Chapter Four

He looked at the sergeant with a completely unfathomable expression in his eyes, but his demeanour appeared relaxed. “Here it comes,” he thought. “First, the polite introduction and then whichever crime or social solecism I’m supposed to have committed.” As usual, the Doctor was completely correct in his interpretation of events. However, he was not going to be happy when he found out why he had been arrested…..

“Doctor, you have been arrested under Article 34 of the Orion and Regions Environment and Conservation Act – for the illegal removal of an item from an important historical site,” the sergeant informed him, in a business-like fashion. The Doctor raised his eyebrows at that as she continued, “Your unauthorised removal of that piece of rubble from the remains of the archway of the Eye is illegal…..”

He interrupted her to finish the sentence, “According to the Melbourne Addendum to Article 34 ratified at the Earth Galactic Environmental Conference.” Regeneration and the shock of his role in the destruction of Gallifrey may have made him more vulnerable and emotional than previously, but neither had dulled his memory. However, before the sergeant had a chance to say anything further, the Doctor pointed out to her that under that Addendum, her colleagues were required to not only inform him why he was being arrested, but to offer him the opportunity to provide due cause why he shouldn’t be arrested. Which, of course, they had not done!

She looked a bit dismayed by that information – not only had she not realised that her colleagues had been over zealous in their arrest, but she was unaware that her captive was so knowledgeable on the finer points of environmental law in this sector of the galaxy. There were various courses of action she could take, but she decided to attempt to brazen it out. She queried the accuracy of his knowledge by saying, “Are you sure of that provision, Doctor? Might you not be mistaken?”

The Doctor looked at her, with exasperation, as he said, “No, I am not mistaken. I insisted that that clause was added in on behalf of the galaxy’s scientific research community.” He paused, before adding, “Still, not much harm done, I suppose.” The sergeant looked as if she was about to say something in reply, then thinking that discretion was the better part of valour, decided against it. She knew she was in the wrong and the Doctor had just indicated to her that he knew she was in the wrong as well. All that was left was to admit defeat and ask for his assistance – however, that did not mean that she had to actually surrender easily!

“Doctor, I’m sorry you were apparently arrested improperly. What were you doing with that piece of rubble – I presume it is still in your jacket pocket?” She didn’t wait for his reply, but leaned over to him and attempted to expertly check his outer pockets, his lack of movement from the bench making her forget for the moment that he wasn’t restrained in any way. This, of course, had been a deliberate ploy of his. Before she had the opportunity to even touch his jacket, or recall that his movement was quite free, he quickly reached out and grasped her left arm tightly just above the wrist and twisted it. The Doctor didn’t grasp her arm strongly enough to injure her permanently, but just enough to stop the movement. He quickly slipped off the bench and stood up in front of her, still gripping her arm. His grip was strong enough for her to feel the pressure of his fingers bruising her skin, although he was not aware of it. The sergeant, of course, had absolutely no intention of letting him know that his grip hurt her at all. She fully expected to see imprints of his fingers on her arm, but still she did not flinch. It was not in her nature to do so.

“You were looking in the wrong pocket anyway,” he said matter-of-factly. He took out the piece of rubble from his left pocket and tossed it up in the air several times, each time catching it again. “I was not taking a souvenir – I was going to analyse what had happened to the archway and why there were faint smells of weaponry residue about that mound. Whatever, and whoever, destroyed that archway has possibly destroyed the ion concentrator entirely – certainly at the Eye, if not elsewhere as well. There are certainly no ions – positive or otherwise – being distributed at the Eye now.” The Doctor continued, sceptically, “Have you actually had a close look at the rubble, yourself?” As she shook her head in reply, he added, “No? Have a look – a good, long look – and tell me what you see.”

He nodded in encouragement as he handed the piece of rubble to her. However, he still kept a firm hold on her left arm. People, who attempted to arrest him, even in error, were not high on his list of trustworthy types. She looked at the piece of rubble and gently rubbed it between her thumb and fingers. It felt smooth and silky, but hard, to the touch of her fingers. This in itself was interesting, but the one thing that struck her most about it was its utter coldness. She almost shivered.

The Doctor was watching her face as she stroked the piece of stone. If he were of a fanciful turn of mind – which he definitely was not – he would have said that she almost caressed it. “Strange,” he thought, “particularly for a local copper.” Aloud, he said, with what he hoped would pass for a disarming smile, “What do you think about the rubble, Catherine?”

She looked at him uncertainly, not noticing that he had addressed her by her first name, and replied, “It is hard, as I would expect with it being stone, but is very, very smooth. I would say that it even had a quite silky feel to its surface.” The Doctor nodded in agreement. Silkiness was often described for rocks where weaponry residue was present. She continued, “But Doctor, one thing did strike me as odd about it. For an item that had been exposed to sunlight until you retrieved it, then had been resting in your jacket pocket for a considerable period of time, wouldn’t it be usual for it to feel even slightly warm to touch? This stone was not warm at all, but utterly cold.” She looked at him, warily, expecting him to sneer or jeer at her for being overimaginative.

The Doctor raised his eyebrows at her comments. He had not expected such perception from a sergeant in Central Orion Protection and Security. However, as someone who always appreciated well-reasoned argument and perception, the Doctor just grinned wider and said, sincerely, “Good point; well done!”

He relaxed his grip on her arm, slightly. As he did so, he saw the beginnings of bruising on her arm. Catherine had been correct in her expectation. His fingers had indeed left their mark on her. Horrified, he let go immediately – just as Catherine handed him back his piece of rubble and announced that he was no longer under arrest. “Why didn’t you tell me that I was hurting you?” the Doctor asked, concerned. Catherine’s rhetorical reply was, “Why do you think I didn’t, Doctor?” He could guess, of course. Such an admission would be regarded as a sign of weakness – particularly in someone who had attained the rank of sergeant. In his mind, that still didn’t absolve him from having applied too much force, however.

Before the Doctor could say anything further, the sound of an incoming transmat beam was heard. One of the two ‘invisible’ policemen materialised. It was the one the Doctor had earlier described as being ‘the persuasive one with that special touch of warmth’. Initially, the Doctor would have been pleased to take this individual to task about his treatment of him and his technique for making arrests. But the Doctor was no longer interested in exercising a little ‘payback’ for the heat treatment that this officer applied to the nerves behind his left ear. His realisation that he could be unnecessarily violent himself – albeit only grasping Catherine’s arm more forcefully than intended – changed his mind. No-one could ever say that the Doctor was a hypocrite. All he wanted now was to return to the TARDIS and analyse the piece of rubble. He thought he might even be able to use Catherine to assist him, as her perception would most likely be an invaluable tool in his analysis…..

(* To be continued….. *)