Clara woke up, feeling groggy, like she'd been hit over the
head and dragged somewhere. She opened her eyes and glanced around, bewildered
to find herself in what looked like the TARDIS... except it was different.
Remembering how the TARDIS looked different at different times in the Doctor's
life, she wondered absentmindedly if the Doctor had gone and changed the
desktop. But this wasn't just different... It felt sinister somehow.
With a groan, she brought her hand to her forehead, and memories flooded back to her. It was a Wednesday. She'd been waiting for the Doctor to arrive, standing on the balcony of her apartment, when the door had opened. Expecting the Doctor, she had run towards it, only to be hit over the head with a foreign object. And then she'd woken up here.
Sitting up, she looked towards the unfamiliar console to see a man with white-blonde hair and a black hoodie, flying his TARDIS with ease as he tapped a four note beat on the side of it, over and over again. He looked strangely familiar, like someone she'd seen on TV years ago... Clara coughed and he glanced over to her, grinning maniacally. A chill ran down her spine, mixed with a feeling she couldn't yet identify. "Ah! You're awake! I wondered how long you'd be asleep," he said to her.
Clara stood up and took a step towards him, but decided to keep her distance, gripping the rail as she stared at him, her arms crossed. "Who the hell are you?"
"They call me..." he spun around in a circle for effect and said the last two words with relish, "The Master."
Clara snorted. "You don't seriously expect me to call you that, do you?"
He tilted his head, wondering why she wasn't more afraid of him. "Errrrrrr yeah. I do actually."
She scoffed. "Fat chance of that. Where's the Doctor and what've you done to the TARDIS?"
The Master laughed mirthlessly. "Don't be silly, little companion! This is my TARDIS, and I've no idea where the Doctor is. That's where you come in!"
Clara quirked an eyebrow, pretending she was just annoyed at being called little. "Watch it, Blondie, I might be short but I can pack a punch."
He smirked. "Whatever," he said, waving off her threat, slightly amused by the surprisingly pretty girl. Not that he'd noticed.
She rolled her eyes, determined not to show the fear that was currently gathering in the pit of her stomach. Wiping her irritatingly sweaty hands on her skirt, she stepped closer and asked carefully, "Why've you kidnapped me? If you wanted to meet the Doctor, you could've just waited for him to show up at my door." Her voice quivered slightly and she coughed in an attempt to cover it up.
The Master looked at her like she was an idiot and heaved a great sigh before explaining, even though he was sort of enjoying showing off his plans. "You silly girl, I'm working on capturing the Doctor, not trying to have a chat over fish and chips."
"Oh," she said simply, feeling dumb for not realizing it sooner. "I'm the bait."
He nodded with a flourishing bow. "Correct! Now go make yourself useful while I figure out which planet to trap our dear friend on." He pointed to an open door that looked to lead down a hallway.
"And how exactly am I supposed to..." Clara put the rest in air quotes, imitating the Master's voice, "Make myself useful?" She glared at him, biting the inside of her cheek to keep from shouting.
He shrugged and looked at her coldly. "I'm hungry. Go find the kitchen and make me something to eat."
Clara breathed out through gritted teeth, not keen on helping the madman regain his strength. Still though, she could make a soufflé while she tried to figure out what the Doctor would do in her situation. She nodded curtly and huffed out the door without looking back. She didn't notice him watch her leave, a strangely curious look in his eyes.
Wandering through the halls of the unfamiliar TARDIS, the Doctor's companion
was having trouble finding the kitchen and even more trouble not crying. She
stuck her chin up, imagining the Doctor finding her missing. She knew he'd be
able to find her eventually—Clara had faith in the Doctor's abilities. She just
hoped he'd be able to do it without falling into the Master's traps. She
scoffed to herself. What kind of maniac went by the name "The
Master?" He was obviously another Time Lord, like the Doctor... But how
had he escaped Gallifrey's time-locked pocket universe? Or had he even been
trapped there in the first place?
Clara racked her brains, trying to remember if the Doctor had ever mentioned this man who obviously had some sort of score to settle. She stopped for a moment and leaned against the wall, shutting her eyes. If she concentrated hard enough, she could pull up memories from her echoes, tucked away in the corners of her brain. The ordeal always gave her a headache, but if any of her echoes had run across this guy, it'd be worth the pain.
She sighed after a few minutes of searching, holding a hand to her forehead and wishing she had an aspirin. No luck. Determined to try again later, she set off again in her other search—the pursuit of the kitchen. "That Master guy better keep eggs and milk on hand," she mumbled under her breath.
About ten minutes and fifteen checked rooms later, Clara flung open the door to an adorably quaint kitchen, one that was quite different from the Doctor's kitchen. She breathed a sigh of relief. "At last," she said, smiling widely. She looked around herself, in awe of the room and its decor. She couldn't help but feel happy in it, even though she knew full well the danger she was in on this TARDIS that wasn't the Doctor's. It surprised her how different, yet strangely similar the two space-craft were... she wondered absentmindedly if the Master's TARDIS would share the same dislike the Doctor's had for her.
Throwing open the refrigerator door, she grinned yet again. It was fully stocked. Pulling out the ingredients she needed, she grabbed a bowl from one of the cabinets lining the wall and set to work on what she hoped would be the best soufflé she'd ever made.