The Way Back by Edzel2 (3/?)
A poster on a certain well-known forum stated that they would like to see the Master come back after TEOT thus: washed up on a beach in a bay somewhere, having fallen out of the void....
Title: The Way Back
Genre: Doctor Who
Characters: Simm-Master, the Doctor (Eleven), Joshua and Abigail Naismith, Martha and Mickey Jones-Smith, etc, OCs....
Rating/Warnings: Adult themes throughout –some bad language, sex and violence
Thanks as always must go to my Beta, Jinxed, for her sterling work. :-)
Mina stares at the soldiers, aghast. ‘Who the hell are you? And what do you mean by barging into my home?’
Toby runs to her side as she carefully places the mobile –which she hasn’t switched off and hopes the soldiers won’t notice – onto the coffee table. Nipper twists and snarls in the boy’s arms.
‘Roberts – switch the mobile off.’ A burly soldier picks up the phone and turns it off.
‘I’ll take that.’ The soldier in charge pockets the mobile and nods to his men, two of whom approach the still sleeping Saxon.
‘But – Mister Saxon is sick!’ Mina protests as the soldiers roughly pull Saxon into a sitting position, forcing his hands behind his back and snapping handcuffs on him. He’s too dazed to struggle, blinking in surprise at his rude awakening.
‘If you know his name Mrs Faulkner then you will also know that he is single-handedly responsible for a number of murders. Right now it’s not his health that is my priority but his apprehension.’
‘Look, it’s my neighbour who thinks he’s Harold Saxon! I’m not convinced. And in any case, he’s still entitled to be treated humanely! Look at him!’
Saxon has been hauled to his feet, dislodging the duvet so that he stands, naked and confused, between two soldiers. His gaze is drawn to the insignia on the flak jackets of the troops surrounding him and he stiffens as if in recognition.
The commander inclines his head in acknowledgement. ‘Where are his clothes?’
Mina points to the pile of sodden clothing on the floor beside the couch. ‘They’re soaked. My son found him half-drowned and hypothermic on the beach about an hour ago. He’s just suffered a grand mal seizure. For goodness’ sake...’
As if on cue, Saxon’s knees give way and he falls to his knees before either of the soldiers can catch him.
‘Mrs Faulkner!’ The commander barks a warning as she rushes forward to support Saxon. She ignores him, lifting Saxon’s head from his chest to check his colour and breathing. He’s pale and sweating, but still very cool to the touch.
‘Toby, run upstairs to my wardrobe – there should be an old tracksuit of your father’s in there.’ She glares at the commander. ‘Let my son get clothes for him, at least.’
‘Go on, son. Quickly! And don’t get any ideas about phoning anyone, there’s a good lad.’
Toby runs from the room, Nipper wriggling and snapping in his arms, anxious to get free and bite a few ankles.
‘Mister Saxon, can you hear me?’
He blinks and slowly focuses on Mina’s face. So he is definitelyHarold Saxon, then. What happens now?
‘My name...’ he whispers, swallowing. He slumps, leaning into her and she realises he’s about to pass out again.
With an effort he remains conscious, his mouth working for a few moments before he finally manages to speak. ‘...is the Master... ’ He lifts his chin defiantly and glares at the commander before finally passing out.
‘The Master’? What kind of name is that, for heaven’s sake?’ she mutters as she lowers him gently to the floor. She looks up at the two soldiers, who stare dispassionately at her, unmoved by Saxon’s plight.
‘For goodness sake, take these cuffs off! He’s not exactly going anywhere, is he?’ She controls her anger with an effort. ‘Who the hell are you anyway? Those aren’t police uniforms.’
‘My apologies, Mrs Faulkner; I’d hoped it wouldn’t be necessary to involve you ... impossible now, I’m afraid. I’m Captain Stafford, Unified Intelligence Taskforce; UNIT for short. We received information that Harold Saxon was here.’
Simpson. Well, he’d said they should ring the police, hadn’t he? So how had this UNIT organisation got involved? Some sort of secret service unit, she supposes.
‘You heard him – he said his name is ‘The Master... not Harold Saxon.’ Surely the non-de-plume is little more than a madman’s delusion?
‘As far as the world at large is concerned, he is Harold Saxon,’ Stafford tells her. ‘You shouldn’t pay attention to anything he says.’
Toby returns, minus Nipper and with an armful of clothes. ‘I brought a tee-shirt, underwear and socks too, Mum,’ he says, glancing fearfully at the solders. ‘Oh – what happened to him?’ He takes in the handcuffs and his eyes widen.
‘Its okay, Toby – these men just want to interview Mister Saxon but they didn’t realise just how sick he is.’ She turns to Stafford again. ‘Look, the cuffs....I can’t dress him like this.’ She’d heard about these secret service people – didn’t they consider themselves beyond normal law? She hasn’t given it much thought in recent years, assuming paranoia and suspicion by left wing agitators to be behind such rumours (despite what she tells her neighbour, she’d been politically active as a student). But here is evidence that maybe such paranoia had been well-founded after all.
‘Release him,’ Stafford instructs his men. ‘He’ll have to be restrained once he’s dressed, I’m afraid.’
‘Oh, for heaven’s sake...’ Mina mutters under her breath. ‘Toby, would you help me?’
‘Okay.’ Toby starts to pull socks over Saxon’s feet. ‘Why do they want him, Mum?’ he whispers. ‘Is it because he killed all those people before?’
‘Well, I don’t know, Toby, but I expect that’s part of it, yes.’ If that’s really what happened, she thinks. It’s hard to know what to believe now...
With Toby’s help, they soon have him fully clothed – they’re a little too big but at least he’ll be warmer. Once Saxon is dressed, the handcuffs are replaced.
‘Where are you taking him?’ Mina asks. ‘Will he receive medical treatment?’
‘That’s no concern of yours, Mrs Faulkner. All I can tell you is that we’ll take good care of him.’
‘If you mean what I think you mean by that...’ Stafford remains stony-faced, and Mina realises with horror that they probably intend to kill Saxon. And since she and Toby know what is going on...
‘Oh, my God; you are, aren’t you? You’re going to...’ she remembers Toby’s presence and stops.
‘Don’t be ridiculous, Mrs Faulkner. We’re not murderers. Unlike Mister Saxon here,’ He nods to his men, who haul the recovering Saxon to his feet and drag him from the room. He stumbles and the soldiers drag him forward. Mini is trembling with a combination of fright and anger. What kind of people are they?
‘What will you do with him, then?’ she follows them from the room and down the hall.
‘That’s not your concern, I’m afraid. Take my advice, Mrs Faulkner - just get on with your life and be glad you lived to tell the tale.’
‘Now who’s being ridiculous...’ she retorts, but Stafford and his men are already halfway down the driveway ; she sees Saxon stagger again as they open the rear doors of an unmarked black van. He’s hauled none too gently to his feet and dragged into the van; the last she sees of him is a pale face looking back at her. She has the strong impression that he’s asking her to do something as he stares right at her until the door closes and hides him from sight.
The journey is a nightmare of noise and discomfort – made worse by his physical condition, which is infuriatingly debilitating to say the least. The Master’s relief at finding himself still alive is soon tempered by the realisation that although his life force seems to have been somehow restored to him and he’s no longer in danger of literally coming apart at the seams, the Saxon incarnation has been considerably weakened by his immersion in what he decides has to be the coldest ocean of any world he’s ever known. And to make matters worse, he’s been taken prisoner by UNIT, the Doctor’s old cronies from a few incarnations ago and several decades by Earth time... the organisation has changed, though – no longer somewhat quaint and polite in the way of gentlemen but staffed by hardened professional soldiers with a paramilitary bent. No doubt they want to take him to task for his misappropriation of their flagship Valiant, not to mention the killing of a number of stuffy politicians. They should be awarding him a medal for getting rid of Uncle Sam, at least...
The period between attacking Rassilon in the Naismith mansion and waking half-drowned on a cold beach on Earth is a total blank. Is Rassilon dead? Is the Time War locked again? And how did he himself end up back on Earth? Of all the places he could have finished up... he can only assume a slingshot effect is responsible; the link has snapped at the other end and he’s been pulled back to his starting point. The change in location (because wherever this is, it’s nowhere near the Naismith property – he’d have remembered the incessant shrilling cry of seabirds for a start) is no doubt due to the changing orbit of the planet over the seasons.
But more profoundly disturbing than either of these discoveries are the drums – or rather, the lack of them. When the Doctor had destroyed the link, sending Rassilon and his High Council back into the Time War, his actions had presumably also cut off the source of the sound which has plagued him from childhood. His mind is a silent place now, and he’s shocked to realise that rather than being relieved, he actually feels somewhat bereft. The drums, no matter what their cause, had been a part of him for so long that without them he feels... abandoned. With the drums he’d always had a purpose... what is he to do now? And what has happened to the Doctor? The Master supposes that he’s probably slunk away to lick his wounds and no doubt to play with that Earth girl, what was her name – Donna? His thoughts chase themselves in dizzying circles and he leans his head back against the side of the vehicle as a feeling of intense nausea overtakes him.
His fevered ponderings are brought to an abrupt halt as the vehicle lurches to a stop, throwing him violently against the bulkhead. The two helmeted and visored soldiers guarding him swing bring their weapons to bear as he struggles to regain an upright position, not easy with his hands cuffed behind his back. They haven’t spoken a word to him so far and it seems they aren’t about to start now.
The rear door opens and the Commander appears.
‘Bring him,’ he orders, staring at the Master with undisguised disgust.
‘To what do I owe this dubious pleasure?’
‘Silence!’ One of the troopers snaps.
‘I see that UNIT soldiers still don’t have any manners,’ he retorts.
The commander wheels back to face him and beckons to an aide, who steps forward with a blindfold which he places none too gently around the Master’s head, plunging him into darkness.
‘If you don’t want to be sedated then you’ll remain silent, Sir. We’ve reviewed your file and are fully aware of your talent for hypnotism. We’re not going to give you the chance to use it.’
The Master smirks. If this fool thinks he’s going to be any more successful at keeping him a prisoner than anyone else who has tried it, he’s very much mistaken.... his head suddenly spins sickeningly and he’s on his knees yet again before he realises that he isn’t going to make it to the prison cell under his own steam.
‘Dammit!’ Stafford curses as the Master collapses again. He gestures to the troopers and they haul the unconscious Time Lord up and half carry, half drag him into the building.
‘Mum, what are you doing?’ Toby looks over her shoulder at the computer screen.
‘I’m trying to find out what this UNIT organisation is all about.’ I don’t care who they are. They can’t just barge into my home and haul away a sick man.
‘Because what they’re doing is wrong, Toby – they’ve dragged a sick man away in handcuffs and no matter what he might or might not have done, no-one deserves to be treated like that. We allow or condone that and we’re no better than he is.’
‘Oh.’ He nods. This seems reasonable to him, although he still doesn’t like Saxon and doesn’t really care what happens to him so long as he doesn’t turn up here again.
The doorbell chimes, and Toby scurries off to answer it. When Mina hears Simpson’s voice she quickly shuts the laptop down and rises to greet him.
‘Mina....how are you? I see they took Saxon away,’ Simpson strides in, all self-importance and pompousness.
‘No thanks to you,’ she retorts angrily.
‘I beg your pardon?’
Mina sees that he’s expecting thanks and this makes her even angrier. ‘Look, I understand that you did what you thought was right, George. But they’ve just hauled a very sick man away in handcuffs. They had to hold him up and drag him along, George! That’s just not on. He should be in hospital!’
‘Mina, I don’t think you quite realise what a narrow escape you and Toby have had,’ Simpson holds up his hands in a shrug of bemusement. ‘Saxon is insane, and he’s dangerous. All my contacts say the same thing. You do not want to get involved. Think of your son!’
‘I am, George – and I don’t want him to grow up thinking that it’s acceptable to treat people in that fashion. No matter what he’s done, he doesn’t deserve that – and the fact that he may well be, as you put it, ‘insane’, makes it even worse! If he’s not fully responsible for his own actions, then how can you possibly justify it?’
Mina is really angry now, and the adrenalin surge caused by the appearance of the armed troops in her own home is causing her to shake. She recognises the reaction for what it is –delayed shock- and holds up a hand.
‘I’m sorry, George. I’m just...’ she drops onto the couch, hardly noticing the damp towels still lying on it.
‘Of course, of course – you’re shocked. No offense taken. Toby, make your mum a cup of tea would you?’
Toby nods and disappears into the kitchen without a word, his face pale and pinched with concern.
Simpson perches on the arm of the couch and awkwardly pats Mina’s shoulder as she struggles to control her tears. After a moment or two she sniffs, and pushes the hair back from her face.
‘Thank you, George. But I still stand by what I said – Saxon should have been taken to hospital, not dragged off at gunpoint to some interrogation cell.’ She sighs heavily. ‘Where would they have taken him, do you think?’
‘Oh, now, don’t ....’ Simpson falls silent as Mina’s hand covers his and she speaks in firm tones, her composure gradually returning.
‘George, I appreciate your concern. But if you and I are to remain on good terms, you won’t tell me what I should and shouldn’t be doing.’ She stares at him. ‘Okay?’
Simpson clearly isn’t happy but he knows when to quit. ‘I can’t pretend I’m happy about it, but, yes... okay. But you’re not going to go chasing after him, are you?’
Toby hands Mina a mug of tea and she takes a sip before answering.
‘I haven’t decided what – if anything – I’m going to do about any of this, George. At the moment I’m still trying to make sense of it. And you, young man,’ she says, turning to Toby, ‘have a weekend trip to get packed for!’
Toby nods unsmilingly. ‘Mum, I can stay if you want.’ He knows that glint in his mother’s eye – she’s not going to let the Saxon thing go, he knows. And the knowledge frightens him. Somehow the camping trip doesn’t seem important anymore.
‘Don’t be silly, Toby! You’ve been looking forward to this for ages! Go on, go and get packed. I’ll give Ben’s mum a call in a minute to find out what time she wants you there.’ She turns to Simpson.
‘Don’t worry, George – I’m not going to do anything daft. But I don’t have to be happy about what I’ve seen today.’
‘I’m very glad to hear it, Mina. Well, I’d best be off – you know where I am if you need me.’
Once Simpson has gone, Mina goes back to her laptop. She types in ‘Harold Saxon’ and for the next half hour reads until her eyes begin to ache. Shutting the laptop down again she takes the half-empty cup of cold tea into the kitchen and pours it away.
‘Toby, are you ready?’ she calls up the stairs, picking up the phone.
Stafford frowns through the glass at the figure lying motionless on the bed. The Master is almost hidden under a plethora of monitoring equipment.
‘Do you have an update for me?’ He addresses a short, plump man wearing medical whites.
‘I do, Commander. It’s definitely the Master, no doubt about it. Two hearts... a number of organs whose function I can’t determine... he appears to be younger than previous records indicate he should be, not to mention having an entirely different appearance to the chap who...’
‘Yes, yes, I know all that, Greg! But what’s wrong with him?’
Greg Bulmer hits the keyboard and a screen showing multiple images of the Master’s body appears.
‘It would appear that he’s hypothermic, for a start. There are traces of seawater in his lungs and stomach, severe blistering on the palms of both hands. And a brain scan indicates that he may have had a seizure of some kind very recently.’
‘What does all that mean?’ When can I interrogate him?
‘It means that he is a very sick man, Commander. Which is strange, because all the records seem to say that when his kind, the, er... ‘Time Lords’ as I believe they’re called, are seriously injured, they can rejuvenate their bodies. Change their whole appearance. As he does seem to have done, comparing his appearance with records of the last prisoner we had who went by the same name, ‘the Master’.’
‘Indeed. There were reports linking him to that incident at Broadfell a couple of months ago...’
‘Yes, I’ve read the reports. Of course the mass hallucinations... I can’t see how they would have got it into every water supply, and psychotropic drugs wouldn’t affect everyone the same way so ...’
‘That’s just a cover story,’ Stafford says curtly. ‘There was no poisoning of the water supply, obviously. But the media have to print something and it keeps them away from the facts, which are that Harold Saxon’s wife was a prisoner at Broadfell.’
‘So you think Saxon, or the Master, caused the explosion?’
‘We don’t know exactly what was going on,’ Stafford admits. ‘But it’s at least possible. As for the planet people reported seeing in the sky... it’s not the first time something like this has happened –remember last Christmas? What is it about that time of year...?’ he sighs. ‘Well, anyway – the physical damage caused by the proximity of another planet so close to our own can’t be put down to mass hallucination, obviously, not with all the earthquakes and tsunamis which followed it. And there was a man reported running away from the Broadfell explosion....’
‘Wasn’t Saxon’s wife killed in that?’
‘Yes, she was. And it seems that the Prison Governor was a member of some fanatical group who believed Harold Saxon wasn’t killed by his wife two years ago...the Cult of Saxon or some such.’
‘They were right, then, weren’t they?’
‘Yes....perhaps. But back to business; how long before I can speak to him?’
‘I really couldn’t say. In a human, I wouldn’t like to guess – recovery rates differ according to age, physical condition and so forth. With an alien species... all bets are off, Commander. At the moment he’s sedated, because every time he regains consciousness he has a seizure. Temperature therapy has been advocated as a remedy, but since he’s already hypothermic –and these people have a natural basal temperature that is considerably lower than our own – 15 degrees Celsius – and is still fitting... sedation seemed best. I’d say that it’s unlikely you’ll be interviewing him today and possibly not tomorrow, either.’
‘Damn!’ Stafford is disappointed. ‘Alert me if there’s even the slightest change,’ he throws over his shoulder as he hurries out of the sickbay.
‘What’s up, babe?’ Mickey slips his hands around Martha’s waist and bends to kiss the top of her head as she frowns at the computer screen.
‘I dunno....’ she taps a key and another window opens. ‘You know this software that you managed to hack from the old Torchwood site... Tosh’s tracker program...?’
‘Yeah, I remember...What about it?’ He rests his chin on the top of Martha’s head and studies the screen with her as she opens multiple tabs.
‘Well... you know how we’ve got it set to alert us if anyone keys certain words on the web...’
‘Like ‘the doctor’ ‘blue box’ and so on...?’
Martha nods, either not catching or ignoring the slightly teasing tone with which Mickey says the words. ‘Someone has been Googling ‘Harold Saxon’, ‘The Master’, and ‘UNIT’; and being very methodical about it, too.’
‘I didn’t think many people know that they’re the same person?’ Mickey stands up straight and frowns.
‘They don’t. As far as I know, only UNIT, Torchwood, the Doctor of course, you, me, my family – and Sarah Jane. And they would hardly need to Google him, would they?’
‘What about other security services? You can’t tell me that MI5 and that lot aren’t aware of them?’
‘Yeah; but they wouldn’t be using Google, would they? They’ll have their own intelligence network. They’re probably wondering the same thing we are right now.’
‘Well, it’s probably someone who remembers their nightmares over Christmas, that’s all...’
‘It’s possible I suppose... but even if they remembered his face, how would they know to connect the name ‘Master’ with him? Harold Saxon, yeah, I can understand. I expect anyone who did remember the dreams might also remember Saxon and put the two together and Google him. But only a few people know that Saxon is the Master.’
‘So what’s your point?’
‘Sometimes Mickey...’ Martha rolls her eyes.
‘What, you reckon it could be the Doctor?’
Martha stares at him. ‘No... Well, it did cross my mind... but I don’t think so. Why would he? But someone knows –or suspects - who he is, and they’ve spent half the afternoon looking him up. Why d’you think anyone would bother doing that, Mickey?’
Mickey frowns, realisation dawns. ‘Because.... because he’s been seen? He’s back?’
‘Why else would anyone be looking him up? Someone has seen him, thought “Hang on, you’re meant to be dead!” and gone looking for information. Either to confirm ID or ... I dunno. But that business with the planet in the sky and all that damage... and the mass hallucinations that were supposed to be down to psychotropic drugs in the water... I’ve spoken to Gwen and she says its nonsense. The logistics of getting drugs into every single water supply around the world... it’s a no-brainer, as we know. Even UNIT has to know that. Some Government department is probably behind that story.’
‘Yeah.... you ever regret giving that up?’
‘No. I remember the Doctor wasn’t too happy about the way they were going when we had that trouble with the Sontarons and the Atmos devices... you won’t remember that, but they’d gone all paramilitary.... You know him...’
‘Yeah... destroyer of worlds, but he never carries a weapon...’ Mickey still has issues with the Doctor; for all that he acknowledges that he and Martha owe the Doctor their lives.
Martha just gives him a look.
‘Sorry babe. So, how are we gonna find out who’s looking him up?’
‘Another little bit of software from Tosh... remember that other program that you couldn’t get to open?’
‘All it needed was a password. Gwen knew all Tosh’s; she gave them to me.’
‘Right... and it does what?’
‘This!’ Martha taps two keys in quick succession and the program lists the IP addresses and physical location with each enquiry for ‘The Master’ and ‘Harold Saxon.’ Even at a glance, it’s obvious that each search was performed on the same machine in the same location...
‘Seaford.’ Martha reads the name. ‘East Sussex...’
‘There must be hundreds of people...ah. Nice one, Tosh...’
Martha quickly scribbles the details and shuts the program down. ‘Mina Faulkner, 24 Holly Road, Seaford...’
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