Chapter Five

The sergeant was not best pleased with her colleague – his name was Constable Jeffrey Crane – because of his over-exuberance in arresting the Doctor without the correct cautions or opportunity for explanation. She also was concerned to know what the Doctor meant by ‘the persuasive one with that special touch of warmth’.

Catherine had been promoted to Sergeant because of her well-developed instinctive awareness and her memory for people’s faces and ‘trivia’, despite being inexperienced in years of service compared to her peers. Her instinct was unusual in that it was more than just a sense of danger to come – it was also a well-developed sense of the out of place or the irrational; a type of intuition, but based more on the logical than the emotional. It was this instinct in conjunction with her memory of his past record that nudged her to ask Constable Crane about the mode of the Doctor’s arrest. Constable Crane had been suspected in the past of inflicting damage on his prisoners; Catherine had always had a sneaking suspicion that he actually received some thrill from it, but could never find enough evidence to be sure.

On being questioned, he freely admitted to using a bit more persuasion than was necessary – “After all,” he said, “my job is to prevent itinerant collectors from removal of pieces of artefact from this historical site. No-one told me how I should, or should not, do it. When I am confronted by a tall, strapping guy in a leather jacket, I arrest him whatever way I can – particularly when he seems to be behaving in a highly suspicious manner.” He added the last comment in a vain attempt to remove himself from any accusation of wrong-doing, as he knew fully well that he had been in the wrong.

“Which form of persuasion in particular did you choose, Constable?” the sergeant asked, keeping her displeasure under control. Constable Crane did not reply. He knew she would not approve of his methods, so he had no intention of telling her, unless forced to. She guessed something of this, as she knew her constables fairly well. Obviously it was not something that left a mark behind on the skin, as the Doctor was not exhibiting any such bruises. Also, from her own recent experience, she knew the Doctor would be more than capable of returning the compliment to the constable. Constable Crane also showed no signs of bruising, so this had not been the solution. Catherine remembered the Doctor referring to a ‘special touch of warmth’. The sergeant wondered which instrument her constables had in their possession that could fit this description.

Catherine looked at the Doctor, hoping for some reaction to the constable’s accusation or description of the arrest. She hoped that he would have some information which would assist her, but she instinctively knew that he wasn’t going to enter into the discussion, even to provide her evidence. He just looked at her with those intense blue eyes of his – a very serious expression in them. She looked away, frustrated with his lack of reaction to the discussion.

The issue was that without his evidence, she had no chance at all of proving anything against Constable Crane. This was her problem to sort out and the Doctor’s only interest was in how she was going to solve the problem. With a sudden flash of that intuition that she relied upon so much, she realised what the Doctor was aiming at. “He’s testing my sense of justice, my ingenuity and my problem-solving skills,” she thought. “But doesn’t he realise that he could be arrested again, if I am unable to follow this through successfully?” She looked back at him again, unable to keep her eyes away from his face.

One of the things she found quite disconcerting about the Doctor was this strange personal magnetism – at least, that is how she thought of it – that he seemed to exert on her. It wasn’t hypnotism, she would have been aware of that. Her instinct told her that it was more a feeling of a real emotional bond between them. This confused her, as she was not used to her emotions exerting so much power upon her. He smiled at her with so much understanding in his smile. The smile illuminated his whole face and ended in an extremely mischievous twinkle in the depths of his eyes that belied the seriousness that had been there only moments before. This had never happened to her with any of her previous arrests – not even with those, like the Doctor, who had been released. It had never even happened with any of her close friends. She found herself feeling an unfamiliar twinge of fear as it quite shook her equilibrium. However, luckily for her, she was able to quickly compose herself.

She turned back to face the constable, speaking to him, crisply, “Constable, I have had an opportunity to observe the Doctor since his arrest and I have seen nothing suspicious about him. However, I have a couple of questions for you.” Constable Crane looked at her expectantly, waiting for the inevitable bombshell to drop. He had never been comfortable working with this sergeant; she was too intuitive and had the knack of reaching right to the heart of a problem and usually being correct. She continued, “Did you actually see the Doctor remove the piece of rubble from the mound and if so, did you ask him why he removed it?” The constable replied in the affirmative to the first question, but otherwise for the second.

The sergeant continued, saying, “From a policing perspective, you erred by not asking the Doctor for his reasons for the removal of the item, prior to arrest. He is not an itinerant collector, but a prominent member of the galactic scientific research community.” She was unsure of the latter, but deduced that if he was in a position to represent them, or at least speak up for them, at a major conference that he must be at least highly regarded by them, scientifically. To the constable, she added, rhetorically, “However, from his appearance, you may not have been aware of that? He is here to investigate and analyse the cause of the destruction of the Eye’s archway and to prevent further destruction of the Eye. Provide him with all the cooperation he needs.”

The constable, relieved to be apparently let off lightly, quickly nodded his understanding before asking, “Sergeant, we need your assistance back at the Eye. Something strange is happening to the mound of rubble. It appears to be sinking.” He paused and turned to look at the Doctor. This was why he had transmatted back from the Eye, before the sergeant started questioning him about the Doctor’s arrest. “Fantastic!” the Doctor exclaimed, rushing over to the transmat beam. “In what way is that fantastic?” the constable murmured to himself, as all three of them entered the transmat beam and returned to the Eye.

The transmat beam deposited them quite neatly, on their feet, about five metres (in Earth terms) in front of the TARDIS doors. Catherine stared round-eyed at the TARDIS. “That is your ship, Doctor?” she asked, in disbelief. “I’ve never seen anything like it.” He grinned broadly and walked over to check the TARDIS was undamaged. Satisfying himself that it was fine, he patted the TARDIS door frame. Turning to look back at Catherine, his grin broadened into that illuminating smile of his and he said, “Fantastic, isn’t it?” The Doctor’s smile disappeared as he thought to himself, “The only one of its kind left in the universe, now.” He gave himself a mental shake and walked briskly in the direction of the remains of the archway. As he passed the sergeant and the constable, he asked, a shade too abruptly, “Well are you two coming or not?” They didn’t reply, but turned to follow the leather-jacketed figure – both having to break into a jog to keep up with the Doctor.

When they reached the mound, the Doctor took a closer look. “Not sinking, Constable, shrinking; by about twenty-five percent,” he said, after crouching down to look at it once more. Of course, he recognised what was happening, but he was interested in the sergeant’s thoughts on it. He beckoned her over. “What do you think of it, Catherine?” he asked her.

She bent down and selected a couple of pieces of rubble and looked them over, as she had done with the Doctor’s piece of rubble earlier. “They look and feel very much like your rubble, Doctor,” she said, as she placed them carefully back where she had found them, before standing up again. “They are still very cold and silky to the touch. But one thing does occur to me, Doctor. Where is the adhesive agent that would have held the stones together at the archway?” He didn’t answer her, just took out his sonic screwdriver from his inner pocket and checked for any further disturbance. His face took on a decidedly grim expression…..

(* To be continued….. *)