Characters: Ten, 'Saxon', OCs
Pairings: Ten/'Saxon' implied if you can see it. Basically it's not much different than what RTD gave us.
Spoilers: Series 3, mostly the last three episodes. Set a long time after Series 3's end.
Rating: PG-13 (usual stuff: violence, dark in places, swearing)
Summary: A certain Time Lord being ensnared by Colony 9's newly-formed oppressive regime leads to some dangerous possibilities, while the Doctor may have arrived too late to stop it.
Disclaimer: Don't own anything. If I did, RTD would've written LotTL MY way =D
Previous Parts: Prologue - Chapter 1
The Price of Usage
Chapter 2: Months Late
The box-shaped time capsule careened swiftly through the vortex, its single occupant holding tightly to the console as the ship rocked and bumped on its long journey from Earth.
The Doctor steadied himself, holding on for dear life. He brought up one of his feet and used it to throw a lever, while his hands worked at the rest of the console. He had received a distress signal, addressed directly to him, from Colony 9 in the year 2305, the exact date of the message being May 5th. Someone wanted to meet him for something, hopefully someone friendly. He also hoped that the TARDIS would get him to the right date.
Normally he would be doing a lot of talking, a lot of explaining, speaking enthusiastically about Colony 9, a place he'd not visited in years, but he had no company, only the silence. He had been on his own since Martha had left him, wandering about through time and space having all manner of adventures. Alone. Without anyone there with him, the silence sometimes ate away at him, taunting him and reminding him of all the people he'd lost. Rose, Jack, Sarah Jane, Susan, Romana... The Master.
His best friend turned mortal enemy. He remembered a time long ago, before the war, when he had hoped the Master didn't survive.. but now the other Time Lord was the only one left. The Doctor hadn't been able to reach him, to make him understand. And the last time they had met...
The TARDIS let out a familiar groan as she landed, breaking into his thoughts and pulling him back to the present, the central column becoming still. Turning on his heel, the Doctor headed down the ramp, grabbing his coat along the way.
He left the ship behind in a small underground alleyway, generally unnoticeable by any passerby. He then headed up to street level, where he found himself in the middle of a sprawling metropolis that was the capital city of Colony 9.
People walked to and fro, generally going about their day, no one taking much notice of him at all as he easily blended in with everyone else. He had to find out what day it was before he set about tracking down the person who sent the signal.
'Citizens of Colony 9, rejoice!' the Doctor looked up, the words catching his attention. In the center of the square up ahead there was a large television screen, flanked by giant speakers planted all around. Upon the screen there were messages displayed about various things as the voice continued to speak: 'On this day, October 17th, 2305, we celebrate the anniversary of our glorious Revolution, where we were freed from...' The message went on a similar vein.
October 17? The Doctor frowned. Leave it up to his ship to get the date wrong and send him to the planet several months after the message had been sent! The worst bit was that he couldn't really go back and try it again, or else what he was seeing right now might turn out very different.. and well, timey wimey stuff. So at least the year was right.
It suddenly struck him how very familiar the words “citizens rejoice” were, as though someone else had used them not so long ago. His mind nagged at him about it for a moment, but when he could not remember, he dismissed it and pulled out his sonic screwdriver.
Switching to setting 53a, he ordered the device to track down where the signal had come from, hoping that whoever had sent it still resided in the same place they had several months ago.
So, he set off upon a journey across the city, towards the residential area. Along the way, he sampled a free hot dog from a Squidac (funny looking squid-like alien, long tentacles at the mouth), was given a copy of the Colony Niner, a city newspaper (the headline read “Glorious Leader Celebrates Revolution, Holds Party”), and was stopped by the police. Whipping out the psychic paper, he managed to get past them easily enough by pretending to be a scientist from the Ministry of Research who was conducting a tracking experiment.
Finally, he reached a small house within the residential area, number 12. He noted that it looked rather inhabited (the lawn was mowed, the windows clean, the mail-eport box in good order, the inside lights on) as he made his way up the walk. Pocketing his sonic screwdriver, he raised his fist and rapped it against the door wooden several times.
As he waited, he noticed the small camera that resided in the corner above the door. It was commonplace, he remembered, for most people to have cameras outside the home and to check them before they answered the door. With that in mind, he raised his hand and put on a grin whilst he waved to the camera.
A moment later the door swung open and a hand grabbed him, pulling him quickly inside.
'Doctor! You came!' the sandy haired, blue-eyed man spoke, sounding relieved. His tired eyes lit up with hope.
'So, you sent the signal, mister...?' the Doctor scratched his head. There was something familiar about the man, something he couldn't quite place.
'You don't remember me?' The man looked crestfallen. 'I'm Miles Gordon...'
'Miles... Miles...' the Doctor thought for a moment, then suddenly his face lit up and he grabbed Miles' hand. 'Oh, yes! That's right! Miles Gordan! First time you defeated the Zygons! ... Well, third time for me,' he scratched his head again. 'Actu--'
'Doctor!' Miles snapped him out of his reverie.
'Oh, yes, right. Sorry. What did you need again?' the Doctor dropped his hand back to his side and Miles turned, leading him into the kitchen after he had taken the Time Lord's coat.
'I sent that message months ago, why it take you so long to get here?'
'Bit of trouble with the TARDIS,' the Doctor muttered, looking away. It was embarrassing enough that his ship had gotten the date wrong.
'Can't you just go back and land here when I sent the message? It's a bit late now...' Miles frowned, pouring himself a cup of tea.
'Nope, couldn't possibly. Might create a paradox, big hole in the fabric of time, not pretty. And why do you say that? Too late? It's never too late!' the Doctor grinned before going to the patio door by the table and looking out into Miles' empty back yard.
'Because when I sent that message, he didn't have control of the Ministry of Truth and he wasn't building weapons for Greer. They tell me the first rocket is almost completed,' Miles frowned. 'Cup of tea, by the way?'
'Yeah,' the Doctor turned back to face him. 'Rocket? Ministry of Truth? Why do megalomaniacs keep nicking Orwell's names? Honestly, isn't anybody original anymore? No! Hold on, did you say him? Him who?'
Miles turned and set the tea on the table before him. He then went to the cabinet on the other side of the room. The Doctor grabbed his cup and took a sip, smiling to himself. Nothing beat old-fashioned English tea.
'He showed up a couple of weeks before I sent that message, I interviewed him as soon as I got back here. I thought he was strange, even a bit crazy, but...' Miles held up a a photograph and the blood drained from the Doctor's face, 'he said he was a Time Lord... and called himself the Master.'
'Nooo! No, no, no! Wait.. no.. hold on!' The Doctor ran his hand through his hair, hitting his head several times. 'That's it!' He came forward and snatched the photo from Miles' hand, pacing. 'Yes! That's it! That phrase: Citizens Rejoice! That was him! He must've known I was coming, put it there to tip me off! Or he's just really fond of it...' the Doctor stopped and looked at the bemused Miles. 'Does anyone know you sent that message?'
'No one, I kept it a secret,' Miles said. 'And isn't that a bit of a stretch? Citizens rejoice? That's not exactly an uncommon phrase. Besides, why should he want to tip you off? I take it you know each other?'
'Oh, we go way back, way, way back,' the Doctor looked down at the photo. The Master stared back up at him, looking throughly unhappy. 'And he's always been a bit of a showoff, well.. I say “a bit,” I mean a lot, huge. Great.. showman.' He stepped toward Miles. 'Wait, you said he was building rockets? Weapons?'
'Yes, he's still technically a prisoner and if he wants to leave he has to give us something, General Greer wanted weapons so she could start invading other planets in this system.'
The Doctor's expression turned serious suddenly, his eyes flashing darkly. The full brevity of the situation dawned on him and he mentally kicked himself enjoying this a little bit. Those days were gone.
'He's dangerous,' the Doctor said seriously, 'if there's one thing he can't stand, it's being used. You've got to talk to your people, get them to hand him over to me before he does something they'll regret. He's my responsibility.'
'That's not very easy, everybody thinks he's great, but General Greer doesn't trust him, I hear. She won't give him up, though.. she wants those weapons.. and he has the knowledge. Apparently he's been helpful with the propaganda and catching criminals, but I'm not privy to everything.'
The Doctor knew immediately what Miles meant by “criminals”, another handy way of saying people who stood up against the regime. That was right up the Master's alley. He supposed that some things about humanity, or the universe in general, never changed.
'Listen to me,' the Doctor's tone became more urgent, 'Let me talk to your General. Whatever he's saying, whatever he's done, he doesn't mean it. He'd destroy this whole planet in order to escape!'
Miles sighed. 'I was afraid of that... I don't want Greer getting those weapons and starting a war. So... I guess I'll let you try... I doubt she'll listen but...' he shrugged. 'You'll need to disguise yourself, though.'
'Disguise? What's wrong with what I've got on?' the Doctor looked down at his clothes, his expression puzzled.
'No, I mean.. your species. They've got scanners... they detect if you're carrying weapons.. and what species you are; they're keen about grabbing unknown aliens. If they find out you're a Time Lord, they'll cut you open.. or worse. So can you hide yourself?'
'Ohhh... yes, right!' The Doctor nodded. He started digging through his pockets, his fingers briefly touching several different things he had no use of at that moment. Funny thing about dimensionally transcendental pockets, they were always incredibly messy and full of things you hadn't used in centuries.
Speaking of disguises, he realized just then that he couldn't sense the Master, much to his annoyance. His old enemy had taken to using bio-dampeners and all manner of other devices to keep himself hidden from the Doctor. He realized then that he had no such thing, not on him anyway, and that meant the Master probably knew he was on Colony 9. He mentally kicked himself again; he was going to have to start taking these things into account.
'I've got just the thing, have to run to the TARDIS and fetch it. Back in a sec!' he turned and headed toward the door.
'No, don't go out that way! Use the back,' Miles said urgently.
'Why?' the Doctor set down the Master's photograph on the table, grabbing his coat.
'There's no cameras there.. yet.'
'Cameras? I thought that was yours.'
'It is, but it's monitored by the Ministry of Truth.'
'Is it?' the Doctor frowned. '”Big Brother is watching you”? Ooh, the Master definitely already knows I'm here, I'd better hurry!' He bounded toward the back door. 'They aren't wiretapping your house or anything, are they?'
'No, they haven't worked up to that stage yet.'
'Right, good, back soon!' the Doctor threw open the door, running off.
Central Headquarters. The large glass building loomed above Miles and the Doctor like a shadow, its black-tinted outer walls revealing nothing about what lay within. Were it not for the regular people walked to and fro, the Doctor might have mistaken it for an evil fortress of some sort.
'”Abandon all hope, ye who enter here,”' he muttered, the Dante quote seeming appropriate.
'I've pulled a few strings, so you're Doctor John Smith, an old associate of mine who is an expert on Time Lords. I've gotten you an appointment with the General; she should see you immediately, since the information you have is important.' Miles spoke from beside him, apparently not hearing his quoting.
'Just hope she listens,' the Doctor said softly. Even he was beginning to doubt it, despite his excellence at talking people around.
'Well, good luck. Just go talk to the receptionist.. and she'll get you in. I have to go, I've got an appointment to keep. I'll be back here later.' Miles gave him a nod before making his exit.
He had declined to let the men at the door take his coat, he didn't trust the denizens of an evil regime to look out for it. Then, after seeing the lady at reception, the Doctor was told to wait.
So he took the opportunity to have a look around the lavish and overblown lobby, with its fountain holding a statue of General Greer. She stood there, proudly gazing out over the lobby, her hair pulled back behind her head and partially hidden by her hat.
Standing by the fountain, he looked up and saw the above three floors, their balconies all protected by glass railings. There was an old fashioned staircase and an elevator as well, both of which looked more elaborate than necessary.
It was the portraits along the wall, however, that really caught his attention. One in particular. A grinning, black suited man who seemed to be staring directly at him. The only other Time Lord in existence. The Master.
'Hello again,' the Doctor muttered, watching the face. Even in the picture, he could see the Master's eyes burning with superiority and a hatred spanning centuries. He felt certain he would meet his old foe again soon, and he found himself simultaneously dreading and looking forward to the moment. How did that work, then?
The last time they had met the Doctor had tried to forgive him, he had said it, again and again, each time the Master verbally stung him. And then the Master had done the unthinkable; something too horrible for words, just to see the Doctor's reaction, the anger as bright as suns in his brown eyes. After that it had been impossible for him to utter those three important words – I Forgive You – even when the Master had gleefully tried to goad him into doing so. That was one of the few times, he had to admit, when the Master had won.
Still, he had to hold onto the hope: the Master could change, surely. He could become good, reconcile the loss of Gallifrey and accept the importance that the two of them were stuck together, the last of their race. The Doctor had to believe that, he just had to.
Now, standing here in the lobby and staring at the Master's grinning portrait, he became even more convinced that the only safe place for the Master was the TARDIS, it was the best place to reform him. He had to stop him from being free and wrecking havoc. It wasn't a game anymore, it couldn't be.
'The General will see you now,' the receptionist called over to him. He turned and followed another man across the lobby and into the elevator.
General Greer was much prettier in real life, particularly now as she sat at her desk with her coat unbuttoned and her untamed black hair left free to fall past her shoulders. With a slight shudder, the Doctor realized how easily it must have been for the Master to seduce her, and gain the control he had. The Master used and discarded humans so easily, as if they were puppets. It was more than a little sickening.
'So, Doctor John Smith,' Greer said, leaning back in her chair and regarding him, 'you're a Time Lord expert?'
'Yeah, something like that,' the Doctor did not smile, 'I want you to hand the Master over to me for Torchwood, it's vital, essential, to the safety of your planet.'
'You're demanding a lot; Earth hardly has the power to push us around. Torchwood certainly doesn't. They're well aware of what we're doing and how it's within our planetary rights to do it.' The General's green eyes were stone cold now. 'Besides, he's been very forthcoming.'
'For what? Building weapons? He's not really helping you.'
'He's done a lot for this planet, for our Cause.'
The Doctor looked her up and down then, noticing something shining on her wrist. 'What's that?' he pointed.
'Hmm? What?' she looked down at it.
'Anti-Hypnosis Device,' the Doctor was a bit surprised, 'so, you don't trust him.'
Greer shot up, going to the window. 'Of course I don't trust him! It doesn't take a Time Lord expert to tell me he's dangerous. But he's under my control so long as I've got his ship.'
'Ship?' the Doctor lifted his eyebrows. So the Master really did have one, probably a TARDIS. He couldn't begin to guess how and where he'd got his hands on it, but it stood to reason, which made him even more dangerous.
'Yes, strange looking thing. We can't get into it.. but we've got it under lock and key nonetheless. Everything's under control, Doctor Smith.'
'Really? Sure about that? Are are really, really sure?' the Doctor scratched his head, watching her. He doubted very much that the Master would allow anyone to control him; although clearly Greer held a few of the cards. 'Cos' when he gets free, and he will, he won't be helping you.'
'You talk like you know him personally, or are all Time Lords just like he is?' Greer poured herself a glass of wine.
'Well...' the Doctor rubbed his ear, 'no, we've just got these files on him, specifically. He's a bit of a criminal.' He knew that was an understatement if ever there was one.
'A criminal? Not on this planet, he's been helping us advance the cause. And he'll help us advance it across the stars. A thousand perfect worlds,' her eyes glowed with a lust the Doctor recognized easily, a hunger for power hidden behind some phony ideology.
He leaned forward, placing his hands on her desk. '”A world of steel and concrete, of monstrous marching and terrifying weapons,”' the Orwellian quote came to him easily, even if he hadn't read the book in a few centuries. It sickened him how similar the situation was, sometimes humans didn't learn anything.
'”A nation of warriors and fanatics,”' a new voice entered the room, a familiar one dripping with quiet glee as it took the quote from him and continued, '”marching forward in perfect unity, all thinking the same thoughts, wearing the same clothes and shouting the same slogans.”'
The Doctor slowly turned and his bronze gaze met another, much darker one.
He stood there casually in the doorway, wearing a simple black suit without a tie and looking much the same as he had the last time the Doctor had seen him. The Doctor stopped paying attention to Greer, his eyes on the Master as his nemesis sauntered into the room, brown gaze never leaving him.
'Doctor,' the Master breathed, his voice putting so much emotion, so much hate and love, into the name.
'Master,' the Doctor responded in kind, as though this were part of some sacred ritual that was repeated whenever they met. For a moment he forgot they weren't alone, he just stood there facing his enemy, his friend, as though there was nothing else but the two of them.
The Master stopped and smiled, closing his eyes and breathing a sigh at the sound of the his name. The Doctor knew he always got a bit of pleasure out of hearing it, but he didn't care. He hardly used it and when he did, he didn't mean it.. and the Master knew that, too.
Those dark eyes opened again and the moment was gone. 'Orwell, genius,' the Master said. 'Humans are so funny, they write down the best ideas and then don't put them to use.'
'Quite right not to,' the Doctor countered, his voice so soft only the Master could hear him, his eyes burning. 'They would've enslaved themselves long ago if they had.'
'Too late, they already have,' the Master whispered, obviously delighted at the very idea.
'So, you do know each other?' General Greer pulled the two of them from their confrontation, coming around the desk and eyeing them both in turn.
'Yeah, old friends,' the Master spoke before the Doctor could. 'It's a bit personal, I'd like a private word with him, actually.' He flashed the Doctor a secret smile.
Greer considered for a moment, then finally nodded. 'Fine, in your office. He can't do any harm, I suppose.. he's only human,' she shrugged and turned away. 'Earth really has no authority over us, just don't kill him or harm him.'
'Oh, I wouldn't dream of it,' the way the Master spoke and the way he looked at him made the Doctor rather uneasy. His smile was knowing.
A bit of fear nagged at the Doctor from the back of his mind suddenly: the Master knew he wasn't human. He sucked in a slow breath and waited, almost expectantly, for his nemesis to betray this fact and thus have him shipped off to be dissected.
The Master knew he was thinking about it, too, and he grinned even more now, prolonging the moment of fear. His dark eyes glittered, almost hungrily, clearly enjoying every second of the Doctor's anxiety.
Then he said nothing.
Instead he slipped an arm around the Doctor's shoulders and led him from the room, happy as a child who had just gotten himself a birthday present.
End Notes: I hope my Doctor is alright.
The Orwell quote exchanged between the Doctor and the Master is courtesy of Wikipedia (it says it's from page 77). I haven't read the book since high school and I don't actually have a copy of it here, so yeah..
Thanks for the comments last chapter, guys! I thrive on feedback, I need it to live! *flail* More soon, the next chapter is fun ^___^
Next Chapter this way!
- Doctor Who Fic: The Price of Usage (2/7)