It was night and the stars above sparkled like diamonds. The stars here did not just shine silver but we're a wash of iridescent light. The occasion shooting star flicked past. The Doctor had counted twelve shooting stars already. He stood on a grassy knoll a couple of miles from the Capitol.
The Doctor was still wearing his scarlet robes. In fact he hadn't gone back to his apartment since the execution but had come here instead so he could think. The astrological spectacular above his head was soothing to his soul.
The Doctor had come to consider his next move. He couldn’t let the High Council get away with the part they played in the Revolution. Pundat and cronies had misused there power for far too long.
The Doctor had to stand up to them. He’d start by petitioning the High Council over a minor issue, probably over those horrible Miniscopes. Then he would start turning up political pressure on the President and the rest of the corrupt High Council.
Of course the Doctor knew that his efforts would be futile. His attempts would infuriate the High Council but he doubted he could change things that were so ingrained within Time Lord society.
The Doctor knew that his future wasn’t on Gallifrey. He would continue his search for truth where ever it could be found. He knew in his hearts that his truth was in the stars. Somewhere out there in those stars there were worlds where the sky was burning, where the sea's asleep, and the rivers dream.
People made of smoke, and cities made of song. Somewhere there is danger, somewhere there is injustice, and somewhere the tea was getting cold. The Doctor couldn’t wait to find it.
"The Doctor went on to find his version of truth. The foolish young Time Lord eventually left Gallifrey in a rackety old TARDIS. He went out to explore the universe without thought of those he’d left behind" stated the Stranger.
His story finally complete, the Stranger got to his feet and looked up impatiently for the rescue ship. Phoebe remained seated on the rusty metal floor of the sheltered platform, wrapped in a musty old blanket. She was now bone dry but kept the blanket to keep warm.
"What happened to that Koschei guy? Did he end up going to pieces when the Doctor left? That guy sounded like he had a couple of screws loose" joked Phoebe.
The stranger gave polite smile but Phoebe could see embers of madness smouldering in his eyes. Alarm bells started to go off in Phoebe's head warning her that this man is dangerous. The burning black eyes along with the black goatee and gold collared black tunic were a fearsome combination.
"I believe you haven't been paying attention my dear. The Doctor wasn't the hero of my story. Koschei was the hero; the Doctor was just a barrier in his way. It was only after the Doctor left Gallifrey that Koschei decided to accept his destiny. My destiny of becoming the ruler of the universe” proclaimed the mad Stranger.
Phoebe quickly got to her feet, scrambling to get away from the mad man. She came to a realisation on the identity of the stranger.
“You’re not that Doctor guy are you? Your Koschei” sputtered Phoebe.
The Madmen smiled a big wide smile and gave a manic laugh.
“There is no Koschei here. I am universally referred to as the Master. My plan was to use you as cover for when a rescue ship arrived. It is a shame you are resistant to my hypnosis my dear. I had to resort to that story to distract you. Now you know too much so you are no longer necessary” declared the Master.
The Master advanced towards Phoebe with a deadly purpose in mind. Phoebe tried to step away from the Master but she reached the edge of the platform with nowhere to go. The Master reached out and grabbed Phoebe by the throat.
His black gloved hand slowly squeezed down on her trachea. Phoebe could feel the life literally being squeezed out of her. She tried to force the Master’s hand from her throat or kick him in to shin but to no avail.
The Master’s grip was unrelenting.
“I’m sorry to have to kill you this way. I don't like getting my hands this dirty but I am afraid my dear, your existence has become rather tiresome” determined the Master.
Before the Master could finish murdering Phoebe, he was interrupted by a loud wheezing sound which seemed to pervade the air. It was sound that was louder than the violent storm outside the platform and gave Phoebe a sense of hope.
This sound preceded the appearance of a blue box on the platform beside them, out of thin air. It had a flashing bulb on top and a sign which said Police Public Call Box in big block capitals. The doors of the blue box flew inwards and a man sprinted out of the box. The man had blond hair, wearing a long cream coloured coat with a red lining and a piece of green celery placed on his lapel.
His white cricketing clothes and red striped trousers made him stand out in the 45th century. The Master’s smile widened.
“Why Doctor, how nice it is to see you again. I hoped you would be the one to rescue me”
“Let the girl go. Your finished Master, I put a stop to your plan to open a wormhole for the Nimon. There isn’t any need for this” demanded the Doctor!
“That’s where you’re wrong Doctor. I think this is very necessary because your bleeding hearts are not going to let this young woman die. So you’re going to give me the key to your TARDIS or I will snap this young woman’s neck” threatened the Master.
Phoebe gasped as the Master tightened his grip over her neck.
“STOP THIS! I know you have a pathological need to cause death and destruction but you go too far” demanded the Doctor!
The Master chuckled.
“I am waiting Doctor. Hand over the key or prepare to watch one of your precious humans die” threatened the Master, impatiently.
Phoebe had enough of this psycho. She hadn’t gone through a three year apprentice on a war ship just to be this guy’s hostage. With all her strength, she aimed a well-placed kick into the Master’s lower belly. The Master doubled over in pain.
Taking advantage of the Master’s momentary distraction, Phoebe wretched herself out of his grip and ran towards the Doctor. Recovering from the kick, the Master growled at being thwarted so easily. The Doctor acting on reflex, he grabbed Phoebe’s arm and dragged her behind him; placing himself between her and a very livid Master.
“That’s enough! Calm down and see reason for a change. As much as you want to, you can’t kill us both, Murder isn’t the way” reasoned the Doctor.
A red faced furious Master stopped in his tracks.
“Fate is a fickle and directionless beast that needs to be kept under a tight rein. It needs to be broken and tamed, or it runs wild, destroying all in its path like a rogue elephant. People accept Fate, bow down to it as it wipes away all that they have worked for. The universe itself is a slave to Fate; it determines where life begins, and when the very stars die. What would the universe be for one who has tamed fate, and controls it by sheer force of will? Slave or Master - everyone is one or the other. I can justify anything include murder because I am a Master of my destiny while you all are slaves to it” explained the Master.
The Doctor’s usually kind and gentle face took on an expression of pure anger.
“How many must die Master so that you can fulfil your destiny? I’ve seen you destroy worlds and people unnumbered. The Traken Union, Logopolis and Terileptus to name but a few. What was the point? All your complicated plans of universal domination always fail. Your delusions of destiny only exist so that you can rationalise your own madness” accused the Doctor.
The Master pointed an accusatory finger at the Doctor.
“You presume to judge me Doctor. I know of the casualties that your foolish crusade has cost. What of the Scintillans and the Z-nai, Doctor? How about Sea Base 4? Every Silurian and Sea Devil was slaughtered so your precious humans could live. How about Dr Solon? I hear that you murdered him with cyanide gas. Remember Sarn? I was using the Numismaton gas to heal myself but you sabotaged my efforts. You tried to burn me away. Your own best friend. The truth is Doctor, your hands are just as bloody as mine. The only difference between us is that I am honest about who I am” blamed the Master.
Sadness crept over the Doctors face. Phoebe couldn’t help feel sorry for the Doctor. For a man who looked so young and handsome, he now looked so old.
“No Master, the difference between us is that I actually care about Universe and I want to help. Unlike you I will carry all the deaths and mistakes with me all my lives. I will always fight to make amends” stated the Doctor.
The Master snorted and spat on the ground. His black eyes turned on Doctor. Those eyes trying to burn into his mind, the will behind them dancing at the edges of Phoebe’s perception, taunting, probing, waiting.
“I've killed you before Doctor, so many times, in dreams, in nightmares; in the twisted states we call reality. And you refuse to die. Every time, I've been cheated of my prize. You have cheated me of my prize” accused the Master.
The Doctor gave his long suffering adversary a genuine smile, aggravating the Master to no end.
“You've far more experience than I at avoiding oblivion. You’ve survived all these years force of will, stolen regenerations, and stolen bodies” snubbed the Doctor.
The Master produced a smile of his own. A twisted vile one compared to the Doctor’s genuine charming one.
“You forget Doctor; I have been inside your mind. I have seen your memories. The memories you have edited away and that exist in the stygian morass of your guilt. I discovered some of the things in your head that you have prevented others from knowing. You are impulsive, idealistic, ready to risk life for a worthy cause, never gives in, never gives up, hates tyranny and oppression, believes in good, fights evil, though often caught up in violent situations is a seeker of peace, never cruel or cowardly. Sound familiar” sneered the Master?
The Doctor nodded in acknowledgement.
“To you those beliefs are weaknesses but yet those are my beliefs. Those beliefs define me just as your hatred of me and those beliefs defines you. It is sad really.”
“How should it be sad? I have been revered as a god, destroyed whole solar systems, achieved dominion over untold numbers of people, and defeated death. I have even undone and rewritten creation itself!' ” proclaimed the Master.
The Doctor scowled at these words.
“And every time I have defeated you. I have thwarted all your mad schemes and silly plots to rule the universe. You could have been the greatest genius of the Universe has ever known but instead your miserable failure. Also you’re missing something important” stated the Doctor, coldly.
“What would that be” questioned the Master. A genuine smile spread across the Doctor’s face.
“Unlike your TARDIS, my TARDIS isn’t submerged under two hundred fathoms of sea water. Sorry, must dash” declared the Doctor!
The Doctor grabbed Phoebe’s hand and dashed into the TARDIS. Phoebe was shocked at what awaited her inside the Blue Box. Instead of small cramped space that she was expecting, a giant white room.
The walls were covered with circular roundels and a hexagonal console was at the centre. The Console had an array of buttons and several computer screens across its surface. The Doctor made for a red lever on the console and pressed it down. The white roundel doors slammed shut.
“Wow, this place is amazing! Just like that psycho said” gasped Phoebe!
A large BOOM behind Phoebe made her jump in fright. A faint voice could be heard through the white roundel doors of the TARDIS.
“Doctor, don’t leave me here”!
The Doctor ignored the Master’s cries instead typing a series of keys on the TARDIS console. The column of the console started to move up and down as the wheezing sound started to echo through the TARDIS. The hammering and the Master’s yelling faded into nothing. Finally feeling safe, Phoebe let out a sigh of relief.
The Doctor stepped away from the console and gave Phoebe another charming smile.
“Are you alright? I’m sorry, I didn’t quite catch your name” asked the Doctor.
“Yeah, nothing that a warm shower and some food won’t fix. I’m Phoebe by the way.
Phoebe Mack” said Phoebe.
The Doctor reached out a hand and shook Phoebe’s hand.
“I’m the Doctor. Now if you will excuse me for a minute” excused the Doctor.
He went over to the white console and began to press a serious of buttons in quick succession.
“Well the Master will have a hard time making any more trouble. I have left instructions with your Admiral to block all transmissions leaving this planet. So the Master won’t be able to make his escape anytime soon. Hopefully being stranded on deserted world will allow him to rethink his decisions” stated the Doctor, hopefully.
The Doctor’s blue eyes were staring intently at the read out on one of the console screens.
“But you doubt it” questioned Phoebe?
“Unfortunately the Master isn’t someone who can be dissuaded. I can only hope that he will be contained although I doubt it will hold him for long” replied the Doctor.
At this moment, Phoebe’s mind was filled with about a million questions she wanted to ask the Doctor. But she was one question she was dying to know above all else.
“Err Doctor” asked Phoebe?
The Doctor gave a grunted of acknowledgement and turned away from the console.
“I was wondering about something. While I was stuck on ‘seaworld’ with the Master, he told me a story about you and him when you were young. Was any of that true” asked Phoebe?
The Doctor nodded.
“I did catch snatches of the Master’s story when I was trying to track the Escape Pod in the TARDIS. It was the exact version I told him right after the failed insurrection. The Master may have many talents but imagination isn’t one of them. He couldn’t make up a good story if his lives depended on it. Although I am not entirely sure, parts of those events have faded from my mind. Old age I guess” joked the Doctor.
Phoebe frowned in confusion.
“But how did you know about Artemis’s visions of the future? Isn’t it kind of bad that you know about your future” questioned Phoebe?
The Doctor looked slightly impressed by Phoebe’s assumptions.
“Oh it would be catastrophic to say the least. Fortunately I never heard any of those ‘visions’. If I had to make a guess, I would say that the Master was able to pry those details from Artemis’s mind during her captivity with the Knights. The Master is a very capable mind reader. He probably blended those details into the rest of the story without even realising it. I beg you not to reveal any of those visions to me under any circumstances. Not one line” warned the Doctor.
“Ohh, Ok. My lips are sealed” promised Phoebe.
“Thank you, I appreciate it Phoebe. I’d hate to be stuck at the wrong end of a time paradox. Not that Artemis’s visions are predictions of my future. More like possible events that could occur in my timeline. Against popular belief, time doesn’t go in a straight line but evolves and changes. There are fixed points in time that can’t be changed but the events in between those points are malleable. A change to smallest detail can put history into a different light. Like a water paint portrait, the smallest brush works can change but the overall picture must remain the same” explained the Doctor.
“Err I don’t get it? What is water paint” questioned Phoebe?
The Doctor chuckled.
“Of course, water paint is a dead in the 45th Century. Well let me put it this way. My death is fixed point. It is an inevitable fact of the universe that I have to die some day. But the details of my death are in constant flux. As a time traveller I have come across rumours of my demise. Stonehenge, England in year 2002, the planet Dronid, the planet Necros, the Crimson Heart in 2010, a mishap in the Thames Flood barriers during Christmas 2007, Utah, North America during 2011 and even some place called Trenzalore. I won’t know which location will be my death until it actually happens. The details may change but the fixed point of my death will remain the same” explained the Doctor.
“Wow, that’s completely morbid Doctor but time travel can’t be all death rumours” said Phoebe.
The Doctor smiled.
“No it isn’t. I’ve found traveling through time and space can be fun, incredible dangerous at times but fun. How would you like a trip in the TARDIS Phoebe? I’m currently on my own at the moment. My friends Peri and Erimen are at a Spa on Vitus Nous. I am not due to pick them up for another two weeks. In the TARDIS I could have you back home before you left” boasted the Doctor.
Phoebe grinned at the charming Doctor. Her ship had crashed so she didn’t have a job at the moment. Perfect time for a trip and get away from the stress of finding another one.
“Hell yes! But a trip where” asked Phoebe?
“Anywhere you want. The TARDIS can take you anywhere in time and space” announced the Doctor.
Phoebe’s mind buzzed with the possibilities.
“Ahh, good question, I have heaps of ideas but it’s so hard to choose. Anywhere you would recommend” asked Phoebe?
“Well there is one place in the whole of time and space I have been meaning to check in on. It is supposedly amazing” said the Doctor, enigmatically.
“Oh really? Where” questioned Phoebe?
“How about I surprise you” asked the Doctor?
“Ok, plot a course for this supposedly amazing place” said Phoebe, meekly.
The Doctor gave her a charming smile.
“As you wish Phoebe, welcome aboard!”
This was the beginning of Phoebe’s greatest adventure.
Claxons reverberated around the Citadel, as the elderly Doctor ran with a young teenager through the dark cloisters beneath the Capital. There pursuers were driving them deeper into the Citadel. The fugitives had been driven down below the Citadel walkways.
The Teenager clutched a small bag of clothes with a few books she had rescued from her home. The Doctor had his own private luggage, an old bronze trunk that hovered obediently behind them. The Doctor glanced back, searching for their pursuers. There were figures moving on the walkways above their heads. Guards in red ceremonially garb.
One the guards spotted the pair running below and aimed his gun. The laser bolt from the staser seared past the pair and the Teenager felt her jet black hair burn as the bolt went by. The guards started to descend from the parapet.
Forcing the pair of fugitives through the Cloisters and down into the TARDIS repair bays, where there was nowhere to hide except for a line of battered metal cylinders standing in one of the workshops. The Doctor pushed at one of the doors of the cylinders and opened it up.
Pushing the teenager through the gap and into the empty cold interior, the Doctor was about to follow when someone called out his name. He would have ignored it but the voice reminded the Doctor of woman he had once known.
The Doctor turned to face a young slender girl with hazel brown hair and chocolate brown eyes wearing the uniform of the Prydonian Academy. Her face reminded the Doctor of someone but he couldn’t remember who.
“Yes, what is it? What do you want” questioned the Doctor?
“Sorry, but you're about to make a very big mistake” stated the girl.
The Doctor gave her pensive look and wondered if she was an agent of the CIA.
“Don't steal that one, steal this one. The navigation system's knackered, but you'll have much more fun” explained the girl.
She gestured to a silver TARDIS next her. Even though the silver cylinder was identical to all the other, the Doctor recognised it as the TARDIS he had once flown in his youth. The Doctor was currently wearing the same black frock coat he had worn during that adventure. He reached deep into one of his frock coat pockets and pulled out a silver yale key. The key seemed to hum with energy and excitement as if sensing the Doctor was near to the TARDIS which it belonged to.
“Thank you young lady, but may I ask who you are hrmmm? I am not exactly very popular at the moment my dear” questioned the Doctor?
Before the girl could reply there was a cry of alarm and a sound of boots on stone could be heard beyond the repair bay.
“Not enough time to explain. Let’s just say I am a fan of your work” said the girl.
“Very well, very well. Best leave this place my dear before the guards get here” ordered the Doctor.
The girl waved to the Doctor goodbye and left through a back entrance to the repair bay. Grabbing the teenager from the cold TARDIS, the Doctor urged his granddaughter to the TARDIS that the girl had suggested. They pushed inside together and their luggage bustled in behind them.
A impossible space opened up around the Doctor and the teenager. The metal doors slammed behind the two fugitives which was fortunate. A few moments later a squad of Chancellery guards tried stormed to the TARDIS and but the doors prevented there entry. The TARDIS began to groan and growl as it disappeared into the vortex. Beyond the influence of Time Lords, the ship began its long journey across the Universe with her favourite companion.
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