Time and the Trickster
Chapter Six: Mission in Time: Enemy of My Boyfriend
Disclaimer: I do not own Doctor Who or any of the spinoff material and I gain no income off of this story, just the satisfaction of playing with the characters.
"Greetings my dear," the Master greeted her pleasantly. "I believe you have something that I would very much like to take off your hands."
The words that went through Rose's head weren't particularly articulate as she gaped at the weapon and the Time Lord before her. After the tense run-in with the Trickster, she didn't feel prepared to face off against the Master that so many of her companion friends feared. Rose took a step back from the Master instinctively but kept herself from summoning her sword.
"Who are you?" Rose asked letting her fear creep into her voice. Her eyes dropped from the Master's face to the weapon that he held. Rose wondered if it was the weapon that killed and shrunk people that Tegan had told her about. "What do you want?"
"You have something on you, my dear," the Master replied with a cold courtesy. "Empty your pockets." His eyes darted down to the bulging pocket of Rose's coat where the hammer and dagger were shoved away. "Give it to me and no harm will come to you."
Rose took another step back as the Master studied her carefully. "Who are you?" Rose repeated.
"I am the Master," he answered even as he frowned slightly at you. "Who are you?" He demanded sharply.
Rose jumped back at the sharp tone, but the Master's eyes narrowed on her face. Rose had the horrible feeling that he was seeing something she couldn't. "I'm just a local girl," Rose said softly. "I was out on my bicycle when the evacuation happened. I'm just looking for a soldier to help me find my family."
"There is something different about you," the Master insisted as he stepped forward, slipping the detector into his pocket. "I was just going to release you, but your timelines are unlike anything I have seen before and worth study. You will come with me."
The Master reached for Rose's arm, but as he came into her personal space Rose lifted her knee sharply and rammed it straight into his crotch. Time Lord or not Rose knew from personal experience that they still had certain humanoid parts. The Master grunted in pain and stumbled back, dropping the weapon. Rose snatched up the weapon from the ground before shifting past the Master and running full speed towards the square. Just for good measure, Rose screamed so she'd attract attention as quickly as possible. She rushed into the square to find several soldiers moving towards her with their weapons drawn. Rose raised her hands and looked back over her shoulder.
"Put the weapon on the ground," a familiar voice commanded, "Slowly."
Rose's eyes found a much younger John Benton standing with the soldiers and a sergeant insignia on his shoulder. Nodding, Rose carefully set the Master's weapon on the ground before she said, "I was attacked by a strange man. When I hit him I was able to grab that." Rose saw the soldiers tensing up and looking beyond her. "He called himself the Master."
That caused an instant reaction. Benton strode forth and carefully picked up the weapon and examined it for a moment. It looked a lot like a ray gun out of a science fiction movie, which given who the creator who was it could be. Benton turned to one of the soldiers and handed him the weapon.
"Take this to the Doctor immediately," Benton ordered. He looked at the other soldiers. "Alert the Brigadier that the Master is in the area and prepare patrols to find him."
Rose debated telling Benton where the Master's TARDIS was but remembered that she wouldn't know what that was. "Excuse me, sir," Rose said softly to get Benton's attention. "I saw him come out of a house a few streets down." When Benton gave her an interested look, Rose quickly described the house that the Master's TARDIS had landed in and what street it was on. Benton noted all of her words with brief nods and continued giving orders. It was all Rose could do to keep from smiling at the future Brigadier General.
"What is going on here sir?" Rose questioned. "I came to surprise my family and found them gone."
"Your family?" Benton questioned.
"I've been away at school," Rose answered vaguely to duck the question. "And when I got here there were military vehicles and then that strange man showed up." She widened her eyes and did her best to look innocent and scared, she knew Benton well enough to know about his soft touch.
"Calm down Miss," Benton said gently. "Come with me and I'll take you to the centre of operations. Someone will evacuate you as soon as possible."
"Thank you," Rose sighed gratefully as she allowed herself to be led towards the military vehicles that were circled like American West wagons in the town square. She let her eyes move through the scene taking in the soldiers, equipment and keeping a tentative eye out for the Doctor. The Master had verified that Time Lords saw something a little abnormal when looking at her time lines. At least they didn't have Eve's super time sense on a personal level.
"Now Miss, can I please have your name," Benton said with a small smile when they reached one of the command vehicles. Rose almost laughed at the sight of one of the soldiers speaking into a massive walky-talky with a high antenna.
"I'm Marion Jones," Rose told him quickly, figuring that there was at least one Jones family in the village.
"Alright Miss Jones," Benton confirmed with a nod. "Please wait here, my superior will have some questions for you and then you'll be taken to join your family."
"Sir, why was everyone evacuated in the first place?" Rose questioned. "Is it because of that man?"
"Perhaps," was all Benton said before he motioned for her to sit down at the edge of the town square fountain, "Please stay here, I'll be back in a moment."
Rose shifted nervously as Benton walked off to find the Brigadier. A nearby soldier gave her a small smile before turning his attention back to a radio of some kind. At least she didn't seem to be raising alarm bells with anyone she knew yet. Judging from all the stories she'd heard in UNIT meeting random people was just part of the job so she probably didn't have to worry about anyone remembering her in the future. Except for the Doctor and Master.
Rose couldn't stay still and stood up, peeking around a jeep and back towards the area where she had last seen the Master. Her hand dropped to her pocket and she brushed the edge of the hammer thoughtfully. How was she supposed to find the last piece of chronosteel while in UNIT custody? Rose tightened her grip on the chronosteel hammer in her pocket and turned in a circle trying to see if anything was out the place. The problem was that to her twentieth-first century experiences with UNIT everything here looked out of place.
"Miss Jones," a voice called nearby. Rose realised with a start that she was being called and turned quickly to see Benton standing across the square with the Brigadier and the Doctor. Swallowing, Rose arranged her hat in her pocket to help hide the metal weapons stashed. UNIT very rarely tried to search civilians in her time, but she wasn't going to make it obvious. She walked across the square, already aware that the Doctor's eyes had settled on her and that the Master's weapon was in his hands.
"Yes, sergeant?" Rose asked when she reached them.
"Miss Jones I am Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart," the much younger General greeted in his familiar stern tone. "Describe the man you saw."
Rose quickly gave them a description of the Master that had attacked her and she noted the Doctor nodding, but clearly distracted by something.
"That settles it," the Brigadier said with a sharp nod. "Benton alert HQ that the Master is in the area and have them send reinforcements. We'll get him this time."
"Yes sir," Benton agreed. "And Miss Jones?"
"Miss Grant can stay with her while we organise a new perimeter." The Brigadier turned to Rose, "I'm afraid that we can't move you out until the area is fully secured, but I assure you that you will be quite safe."
Rose started to open her mouth to argue that she couldn't stay with Jo Grant but realised that it would do no good and only lead to more questions. She would just make sure that she gave Jo no reason to remember her either. Following Benton, Rose noticed the Doctor give her one last long look and managed to give him a small smile. After a moment he returned the smile and gave her a small nod before turning back to the Brigadier. Rose would never admit that her heart gave a jump at getting a smile from another incarnation of her Doctor, not in a million years. Well, under the right circumstances she would.
Jo Grant had apparently set up shop in a small pub just off the main square, but she instead had tea waiting instead of alcohol. Rose knew the UNIT boys well enough to know which one they'd honestly prefer, but she knew the regulations well enough. After the day she'd had, a cup of tea sounded absolutely perfect.
"Miss Grant," Benton greeted as Jo entered the main room from a storage room. "This is Miss Jones, she's waiting to be moved out."
"Understood," Jo answered with a familiar smile that Rose couldn't help but feel happy at seeing. "Won't you sit down dear," Jo added looking at Rose. "And I'll fix you some tea."
"Thank you, Miss Grant," Rose replied pleasantly. "And thank you, sergeant."
Benton excused himself to rejoin the soldiers as Jo made Rose a cup of tea. "I'm Jo by the way," she said as she handed the tea to Rose.
"Marion," Rose answered after reminding herself not to get too comfortable.
"Well don't worry Marion," Jo assured her. "Everything is under control and we'll have you back with your family in no time."
"Thank you," Rose said as she took a sip of her tea. "That's very reassuring."
"Oh, you needn't worry why just-" Jo was interrupted by a burst of static on her radio.
The small woman frowned and rushed over to the large radio. "Please repeat," she called into the radio. "This is Jo Grant, please repeat." There was only more static and Jo fiddled with the radio for a moment. "Oh bother," Jo muttered. She glanced over at Rose. "Well, you be alright for a few minutes?"
"Yes Miss Grant," Rose assured her as she glanced around the room. In the corner of her eye, she saw movement at one of the windows.
Jo hesitated for a moment but nodded. "I'll be right back. I need to report this."
"I'll be fine," Rose promised.
Jo darted out the door and Rose waited in silence for a few moments before she heard the door open once again. She forced herself to take in a deep breath as someone walked towards her. Rose looked up at the Master and took another sip of her tea, forcing herself to act calmer than she felt as her mind rushed to form a new plan. The Master stepped closer to her, still gripping the tracking device in one hand, but he had no weapon.
"My dear," he greeted in a coldly polite tone. "This is the last time that I shall ask you to give me the items you carry. Obey me or I shall become far less polite."
Rose felt a little braver than she would have normally in the presence of the Master since he was no longer armed and had suffered a rather embarrassing attack. She set down her teacup and leaned back in the chair.
"Tell me Koschei you're a Time Lord, a renegade, but a Time Lord none the less. Do you wish to see the Web of Time fall apart?" Rose questioned as she did her best to appear in control and unworried.
Her words startled the Master who straightened up even more and tensed. His eyes examined her again and he tucked the tracking device into the pocket of his suit coat.
"Now that I have your attention, let us discuss how pragmatic you're prepared to be." Rose offered as she gestured towards the chair that Jo had been sitting in. "The universe is under threat from two beings that were exiled from it millennia ago."
"And you're here to stop them I suppose," the Master said as he sat down. "What are you? You cannot be a human."
"Why would you assume that I'm not a human?" Rose questioned with a raised eyebrow as she poured a new cup of tea for the Master, aware of his eyes on her.
"Humans do not know of the Web of Time," the Master answered tightly. "And one certainly would not know that I once went by that name." The Master all but growled the last part.
"I was appointed to the task of retrieving three objects that were placed in Earth's history to change time," Rose informed him cautiously. "These objects have the power to alter the timelines and history of the point in time they are in. They even contain the power to alter fixed points in time." She saw the Master flinch slightly in the corner of her eye. "I have two of the three which is why your little tracking device keeps leading you to me."
Rose pulled out the hammer and dagger to show them to the Master but quickly tucked them away again before he could reach for them. "The third is still out there and still has the potential to damage the Web of Time."
"You might have mentioned this earlier my dear," the Master said as he added milk and sugar to his tea. It was his turn to seem calm and collected, but Rose didn't like that one bit. "Before rudely attacking me."
"Forgive me," Rose apologised with a teasing smile. "But I'd just been threatened by one of the beings responsible for this little problem and you had the nerve to point a weapon at me. Besides," Rose glanced out the window. "At the time I was hoping to find the item and finish my mission quickly and quietly."
"Why have you not sought help from the Doctor?" the Master asked. "He is also a Time Lord and he is so protective of these pathetic humans." The Master paused and added, "I ask again my dear what are you? Eternal?" The Master seemed a bit nervous now, "Guardian?"
"Can you set your device to eliminate the items I currently have and track only the third?" Rose questioned, enjoying the Master's queries.
"Perhaps," the Master answered as he set down his tea. "But why would I do such a thing?"
"You are a Time Lord and time is under threat," Rose said simply.
"Ah but I am a renegade my dear," the Master replied with a charming smile. "You are I'm sure aware of that."
"I am aware of that," Rose agreed as she looked over at him. "I am aware that you are Koschei, you come from the planet Gallifrey and attended Prydon Academy in your youth to become a Time Lord. While at school you were part of a group of renegades known at the Deca including the young Doctor and another infamous renegade the Rani, then Ushas. Since your departure from Gallifrey, you have sought to become the Master of all Matter which is how you selected your new name. You have attempted to conquer many worlds and are now fixated on Earth as it is the location of your old friend the Doctor who was recently exiled by the Time Lords for interference in time and forced to regenerate into his present form." Rose smirked, "How am I doing?"
"That proves nothing," the Master replied shortly.
"Only that I know a great deal about you while you are not even certain what I am," Rose pointed out, holding back a smile. "Perhaps it would be in your favour to simply give aid without string attached and have it be remembered by my … overseer."
The Master's cool expression was twisted in displeasure, but Rose could see a genuine hint of worry in his eyes. Apparently being a renegade Time Lord was still enough to worry about the structure of time coming undone.
"Very well," the Master agreed as he withdrew the tracking device from his pocket. "I will need to make some adjustments to this first. What exactly are we looking for?"
"It will be metal," Rose explained. "Something simple I expect, but beyond that, there is no way to be certain." She watched as the Master pressed a series of buttons and then held the device near here. It made a series of small beeps and the Master nodded.
"That should cancel out the energy trace it is picking up from the items you hold." The Master stood from his seat and held out a hand to Rose. "Shall we my dear?"
Rose accepted his hand while forcing her features to remain blank. "Lead on," she answered as he helped her to her feet. "Just mind the soldiers. I believe you're their most wanted."
The Master looked like he wanted to snap at her for that remark, but his courteous manner silenced whatever he wanted to say. Rose dropped her hand to guard the pocket where the items were hidden away, but also to be ready to summon her sword when needed. She had no doubt that if the Master saw an opening to retrieve all three items he'd take it. Probably to get the energy they created or blackmail her 'overseer' for something he wanted.
His history avoiding UNIT quickly became apparent as he easily led her through the village while ducking into the shadows to hide from patrols. Fifteen minutes after leaving the first pub they found themselves in front of another one. Unlike the main square pub that was clean, neat and friendly this one was much dirtier and much less inviting. Rose hadn't thought that such a small village could have a seedy underbelly, but apparently, she'd found it.
"Distasteful humans," the Master muttered before he opened the door.
He held it open for Rose to step inside first which surprised her more than a little, but this form of the Master seemed to operate on elegant manners and even more elegant plans to take over the universe. She was starting to see why his strange rivalry and near friendship with the Doctor had survived so long and she wasn't entirely sure she liked what it said about her significant other.
"Thank you," Rose told him.
The pub was dark and empty with glasses and bottles still on the tables from the evacuation order. Judging from the marks on the floor UNIT had dragged out a few of the patrons.
"We're very close," the Master informed her as he examined his device. "Something that would alter Earth's history in here?" He gave her a doubtful look.
"Maybe not today or tomorrow," Rose pointed out as she walked further into the main room. "But it would have. Of course, you and the Doctor detecting the item and coming here to find it may have already altered that."
"How so my dear?" the Master questioned as he moved around a table.
"Well there are no humans around anymore," Rose answered with a shrug. "Because of Time Lords being on Earth so maybe the change has already been stopped. Who knows what it was going to be? Someone accidently being killed, someone making a different decision or someone meeting someone new, who knows? You're aware of how delicate timelines can be."
The Master shook his head at her and moved behind the bar with his device still raised. "We're too close for me to get a clear signal," he admitted a moment later.
"Then we search by hand," Rose said as she began looking for the telltale shimmer of the chronosteel.
"If we must," the Master huffed before putting the tracking device back into his pocket.
That was when Rose saw it in the corner of her eye, a flick of strange shimmering light. She turned to see a dartboard hung on the wall with a collection of darts stuck in it. Glancing over her shoulder at the Master who was still examining something at the bar, Rose moved over the dartboard and tried to determine which one of the little metal darts was the right one.
"Find something?" The Master asked, his voice moving closer to her.
"Maybe," Rose replied as she tried not to tense up. She reached for the nearest dart and brushed her fingers over the metal, but nothing happened. She tried another one, but once again there was not reaction.
"That's enough," the Master ordered sharply. "Turn around now." Rose turned slowly and wasn't surprised to see another ray gun like weapon in the Master's hand. "That's better," he said smugly.
"Had time to go back to your TARDIS I see," Rose replied. "Did you move it before UNIT arrived?"
"A few roads down," the Master answered. "I'll be long gone with all of the items long before they find it."
"Do you honestly think you'll get away with this?" Rose questioned with a small smile.
"My dear," the Master breathed with a smile of his own. "I assure you that these remarkable artefacts will be in excellent hands and helping to shape the universe."
"Is that what they're calling it now?" Rose asked with a tilt of her head. She raised her right hand to push a strand of loose hair behind her ear.
"Keep your hands up," the Master ordered. "And come over here."
Rose obeyed, keeping her hands high. The Master grabbed one of her hands and pulled her over to him. "Coat off," he hissed.
"Buy me a drink first," Rose said flippantly.
"My dear, do not try my patience," the Master hissed looking right at her. "You will obey me."
Rose felt a push against her mind but forced the feeling away. "Alright alright," She said as she shrugged out of her coat, grabbing the sonic pen from the pocket as she did so and set it on the table next to them with the chronosteel objects glinting in the light. Before the Master could see, Rose slipped the sonic pen into the pocket of her jeans.
"That's better," the Master murmured. "Now which dart is it?"
"I don't know," Rose replied honestly. "I can't tell by sight. I have to touch the object to be sure."
The Master gave her a hard and disbelieving look while he kept his weapon pointed at her. Swallowing, Rose remained still while the Master moved towards the dartboard with his eyes moving between her and the darts. Finally, he reached the board and started to inspect the darts, trying his focus away from Rose. Keeping an eye on him, Rose reached into her pocket and pulled out the sonic pen. She lifted her hands up to her head again and pushed the button of the sonic pen with it pointed at the bar.
Three glasses exploded on the shelf and Rose slipped the sonic pen into her hair. The Master spun and looked over at the bar in alarm, no longer pointing the weapon at Rose. Lunging forward, Rose summoned her sword and swung it upward. She stopped the blade against the Master's neck, cutting into his skin only the smallest bit, but enough to draw blood and get his attention.
"Drop the gun," Rose ordered. "Quickly."
"Who are you?" the Master demanded as he eyes dropped to the sword in her hand.
"Someone who will use this if she is not obeyed," Rose smirked. "You will obey me. Drop the gun."
The alien weapon to the floor and the Master smirked slightly. "I congratulate you," he chuckled. "You are a very surprising woman. Perhaps we should discuss a future partnership. My intelligence combined with your abilities would make for an interesting team."
"Don't flatter yourself," Rose retorted. "You're not as intelligent as you like to think." Rose shifted backwards just enough to grab her coat from the table. She didn't bother trying to put it on but instead clutched it to her chest. "I'm going to move and if you value your current incarnation then you should too."
Rose shifted to the right, moving towards the dartboard and was pleased when the Master did not resist the movement of the blade. Contrary to what she said, Rose wasn't interested in killing the Master. Even if she had killed in the past, she knew too much of his history to think it could be altered. Her back nearly collided with the wall with the dartboard right next to her. Rose didn't take her eyes off the Master and blindly groped for the darts. Each time nothing happened she dropped it to the wooden floor.
"And what are you going to do with me?" The Master questioned.
"Nothing," Rose answered. "Once I find what I'm looking for I'll depart and you're free to leave."
"Truly," the Master questioned. "Just like that."
"Today's not your day to die," Rose muttered as she reached for another dart. "Even if it should be."
"You wound me, my dear," the Master cooed. "But I give you my congratulations for the success of your mission." The Master chuckled and added, "And the next time we meet I believe I will owe you some blood for that which you have drawn from me."
"I'll doubt we'll meet again," Rose answered as her fingers finally found the right dart. "But it we ever do meet again, I'll kick your arse."
She didn't hear the Master's reply as the time window reopened and the bright light surrounded her. Rose felt herself being swept away. She stumbled forward a moment later gasping for breath as her sword retracted to bracelet form. The dart was clutched tightly in her left hand and she tightened her grip further.
"That's it, Miss Tyler," the familiar voice of the Shopkeeper said. "Deep breaths."
He moved forward and gently took Rose's right elbow in his hands to help her to her feet. Rose swayed for a moment as she stood up, but the feeling soon passed. The grip on her elbow vanished and the Shopkeeper reappeared in front of her a moment later with a silver tray in his hands.
"The items in you please," the Shopkeeper urged.
Rose's vision had cleared enough that she could properly see the Shopkeeper and the White Guardian watching from his chair. She nodded and used her right hand to pull the hammer from her pocket and set it on the tray. The dagger followed a moment later with a soft clang. Then Rose looked down at the dart in her left hand.
"I don't get it," Rose told the White Guardian as she looked over at him. "How does a dart change the world so much that it threatens the Web of Time. Would it have killed someone or something like that?" Rose glanced down at it, testing the weight. "Maybe the General or the Brigadier?"
"Nothing like that Rose," the White Guardian chuckled. "In the hands of a Time Lord with a TARDIS, the energy of the chronosteel could be very dangerous. Which is why the Master was looking for it."
Rose blinked and then her eyes widened as she understood what the White Guardian was really saying. "The change in history was going to be the Master getting this piece," Rose realised. "The dart was then and there because the Master was spending so much time on Earth. It was a special delivery for him."
"Which would have given him the ability to completely alter the course of history," the Shopkeeper laughed. "Indeed which is why your solution was so amusing. Using him to thwart the plan intended to give him power."
"I needed help finding the damn thing," Rose muttered as she held it out to the Shopkeeper.
The Shopkeeper merely smiled and took the dart from her, placing it on the tray with the hammer and the dagger.
"You have my thanks, Rose Tyler," the White Guardian said. "You performed a great service today and I recognise that it was difficult for you." The White Guardian gave her a soft and surprisingly gentle look. "I wish you the best."
Rose shut her eyes against the bright flash of light that followed these words. When the light cleared and she reopened her eyes she was alone in an empty room with no trace of the shop and items that had filled the place only moments before.
"You're welcome," Rose called as she slipped her hat back on. She turned on her heel towards the door and left the shop, pausing only to lock the door behind her.