The Doctor versus mister Foks
Mister Foks arrived in the middle of the city of London, in clear daylight, underneath a nameless bridge with a platoon of Judoon soldiers. Being a man of discretion, at least more so than the company of men he currently found himself associated with, he would had preferred that they would have arrived under the cover of night, and in a less densely populated area, and with a less obvious alien entourage. Luckily, the place was a bit of a wasteland, with only a couple of homeless drunks moving about in the shadows; they were too intoxicated to take the ridiculous sight of a troop of heavily armed rhino-headed men too seriously. Still, this was hardly an intelligent way of running an investigation.
Mister Foks brushed the nanodust from his suit and ran his fingers through his slick black hair, which was combed back in a fashionable widows peak. No need to look unpresentable, even if he was currently finding himself in a smelly ditch. He turned and summoned his right hand officer to have a word.
"Mister Baines." Foks said while he fiddled with his silver cufflinks. "Tell me good sir. Do you actually understand the concept of undercover?"
Mister Baines, a Judoon officer who was about a head taller than the rest of the platoon, and who was in contrast to mister Foks, a man of little words and limited brain capacity, cocked his head to the site and shrugged.
"Ah, that could indeed complicate things." Foks sighed. "Now let me explain this in more simple terms." He gestured at the site. "Look around you mister Baines, and tell me, what's wrong with this picture?"
A silent shrug yet again.
"Nothing? You don't see anything remarkable? Like a bunch of rhino-faced alien soldiers marching around in broad daylight on a planet where the inhabitants have never so much as seen a Judoon before? You don't think that would arouse suspicion, or trigger a panic reaction? You don't think it would alarm their government to send their army on us. You don't –" Mister Foks paused for a moment. "That's the problem with you isn't mister Baines? You just don't think."
Mister Baines finally thought of something to say. "Ko, Lo, Wo, No, No, Zo?"
"Yes yes, I know." A vain smile crept over mister Foks' face. "I'm here to do the thinking for you. That's why the Shadow Proclamation hired me. I'm the man with the brains who guides the muscles."
"Ko, Jo, No, Go, Go, Go, Xo?"
"What we are going to do about it?" Mister Foks smiled. "Good question, mister Baines! Off course I have an idea. A simple one I must add. You could hardly call it a plan." He stepped up to mister Baines and stood on the tips of his expensive leather shoes in an effort to talk right into his face.
"Use your batons, you dummies. "That slap-happy police stick of yours contain more than only your favorite big red flashy button that goes bang-bang. It also happens to contain a very effective shimmer function. You and your men hardly use it, but it belongs to the force's standard equipment." Mister Foks stepped back from mister Baines. There was only that much Judoon morning breath a civilized person could tolerate. Mister Foks's his own breath smelled of mints. He clapped in his hands.
"So then mister Baines, let's shimmer!"
It took a while before the Judoons found the right button to push, but then the images of Baines and the other soldiers rippled in a blue flash of light, and they were transformed into a group of humans, four paramedics and four police officers. Mister Foks studied Baines' human face, a large head with a massive jaw supported on a thick neck. Two beady eyes stared back at him from underneath heavy Neanderthal-like brows.
"Ah, more muscle than brains. I think this suits you rather fittingly." Mister Foks smiled his automated smile. He fished out a white bracelet from his breast pocket. It was a thin little thing with a green flashing bar of light in the middle. Mister Foks held it in front of him like a compass, and as he slowly turned on his heels, the green light jumped up and down as the incoming signal fluctuated. He stopped turning when he was pointing in the direction of Brixton. Without looking at them, he addressed the Judoon troops.
"Shall we gentlemen? We've got a pressing task at hand. Let's track down our fugitive before he wrecks havoc on this planet."
When Minnie answered the door, she was greeted by a handsome but rather stuffy young officer, who was accompanied by two heavily armed soldiers.
Minnie gasped and was about to slam the door shut when the officer stopped her.
"Ma'am, don't be frightened. We're army officers." He showed her his credentials. "I'm sorry to bother you, but we need to search your home."
"But, you can't." Minnie said, astonished. "No, I won't just let you into my house and-"
Without so much as an effort, officer Goodchild shoved the door wide open and let his men enter. Minnie was getting annoyed with these badly mannered brutes.
"Oh look at those muddy boots! They are ruining my carpet!"
"I'm very sorry ma'am." Officer Goodchild replied automatically.
"Oh what in the Lord's name are you searching for?"
"I cannot tell you ma'am, it's classified."
"What? Oh come on. You've entered my home without my consent and you won't even tell me why this is necessary?" Minnie shouted. It was loud enough for the two men down in the cellar to hear. "What kind of country is this turning into? It's like the Nazis all over again."
"We're not Nazis ma'am, I can assure you that." Officer Goodchild stepped away from her and entered the living room. "Anything?" He asked one of his men.
The second officer came out of the kitchen. "Negative sir." He reported.
"Right, do a sweep upstairs. After that we move to the next."
The two men ran up the staircase, leaving Goodchild by himself. The officer went back into the hallway where Minnie was still waiting with her hands on her hips. Strangely, the expression on the old lady's face struck him as a bit nervous.
"Are you boys done yet?" Minnie asked, parking herself right in front of the door to the cellar.
Goodchild wasn't that easily tricked. "Almost. But tell me ma'am, what's behind that door?"
"What door dear?" Minnie asked, blinking her eyes.
Goodchild pointed it out to her.
"Oh that door! Yes. Uhm." Goodchild pushed her aside and opened it, revealing the staircase behind. "That would be the cellar." Minnie added, as calmly as she could muster. "You don't have to look down there. It's just old furniture and things. And it's a horrible mess."
"It's protocol ma'am." Goodchild said, and headed down the staircase, closely followed by an anxious Minnie.
"Oh really. There is nothing down here, and the light isn't working very well, you wouldn't see a thing." She objected. She sucked in a breath when the efficient officer switched on a searchlight that set the entire room ablaze. "What's that banging noise?" Goodchild remarked, and swept the bright beam over the stacks of boxes right towards a dark figure at the back.
Wilf was standing near the window, holding up a hammer and a piece of wood. "Ah Minnie, there you are." He said as casually and calmly as possible, while squinting his eyes against the harsh light. "Did you find the box of number nines? Seriously, I can't work with these, there just too small." He rattled with a box of nails.
"Sir?" Goodchild lowered the searchlight. "What are you doing here?"
"Oh, that's just my good friend Wifred Mott, he's here to fix my broken window. Wilf, this officer came here to do a search of my house. I am not entirely sure what he's looking for, but hopefully he will be leaving as soon as he decides that he didn't find anything."
"We've full authorization of the government to carry out this search." Goodchild justified.
"What are you guys looking for then?"
"I cannot tell you sir, it's classified."
"He said that to me too." Minnie complained.
"Well what kind of madness is that? You can't go marching into someone else's home like that and not even tell them the reason why you do this! Where do you think you are, Nazi Germany?" Wilf commented.
"Exactly." Minnie eyed accusingly at the young officer.
"We have good reason not to inform the public the purpose of our operation." Goodchild replied efficiently, but he was getting a tad nervous.
"See this?" Wilf rolled up his sleeve and showed him a long scar that ran right across his arm. "Got that from the war. At least our generation fought for our country! We pushed those Nazis all the way back to Germany. Nothing like you ponchies. Going into old people's houses and scaring the living daylight out of them. You lot should be ashamed of yourselves."
Goodchild was actually relieved when one of his men came at the top of the stairs to report back to him. "We searched the second level sir. It's clear."
"Right. Let's get out of here." He sighed, and rushed back up the stairs. "Sir, ma'am." He nodded politely at the seniors. "We apologize for causing you any inconvenience."
"And rightfully so!" Wilf shouted after them. "You call yourself an army officer? Go fight in a real war and then come back to tell me off, you snot-nosed toddler!"
"Alright, let me see you boys out." Minnie turned back to Wilf and mouthed a silent –Stop it! – at him.
She came back after the soldiers had left. "Oh that was close. My poor heart, it's rattling like mad."
"You're all right luv?"
"Yes, yes, it's rather exciting, isn't it? I haven't felt so much alive since I came in a close second in that flower arrangement contest." She glanced around the cellar curiously. "Now then, where did you hide him?"
"He's just over here." Wilf removed a dust cloth and shoved some crates aside. The Master was all huddled up in a corner. A dark pool lay at his bare feet. When the white cloth brushed over it quickly became red. The stain bloomed out into a large crimson spot.
"Oh my lord, he's still bleeding." Minnie gasped. "He's bleeding quite a lot."
"It can't be from those shallow cuts." Wilf leaned closer to the Master who scrambled away from him. He grimaced when he pulled up his left leg behind him.
"It's all right, I am not going to hurt you. Let me see that."
Carefully he rolled up the Master's left trouser-leg. He hadn't notice it before because of the insufficient light in the cellar, but the entire thing was soaked in blood. The Master shivered in pain when he pulled the thick heavy fabric over his knee, revealing a hideous wound, a fleshy hole that dug right into bone.
"Oh that's looks terrible." Minnie uttered. "Oh you poor soul."
"No wonder he was crawling around. Must hurt like hell to try to stand on that."
"Let me go upstairs and get some bandages."
She returned with a first aid kit, and Wilf cleaned and dressed the wound. He also took a look at the cut in the Master's arm, but that seemed to be just a thin slash that had already started to heal in a neat red line. It struck Wilf as somewhat odd, since the blood on the sleeve would have suggested a far nastier wound.
Come to think of it, didn't the Master have a tiny red slash just right above his left eyebrow? Wilf studied the man's face, but he could no longer find it. It also seemed as if the cuts on his face weren't that many as he thought there were. Must be that he was getting used to it, Wilf reasoned. It's a bit like when you watch the news and get used to all that horrible stuff that's happening around the world. You just get indifferent towards these things. Besides, compared to the wound on the Master's leg, those tiny slashes indeed faded to nothing.
"We can't keep him down in the cellar." He said to Minnie. "It's damp and it's cold. It wouldn't do him any good in the current state he's in."
"We could try to get him upstairs. I have a spare room on the second floor."
Wilf shook his head. "He can't stay here Minnie. Those soldier lads might turn up again."
"Well, what are you suggesting then?"
"We could take him to my place."
"With Sylvia around? Oh no Wilf, that seems like a bad idea. She would go frantic."
"No, Sylvia is out of town this week. Went up north for a holiday with a friend of hers. And Donna is staying with Shaun in their flat this weekend. She wanted to do some redecorating, painting and stuff. So that would give me plenty of time to find the Doctor."
Minnie just stared at him.
"Well, it took us two hours tops the last time around. Now we've got at least till Monday if Donna doesn't show it for a surprise visit."
"But how do we get him there. He can hardly walk. And those soldier boys are still outside, searching through the entire street." Minnie asked.
"We have to get him out after they leave. As for the mobility problem." Wilf paused and gave it a thought. "We could call Winston, ask him to pick us up with his delivery van."
"Oh yes, that's a good idea. And- and maybe we could push him around." Minnie said in a flash enthusiasm.
"Ye- Uhm, what do you mean push?" Wilf asked.
"My late husband Phil, I used to take care of him at home. I've kept everything after he passed away. Silly of me of course, I know, but I just couldn't bring myself to return all that stuff. It reminded me too much of him. Anyway, Phil was bedridden, and I used to push him around in a wheelchair that I rented from the hospital to get us to the shops. That old thing should still be somewhere."
Minnie tapped her finger on her lips as she tried to recall where she had put it.
"I know it's down here. It should be somewhere in this junkyard. Ah!"
She walked to a corner of the cellar and pulled back a white dust cover, revealing a sturdy wheelchair underneath.
"Here it is! This should do nicely. Don't you think?" She asked enthusiastically.
Mister Foks and his platoon passed right by the wreckage of the Judoon space ship, and went by the weeping angel of stone without so much as giving it a glance as he kept his eyes on the white tracker device. But when he finally reached the end of the street, he suddenly turned around and walked all the way back till he came to a halt right in front of the statue. He let the tracker slide back inside his breast pocket, and sniffed the air.
"Oh, I can smell Timelord blood." A sly smile ran across his lips. His canine teeth looked slightly too pointy to appear human. The others followed him across the street. Mister Foks carefully tracked down the bloody scent, till he reached the strange markings in the asphalt. He stepped into them, measuring the size of the footprints to his own.
"Technology is a good thing, but nothing beats good old fashioned animal instincts." He muttered and took another sniff of air. He raised his hand and beckoned the others.
"Gentlemen, this way please."
"Is the coast clear?" Wilf asked nervously. His nerve endings were buzzing, and it was as if his legs had turned into highly strung coils. He was waiting in the hallway with the Master strapped down in the wheelchair. He had giving him a clean pair of dark blue pyjamas to wear, and had cleaned the grime from his face. At least he didn't look too much like a crash-site victim now, which was a big improvement.
Minnie swept a glance out of the door and into the street, where Winston was waiting in his van. He had set up a ramp to get the wheelchair easily into the back, and already had the engine running.
"I don't see anyone." Minnie answered.
"Here we go then!" Wilf let all of his nervous energy flow into his old limbs, and pushed the wheelchair with the Master out of the hallway, down the two steps of the porch, across the garden and right into the street.
Winston kept an eye on his back mirror for oncoming traffic. "Hurry up Wilf!" he waved at him from his rolled down side window.
Wilf pushed the Master up into the back of the van and quickly shut the doors.
"Made it!" He gasped, and removed his hat to wave some air into his face.
"God, you wouldn't say just by the look of him, but that lad weighs a ton."
Minnie stuck her head through the side window. "Is he all right?"
"I think so." Wilf checked on him. "Yeah he looks all right. Better than I do."
"Poor lad." She fussed as she looked at the Master. "I feel sorry for him. He reminds me of my younger cousin Frederick. He used to work in constructions and got hit in the head by a metal beam. He never was quite the same again. It was like the lights up there went out, all at once."
"Guys, we must really go now. There are cars approaching." Winston urged.
Minnie tapped on the side of the van. "Step on it Winston. You boys take care now." Winston drove off while Wilf watched from the back window how Minnie stood on the sidewalk, waving at them as they turned the corner.
"Let me know if I can be of any help." She shouted after them. She remained there, standing for a while in front of her house, and wished with her kind heart that it would all end well for that poor, confused young man.
There was no-one home at the Noble's residence. No Donna, no Wilf, not even Sylvia. The Doctor peered through the back garden window into the kitchen. A half-finished breakfast, dirty dishes and what seemed to be a leaking dishwasher, but other than that the place was deserted. They must have gone out.
The Doctor turned and walked back, his hands tucked away inside the pockets of his long coat. Could it be, he wondered, that the Tardis had it wrong this time? He gazed around anxiously. The problem was that he could pick up his scent, but it was too faint to pinpoint out where he was. The Doctor sighed miserably, unsure how he could find him now, he finally stepped back inside the Tardis, and let the destination program run at random, limiting the possible destinations within 10 mile radius of Wessex Lane, while he kept his mind focused on the Master. The Tardis core whizzed into life and the blue police box disappeared from the street.
It was at that exact moment that Winston's van appeared around the corner.
Something had changed. Mister Foks smelled the air again. He took out the tracker, and saw that the signal was fluctuating violently.
"It seems like our target has moved." He muttered. "But where to exactly…"
He held up the tracking device. For longer distances, he still needed it to show him the way. Together with his sensitive nose, he was about as efficient at hunting down his client's suspects as a price-winning bloodhound. "There!" He pointed. "Half a mile, down to the west."
"What are you going to do with him?" Winston asked, as he was helping Wilf to get the Master inside the house. The old man still felt the chills run down his spine every time he looked into that man's face.
Wilf turned all the locks on the door behind him. Never before was he so relieved to come home.
"I'm going to look after him till the Doctor comes. Once he's here, he will take over. "
They rolled the wheelchair into the living room and parked the Master next to the couch. Wilf went up to the windows and shut the curtains.
"Are you sure you can handle him?" Winston asked worriedly. "I mean, all that stuff you told me of what happened in the Naismith Mansion, that was him right?"
"Yes it was." Wilf sank down into his comfy chair and stared at the Master. "And yet….It's strange but somehow he doesn't strike me as the same monster I've met when he was fighting the Doctor."
Winston looked at his old friend with a puzzled look on his face. "Oh come on Wilf. You didn't tie him down in that chair for nothing. It's been only two months ago. Even a juvenile delinquent needs more time than that to adjust to society. How can a man change that much within such a short time?"
"Well it's just my impression. I dunno." Wilf shrugged and shook his head while he rubbed his hands over his face. Maybe you're right. Maybe I'm just feeling sorry for him, like Minnie, because he's in such a bad state."
"Do you still have your old service revolver?" Winston asked, with a serious expression on his face.
"What, do want me to try to shoot him again?"
"I'm not kidding Wilf. If he's really that dangerous you should arm yourself. Who knows what he will come up with to escape." Winston stared at the Master with a glint of fear in his eyes. "He might not be that dazed in that mad head of his as he appears. Maybe he's just pretending."
"Oh stop telling me ghost stories. You can't scare me, I'm staring one right into the face." Wilf muttered. "Now, stop worrying about me Winston and get the old boys' network working. Help me to find the Doctor. I need to get the Master back where he belongs, which is under the surveillance of the good Doctor, before Sylvia comes back. I don't want anyone of my family to see him."
Winston was about to leave when he turned to his old friend in the hallway. "You know, I know we've been best mates for a very long time, but I still don't get you. You tell me everything about these aliens, but you keep your mouth completely shut about it to your own family. Now, that you would like to keep Sylvia out of this I can quite understand. That woman won't believe in space men even when they landed right in her back garden, but Donna, she seems such an open-minded, clever girl. She should understand. Why not tell her? You used to tell her everything."
"Oh it's not like she wouldn't understand." Wilf became quiet. Sad memories rushed back into his mind, tearing open the old wounds. If only he could tell her about this. If only he could remind her of the Doctor.
"At least you would have somebody else with a driver's license at your disposal, and you wouldn't need me to chauffeur you around all the time." Winston joked.
"Ha, right." Wilf laughed, but his old heart was breaking. Still he kept a brave face. When Winston had finally left, he went back to the living room and sat down facing the Master.
"You're one lucky chap, you know that." He sighed. "You must be what? 900 years old now? Almost as old as the Doctor, am I right? And knowing how you were at the Naismith mansion, " He pointing with his index finger at the side of his head and made a circular motion. "You know, with those sounds inside your head turning you all crazy and murderous, you must have done so many things wrong in your life, hurt so many people. And yet, I suppose you can't remember any of them now. That's a blessing. At least for someone like you that is."
The Master bowed his head, unable to hold on to the old man's accusing gaze. There was no way that he could tell Wilf how wrong he was about him.
"I've got a granddaughter. Donna she is called. You spoke to her last Christmas. She was the one who rang me up on my mobile. She is absolutely wonderful. The kindest girl you'll ever meet. And she did these things, all these amazing things when she was traveling with the Doctor. He told me about it, what she did. She saved an entire race of aliens, freed them from human slavery, could you imagine that? She went to visit Agatha Christie! She saved Romans from the fires of Pompeii!" Wilf smiled while tears ran down his wilted cheeks. "My Donna! She made me so proud. She saved us all. Brought the Earth back to the rightful place in the sky. But she can't remember any of those wonderful things she did. She forgot about them, because of that Timelord meta-crisis thing. The Doctor wiped her mind to protect her. She isn't even allowed to remember any of it or she will just burn up and die. My poor, sweet Donna." Wilf wiped the tears from his face with the back of hand and sighed bitterly.
"And that makes her the most unluckiest person in the world."
He stared back at the Master who glanced ruefully at Wilf.
"I know." Wilf muttered, defeated. "I know what you're thinking. Life is just unfair, isn't? No one ever gets what they really deserve."
A silence fell between them. Two old men, pondering on the injustice of this world.
The front door suddenly slammed shut with a loud bang. It almost frightened Wilf into a heart attack.
Speak of the devil.
"Gramps! Are you home?" Donna's voice rang from the hallway. Wilf jumped out of his chair and started rushing around frantically.
"She can't! She can't see you! She will remember!" Wilf hissed, and pushed the Master from one corner of the room to the other in panic, spinning the wheelchair with such haste that he almost flipped him out of the seat.
"Gramps? Oh no, not one of her little notes again." Donna sighed. "Can't Mum just go on a holiday without leaving a dictionary worth of post-it signs all scattered around the house? The least she could do is allow us to take a holiday from her, and stop terrorizing us."
"Gramps?" She popped her head around the corner. "Here you are! I was looking for you." Wilf was standing like a stiff pole in front of the curtains that looked strangely bulky.
"What's the matter, you look like you've seen a ghost."
"Donna, my sweet." He clapped in his hands nervously. "I thought you were going to stay in your flat this weekend. Didn't you have a lot of redecorating to do?"
"Shaun said he could manage on his own. Besides, he was painting our bedroom with his mates. The entire places smells like toxic waste plant. It's giving me a headache."
She came over to her grandfather and kissed him on his cheeks.
"God you feel hot." She took a good look at him. "You're not coming down with the flu are you?"
"No, no. Fit as a fiddle." He knocked a few time on his chest to demonstrate. "I was just busy, doing some chores that you mother left me with."
"Oh sod her little notes. You've got the whole week for yourself. Do something with it. I swear if you don't do the hovering every day she wouldn't notice a thing. Same thing with watering the plants." By chance, she glanced over Wilf's shoulders.
"Hang on, what's that?"
Half a wheel of the Master's wheelchair peeked behind the curtains.
"Donna, luv, please don't!" Wilf tried, but before he could stop her, Donna had already stepped forward and pulled the drapes aside.
"Second round, new changes!" The Doctor muttered and stormed out of the Tardis even before the sound of the engines had stopped. He was standing in the middle of a park on a wide stretch of lawn. About 50 meters away from him was a huge black crater. People were standing around it. Curious, the Doctor ran towards the site and stopped right in front of the weeping angel statue. All sorts of government officials were busy around the place. Medics, techs, the police, and if he was not mistaken, he also saw a good number of UNIT soldiers strutting about. When he was sure that no-one was looking, The Doctor ducked underneath the yellow police tape and went closer to the edge of the pit. Down below, a huge plastic tent shielded the space-vehicle from the prying public eye, but the Doctor didn't need to see it to know that it was the Judoon prison ship. What else could it be? Judging by the size of the crater, and the scorched earth around it, the impact must have been hellish, setting the entire thing ablaze. He glanced around worriedly. Then he spotted the black patch in the grass just underneath the statue.
Someone had managed to crawl out of the firery pit.
"Hey! You sir! What are you going there!" The Doctor turned, cocking an eyebrow as he watched how Captain Montgomery approached him over the lawn.
"I thought we have made it clear to everybody by now. Sir, you should stay behind the yellow line or we will arrest you!"
The Doctor crossed the yellow line back to the other side. "I'm sorry. Didn't know I wasn't supposed to. Really." He apologized. He had no time to get arrested. He needed to find the Master before those Judoon goons got their hands on him. Better to stay polite. "Huge crater you've got there! What happened?"
The stern expression on Montgomery's face softened when he came close enough to distinguish the features of the Doctor's face. "Wait a minute." He mumbled. "It's you!"
The Doctor scratched behind his ear in surprise. "I'm sorry?"
"It's you isn't it?" Montgomery's grey eyes suddenly flashed with excitement. "You're the legendary Doctor! Oh, sir! I've never dreamt I would meet you again!"
"I'm sorry, but uhm, have we met?"
The Captain's face became serious again as he sprang into a salute.
"Oh don't salute me." The Doctor muttered.
"Captain James D. Montgomery, sir." The Captain continued, keeping his spine as straight as a pole. "At your service! I was still a Lieutenant when you came to our rescue in that Atmos Factory."
"Oh yeah, the Sontarans!" The Doctor smiled as he remembered. "You were there with that lot?"
"I watched you at work in the UNIT field base camp. You were magnificent!"
"Yeah, I guess I was quite good." The Doctor agreed, rubbing the back of neck. "But I have to admit, I don't exactly remember you. Men in uniforms tend to have that effect on me, particularly when they are pulling ranks and waving their guns in my face. Anyway, now then Captain Montgomery, since you are all in awe of me, could you please tell me what happened to the passengers on that spaceship down there? Did anyone of them survive the crash?"
The Captain was actually baffled that the Doctor had found out so much in such a short period of time.
"Uhm, I'm sorry sir, but that's classified information."
"Oh that's total bollocks!" The Doctor snapped. "You said you were at my service just a minute ago! Mind you, judging by the number of men you got running around this place, you could use a little help from someone like me. So help me out first by supplying the correct information, and then I could do something about your crisis at hand."
Montgomery thought it through for a moment. It seemed like an attractive bargain.
"Very well then Doctor. We found out that three Judoon soldiers had died during the crash, but the fourth passenger, a dangerous criminal of unknown race according the ship's log, managed to escape. We're still trying to find him."
The Doctor let go a visible sigh of relief. "That's all I wanted to hear. Thank you."
He turned on his heel and dashed back to the Tardis.
"Hey, where are you going? I thought you were going to help us to track him down? Doctor!
"Ha! Not a chance!" The Doctor shouted and rushed back inside the Tardis. "Very close, but not there yet!" He said to the Tardis and fired up the engines. "Let's see if round number three brings us the jackpot!" He pulled down a lever and activated the Tardis, letting the destination matrix once again spin at random.
Donna clutched her forehead. There was something about that face of the man who was sitting there in a wheelchair that stirred her memories. Something important. Something wonderful and weird.
She closed her eyes for a moment, and it was gone. She opened her eyes again. Blinking, she stared down at the Master who was still hiding behind the curtains.
"Who are you?" She whispered.
"Donna, luv, are you all right?" Wilf asked worriedly. He grabbed her by the shoulders in case she would fall over.
Donna shook her head. "I'm fine. It's just. I dunno." She shrugged. "Must have been a blackout or something." She turned to her granddad with a puzzled look on her face.
"Gramps, who is this?" Donna asked, frowning.
"This, uhm, this is –" Wilf bit on his lower lip as tried to come up with a name. "Oh yes! I know! He's the grandson of Minnie Hooper. His name is Frederick." He sighed of relief while the Master glared at him with raised eyebrows. "Frederick Hooper, yes that's who he is." Wilf repeated, rubbing it in.
"Oh, so you're miss' Hooper's son. I'm Donna, pleased to meet you." She held out her hand, but the Master just stared at it with large unblinking eyes.
"Donna dear, come and have a word." Wilf ushered her away from the dazed young man.
"What the heck is wrong with him?" She asked, a bit irritated.
"Oh, don't mind him. He's a bit silly in the head, if you know what I mean." Her grandfather twirled a finger next to his temple in the universal gesture of mental incapacity.
"Oh, I'm sorry." Donna said. "I thought he was just rude. How silly of me. Is that why he's all strapped down in a wheelchair?"
"Yeah, something like that." Wilf pinched in his nose bridge. "Look, Minnie went out of town, and she couldn't take care of him, so I thought, since Sylvia wasn't here, I could keep an eye on him for her."
"I thought miss Hooper lives on her own? I didn't know she took care of her disabled grandson."
"Yeah, that's right. She does live alone. They've put poor Frederick in one of those institutes, a mental asylum? Terrible place. He's locked up all day in a tiny room with no windows. Only gets to get out to visit his granny once a month. She didn't want to leave him there. But she couldn't be here this weekend, so –"
"Oh that's really sweet of you gramps." She kissed Wilf on his forehead, and glanced over her shoulder at the Master. "Poor guy. He's still so young."
"Yeah, well. Bad things happen to good people." Wilf sighed, feeling very relieved that he got away with his made-up story.
His mobile phone went off inside his pocket. Wilf, having a pretty good idea who it could be, froze.
"Aren't you going to answer that?" Donna went over to the Master. "I bet you're sick of staring out into our front yard by now." She said, eager to be kind to him. "Do you want to watch some telly? We've got plenty of DVDs."
The mobile kept ringing.
"Gramps. Your phone." Donna urged.
"Oh, alright." Wilf sucked in a deep breath as he watched worriedly how Donna wheeled the Master to the shelves and started picking out DVDs for him. "Oh my Lord." He breathed softly. "Please let this not get out of hand."
Winston was on the other side of the line. "Wilf! Are you alright? You sound spooked. "
"Oh you've got no idea." He whispered, keeping an eye on Donna.
"We found him! We found the Doctor! It was good old Betty again. She saw the tall man from the blue police box, running down Warwick road heading south."
"Warwick Road, but that's just a few blocks away from here!"
"Exactly!" Winston urged. "So get down there before he disappears again."
"Yes! I mean, I can't." Wilf said, glancing up at his granddaughter. "I can't leave the house."
"Is that one of your mates?" Donna asked.
"Eh, yeah." Wilf muttered. "It's Winston. Just telling him that I can't get out of the house with Frederick here."
"Frederick? Who's Frederick?" Winston asked.
"If you would like to go down to the Lion for a drink with him it's fine. I could stay this afternoon to watch over him." Donna nodded at the Master who was studying the colorful covers of the DVD boxes with the single-mindedness of a cat pawing at a ball of wool.
"He's hardly what you would call a handful." Donna added.
"Wilf, I have no idea what you are doing, but you have to make up your mind. You have to hurry up!" Winston urged on the phone.
"Go on then. We two will manage." Donna encouraged.
"Uhm, alright. I'll get down to Warwick road. Thanks Winston." He hung up. "Are you sure you'll be alright?" Wilf asked.
"Sure. You have a bit of fun with your old pal. I'll just wait here till you get back."
"I'll be back. It won't take long. I promise. Just half an hour tops. You keep an eye on him." Wilf said while he grabbed his hat and headed out the front door.
"And don't leave him by his own!" Wilf shouted over his shoulder as he closed the door behind him. He left the house with a sick feeling of worry in the bottom of his stomach.
The Doctor had been heading down Warwick road for a good 5 minutes now, stopping and sniffing the air in attempt to track down the Master, but he couldn't pick up a decent trail. Disappointed, he was already heading back to the Tardis when a man with very familiar face came rushing towards him. The Doctor lips pulled into a broad smile.
"Wilf!" He ran towards the senior. Wilf's face was horribly red and when he reached the Doctor while he kept wheezing like an old asthmatic camel.
"Doctor I'm so glad – I'm so glad you're here! The Master -"
"The Master? You saw him?" The Doctor grabbed Wilf by his shoulders and shook him impatiently. "What about the Master? Wilf speak up!"
"He's alright." Wilf huffed. "Found him in Minnie's house. Moved him to my place. He's alright."
A smile of relief broke through the Doctor's worried expression. "Oh that's wonderful! That's absolutely fantastic!" He breathed, feeling the weight lift from his shoulders. "I was so worried."
"He's with Donna."
"With- what? - with Donna?" The Doctor frowned while someone nasty dropped the weight right back on him again. "Why would you leave him with her?"
"There was no-one else. She kinda felt sorry for him and she insisted. Well you know how Donna is."
"We've got to get him away from her before she starts to remember anything." The Doctor said and started running back. He was followed by an exhausted Wilf.
"We're taking the Tardis! We've got no time to lose!'
"Oh you should watch this, this is a good one." Donna laughed and popped another popcorn into her mouth. She was hanging on the couch in front of the telly with the Master parked next to her. The Master's face was drawn into a somewhat puzzled but amused look as he tried to make sense of the two white cartoon mice arguing on the screen.
"Look, that tall one with that silly smile and the red button nose is called Pinky, and that smaller one with the large head is called Brains." She munched down another handful. "So, they're Pinky and the Brain." She giggled. "Like in the opening song. Pinky and the Brain, Pinky and the Brain, one is a genius and the other one's insa-"
Donna abruptly stopped as he realized what she was actually saying to the poor man.
"Uhm, the other one's just a bit silly, that's all." She muttered apologetically. The Master had hardly noticed her correction. He was totally mesmerized by the little mouse that was now bouncing over the screen in a straightjacket.
Donna quickly turned off the DVD.
"Right. Are you hungry yet? Fancy something homemade and rather mushy?"
She got up and wheeled him into the kitchen. She pulled open the fridge and took out the entire stack of ready made meals that Sylvia had left behind, placing them on the kitchen table.
"Right, just nod when I pick up one you like. Capice?"
The Master gazed at the stack of plastic boxes with a puzzled look on his face.
"So we've got mushy peas and mushy stew for Friday." She glanced at the Master who showed a lack of response. "No? What about mushy fishpie for Thursday?" She waited, but once again, the Master didn't respond. "Not a winner either. Mash with bits of sausage for Tuesday. Gosh, I wish Mum would stop treating gramps and everyone else in this house like a toothless toddler. A little more fiber wouldn't kill us." She picked up one of the last boxes left on the pile. "Ah, however, may I advise you to take this one sir, the hotpot with lamb, originally destined for consumption on Wednesday. It's the only dinner we've got that isn't totally liquidized." Donna gazed expectantly at the Master who kept looking at her like she's just explained the rules of quantum physics to him, only now, he had the IQ equivalent to that of a three year old human toddler instead of a Timelord mastermind.
"Psst, you're supposed to nod now." Donna encouraged. "Don't worry, you're our guest. You should be allowed to get the first pick. I bet gramps wouldn't even hold it against you when you finish the lamb." She winked at him.
The Master frowned and shook his poor confused head.
Feeling sorry for him, she was just about to pop the lamb in the microwave and park him back in front of the telly with another cartoon when the doorbell rang.
"Oh. Just hang on to that thought for a minute." She smiled kindly at him. "Be right back."
Donna opened the door and found a rather strange group of men standing on the porch. The shortest one was of average height, and was dressed like a banker or a lawyer, the others were ridiculously tall and built like construction workers who had been forced into police officer's and paramedic's uniforms that were just one size too small. The Lawyer-banker guy smiled politely at her. It reminded Donna of the toothy canine grin of a fox.
"Good day to you miss." Mister Foks said.
"Yes hello." Donna put her hand on her side and waited, this should be interesting. "Can I help you?"
"I'm mister Foks. That's Foks with a K and a S. This here is officer Baines. We are conducting an enquiry in your neighborhood. May we come in?"
"You want to come in?" Donna looked puzzled. "You're with the police then?"
"Yes off course." Mister Foks answered, blinking his eyes innocently.
"Can you show me your credentials?"
"Show you my what?"
"Your credentials. Your ID card. That piece of paper that the police carries around for identification, something with your picture on it and your name, stating clearly that you're with the police." Donna said cleverly. She didn't know why, but somehow her instincts told her not to trust these odd looking guys.
"Oh, but we're officers. Didn't you see mister Baines's uniform?"
"Yes I noticed he was wearing one." Donna answered, crossing her arms over her chest. "Still..."
"But I can assure you miss, we really are working for this planet's law enforcement forces. Now, can you let us in?" Mister Foks urged.
"This planet's law enforcement forces?" Donna snorted. This was getting stranger by the minute. "No I am sorry, but I can't let you in. I can't let you into my mother's house without knowing for sure who the heck you guys are. What do you want anyway?"
"We're looking for a man." Mister Foks explained. He snapped his finger at mister Baines. "A fugitive, a deranged criminal who has escaped from the maximal security mental asylum only yesterday." Mister Baines thrust a crumbled sheet of paper into mister Foks' hands. Foks sighed and rolled his eyes at his officer. Carefully, he stroked the worst folds out of the paper before handing it over to Donna.
"He's highly unstable and dangerous. A madman suspected of murder."
Donna looked down at the paper. It said:
HAVE YOU SEEN THIS MAN?
Beneath that was a black and white photocopy picture of a man who looked like a more frightened and anxious version of Minnie Hooper's grandson Frederick who she had left behind in the kitchen.
Mister Foks studied Donna's face. "We're here to collect him and bring him back to the facility. He needs medication or he gets quite homicidal. Have you seen him miss?"
Donna locked a strand of red hair behind her ear. Her fingers trembled slightly.
"I'm sorry, but I've never seen him before." She glanced up at mister Foks, and handed the sheet of paper back to him.
Mister Foks' polite grin slowly drained from his face.
"Are you sure?" He informed in a sinister voice.
"Yes." Donna nodded, trying to keep a calm face while her heart picked up pace. "Doesn't ring a bell. Now if you would excuse me, I was rather busy."
She was about to slam the front door shut when mister Baines sprang forward and put his boot between the door, keeping it ajar.
"Ehm, I really would like you gents to go now." Donna urged and put her shoulder against the door, fear rising in her belly, but mister Baines was hardly impressed.
"He's inside." Mister Foks pointed his nose in the air and sniffed. "I can smell him."
"Leave my property immediately or I will be calling someone!" Donna panicked, certainly convinced now that she wasn't really dealing with government officials. "I will be calling the police! The proper ones!"
"Get him." Mister Foks ordered. With a loud grunt mister Baines thrust his full weight against the front door, dislodging the hinges and sending the entire wooden panel flying inward. The force of the impact hurled Donna into the hallway and landed her on the floor. Her head smashed against the lower steps of the staircase, propelling her into unconsciousness.
Next chapter will be posted on Saturday the 20th of March. Please review and comment if the story pleases you. It motivates me to continue.