The Time Lords stood opposite one another in the Room. They glanced at each other nervously.
The Vortex Room, where resided the great Eye of Harmony. The Eye stod closed at the moment, but maybe not for long...
The three Time Lords were Vortrax, Carnol and Serveck. Vortrax was the Prydonian representative, a small and unimpressive man, with light blue eyes.
Carnol was the representative of the Arcalian academy, a tall noble looking man, with brown eyes and peroxide blonde hair.
And Serveck was the Patraxes candidate, a middle aged appearing man with brown hair, brown eyes and a broken nose that had never healed properly, which everyone assumed he would get rid of come his next regeneration, though he himself quite liked it.
They stared into the expanse before them, each of them debating what they were about to do.
"Are we sure about this?" asked Carnol at last, breaking the tense silence.
"We have no choice", said Serveck, who had thought long and hard about this decision. He was the leader of this group in all but name, and the others followed his orders.
"But how do we know we can trust him?" asked Vortrax, sceptically. "He's as devious a Time Lord as has ever existed."
The three Time Lords looked deep into the swirling expanse. It seemed to mock their indecisiveness.
"He is all but dead", said Serveck at last. "He owes us."
"He is utterly insane", countered Carnol. "He won't care."
Serveck glowered at the others. He had run over all of these arguments in his own head a thousand times, and had come up with this as his answer anyway. Why could they not just accept his decision?
"I have thought about everything you say," he told them, "and all that you say leads me to just one conclusion. WE HAVE NO CHOICE!"
The other two bowed their heads, accepting this.
"Very well then", said Serveck in a faux- calm voice. "Now if that is all?"
The others nodded again.
Then, as one, they all stood forward. A lever came up to each, and each put their hand upon it.
The three looked at each other one last time. This was the point of no return. He would be free after this, and there was no way they could stop him if he ran out of control.
They each pulled the lever they had. The Eye opened, a great swirling Vortex, all blue and green and yellow and red… and in the heart of it there was a figure, only just discernable, twisting in agony.
Then the light receded, and the figure fell to the floor in a heap, naked and sweating. He was red raw, charred and burned, until the light came over him. The new regenerative cycle came to him and restored his shattered frame.
Serveck walked up to him, slowly, cautiously. The contempt on his face was plain as his broken nose.
"You, who insolently call yourself the Master, have been given a final chance", he said, his voice strained. This close to the monster, it was hard not to fell a little disgusted. "For doing a... small task for us, you have been granted a new life cycle, but now you must do the task and repay us."
The Master looked up at him. Young and handsome, blue eyes that were disfigured by the hatred that burnt within them, the insanity that shined clear. None of the Time Lords could bare to look at those eyes for long.
"Why should I help you?" he spat at last.
"Because if you don't, renegade", said Vortrax, "we will put you right back in that Eye to die in horrible pain."
The Master looked at the assembled Time Lords.
"Get me some clothes", he said at last, standing to his feet.
"Why?" asked Carnol slowly.
"I can't do your 'task' naked, can I?" snapped the Master. "Or would you like my various parts on show to the whole cosmos?"
The Time Lords looked at each other in mixed relief and trepidation – and mild amusement.
Serveck turned back to the Master and smiled coldly.
"Very well. Here is what you must do..."