18 : The Sound of Drums (Part 3)
Violet skids to a stop only minutes after they began running and tilts her head to the side, listening to the strange noise. As soon as they notice she’s stopped, Jack, the Doctor and Martha stop running, the immortal man and the Human woman obviously annoyed at the decision, but the Doctor is staring at Violet with glimmering eyes, delight pulsing in their chestnut depths.
“We’ve no time for sightseeing,” Jack tries, looking between Violet and the Doctor.
“No, wait,” the Doctor says. “Shush, shush, shush, shush. Can’t you hear it?”
“Doctor, my family’s on board,” Martha reminds the alien.
“Brilliant,” said alien replies, clearly distracted. “This way.”
He darts away and Martha follows with a sigh of irritation, Jack and Violet half a step behind the the two of them. They run down a gangway to Level 4 of the Valiant, then open a door at the end, revealing the beautiful blue box that they have all missed.
“Oh, at last!” the Doctor exclaims.
Martha cheers. “Oh, yes!”
However, it’s Jack that asks the serious question. “What’s it doing on the Valiant?”
Violet shakes her head and brushes past them all, hurrying inside the TARDIS to see what damage the Master has done to the poor girl. Her feet halt for a moment not two steps in, but then they’re moving faster as she clambers up the stairs and stares at the console with petrified eyes. Seconds later Jack, the Doctor and Martha are by Violet’s side, and, whilst Martha is clearly confused, the former two are just as worried as the half Time Lord is.
“What the hell’s he done?” the immortal 51st Century man asks with wide eyes, walking over to the console in the centre of the control room.
“Don’t touch it,” the Doctor berates.
“I’m not going to.”
“What’s he done though?” Martha says, face screwed up as she looks at the TARDIS. “Sounds like it’s sick.”
“It can’t be,” the Doctor mutters frantically. “No, no, no, no, no, no, it can’t be.”
“Doctor, what is it?”
“He’s cannibalised the TARDIS,” Violet breathes. “I didn’t think he’d go that far.”
“Is this what I think it is?” Jack asks, stepping back next to the nineteen-year-old girl.
“It’s a paradox machine,” the Doctor confirms, walking around the console. He taps a gauge on the metal mesh around the time console. “As soon as this hits red, it activates. At this speed, it’ll trigger at two minutes past eight.”
“First contact is at eight, then two minutes later…”
“What’s it for?” Martha asks, trying to get some answers. “What does a paradox machine do?”
“More important, can you stop it?”
“Not till we know what it’s doing,” Violet says, shaking her head as she stares at the console.
“Touch the wrong bit, blow up the solar system,” the Doctor agrees.
“Then we’ve got to get to the Master,” Martha suggests.
Jack nods. “Yeah. How are we going to stop him?”
“Oh, I’ve got a way,” the Doctor says nonchalantly, making everyone stare at him. At the silence he looks up and blinks. “Sorry, didn’t I mention it?”
: : : :
Violet hates that they’re standing around and watching the Master deliver his speech introducing the Toclafane, but, apparently, it’s all a part of the Doctor’s plan. Beside her, Jack is exuding tension, and Martha is almost jumping from where she’s standing and going to tackle the other Time Lord. The Doctor taking off his key and trying to run forward startles Violet, and she grips Jack’s hand as two men in black grab the Doctor.
“We meet at last, Doctor,” the Master greets with a sinister smile. “Oh, ho. I love saying that.”
“Stop it!” the Doctor yells. “Stop it now!”
“As if a perception filter’s going to work on me, and look, it’s the girlie and the freak. Although, I’m not sure which one’s which. You also brought the filthy halfling.”
Jack runs forward and the Master zaps him with his screwdriver, making Violet screech and dart forward, Martha by her side. The half Time Lord cradles Jack’s head in her lap as she glares up at the psychopathic Time Lord.
“Laser screwdriver. Who’d have sonic?” The psychopath laughs. “And the good thing is, he’s not dead for long. I get to kill him again!”
“Master, just calm down,” the Doctor pleads. “Just look at what you’re doing. Just stop. If you could see yourself…”
“Oh, do excuse me. Little bit of personal business. Back in a minute. Let him go.”
“It’s that sound. The sound in your head. What if I could help?”
“Oh, how to shut him up? I know. Memory Lane. Professor Lazarus. Remember him and his genetic manipulation device?”
The Doctor stares at the Master with rising horror, and Violet feels it begin to pool in her gut.
“What, did you think that little Tish got that job merely by coincidence? I’ve been laying traps for you all this time. And if I can concentrate all that Lazarus technology into one little screwdriver? But, ooo, if I only had the Doctor’s biological code. Oh, wait a minute, I do.” He opens a large metal briefcase. “I’ve got his hand. And if Lazarus made himself younger, what if I reverse it? Another hundred years?”
The Master aims his screwdriver at the Doctor, who goes into rapid convulsions, his body ageing before everyone’s eyes. Jack revives with Martha next to him, pale blue eyes looking directly at the dark-skinned woman as he tries to convince her to get out of there.
“We can’t stop him,” Violet pleads quietly.
“Get out of here,” Jack adds. “Get out.”
Violet looks back over at the Master and, behind the laughing man, Lucy is looking very unhappy with everything that is happening. The Master stops zapping the Doctor, who now looks at least a hundred years old.
Martha hurries over to the now frail man, Jack’s Vortex Manipulator in her hand. “Doctor? I’ve got you.”
“Ah, she’s a would be doctor,” the Master says in a showman’s voice. “But tonight, Martha Jones, we’ve flown them in all the way from prison.”
The Jones family, minus Martha’s brother, are all dragged on deck, wrists fastened together with cable ties. Violet grits her teeth and, as she goes to move, Jack’s hand grips hers and calms her, making the young half Time Lord let out a shaky breath as she sits back on the floor of the Valiant.
“The Toclafane,” the Doctor says, causing Violet to look over at the aged man. “What are they? Who are they?”
The Master tuts. “Doctor, if I told you the truth, your hearts would break. Your little halfling pet knows that, and that’s why she hasn’t told you what she knows.”
Violet bares her teeth at the man, clutching Jack’s hand tightly and making him wince. “Don’t you dare drag me into this you murderer. I will not stand by while you destroy yet another species. I will fight against you however many more times is needed before I finally kill you myself.”
A tear appears in the sky above the Valiant and thousands of spheres pour out, the Master and Lucy walking over to the window of the Valiant and watching the silver spheres rain down onto planet earth.
“How many do you think?” the Master asks his wife.
“I, I don’t know,” Lucy murmurs.
“Six billion. Down you go, kids!”
The spheres head to the population centres and open fire.
“Shall we decimate them? That sounds good. A nice word, decimate. Remove one tenth of the population!”
Violet watches as the Doctor whispers something to Martha. She moves away from him, holding Jack’s Vortex Manipulator, sparing the man himself and Violet one last glance before she teleports away. The Doctor and Jack look at each other, and the Doctor nods, ancient eyes moving to give Violet a reassuring look before the Master and Lucy hold up the ancient Doctor so he can watch the slaughter of the Humans by the very beings that would shatter the Doctor’s hearts.
“And so it came to pass that the Human race fell, and the Earth was no more,” the Master recites. “And I looked down upon my new dominion as Master of all, and I thought it good.”