splendid."
Sonia turned to him. "Has the autopsy revealed anything, Doctor?" she asked.
"Jackson is still working," said the Doctor, "but I've seen enough."
"You mean you know what killed him?" Keane asked incredulously.
The Doctor nodded. "Yes. But it's not something you can arrest and charge."
"Well, what is it?"
"A psychic projection," the Doctor said. "Mental energy given substance. It's probably an ectoplasmic formation."
"A ghost?" asked Sonia.
"If you like."
"But that's ridiculous," said Keane.
"Is it?" said the Doctor. "I have a young friend who would argue with that. She's very lucky to be alive. And as for poor Sergeant Starling..."
"You mean she saw it?" Keane asked.
"No no," said the Doctor, shaking his head energetically. "You can't see it. You can just feel it and hear it." He lapsed into thought for a moment. "But it might show up under infra red photography," he added.
Keane was not really sure how to take all this. He looked at Major McIntyre, and was surprised to see that she was listening to the Doctor intently, apparently taking him seriously.
"Just let me get this straight," said Keane. "You're saying that some vengeful phantom is going round killing the people of Oxford?"
"Well, not in the sense you mean," said the Doctor.
Keane shook his head. "I'm sorry," he said. "I'm just a simple copper. I can't buy a story like that."
"Are you certain, Doctor?" Sonia asked.
The Doctor hesitated for a second. "Yes," he said. "Pretty certain. Well, fairly certain. I think that I can devise a way of catching the thing. Then I'll know whether I'm right or not."
A sudden thought struck him. "Inspector, I'd be very grateful if you could tell me the exact dates of the previous deaths."
"That'll be in the documents I'm picking up tomorrow," said Sonia.
"Good," said the Doctor. "Tomorrow's soon enough for me."
He left them, and started to walk off along the corridor.
"Where are you going?" Sonia called.
The Doctor looked back. "I'm going to bed," he said. "I can't do anything more tonight."
They watched him disappear, and then Keane turned back to Sonia. "Is he all there?" he asked.
"Sometimes," said Sonia, "it's a little hard to tell."