Title: Judoon Justice
Spoilers: post The End of Time, non-canon
Part of Series: Judoon Justice belongs to a series called A Timelord and his Madman, which actually starts with "His Silent Mind", and can be considered as a sequel, but can also be read as a stand-alone. For those who want to read it as a stand-alone, read the short summary for "His Silent Mind". For those who want to catch up with the first story, go to my author's profile and find the story there.
Characters: The 10th Doctor, The Master (John Simm), Wilfred Mott, Donna Noble, The Shadow Architect.
Many thanks to my wonderful reviewers: Edzel2, Shatterfly, T'Kei and Lena for their suggestions and corrections! I've revised chapter 1 and 2 accordingly. With your help, I can become a better writer, so I'm always glad to receive constructive reviews.
Summary for His Silent Mind:
The 10th Doctor didn't sacrifice himself to save Wilf, because he wasn't there in the final scene to lock himself in the radiation-booth. The Master disappeared with the Timelords, seemingly lost with the others as Gallifrey fell in the final days of the Time war. After sending Wilf home with his family, the Doctor starts to wander alone in the universe, trying to find the Master using the remains of the white point star as a guidance. His quest brings him to a hostile planet that balances on the verge of a blackhole. There he finds the Master imprisoned in a dark tower. He has survived the destruction of Gallifrey by the mercy of the Doctor's guarding angel, but has lost his mind after Rassilon cut out the drums from him as retaliation. For the first time since he was a child and had stared in the untempered schism, the Master experienced something what could be cognized as guilt, and the remorse he felt for his crimes combined with the solitude he was forced to endure inside his prison actually had driven him insane. When the Doctor tries to convince him to leave, the Master refuses, knowing that he cannot escape the doomed planet without triggering its destruction and taking the Doctor with him. The Master tricks the Doctor in leaving the planet with his human companions, but the Doctor manages to pull a last minute rescue to free the Master from the tower before the planet was swallowed by the blackhole and destroyed. However, the Master's mind has suffered greatly and has deteriorated into a recessive, unconscious state. The Doctor, determined to save his childhood friend, decides to leave the Tardis suspended in time while he enters the Master's mind in an effort to heal him.
Just when the Doctor succeeds to bring the Master back to some form of consciousness, the Tardis encounters the fleet of the Shadow Proclamation. The Master is taken from board, and the Doctor faces the forces of the Lady Shadow Architect and her followers as they are keen on bringing the Master down to Judoon Justice.
Operation Fallen Angel
I've never been any good at telling stories.
Others might tell stories, about me and my companions. What we have done. All the good and splendid, all the amazing adventures and last-call rescues that has sustained the universe as it is until this very day. In the old days, I used to revel in that knowledge that where ever or when ever I go there would be people remembering me, singing their songs about my deeds over vast shifting dunes of sand, over icy fields of snow, and over harsh wind swept mountains, recalling my actions to their children and their children's children.
But nowadays, it all seems so utterly futile, so empty.
So very meaningless.
I'm nearing the end of my 13th regeneration. A Timelord of Gallifrey running on his last legs. The Tardis of course, wouldn't exactly call it running. 9133 years old, I'm lucky if I could still get up in the night and shuffle to the toilet in time. Without knowing, old age has settled into my bones and seeped right into the marrow like patient, tireless drops of water would eventually seep into stone. Back, in my earliest incarnations, I had never managed to reach a ripe old age. Why would one be careful if one had so many lives to spare? However, as the number of incarnations left to me dwindled, I've learned to live more cautious and more sensible. Me, sensible! Who would have thought! The last life I've lived before this one, I actually died in my sleep as an old man and woke up the next day, refreshed and reborn. I threw the blankets off, jumped right out of my bed and ran out of the Tardis into the starlight of some God-forsaken planet.
I wish he had seen me then. I would have made him proud.
This time, something similar would probably happen, knowing the lazy old fool that I've become, but there won't be a spring in my steps when I get up the following morning. This time, there won't be a following morning.
And I am at peace with that.
I really am.
The Tardis hisses and churns. She thinks that I'm a crazy old sod, trying to comfort myself by hiding behind a brave face. Most of the time, she knows me better than I do, but this time I cannot keep myself from speaking aloud to her about how wrong she is to think that I fear death. True, when I was very young, I used to be absolutely terrified by it. But now, what do I have left to lose?
Stop rambling you crazy fool. Stop being pathetic. You've got a pressing task at hand, and very little time left in this old body.
You've got a story to tell.
With some effort, I shuffle closer to the Tardis, my joints stiff with arthritis and the cane in my hand trembling. Staring into the soft green glow of her living heart, I recall the days when this Timelord was still young, and the stars in the universe still shone brightly with its hidden secrets, all beckoning to be explored.
Gently, I whisper my words into her.
It started exactly here. Right here where I'm standing, next to the heart of the Tardis, in the console room. An anxious Timelord, a mad maverick, a saintly savior with a brilliant brain and equally bold backbone, who could at times, act like a complete irrational idiot, stood behind the console and confronted the alien whose rhinoceros-like head filled the entire holoscreen in front of him. His name was the Doctor, and he was one of the last of his kind. The other one who was left, the other remaining child of Gallifrey who was his reluctant and perhaps also unconscious Timelord companion, was missing.
"What did you do to him?!" The Doctor snapped angrily, staring the Judoon right into his beady eyes.
The officer seemed not to be in the mood to answer any questions. "Sko, Lo, Vo, Do, Do, Mo, Ro, Wo?"
"I'm not telling you anything until you tell me where he is!"
"Wo, Wo, So, So, Ho, Ko, Xo!"
"For the last time, I don't care! My ship isn't undefended. You give me your best try!"
Without wasting another breath on him, the Judoon barked his commands to his officers, and sent out two missiles. The blasts of the impact tilted the Tardis to the side and the Doctor was just in time to hold on to a lever, any lever. His hand hit a red button that sent the Tardis tilting back the other way. He was smashed against the console, but at least he no longer had trouble reaching for the controls for the protection shield.
"Qo, Zo, Mo, Go, Go, No, Vo!"
"No, I would not lower my defense shield for you! Why in the name of stone cold logic would I ever do that?" The Doctor asked.
There was a long silence as the Judoon's mind needed some considerable time to process the message.
"KO WO RO!!"
"Ah so you finally decided to be offended by it, good for you."
"Ho Go Yo RO WO!!!"
"No, and I will certainly not do that! Blimey, watch that language! Drunken Purivian sailors use politer swearwords!"
The holoscreen flashed and the Judoon officer was replaced by a tall woman dressed in all black. She was in her late forties. Her natural hair was hidden underneath a white judge wig, while her face was pale and slim, almost androgynous, but still strikingly beautiful in symmetry.
"Doctor, in the name of the Shadow Proclamation, stop this madness at once!"
"Ah, finally! Someone who doesn't have trigger-happy loon written all over his face to speak to. My Lady Architect, how are you? I'm fine, actually, except that I am missing my friend here." The Doctor rambled on, not even giving her a chance to speak. He was beyond the polite small talk. "He was swept up by one of your ships when the Tardis was caught in the line of a transmission beam, by accident I suppose. Also one of yours I believe. Now, who should I be holding responsible for this?!" He spat, his eyes blazing dangerously.
"We are fully aware of what happened. The transmission line was not an accident. I demand that you stop chasing our fleet."
"I want him back! What do you want him for anyway?"
"Don't try to fool us Doctor. We know that your companion is not an ordinary man. He's the Timelord called the Master. We have records of his crimes dating back from the very beginning of the intergalactic court. The man you are trying to rescue is dangerous to the whole of creation and should be apprehended."
"Oh come on! Have you actually taken a look at him? He's harmless now! He can't be the scourge of creation, not in his state."
"Soon after we've discovered that the scorched remains of Gallifrey had reemerged out of the Timelock, we also found that the Timelords of old had sealed this dangerous madman underneath the surface of the doomed planet. I'm sure they had good reason to do so."
"That wasn't to imprison him! The elders sealed the Master inside an Ark to protect him from the destruction of Gallifrey. I should know, I was the one who rescued him from that horrible place."
"I don't know what your exact reasons are for protecting him Doctor, but if you continue to interfere with the processes of justice, we will be inclined to use force!"
"What? Are you going to shoot at the Tardis again? Didn't you try that before? And didn't that fail to even scratch the paintwork?" The Doctor answered cockily.
"Mister Baines refrained from using the laser-canons on their maximum capacity. That won't happen again when we fire for a second time."
"Oh I never believe that it was mister Baines his own luminous idea to keep back firepower. Somehow he doesn't strike me as that much of a thinker." The Doctor said. "Listen to me lady Architect, the Master isn't well. He needs to get back here inside the Tardis, with me. I've asked you once nicely, and a second time more urgently, but now I would REALLY like my friend back, or else…"
The Shadow architect leaned closer towards the screen, her chin raised up high in defiance. "Or what, Doctor?"
"Or else you're gonna feel the full wrath of a Timelord." He stated, eyes unblinking.
The Architect sucked in a deep breath of air. "You wouldn't."
The Doctor didn't respond, but his eyes remained fixed on the screen, his resolve unbreakable.
"Mister Baines." The Shadow Architect turned and spoke into a holovid screen at her left hand side that kept an open communication line with the other ships. "It pains me to give this order, but fire at maximum force."
The Judoon officer barked out another order, and four additional missiles, all of them more powerful and larger than the first ones, were launched from the cannons into space, their target set on the Doctor's Tardis.
"You shouldn't have done that." The Doctor said calmly while he was tapping away on his keyboard like mad and tracked down the missiles on the radar screen.
"And why is that?"
"I've just maximized the Tardis' protection shield, which means that it is about to reflect those nasty blasts right back to where it came from." The Doctor answered, pulling down the last lever.
The Architect shot a nervous glance at the large radar screen behind her. All four missiles that had been sent out collided with the invisible protection barrier surrounding the Tardis and bounced back, heading straight for the front line of the fleet of the Shadow Proclamation.
"We've got incoming!" A Shadow officer yelled.
The Architect and her officers swayed violently to the side when a missile brushed by their ship, missing it hardly by a few meters of distance. She glanced up at the radar screen where two of the four missiles passed through her convoy without a hit and vanished into outer space. Two of the others however, crashed right into the small cargo ship at the far left flank of the fleet. A massive blast followed. The impact sent the spacecraft spinning, straight towards the heart of a wormhole.
"Doctor!" The Architect covered her mouth with a thin trembling hand. "How could you!"
"I wasn't the one who fired." The Doctor justified with pain in his hearts. He knew he shouldn't, but he still felt responsible.
"Oh the irony of this!" The Architect exclaimed.
"How do you mean?" The Doctor frowned. "What's on that ship?" He asked when he noticed the anxious expression on the Architect's face.
"My Lady Architect. The prison ship has disappeared from the radar." A Shadow officer behind the radar console reported.
The Doctor froze. "The Master was onboard? He was onboard of that ship?!"
"Thanks to you, we both have lost him!" The Architect snapped. "Mister Marvel, where does that wormhole lead to?"
"It heads into the direction of Galaxy 44541. It should open in the arm of Orion at position 1245 Z, 5564 X, 3215 Y from the Galaxy's center."
"Fix our fleet on that position. We are heading down there immediately. And you, Doctor, you should stay where you are and stop intervening, or else we will certainly arrest you for-"
She stared into nothing but static. The Doctor had already switched off the communication line and was sending the Tardis down the wormhole. The doomed prison ship he was chasing had lost control over its steering and was how tumbling helplessly down the vortex towards Galaxy 44541, a distant star-system that was also known to one of the inhabiting species, as the Milky Way.
At the other end of the wormhole vortex the Judoon prison ship emerged, engulfed in a white blast of plasma light as it headed straight for a tiny blue spot of a planet called Earth. For the panicking Judoon soldiers on board, this planet meant next to nothing, and was but a very inconvenient rock in the sky that happened to be spinning right within their collision course. For the prisoner however, it would make all the difference in the world for this was the planet, where the Doctor had many loyal friends.
The course of the Judoon prison ship was clear like that of a falling star in the night's sky for anyone who would had cared to look at that particular time on the northern hemisphere. But as it happened, only an old man sitting on a camp chair in front of his tin shed on the hilltop near the city of London saw it pass by. The tail of the vessel burned like that of a comet's, and for a moment he thought it actually might be one. But then he took a closer look through his trusted telescope and saw that he wrong.
He was so very wrong.
It wasn't till the next day when Wilfred Mott was watching the morning news on the telly that he found out where that burning metal thing that fell out of the sky had gone. With an excited rattle in his old heart he was about to call his friend Winston when Sylvia rushed into the living room for a last minute check.
"So I've put all the dirty dishes in the dishwasher. Should be ready in an hour or so, so don't forget to turn it off when it's finished. Telephone numbers are on the kitchen table." She turned to her father and waved her finger at him. "I know you and Donna have my mobile number, but I'll leave the number of Sarah and that of the hotel here, just in case. Right, what else?"
"Nothing I guess." Wilf shrugged impatiently. "Shouldn't you be going, luv? I thought you wanted to be up there in Scotland before noon?"
"Yes, we did, but that's madness of course, considering the horrible weather." Sylvia glanced at the telly but Wilf quickly changed channels before she could pick up anything from the news.
"Oh dad! Switch that back, I wanted to see the weather broadcast."
"Oh there is nothing to worry about." Wilf muttered, and ushered his daughter away from the television and out into the hallway. "No snow or hail or anything. So it should be all right. You should get on your way now. You don't want Sarah to wait for too long."
Sylvia wanted to protest, but then reconsidered. "You're right, you know how she is. Last time I was slightly delayed on one of her dinner parties and I never heard the end of it." She picked up her hand luggage and her shoulder bag. "Now, remember to reheat the meals in the fridge at 600 Watts for 3 minutes exactly. Don't even think about eating anything without heating it up properly! And everything is labeled, so don't mix your Tuesday meal with that of Friday's. I'll be calling home as soon as we get there."
"Right sweetheart." Wilf helped her into her coat, and brought her suitcases to the car to hurry her up. "You have fun. And don't worry. We'll stick to your labels."
"Don't forget to water the plants, especially those in my bedroom. I don't want to come home and find my violets wilted away into a green mush. And don't forget to put the bins out on Friday!" Sylvia shouted out of the rolled down side window as she reversed and drove her car out onto the street. Wilf saluted as if he was following an order in the army. He waved after her and watched her disappear around the corner before he rushed back inside. He switched back to BBC one where regional news was still reporting on the crash landing of a small private airplane in the area near Brixton. Fortunately, the aircraft crashed into a small open park and didn't hit any of the buildings nearby. Strangely enough, nothing was reported about the fate of the passengers. Wilf picked up the phone and punched in Winston's number.
The line went over. "Winston! Did you catch the news?" Wilf exclaimed excitedly. "That spaceship I told you about last night. The one I saw through my telescope. It's right here in London. Yes, yes! It's on the telly right now."
The news reporter in the studio was replaced by footage of the scene, showing a large blackened crater in the middle of a wide lawn. A huge plastic tent had been erected around the wreckage and curious bystanders were kept at bay behind the yellow police tape. Policemen and rescue workers dressed in what looked like white plastic space suits were coming and going. Somewhere at the back, Wilf even noticed the presence of army soldiers standing on guard with their riffles in their hands. Then the camera swept across the park, and Wilf eyes caught a glimpse of a statue of a weeping angel." He pointed at the screen in astonishment.
"Hang on there, Winston. I recognize this! This is in Sheppard Park, near Minnie's house! Oh my God, I hope she's all right. What? Of course it's dangerous! You never know with those aliens. They're not all of them like the Doctor or those nice green cacti people I told you about."
Wilf switched off the telly and rushed into the hallway to grab his coat and wooly hat.
"No I don't think it's safer now that the army is dealing with it." He shouted, nudging his mobile against his shoulder while he slipped into his coat. "It's exactly when the government is involved and it's kept all hush hush that you really should start to worry." He patted down the pockets of his trousers and coat. "Keys, Keys! Where did I leave those silly things?" He mumbled. "Ah!" He picked them up from the side table below the mirror. It was marked with a yellow post-it on which Sylvia had written in big red letters: HERE ARE YOUR KEYS DAD, DON'T FORGET TO TURN OFF THE DISHWASHER BEFORE YOU GO OUT.
Wilf sighed and went into the kitchen. "What do you mean, am I going to do something stupid? Off course not Winston. I'm just going to make sure that Minnie is all right. She does live all on her own you know." Wilf noticed that the dishwasher was still running, but getting impatient, he just turned the damned thing off while it still had thirty minutes or so to go.
"Yes, yes. I'm going to call her. Right after this." Convinced that Sylvia won't have anything to nag about, he left the house in a hurry.
He took the tube to Brixton station before heading down to Minnie's place. On his way he passed right by the weeping angel statue and the very site of the crash. A small crowd was still gathered around the black crater, peering down into the pit to catch a glimpse of the aircraft wreckage. Wilf had no idea that the thing was so bloody huge. Judging by the size of the tent, the object covered up by large plastic sheets was at least as big as a three double decker busses. Wilf pushed through the crowd and had just reached the sticky yellow police tape when a police officer stepped up to the crowd.
"People! Please get away from the crash site! You're holding up the rescue workers!"
"Excuse me officer, but what are those folks doing down there?" Wilf asked, pointing at the plastic space suit men. "Why are they wearing those weird suits?"
"That's just standard procedure sir. They are checking for any radiation leakage. We're clearing the area, so if you would be so kind to leave sir?"
"Radiation? That's sounds dangerous. Shouldn't you warn everybody who lives around here? Evacuate them to somewhere safe?"
"Don't you worry sir, everything is under control. They are just checking, so far we haven't received any warnings from the techs-"
"How about the people who flew this thing? Did anyone survive?"
"I don't know sir. I'm just here to clear the scene. Now could you please cooperate and move along?" The young officer tilted his eyebrows and gently but firmly ushered Wilf to the back.
Wilf turned and caught sight of a group of what seemed to be paramedics carrying an empty hospital stretcher. They were flanked by four military men and were rushing down into the pit.
"Oh my Lord, there're still people trapped in that wreckage!" Wilf shouted.
"Sir! Please! Move along!" The officer ordered, getting rather impatient with him.
Reluctantly, Wilf pulled his wooly hat down over his ears and walked back to the main road. He glanced back over his shoulder multiple times in the hope to catch a glimpse of the paramedics returning, but they had disappeared inside the plastic tent and didn't show up again before he reached the end of the street.
As soon as Captain Montgomery arrived with his men at the crash-site he headed straight for the young Unit officer who was in charge of operation FALLEN ANGEL, which was named so after the location where the extraterrestrial vehicle was found. The young officer, a lad in his late twenties, seemed nervous when he saluted his senior in command. A man with many responsibilities, very little time, and even less patience, the Captain made a mental note to himself that he should file a request to the head office to stop sending out the juniors to do the fieldwork. It was clear that they weren't up for the job.
"Officer Goodchild." Montgomery said with an automated air of superiority. "You've requested backup. Two troops of fifteen men each."
Yes sir." Goodchild responded, keeping his spine and head straight. "I did indeed."
"Couldn't you and your men handle a code yellow incident on your own?"
"I'm sorry sir. But this is no ordinary crash-landing."
Montgomery observed the young officer with an eyebrow raised.
"What do you mean? Did any one of them survive?"
"We found bodies inside the ship's wreckage, burned to a cinder and absolutely unrecognizable. The ship's log identified them as soldiers of the Judoon race."
"Judoons." Montgomery mused. "That's only a level 1 threat, if any. You didn't need to call back to the headquarters to request for backup, just to clean up a couple of bodies, did you?" He snorted.
"Of course not sir. It's just –" Goodchild hesitated. "Well we're not sure that all of the aliens on board of the ship died in the crash."
"How can you not be sure?" Montgomery asked, irritated.
"According to the ship's records, they had a prisoner onboard. There should be four passengers in total, but we only recovered three bodies. If you would follow me sir." Goodchild led his senior towards the edge of the crater.
"We also found these." The young officer pointed down at the ground where someone had crawled out of the blackened pit right in front of the weeping angel statue. The good Captain could hardly believe his eyes. There, in the lawn was a trail of footsteps, consisting of incinerated patches of grass. The two Unit officers followed it all the way to the street, where it crossed the road and left dented markings in the ground.
"But that's impossible!" The Captain uttered, his eyes wide in astonishment. "Look how these footsteps are melted into the asphalt! The man who made these must have been on fire, burning to death! No-one could have survived this."
"No human could survive this, sir. Nor a Judoon, apparently. However, the records didn't state which race of alien the prisoner belonged to."
"Which makes this a code red hazard." Montgomery quickly composed himself. "You did well officer Goodchild." He admitted, impressed by the young man's clear judgment. "I will hand my men over to your command immediately. Make sure you find him!"
"Yes sir!" Goodchild replied dutifully, jumping into a perfect salute.
Minnie Hooper lived in a narrow, but cozy two-story terrace house with a small front garden. Wilf stepped up to her porch, rang the doorbell and waited. On his way to Minnie's place he had tried numerous times to call her on his mobile, but she wouldn't pick up the phone. After what he had seen in Sheppard park, Wilf was getting all kinds of horrible scenarios in his head, so when she didn't answer the door immediately, he pushed down the doorbell again, and hopped impatiently on the tips of his shoes to take a peek through the frosted glass panel. To his relief, he finally saw her shuffling down the corridor. When Minnie opened the door she looked rather puzzled at first, but she quickly relaxed when she discovered that it was Wilf.
"Wilf, oh I'm so glad you turned up. I've got a bit of a problem. Maybe you can help."
She pulled him inside the hallway and locked the door behind her.
"Minnie, are you all right?" Wilf asked worriedly. "I called you a couple of times but you didn't pick up your phone."
"Were you? Oh I'm sorry dear, I was in the cellar, can't hear a thing down there really. Must have missed it." She chatted absentmindedly. "Uhm, could you wait here for a moment, I just need something from the kitchen." She quickly returned with a large carton of milk.
"Can you follow me down into the cellar?" She said as she opened the door underneath the staircase. There was a narrow staircase that led down into the underground space. The wooden steps were illuminated by a single light bulb dangling from the cobwebbed ceiling.
"What is this all about?" Wilf asked, finding Minnie's behavior rather strange.
"Oh. It's just –" Minnie paused. "Actually. It's rather difficult to explain."
"Try me." Wilf said as he followed her down the stairs.
"Well, you know those youngsters I told you about who are always playing in front of my house? Yesterday, they shot a ball through my cellar window. It made a great mess off course, glass everywhere. I was so upset. I phoned mister Zabotin right away and asked if he could come to fix it, but he didn't have the time till next week. So now when it rains it gets inside and I had to ask that nice neighbor of mine, mister Finch, to move the boxes away from the window to keep everything from getting wet."
"So, you want me to come down here and fix the window for you?" Wilf asked.
"Oh no dear, of course not. Mister Zabotin always does a wonderful job, and I know how you are at fixing things. I've seen that tin shed of yours on top of the hill. Not that's it bad." Minnie quickly added. "It's really sweet of you to offer." Suddenly, she was getting a bit nervous.
They were standing at the bottom of the staircase. Minnie's cellar was heavily stacked with carton boxes and old furniture. Down here, the light of the light bulb upstairs hardly reached, leaving the already confined space very gloomy. Wilf saw the narrow window like a square of white sitting against the dark wall. A cold draft swept through the opening and mixed with the damp, underground air. Most of the shards were removed, but some of them still stood upright in the woodwork frame like a row of broken teeth. Wilf squinted his eyes. It could be his overly active imagination, but wasn't one of the shards stained by a thin line of crimson?
"Minnie, did you cut yourself?" Wilf asked worriedly.
Minnie shook her head. "Oh no, It's not mine. It's probably from that man who's hiding in here." She explained and peered around the corner of a stack of boxes. "I think he might still be bleeding."
"Sorry luv." Wilf shook his head and pinched the bridge of his nose in amazement. "You lost me there. There is a man down here?"
Minnie nodded. "First I thought it was a cat. The ginger one from the neighbors does come into the garden quite often. I came down here to sweep up the glass when I heard a strange noise, like something was scuttling away behind the boxes. When I took a better look at it I found that it wasn't a cat at all." She pushed a very reluctant Wilf closer to her intruder's hiding place.
"You go and have a look and tell me how he looks like."
"Oh Minnie! I can't believe you! If there's a strange man in your cellar you shouldn't be coming down here! You should be calling the police!" Wilf urged. His hand flew up and covered his mouth as he realized that the intruder could probably hear them. "What were you thinking! He could have been a burglar. He could have hurt you, or worse!" He whispered.
"No Wilfred, you really should take a look at his face. And he isn't dangerous. I think he's hurt."
Reluctantly, Wilf inched closer and peered around the corner. Hiding behind the wooden legs underneath an old desk sat a frightened young man with his back against the corner. He was dressed in a battered outfit that was burned and blackened. His hair was a dirty straw-color with strands of grey around the temples. His face, covered in soot and grime, was gaunt with hard cheekbones, and carried a thin but coarse stubble. He stared back at Wilf with deep sunken eyes.
Wilf sucked in a breath of air.
He knew that face.
He staggered back in wide eyed shock and bumped into Minnie.
"Oh, that's no good." Wilf muttered. "That's bad. That's really bad."
"I didn't want to call the police." Minnie explained, holding on to her old friend as she tried to steady him. "It's him isn't it? That face we saw in our dreams around Christmas. It's this man."
Wilf rubbed his hand over his face. He was indeed the Master, but what the bloody hell was he doing here? The last time he had seen that monster, he had disappeared with the other Timelord aliens into that time portal thing. The Doctor had promised him that those horrible Timelords would never return to Earth. He said that they were sealed inside some sort of time bubble. But now he found that the Master had returned and was hiding inside Minnie's cellar.
"Oh this is completely bananas." Wilf muttered, shaking his head as he continued to back away. He almost stepped on a ceramic bowl. Wilf glanced down.
"Oh, let me." Minnie picked it up, poured some milk out of the carton into the bowl, and placed it back on the floor right in front of the Master. "Here you go." She said gently, as if she was speaking to some harmless stray pet. Needless to say, Wilf thought that she had completely lost her marbles and immediately pulled her away from him.
"What are you doing?!" Wilf asked, horrified.
"I was just giving him some milk. He was really thirsty."
"Minnie, he's not a cat! He's a grown man. No actually, he's not a man."
Wilf paused and pinched his nosebridge again. "Oh how do I tell you this? He's an alien. He's a dangerous monster. You have no idea what he's capable of, but you have to believe me, I've seen it with my own eyes."
"Oh really." Minnie muttered, observing Wilf's anxiety with a mild worried frown. "That's strange, he doesn't look that dangerous to me." She glanced over his shoulders. Wilf turned around and followed Minnie's gaze.
Tempted by the milk, the Master had crawled out of his hiding place on his hands and knees towards the small ceramic bowl and drank hungrily, loudly slurping up the creamy liquid while shooting up anguished glances at the two humans.
"I think he's more afraid of us than you are of him." Minnie said.
Puzzled by the Master's behavior, Wilf took a hesitant step forward. The Master coiled back, knocking the bowl over with his elbow and spilling the milk all over the floor.
"Hang on." Wilf muttered. "Something isn't right here."
"What's not right dear?" Minnie asked.
"The Master, I mean this man, he shouldn't be like this. The last time I saw him, he was completely mad and evil. And he was cunning. He could turn a situation to his own hand in a split second. I'm telling you Minnie, he was clever, I mean really, really clever, like the Doctor. Look at him now."
Wilf glanced into the Master's eyes. They stared back at him, large with fear.
"What happened to all that malicious wit of yours? Are you hiding it?" Wilf studied his face. "Is this one of your dirty tricks again? So you could get to the Doctor?"
The Master didn't answer him. There was just that frightened vacant stare.
"What's the matter? Can't you speak?" Wilf frowned. The Master swallowed and licked his dry lips. Moving like a thirsty animal, he bowed down quickly and started licking up the milk from the floor.
"Oh don't do that!" Wilf exclaimed, and then he finally noticed the horrific burns on the Master's hands and neck. The skin was all red and blistered, and was coming off in large flakes.
"You're burnt." Wilf had seen burn victims before when he was in the army. Those men were completely dehydrated and needed fluid infusions to keep their bodies going. No wonder that the poor sod was so thirsty. Before Wilf realized it, he had picked up the bowl and had filled it to the rim with milk from the carton. As he watched how the Timelord eagerly gulped down mouthfuls, he wondered if he wasn't being tricked into feeling sorry for that swine. After all, he did try to kill Donna and the Doctor just a couple of months ago. And didn't he turn everyone on Earth into a clone of his mad self? Whatever awful thing had happened to him and had turned him from a bloodthirsty madman into such a pitiful wreck, surely it was all well deserved.
Still, Wilf remembered what the Doctor had said to him, right before he left.
He squatted down in front of the Master, trying to get contact.
"You came here in that space ship that crashed down in Sheppard park, didn't you? What happened to the rightful owners? Don't tell me you own that thing. Did you kill them, steal their ship?" Wilf eyed at the malicious cut that sliced through the soot-covered fabric of the Master's sleeve. It was caked with dried up blood.
"Are there people out there, aliens who are still looking for you?" Wilf asked, and pointed at the tiny cuts on the Master's cheeks. "Maybe that's why you came down here. You were stumbling down the streets after the crash, injured and looking for a place to hide, you found the broken window and crawled right through."
"Is he a friend of that handsome Doctor man?" Minnie asked innocently as she was still fully unaware of what had exactly happened at the Naismith mansion.
"Oh, no absolutely not!" Wilf breathed, but then he hesitated, recalling the strange chemistry between the two. "At least, I don't think he is." He added, rubbing his beard.
"You don't sound so sure."
"Yeah, well, all I do know is that we need to get the Doctor here to find out what's happening. Whenever this bloke shows up things always turn out for the worst."
"Oh, shall I ring round the Silver Cloak?" Minnie asked with an excited glint in her eyes.
Wilf nodded. "If you could do that. I'll keep an eye on him while you're at it."
After Minnie went up to the study to find the list of phone numbers, Wilf emptied the rest of the carton into the bowl. As he watched how the wretched Timelord gulped the milk down hastily and licked it clean till the very last drop, he couldn't help but think how the mighty had fallen.
The Doctor landed in the middle of a street somewhere in London. He headed out of the Tardis, and immediately recognized the surroundings.
This was Wessex Lane.
This was the street where Donna lived.
Puzzled and irritated, the Doctor rushed back inside before realizing that he still didn't know where to go. He ran out into the street again. This didn't make any sense. Why did the Tardis land here? He had tracked down the defunct prison ship to the edge of the solar system and had seen it crashing as it burnt through the Earth's atmosphere. He knew it had landed somewhere in the northern hemisphere, somewhere in Europe, but he didn't know exactly where.
It was in desperate times like these when the Doctor had ran out of any good ideas that he would let the Tardis decide. He would put his trusted companion on autopilot and let it run on her primal instincts. The Tardis was much, much older than the Doctor, and for reasons he could not entirely comprehend, she was always more aware of the events in time that shaped his life. But asking her for help didn't always supply him with a clear answer.
"Why here? Why land in Wessex Lane? Why right in front of Donna's house?" he clutched his hair as he thought it through. "Is it because she is the only one who can tell me where he is?" He mused aloud, recalling the events of last Christmas. "Is that it?"
He stared back at the Tardis, but the blue box remained silent. Where was a verbal companion when he needed one? His mind turned frantically. Then he locked the Tardis, and hesitantly, he headed towards the Noble residence.
"You know, this is getting troublesome." Wilf said to the Master, who had finished the milk and seemed to be more at ease with his presence now. At least he didn't go right back into hiding.
"With you never speaking a word, I can't figure out anything. Maybe we could communicate in another way, hey?" He tapped on the side of his head. "I don't think you're that off in the head, otherwise you wouldn't have found this place. So what do you say?"
The Master stared back at him and grimaced when he nervously peeled off the crust from his wounds. He seemed to be particularly fixated on the ruined skin on his left wrist.
"Oh don't do that." Wilf turned away for a moment, appalled by the sight. "Now, if you could just nod when you want to say yes, and shake your head when you mean no. Could you do that?"
There was a very long moment during which the Master didn't move at all, and just kept staring back at Wilf with that vacant look in his eyes.
"Hello? Contact!" Wilf waved his hand in front of the Master's nose. "Anyone home in there?"
It was just when Wilf was about to give up on the whole idea when the Master gave the slightest, tiniest of nods.
"Ha! Right! That's more like it!" Wilf rubbed in his hands. "Now let's get cracking." He leaned forward towards the Master who scrabbled back immediately, glaring up at the human with a hint of distrust on his face.
"No, no, I'm not going to hurt you." Wilf reassured. He was slightly aware of how ridiculous it was that the Master was afraid of him, and it was not actually the other way around.
"I just want to know this. The Doctor. Last time I saw him he told me he was going to look for you. I didn't get it at the time, because he also told me that you were sent back to that red planet that was locked in some sort of time-balloon thing. But he picked up what was left of that diamond and headed off in his Tardis. He said he was going to rescue you from your own destruction. Now, tell me. And please be honest. Did the Doctor manage to find you?"
The Master looked at him as if the concept of most of the things that Wilf had said to him had completely eluded him, but as the human mentioned the name of the Doctor, his eyes flashed with sudden alertness.
Wilf studied the change on the Master's face. "And? Did the Doctor find you?"
Slowly, the Master nodded.
A broad smile swept over the senior's face. "He did! He did, didn't he?! He found you! That's why you're here! HA!" Wilf slapped his hand flat on his knee in excitement. "I knew it! I knew he would succeed! No-one else but the Doctor could have pulled that one off! He brought you back from the dead!"
The Master watched how the old man performed a little dance in the cellar, waving his hands and jigging about like a youngster, doing a funky version of Travolta's Saturday night disco fever complete with the finger pointing in the air. The silliness of it all brought a timid smile to the wretched Timelord's face.
"Hey!" Wilf commented, noticing the puzzled but amused look on the Master. "This used to be very hip when I was a lad."
Wilf would have continued his silly jig if it wasn't for the sudden ring of the doorbell. It stopped him dead in his track and sent the Master diving back underneath the desk.
"Hang on a minute!" Wilf heard Minnie shuffle in the hallway while whoever was at the door kept ringing the bell impatiently. "Yes yes, I'm coming!"
"Minnie! Don't open it! Don't go answer the door!" Wilf shouted up the staircase, but it was already too late.
Next chapter will be posted on Saturday the 13th of March. Please review and comment if the story pleases you. It motivates me to continue.