"He's the best man I've ever known."

Father Octavian despised River Song for what she had done. But though her voice had been steady and her face serene, the look in her eyes when she said those words at her trial had touched him. Just for a moment, he had felt... pity... for the Doctor's killer. He shook his head as though to clear it. She didn't deserve his pity. And yet... no. She was a killer, a monster, and she deserved Stormcage.

"Hello, Bishop," said the young cleric, and saluted. "We've reports of a... a thing in the hold of the Byzantium spaceliner. She's going to crash on Alfava Metraxis, and they're sending her. She's trying to earn a pardon and she says she can call an army." There was a detectable sneer in the young man's voice, and although he agreed that River Song was a wretched example of a human being, Octavian said sharply, "You don't have to like her, Private, but no matter her sins, she's still human. Show some courtesy at least." The cleric had the grace to look abashed, saluted again, and left the room.

And then they brought in River Song.

Father Octavian regarded his prisoner with deceptive calm. He was seething inwardly, because what right had this woman to treat her just punishment in Stormcage as a mere inconvenience to her apparently busy social life? According to the records, she made a habit of just packing up and leaving whenever she liked, and although he admitted grudgingly to himself that she never permanently injured anyone in her escapes, her sheer unmitigated gall made him feel like she was laughing at him. At them, he quickly amended in his mind, of course it had nothing to do with him personally. But there she stood, handcuffed, with a sardonic half-smile on her face that made him want to slap her. He cleared his throat. "Well, Doctor Song," he began, "I understand we have a little problem." She nodded, cautiously, it seemed to him. "And you have an army somehow, at your command? Do share the details."

"I can give you the equivalent of an army, Bishop," she asserted, though her voice was soft, "if you allow me to call it in my own way. Can't be reached through the normal channels, you understand." She tried a sexy little smile on him, but seeing that it didn't move him at all let it drain off her face, looking suddenly tired and frightened like the prisoner she was. That got his attention; it seemed that she wasn't as tough as her persona would indicate. For just one moment she had looked like any other woman in trying circumstances, and he wondered if she did it deliberately. He rather thought not. He cleared his throat again.

"Very well, Doctor," he said. He noticed a flicker of unbearable pain on her face as she absorbed his use of the title Doctor without her name, and then she quickly schooled her features back into that mocking half-smile. "If you willingly remand yourself into my legal custody - and give me your word that you won't use this opportunity to escape - I will let you call your army in your own fashion." He looked down at his desk, dismissing her without words, and then realised she hadn't left the room. "Yes?" he said, looking up again, "What is it?" He noticed that although her face was completely expressionless and calm again, her eyes looked like they had in the courtroom at her trial.

"Bishop, may I be frank?" she asked and he nodded assent. "Thank you. You don't like me, and the feeling is mutual. I think you're a hard and unforgiving man. But I also think you're a good one, and I heard what you said to that boy before I came in. Thank you." She nodded at him. "I'll make up a list of what I need to carry out this mission and have it on your desk in the morning."

And then she saluted as best she could with her hands cuffed, and left the room.