Hearts

Chapter 11

Jack returned to life with a pained gasp. No matter how many times it happened, he could never get used to it. He sat up and looked around, taking in the heavy metal bars of his cell.

He could see Kate in the next cell over, leaning with her back against the wall, her eyes closed as if in deep mediation. She still hadn't cleaned the blood tears from her face. The effect was unnerving.

"Kate, you still with me sweetheart?"

Slowly she opened her eyes, blinking, as if even the dim light of the cells was too bright.

"The Master hurt your mind when he took your memories, didn't he?" Jack asked softly.

Kate wrapped her arms tightly around herself. "I tried to keep him out and failed-a few of my memories are torn, some are missing. I can't recall nearly an entire summer of my ninth year, or what cinnamon tastes like. I've been cauterizing the wounds, so nothing else unravels."

Kate stood on shaky feet and wandered over to the bars that separated them. Jack reached through the bars. "You look awful, let me get the blood off your face." He licked the palm of his hand and scrubbed at the dried red on the girl's pale skin. She closed her eyes and wrinkled her nose. Gradually the dried flakes came away.

"My mom used to do that when I was little."

"Clean blood off you?"

"No spit on her palm when she was trying to rub dirt of my face."

"You know, mine did too."

The silence stretched between them. Jack had no doubt Kate was wondering if her mother was safe. He had no words to reassure her. Somewhere, not too far off, in the gaping voluminous cavern of the ships brig, a pipe banged loudly. The moment was broken. Kate turned and stretched with her hands over her head.

"You were dead a long time this round. The damage the semi automatic rifle did to you wasn't pretty." She had reverted to the dry sarcasm she used when faced with an overwhelming situation.

Jack glanced down at his chest where the bullet wounds were now healed, leaving ugly patterns of dried blood and viscous on his skin. "Damn, I liked this shirt," he said examining the shredded remnants of fabric. His pants had fared slightly better, but just barely. "Oh well, I look just as good without a shirt."

"I'd offer you my coat to preserve your modesty, but it's already otherwise employed, and I doubt it would fit you anyway." Kate motioned to a slumbering Jenny, who was wearily curled up on one of the cell's bunks, using the heavy blue garment as a blanket.

"You seem surprisingly unbothered by my whole coming back to life thing."

"Believe me, I've seen weirder, and I am really glad you're not dead. I could, however, have lived a thousand years without watching your skull knit itself back together."

"Sorry about that."

"So do you have any idea who this Master person is?"

"Evil Time Lord, old rival of the Doctor's, mad as a hatter, but in a more malicious way."

"I thought you said the Doctor was the only other remaining Time Lord."

Jack stood up to pace "He was, at least I thought he was. A year ago the Master took over the earth."

Jack held up his hand when Kate tried to protest. "It was all reversed, so it never actually happened in your timeline. It's too complicated for me to explain. But the Doctor stopped the Master, and in the course of events the Master was shot and died."

"So why is he still menacing us, then?"

"That's what I don't know."

The brig was suddenly flooded with light and the sound of heavy footsteps stomped towards them. The Master stormed across the metal walkway that led to the cells. Every atom of his movement was filled with anger and frustration. Two nervous looking soldiers followed behind him. They were young men of solid build and no great intelligence. From the vaguely unfocused look their eyes had, the Master was also probably keeping them under minor mind control.

He slammed his hands up against the bars of Kate's cell. Jenny awoke with a freighted squeak. She quickly crouched behind the secure wall of the coat, glaring at the Master defiantly.

"Why can't I get into your TARDIS!" snapped the Master.

Kate covered her fear with defiance. "I guess she didn't take to you. She's an awfully picky old ship, doesn't like megalomaniacs with God complexes."

The Master did not look amused. He took out his screwdriver and aimed it at the door. The lock clicked open. He motioned to the two guards. "Remove the red haired one, leave the child."

The guards roughly manhandled Kate out of the cell, practically lifting her off her feet. She didn't fight them, best not to create any harsh feelings over a broken nose. She might be able to convince them to help her later. Jenny leapt from her fort and kicked one of the guards solidly on the ankle.

"Her, alone leave!" She seemed to be getting some language abilities back, but only a little bit. The guard showed no sign of pain on his blank face. He merely turned, picked up the struggling child, and carried her back to the other end of the cell, depositing her unceremoniously back on the bunk.

"Jenny stay. Now is not the time to fight." Kate told her. Jenny scowled, but remained where she was." The guards pulled Kate from the cell and clanged the door shut again. They held her on both sides, to prevent any escape attempt she might have considered.

The Master stepped alarmingly close to her. Kate drew back, accidentally banging her head on the cell door.

"Now tell me, why won't your TARDIS open? Do I need a code, a key, a password?"

Kate pressed her lips together. The Master snarled. Then he got a cruel smile. He very gently ran a hand along the side of Kate's face, pressing the tips of his fingers against her temple.

"Do you want me to go into your mind again? Last time I wasn't trying to hurt you, this time I will."

Kate paled and struggled against the guards holding her, but their grip was iron. She spoke in one breath. "It wouldn't do you any good. You can't just take a code or a password from me that will make it work. The TARDIS won't open for you because it's controls are isomorphic and set to my father's signature. It only works for me because I'm his daughter. I have no idea how to reset it, Jenny can't use the TARDIS at all."

The Master frowned, then bared his smooth human-like teeth as if they were fangs. He took a step back and tapped Kate on the nose. "Smart, very smart. That means I have to keep you alive."

Kate snapped at the Masters finger, making him laugh and step back farther. She watched him with cold green eyes. "You still won't be able to get into the TARDIS. I programmed in some subroutines of my own in case of a situation such as this. She won't open if she senses I'm under duress, i.e. someone with me is trying to steal her."

The Master's eyes narrowed. "Well then, you just won't be under duress will you? I'll just wipe your mind clean and use you as a puppet."

"She reacts to my brain waves."

"Ho, ho, you seem to have prepared for every probability. You're quite a bit brighter than your father was. However, I have little doubt that if you put your mind to it you can find a way around your own tricks."

"And why would I do that?"

"Because of this." The Master snapped his fingers and a small holographic projection appeared before them. It was a wavering image of Kate's home. "I can have it destroyed from orbit."

Kate stared at the image in horror, then she realized something. All the statues in the yard had been turned to face east. Years ago she and her mother had agreed on that as a signal. If ever one had to flee an imminent threat and hide, that was how they would get the message across. Somehow her mother had been warned, probably be the remaining members of Torchwood."

"Go ahead, no one's there."

The image fragmented and vanished. "How do you know that!" snapped the Master.

"If you were going to use my Mother against me, you would have brought her here and hurt her in front of me. Your threat is not going to work. She's safe and far away from you. Face it, Master, you don't have any leverage against me. You can't kill me if you ever want to get into the TARDIS, Jack can't die, and something tells me your not going to hurt Jenny until the Doctor is around to witness it."

The Master backhanded her. Kate's head slammed against the bars again, making her vision spin. She slumped in the guards' arms.

"Leave her alone!" yelled Jack, speaking for the first time during this encounter. The Master motioned for one of the guards to shoot Jack. One stayed and held her while the other turned his gun against the cell. The Master returned his focus to Kate, looming over her, ignoring the sound of gunfire.

"You forget, little girl, that just because I can't kill you doesn't mean I can't make you wish I would." Kate felt tremors of fear running through her limbs. She fought down the rapid beating of her twin hearts. She forced a look of calm onto her face. Her terror was only giving the Master more power over her.

"Go ahead and try. I've been tortured before, I've never broken. I know your kind, and you don't scare me. You get off on causing other's pain. It makes you feel godlike, stronger, in charge. But in the end you're just a cat puffing up its tail. No matter how many necks you snap or bones you break, you're still relying on fear and brute force as your source of power. You don't have any strength inside of you, only a rotting insanity you try to escape by forcing it onto others."

The Master rolled his eyes. "Dramatic words, little girl-you'd make a good science fiction heroine, but you've never met me before. I promise I am much more than your average, run of the mill psychopath. I don't care if you fear me, just so long as you learn to obey me." He tapped the center of Kate's forehead very lightly and she instantly went limp.

He turned and strode off. "Bring her." He called to the guards over his shoulder. They lifted the slight body of the unconscious Time Lord and followed.


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