Doctor Who: Ribos Operation
city...’
    Romana paced agitatedly round and round the fire in the Graff’s
quarters while the Doctor and Garron sat at the table chatting
together like two old cronies whiling away a long winter evening
over a bottle of whisky. Occasionally the Doctor crept to the
door, listened intently for a moment and then blew several blasts
on the dog whistle.
    ‘... but I had a spot of bother with a dissatisfied client and
was forced to leave Earth to seek my fortune elsewhere.’ Garron
smiled, shaking his head over his reminiscences.
    ‘What happened?’ the Doctor enquired.
    ‘He was an Arab, of course,’ Garron went on, ‘and when I
offered him Sydney Harbour Bridge for fifty million dollars he
got greedy and insisted I throw in the Opera House as well. Well
naturally I refused.’
    ‘Naturally,’ the Doctor smiled ironically,
    ‘I could hardly let that priceless monument to our cultural
heritage fall into his hands,’ Garron protested with a shocked
frown. ‘Unfortunately the Arab took umbrage and showed all
the impressive documents I’d cooked up to the Antartican
Government—so I had to emigrate.’
    The Doctor padded over to listen at the door. ‘No doubt
your victim came looking for you,’ he murmured.
    ‘With a posse of Bedouin touting neutron guns,’ Garron
nodded ruefully. ‘I’ve never been back.’
    The Doctor chuckled sympathetically.
    Romana’s exasperation boiled over. ‘Doctor. How can you
gossip with this petty confidence trickster when there are people
out there intending to kill us?’ she exploded.
    ‘Don’t you worry yourself about that, my dear,’ the Doctor
replied gently. ‘I’m keeping an ear on them.’
    He sat down again at the table and leant towards Garron.
‘But what really intrigues me is how you first got your hands on
that piece of Jethryk,’ he murmured, gazing in flattering
admiration.
    Garron eyed the Doctor warily but could not help swelling
with pride. ‘I... I acquired it,’ he smiled evasively.
    ‘You stole it,’ Romana corrected him sharply.
    Garron’s fleshy lips curled with contempt. ‘That is a very
damaging remark,’ he retorted, ‘but only to be expected on a
Class Three Planet such as this.’
    The Doctor’s eyebrows shot up. ‘Class Three Planet?’ he
exclaimed. ‘What do you mean?’
    Garron drew himself up in the chair and beamed. ‘Just a
technical term, sir,’ he said condescendingly, ‘a convenient
method of classifying properties.’
    The Doctor stared wide-eyed. ‘Properties?’ he echoed.
    Indeed sir: I deal in planetary real estate,’ Garcon
explained. ‘I sell planets.’
    The Doctor’s jaw dropped a fraction of a centimetre. ‘Of
course at first I thought you were Alliance Security,’ Garron
continued. ‘They’ve been on my tail ever since I sold Mirabilis
Eighty-One to no less than three different purchasers... That was
my greatest deal,’ he sighed nostalgically, before lapsing into
silence.
    ‘What about your latest customer—the Graff Vynda Ka—or
whatever he calls himself. What does he want Ribos for?’ the
Doctor asked, going once more to the door and listening.
    Garron outlined the Graff’s ambitious scheme. ‘It’s a
hopeless madman’s dream,’ he chuckled. ‘but his gold is real
enough.’
    ‘He may be a madman but he certainly saw through you!’
Romana snapped with scathing irony.
    ‘Young Unstoffe’s fault entirely, dear lady,’ Garron replied.
‘He went right over the top. He’s a dreadful ham at heart, I’m
afraid.’
    The Doctor returned and sat by the table. ‘And the
Jethryk... Just bait?’ he suggested innocently.
    Garron nodded. Then he looked very hard at the Doctor.
‘You seem to be extremely interested in that nugget, sir. You
haven’t told me what your racket is yet,’ he said slyly.
    The Doctor threw his arms up in the air vaguely. As he did
so the Locatormutor Core flew out of his sleeve and was instantly
caught by Romana before it could crash into the fire.
    ‘You could be extremely useful in the slips, my dear,’ the

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