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Doctor Who Fic: The Price of Usage (5/7)
Cherik! By oh-freckle @ dw
kalinda_99
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


A/N: Yeah, longer chapter this time. I'm relatively happy with it, think it's better than the last one. The next one is gonna be better, though, I'll have lots of fun with it :) Also, a big thanks go out to kazedragoon for helping me figure out the Master's crazy plan and sorting out the nuclear stuff, which I know very little about.

Until next time, thanks for the reviews! I'll try not to take so long next time!

The Price of Usage

Chapter 5: The Best Laid Plans

'What?' Jones stared at him, aghast. 'How's he plan to do that? One nuclear blast isn't enough to kill everybody.'

'No, but! He installed the karniam in all your nuclear power stations. When the rocket goes up in the atmosphere, all them will go up with it, he'll have programed them to explode at exactly the right moment.' The Doctor looked around at them, noting their shocked and scared expressions as he explained further: 'The ones who aren't killed in the explosions'll die of radiation, and when the rocket goes it'll blow a hole in the atmosphere. Millions of people, dying slowly.. it'll take days and days..' He glared down to schematic again; it was a clever and overblown plan with maximum casualties, just like most of the things the Master came up with. And most of all, as the Master clearly intended, it disgusted him beyond measure.

'Oh my God,' Miles spoke softly, 'the rocket, it launches tonight.'

'We've gotta stop it,' the Doctor said urgently, 'I have to talk to Greer again, persuade her she's making a mistake.'

'No way,' Jones protested, 'she won't listen.'

'Oh, and what do you suggest? Go in there guns blazing?'

'I dunno yet, but I'm not--'

'Sir! Transmission, all channels!' a short little man came running over to them, indicating the tele-transmitter that was now displaying a surprisingly crystal-clear, colour image. The moment the Doctor saw who it was, he grabbed the schematic and rushed over.

The Master leaned against the table in a white room, his brown eyes staring into the camera and meeting the Doctor's. 'Citizens of Colony 9.. oh, no, wait, technically you're not really citizens, are you?' the Master said, putting his hand under his chin in mock thought. 'No, not since you betrayed your planet's leaders, anyway.' He folded his arms and fell silent, as though he were waiting for something to happen.

The Doctor pulled out a sonic screwdriver at once and pointed it at the screen. 'It's not all the channels,' he said softly, 'it's just us... we're the only ones getting it...' he exchanged worried glances with Miles and Jones.

'If I know you, Doctor, you'll be delivering the sad news to your friends,' the Master checked his watch, 'right about... now.' He looked back up into the camera and grinned again.

'He knows we're here,' the Doctor said softly.

'What?! How the hell can he--' Jones started, but the Doctor held up a hand to silence him as the Master sauntered toward the camera. He stared into it, his brown gaze reaching through the screen and burrowing into the Doctor's soul.

'Your move, Doctor,' he whispered sadistically.

The instant the screen went blank, a loud BOOM shook the room, echoed by screams and gunshots coming from the entrance and thick gray smoke rapidly pouring in to the two small rooms.

'Oh, his timing's always perfect,' the Doctor looked at Jones. 'Is there another way out of here?'

'Yeah,' Jones sprung into action, grabbing the chest full of alien trinkets and tossing it to Miles before he turned to face the others. 'All of you, grab what you can and head for the back entrance!' He turned and made for the first room, but the Doctor ducked in front of him.

'Whoa, where are you going?' he demanded, slamming the door shut to widen the distance between them and the invading soldiers.

'I've gotta help them!' Jones practically shouted the words.

The Doctor bolted the door and grabbed Jones by the arm. 'There's nothing you can do! We've got to get out of here now!'

Jones had no time to consider, as the Doctor pulled him along toward the exit with everyone else in tow. It was only a few moments after they had gotten out that the door gave way to a ball of flame and soldiers burst into the room, gunning down anyone who was too slow.

The Doctor, Miles, and four others tore off into the murky halls of the sewers, with Jones leading them. They ran for a long time, their pounding footsteps disturbing the usual stillness of the water and managing to soak their shoes and pant legs.

**

After approximately two hours, ten minutes, and forty seconds (hey, the Doctor was a Time Lord), the party of fugitives reached the factory district and journeyed from the sewers into an abandoned building that Jones led them to.

'First off,' Jones said as he stared out into the vast expanse of the empty factory, 'how the ruddy hell did they find us, huh?' he rounded on the Doctor, as if it were all the Time Lord's fault.

'I don't know!' the Doctor exclaimed, holding up his hands defensively. 'Wasn't me.' He scratched his head, running his fingers through his wildly messy hair.

'How am I spose to believe that? Everything goes wrong soon as you turn up and it ain't your fault?' Jones sounded like he could barely contain his rage. At least two of the others seemed to be in agreement with him, their eyes glinting angrily in the darkness. They all still wore their masks.

'Leave him alone,' Miles interjected, 'he wouldn't betray us.'

'Yeh, how do you figure?' Jones folded his arms.

'He knew about you...' the Doctor muttered, 'obvious, really.. every regime's got a rebellion, he'd know that.. but.. how did he know where to find you?' He started pacing, lost in thought.

'I want an answer, Doctor. Maybe you didn't know it, but I'll bet you betrayed us somehow!' Jones held up his rifle, aiming at the Doctor's head. The Time Lord stopped and looked at him.

'Unless I didn't know it? Oh, you're clever!' The Doctor declared, stepping toward Jones and pushing his gun out of the way. Holding up his sonic screwdriver, he flipped it on and moved it along his arms, legs and torso.

'What you doing?' Jones put the gun back in the Doctor's face.

'Checking...' the Doctor glanced at him, 'and stop waving that thing about! You could take out somebody's eye.' He flipped the screwdriver between his fingers and looked around at them all. 'Right then! So.. it's not me.. that means.. it's one of you.'

'What? One of us?' Jones was sounding more impatient by the minute.

'He means it's one of us who's being tracked,' Miles put in.

'Oh, very good, Miles Gordan,' the Doctor grinned, 'very good!'

'Hey, I told you, no na--' Jones started but the Doctor silenced him with a single raised hand. He stepped toward the nearest rebel whose name wasn't Jones, deciding that scanning the leader first might be a bad idea.

'Nope, clean,' he went to the next. 'No.' And the next. And then the next. He finally came to Miles.

When he moved the sonic over Miles' upper right arm, it gave a loud blip, blip, blip. 'Me? It's me?' Miles stared at the Doctor in disbelief, reaching up and tearing off his mask, his hair tussled. Jones and the others wasted no time in hoisting their weapons to aim at him.

'Now hold on!' the Doctor protested, looking at their weapons in contempt. He turned back to Jones and checked the screwdriver's readings.

'Ahhh.... nano transmitter, embedded in the bloodstream,' the Doctor muttered. It was a clever bit of tracking, but he didn't say that out loud, of course. 'Haven't gotten any shots recently, have you?'

'Um.. well.. everyone was vaccinated against those diseases he cured for us...' Miles said, looking at his right arm. He frowned hard.

'With vaccine he made,' the Doctor slipped the screwdriver back into his pocket. 'But did he do it everyone, or just you...' He looked at the others. 'Anybody else here work for the government?'

Jones glanced around at the others. 'Yeh, couple of us,' he shrugged, 'sometimes we get inside info, but we everybody here's been part of this operation longer then both of you,' he pointed to Miles and the Doctor, 'and somethin doesn't go wrong till you show up.'

'It's only Miles then... but why him, though?' the Doctor ignored Jones' accusations and looked up into the blackness of the factory, pondering.

'I was the first person he spoke to properly when he came here.. I interviewed him,' Miles said with realization, 'and well, I sort of.. mentioned you to him when he said he was a Time Lord.'

'That's it! He must've known you'd contact me, that's why he did it. He knew all along.' Again, clever. And again, he didn't say that out loud.

'How could he possibly know that? I didn't tell him..' Miles said, glancing around at everyone.

'Well..' the Doctor shrugged. 'I spose he just guessed...' He didn't mention that the Master had probably hacked into Miles' mind to find the information; the revelation that his nemesis was an accomplished telepath would probably only alarm Miles even further. He really didn't want to get into one of those he can read minds?! conversations.

'Okay,' Jones spoke again, lowering his weapon slightly, 'still not clear on several things here, Doctor. First; how come the world revolves around you? You and this guy got some kinda history, then?'

With the Master, things were always about him, the Doctor thought. It was like he was the center of his nemesis' world. It had always been like that... but he dared not go into it, there would be too many questions he didn't care to answer.

'Something like that,' was all he said.

'More importantly,' Miles interjected, 'can you get this transmitter out of me? I'm sure it won't be long before they find us.'

'Not here,' the Doctor said, 'we'd have to get back to my ship.'

'Ship? He's got a ship now? Why didn't--' Jones started but the Doctor silenced him with a raise of his hand.

He heard something, faint and in the distance. Something that sounded very much like the roar of engines. Vehicles, military vehicles. 'It's too late,' he whispered.

'Wha? What you mean by that?' Jones demanded.

'He's found us,' the Doctor said darkly. He looked around, mind racing frantically. He went through a thousand possible plans, discarding each one and moving on to the next. They were too far in, too far from any exits to make a run for it. The Master was clever, he would've surrounded the building--

The thunder of footsteps and shouting of orders snapped him from his musings. Joining them was a loud, gloved clapping. The Doctor glared into the darkness before him. The Master was here, too, he just knew it.

The lights came on. The factory door slid open and there, flanked by several soldiers, was a black clad figure. The clapping stopped and the Doctor looked around. They were surrounded.

Even so, like any human would, Jones and his men formed a circle around the Doctor and Miles, the only unarmed ones in the group.

'Doctor!' the Master came forward, his voice bouncing across the walls. He wore that familiar suit and black overcoat, the same he had had on when he was masquerading as PM back on Earth. 'Got you again! Is all that guilt about Gallifrey and Regalia Minor starting to get to you, effecting that brain of yours?'

'Well, actually, I've got a plan. Good plan. Brilliant, in fact.' The Doctor slipped into his mask of cheerfulness, wincing inwardly at the Master's verbal jab.

'Really? I hope it's not disappointing,' the Master smirked at him. 'I'm wondering if it involves hiding behind the humans.' He indicated Jones and his friends, who still had yet to lower their guns. 'Might wanna tell them to be careful where they point those, or are we gun-friendly now, Doctor?'

The Doctor looked to Jones and the others. 'Put them down,' he said softly, 'there's nothing you can do.' He stepped forward then, hands in pockets as he faced the Master evenly.

Slowly Jones and his fellows lowered their guns, their eyes dark. Miles just stood there, looking thoroughly guilty, and still holding the box of alien trinkets.

'I win again, Doctor. What's the score now? Two to zero? You've got lots of catching up to do,' the Master adjusted one of his gloves casually.

'No worries,' the Doctor said cheerfully, anything to keep the Master talking while he thought. 'My plan's so brilliant that I'll escape, stop the rocket, save the planet, and have you back to the TARDIS just in time for tea.' He grinned.

'Oh, I hope you've got lots of sugar.. and your television's big enough for the both of us,' the Master replied conversationally. The Doctor might've almost believed him, as if they were back in school and chatting about silly things, except for the slight edge of disgust in his tone.

The Master turned and nodded to one of the guards, looking back at the Doctor with a smile that shattered any illusions of old times.

'Don't hurt them,' the Doctor said, 'this is between you and me, just let them go!' He watched as the guards grabbed hold of the rebels, tearing off their masks and taking their guns. He looked to his nemesis again and the Master looked back expectantly, eyebrows raised.

'Please, Master,' he added, speaking very softly.

'Ooh, sweet,' the Master breathed, voice so soft only the Doctor could hear him. 'And I didn't even ask, Doctor.' He grinned, pleasure written all over his face.

The soldiers began to pull the rebels away from the Doctor, one of them grabbing the glass box from Miles. 'Doctor!' Miles shouted. 'Do something!'

'Come on, please!' the Doctor looked from Miles to the Master. 'They haven't got anything to do with this!'

'Oh, come on, Doctor!' the Master laughed. 'You really I'm gonna let them go? So they can come back and save you again? How stupid do you think I am?' Reaching into his pocket, the Master produced his trusty laser screwdriver before holding out a hand. 'Now, your sonic. Hand it over. There's a good boy.'

The Doctor scowled at him and kept his hands in his pockets.

'Doctor!' the Master sighed theatrically. 'This is getting old. Don't make me start shooting your friends!' He moved round the Doctor, his weapon trained on the rebels. 'Wonder who I should kill first....' The soldiers had stopped escorting the prisoners now.

'Alright!' the Doctor sighed and handed over his favourite tool. He still had no plan and now he had no sonic screwdriver. Great.

'Thank you,' the Master smiled with mock appreciation as he took the device. 'Take them away,' he added, nodding to the guards. The men did as ordered, everyone leaving the room except the Doctor, the Master, and a small number of men who were too far away.

'So,' the Doctor said, hiding behind his cheerful mask, 'now what? More torture?'

'Ooh, maybe.. don't tempt me. It was fun, wasn't it?' the Master stuffed the sonic screwdriver in his pocket and regarded him. 'Maybe I should take you back to my TARDIS and keep you like you want to keep me. That'd be good, wouldn't it, Doctor?'

'Nawh!' the Doctor said dismissively, more than a little horrified by the thought. 'You'd just get bored. Where'd the fun be?'

'Oh, I dunno... I'd give it a few centuries before I got tired of watching my favourite memory.'

The Doctor's expression darkened, the last of the mask slipping away. He couldn't pretend or make witty remarks when the Master slapped him with Gallifrey's destruction. It was always like a knife being twisted further and further into his gut and there was never anything he could do about it.

'But! You'll have to excuse me, I've got so much work to do,' the Master said suddenly, much to the Doctor's surprise.

'What, no more gloating? Not even a tiny bit? We're not gonna have a nice chat or anything?' The Doctor scratched his head, lifting his eyebrows. 'You must have a busy schedule; modifying power stations, installing nano transmitters in government employees, launching rockets..'

'I knew you'd figure out that part. A bit late, though,' the Master clearly couldn't resist bragging a little. 'I made the nano transmitter myself, you know.'

'And how'd you find out Miles was gonna contact me? Hacking his mind? You could never respect people's privacy, could you?'

'I just had a quick look. Quite clever, really. That's the funny thing about you, Doctor; the people you insist on surrounding yourself with, they're so easy to use.'

'At least none of them are murdering psychopaths,' the Doctor retorted. Then he realized where this was going; he was starting to banter with the Master again, just like in the old days.

Before his old friend could respond he added quickly: 'Come on, Master! This dance is so old now. Don't you ever get tired of it? You make a plan, think you're so clever, then I show up, put a stop to it, and we both run off till it happens again. Don't you ever want it to end, like the drumming?'

'No,' the Master looked at him darkly, 'the music never stops, Doctor. Our little war doesn't end, not ever.'

'Takes two to fight,' the Doctor said, part him knowing this whole argument was hopeless, but at least it bought him more time. 'We could stop this. Let me help you... please. The drumming--'

The Master laughed. 'You know, Doctor, I think this current incarnation of yours is my favourite so far; you just beg and whine so well! It's classic!

'And this must be the youngest body you've regenerated into by far.' He put out a gloved hand, drawing a finger over the cut on the Doctor's cheek. 'You'll have that for a few days. Something to remember me by.' He grinned and leaned in close, his brown eyes glittering.

'Be seeing you,' he whispered, stepping away. He gave a little wave and turned on his heel, walking back toward the entrance. 'Take him away!' he called over his shoulder.

The Doctor knew there was no point trying to convince the Master to stop this whole charade, so he just quietly let the guards take him. His nemesis obviously wanted him present when the rocket went up, maybe he even wanted him to escape. He always did like showing off too much, it was one of his greatest weaknesses.

**

'This is great!' Jones fumed, pacing his cell in anger. He glared across at Miles, his blue eyes glinting angrily through his messy mop of black hair. Miles didn't return the glare, too busy staring at his feet.

'I'm sorry,' he said softly; he was still surprised the Master had placed a tracker in him. And he still had it; he rubbed his arm and wondered if the Doctor would ever be able to remove it.

He knew he'd been getting into trouble when he signed up, but he hadn't thought this would happen. The last time he'd met the Doctor, the Time Lord had saved both him and Earth from the Zygons. And besides, he still had to ask the Doctor about getting a lift to Earth for his family...

'And you!' Jones looked toward the Doctor, who hadn't moved since they arrived. 'Knew we never should've trusted you! That Master bloke, he's got it in for you and now we're all mixed up in this bloody mess! So what we gonna do then, Doctor?'

It was to Miles' surprise that the Doctor said nothing. The Time Lord just sat there in his cell, looking at the floor, uncharacteristically quiet.

'Doctor?' Miles tried, his voice much softer. But the Doctor didn't move. In fact, now that Miles thought about it, he hadn't said a word since they arrived. Had the Master done something to him?

The room's door opened suddenly and the eyes in each of the four cells turned to see a familiar, brown coated figure entering.

'Doctor?' Miles spoke first. 'But.. you're..' He indicated the other Doctor sitting in the cell.

'Here to rescue you? Well, now that you mention it,' the Doctor who had just arrived put on a grin. Yeah, it was definitely him. 'Oh, he's awful quiet, isn't he? Not like me at all!' He looked at his clone.

'Okay, what the hell?' Jones demanded. 'What's all this?' He pointed back and forth, evidently confused by the sight of two copies of the Doctor. The Time Lord turned to him.

'Just a tiny bit of tinkering and viola! Two me's!' The Doctor produced a set of keys from his pocket and shoved one of them into his duplicate's cell door. He swung it open and stepped inside. 'The Master may have taken my sonic screwdriver, but I had this!' He reached his hand inside the clone's coat and pulled off a tiny device, one familiar to Miles. The clone immediately faded away.

'That's the holo-reflector,' Miles pointed out, 'you slipped it in your pocket, didn't you?'

'Yup! Never know when you need to make a holographic duplicate of yourself! I did the swap back at the factory; the Master only left a couple guards.'

'So, what, you took em out?' Jones asked.

'Well, sort of..' the Doctor moved quickly, unlocking their cells. 'But it's a bit boring, honestly. And we've got a rocket launch to stop!' He looked at Miles. 'How much time?'

'About..' Miles checked his watch, recalling when the rocket would go up, 'an hour.'

'Right then, time we got to Greer before they notice we're gone,' the Doctor cast an unsavoury glance at the security camera in the corner. 'This place is really lax on security, I snuck in after I followed the guards from the factory.'

This time Jones made no arguments about Greer, he seemed glad to be out of his cell. And so was Miles. This looked much easier now that they were free and the Doctor was with them.

As they left the room, the Doctor mused a bit about how the Master probably meant for them to escape or that the soldiers had perhaps all gone to guard the rocket launch. Regardless, someone had either intended their escape or screwed up somewhere so it was made easier for them.

And here Miles couldn't help but notice that the Time Lord seemed to be enjoying himself, despite the stakes. Certainly, the Doctor's mood was urgent, but when he spoke about what the Master was up to, there was a note something else in his tone. Almost like he was a schoolboy enjoying a rivalry, about which he seemed rather conflicted.

Sadly, they hadn't gone far down the guardless hallways before, unsurprisingly, two armed guards showed up half-way to the launch control room.

'Stop!' one of them ordered, gun trained. 'Don't move!'

Predictably, the Doctor disobeyed and stepped forward, hands raised a little bit.

'Hello!' he said cheerfully. 'We were just on the way to the command centre, you mind taking us there? No?' He raised his eyebrows innocently. 'Just want a word with the general, won't take long. Promise.'

The guard eyed him and exchanged glances with his colleague. 'Alright,' he said, 'this way.' They gestured with their weapons and soon enough the prisoners were back on their way.

'How did you do that?' Miles whispered to the Doctor. 'They should be taking us back to our cells.'

The Doctor shrugged, 'I'm just very good.' Miles blinked, wondering if the Master's hypnosis ability was something all Time Lords shared...

A moment later they entered the control room, one guard in front and one in back of their little group.

The room was well lit, lined with computer terminals and at least twelve people working at them. Greer stood at the top with two others, both dressed in lab coats. Down the front there was a large screen depicting an image of the rocket itself and some complex readings.

Greer immediately turned on her heel when they entered. 'What is this? What are they doing here?' she demanded, going for her pistol.

'S-Sorry, ma'am,' one of the guards stammered, 'but they needed to see you...'

'Actually, just me!' the Doctor declared, stepping boldly out of the group. 'Just needed a quick word. Hello!' He waved as he came toward her and she trained her gun on him.

'Oh, you dictators are all the same. Waving guns about, stealing Orwell's names, oppressing your people, using all that propaganda...' the Doctor stood in front of her, rather boldly, Miles thought.

'What do you want?' she demanded, much to Miles' surprise.

'You to stop your rocket launch,' the Doctor stated, 'shouldn't be too hard. You haven't even started the countdown.'

'And why would I do something like that?' She lifted her eyebrows in amusement, glancing around then.

'Because if you don't everyone on this planet is dead,' the Doctor spoke the words slowly and deliberately.

**

The Master whistled a little jib to himself as he proceeded into the lower bowels of the bunker. He had only recently gained the location of his ship out of one of the scientists in charge of examining it, after months of manipulation.

With some careful use of the laser screwdriver, he gained access to each entry point in the long journey to the desired room. The Doctor had probably escaped by now; he wasn't sure how, but he knew the other Time Lord would find a way. He also knew that the Doctor would predict his leaving and tell Greer about it. Or he hoped so, he really wanted her to show up at the silo with a bunch of men.

He finally reached the appropriate door; a metal one with a small window. Flicking a button on his screwdriver, he quickly gunned down the two men guarding it. He did his best not to kill the second man, just wound himself so he couldn't do much. He removed both their weapons and tossed them away down the hall before he tore open a panel on the wall and set to work.

Through the mess of wires, he found the oxygen control for the next room and, with a bit of help from his trusty laser, managed to turn it off. He grinned, checking his watch. It wouldn't be long before the men in the next room were struggling feebly for air, like fish out of water.

**

'What?' Greer demanded, voice carrying a hint of amusement still.

'Let me show you,' the Doctor said, hoping he was beginning to get through to her. He had a feeling the Master was already gone.

He sat down at the nearest empty computer terminal and, with a little help from his sonic, logged in. His fingers zipped across the keyboard in a flurry of movement, sorting through document after document until he finally found what he was looking for: an encrypted set of commands that were read-only and buried within the mainframe. He wasn't sure if the Master chosen not to hide them better or if he actually wanted them to be found. His fellow Time Lord's computer skills weren't equal to his, he thought.

'Look, here,' he ran a test of the commands, so their intended functions were demonstrated on the main screen. 'He's built a self-destruct protocol into the rocket, so it'll blow up once it reaches the atmosphere. It's timed to go up with all your power stations, the same ones he installed karniam in.'

The Doctor turned to face them, watching as Greer's face turned from amusement to disbelief. He met her eyes, silently hoping she would just listen and believe him.

Next Chapter

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Mmm, it's good to have another chapter of this :)

I really really enjoy this story a lot. I was especially ecstatic when you had the Doctor use hypnosis on the guards. I love moments of hardcore Time Lordiness.

I'm just confused about one bit from the very last section of this chapter - when did the Doctor get his screwdriver back (I thought the Master took it earlier)?

Thanks! :)

Also, darn; I guess it wasn't clear. The Doctor actually grabbed all his stuff from the table before he follows the rebels when they rescue him.

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