Author's Note: Although it's set in and around the same episode as my other Last of the Time Lords fic, You Are Not Alone, this isn't related. Neither is it replacing it. I'll be updating You Are Not Alone very soon but this got stuck in my head and wouldn't go away unti it was written.
'Shall we decimate them?' the Master asked Lucy. 'That sounds good. Nice word—decimate.' He raised his voice, speaking to the Toclafane. 'Remove one-tenth of the population!'
The Doctor was aware that Martha was crying beside him as the calls came over the radio for the Valiant to help, to stop the Toclafane. He could only listen, could offer no comfort, no assistance.
Then another voice came over the internal comm. system. 'Mr Prime Minister?'
The Master frowned and pressed a button. 'This had better be important.'
'It's the machine, sir. Someone just… someone just appeared. They've gone inside and shut the door, sir. We can't get in.'
'And who exactly are 'they'?' The Master asked dryly, stretching his hand out in front of himself and appearing to examine his nails.
'Not sure, sir. No one we recognise. They're definitely not personnel. Just a girl.'
The Master looked up at the Doctor, tilting his head to one side thoughtfully. Then he practically jumped down the stairs, crouching in front of the Doctor and grabbing his arm, yanking him to his feet. The sudden movement caused Martha to fall to the deck, dropping the vortex manipulator.
'Darling,' the Master called over his shoulder to Lucy. 'Be a lamb and take Miss Jones' little toy.'
Lucy stepped forward and grabbed the vortex manipulator, handling it carefully.
The Master stared into the Doctor's eyes. 'Someone's just appeared. Someone's just appeared and wandered into my machine. A girl.' The Doctor maintained a carefully blank expression. The Master narrowed his eyes. 'You're coming with me, I want to see this girl.' He looked up at the guards surrounding them. 'Bring him. And those two,' he added, nodding at Jack and Martha.
The Doctor could feel it as they drew nearer to the TARDIS. Not the TARDIS, he amended, the paradox machine. The Master left him standing with Martha, Jack and their guards just outside the room and walked inside. He walked over to the machine, making a full circuit around it before standing in front of the door, which, contrary to the report he'd received, was standing open.
Inside, the machine shook and whirred, maintaining the paradox. The Master turned in a circle, stopping when he was facing the guards. 'You made me come all the way down here for this? Why would you do that?'
The young man looked afraid. 'She made us,' he said, nodding his head to a point over the Master's shoulder.
A young woman's voice sounded from beside the paradox machine. 'Turn around. Slowly.'
'What have we here?' he asked, turning to face the newcomer. His eyes sparked with interest as they came to rest on the girl leaning against the side of the machine. Blonde. Early twenties. Terrified but managing to mask it quite well. Holding a weapon of some kind.
'A little girl,' the Master said, apparently delighting in his role of supervillain. 'A little girl with a… hairdryer.'
The girl looked down at the object in her hands and tilted her head to the side, looking back up at the Master. 'Worth a try,' she shrugged, dropping the useless thing to the deck.
'Brave girl,' the Master commended, stepping closer to her. 'Tell me how you got up here.'
'That's close enough, thanks,' the girl said, her voice louder this time, challenging. 'Who are you?'
As her voice became more audible in the hallway, Martha felt the Doctor and Jack tense, ever so slightly. She looked up at the Doctor, concerned. His jaw was tight and his eyes unfocused, as though he were concentrating very hard on listening.
'I'm the Doctor,' the Master lied.
'No, you're not,' the girl said, something in her voice conveying absolute certainty.
'Of course I am. TARDIS, two hearts. I've even got the sonic screwdriver.'
'Oh, you're a Time Lord. Correct biosignature and everythin'.' She tapped what appeared to be an oversized wristwatch. 'But you're not the Doctor. You're someone else.'
The Master smirked, happy to give up the game if it was going to be this interesting. 'You sound very sure. Know him, do you?'
'Yeah, I do.' The girl paused. 'I did. I'll ask you again: Who are you?'
'I'm the Master,' the Master said, in a tone that was obviously supposed to be impressive.
'The Master?' the girl sounded as though she were trying not to laugh, and not being very successful. 'All right then, Master, where's the Doctor?'
The Master glared at her, then shouted over his shoulder. 'Bring them in!'
Martha was momentarily aware of change in the expression on the Doctor's face – as though he was steeling himself – before the guards shoved the three time travellers into the machine room. She stared at the girl, her own words coming back to haunt her, Oh! So she was blonde?
The blonde in question gave her the barest glance before her eyes slid to the side, first to Jack – slight widening of the eyes there – then to the Doctor.
'Doctor,' she said softly.
Martha looked up at her friend, concerned. The Doctor's eyes met the girl's briefly, and he nodded. Just once, almost an involuntary movement, before his eyes dropped to the deck. Behind Martha, Lucy Saxon stepped into the room.
The Master watched the interchange between the girl and the Doctor with interest, and then turned back to the girl, his tone seemingly full of genuine curiosity. 'You do know him,' he said. 'And he knows you, don't you Doctor? His mind shut down the moment he saw you. Big change for the man who's always got something to say. Who are you, strange little girl who appears out of nowhere and knows the Doctor?'
'Commander.' The girl said, in a distracted tone, her eyes still on the Doctor. 'What have you done to him?' she asked softly.
'Commander?' The Master questioned.
She switched her attention back to him, glaring. 'Yeah,' she said, 'Commander. Not 'little girl'. Definitely a Time Lord,' she scoffed. 'No manners.'
Amused, the Master took a step towards her. 'Ah, but we don't need titles, do we? Bit formal. Bit stiff. I asked you for your name.' His voice changed during his last sentence, becoming ever so slightly threatening.
To her credit, the girl didn't look impressed by the shift in tone. 'I'll tell you mine if you tell me yours, Master,' she said, her voice filled with false brightness.
He smiled at her. 'I think you're very interesting, commander. Very, very interesting. Fascinating. Do you know why?'
She raised an eyebrow. 'No idea. I'm sure you're gonna tell me though.'
He continued, unperturbed. 'I think you're interesting because you,' he pointed at her, 'are quite clearly a time traveller. But not like our dear friend Martha Jones here,' he nodded towards where Martha stood, supporting the Doctor. 'You have time wrapped all around you. I can see it. I can feel it. I can almost taste it, its so strong.' He looked thoughtful. 'In fact…' he stepped forwards and took hold of the girl's arms, tilting his head as though to kiss her.
Jack stiffened. 'Rose!' the name sounded like it had been torn from him unwillingly. Martha watched as the Doctor hung his head.