“For the last time, Tyler, you can forget it!” the young, slim blonde seemed unphased by the supposed authoritative male’s command. She’d never been one for the rules. “If you haven’t noticed, we’re already in way over our heads, just tryin’ to stay alive down here. You wanna’ go up there where he can see you? You might as well put a bullet to your head. Die with a little dignity intact.”
“But we can’t just leave them up there,” she protested, her determined nature shining through. “We have to do something.”
“What the hell can we do, Rose?” the suited male with the welsh lilt addressed her, undisguised fear sparkling in his dark eyes. “Our lord and Master is everywhere and anywhere. He’s got the Doctor, the reason Torchwood was initialized in the first place, eating out of a dog bowl for Christ’s sake. Doesn’t that tell you anything?”
“Yeah… yeah it tells me everything,” Rose swallowed against the lump in her throat, her eyes glittering suspiciously. “I’d rather die tryin’ to save my Doctor than have to suffer watching the Master taunt and belittle him another day. Cos’ its slowly killing me inside, having to watch his broadcasts and not be able to at least bring him down a notch. The arrogant bastard needs to be taught a lesson.”
Owen smirked, his tone disbelieving. “And I suppose you’re the one who’s gonna’ give it to him, are you?”
“No,” Rose replied bluntly. “We all are. Cos’ I believe that if we all pull together and put our minds to it, we can infiltrate the Valiant. Despite all that power and fear he holds over us all, he’s still ultimately too cocky and over-confident in his ways. He becomes too set in his attentions and stupidly ignorant to those he deems unlikely to be a threat. What if we could somehow infiltrate from the inside?”
A female appeared at her side, a somehow familiar woman, who had taken it upon herself to take her under her wing, since she’d arrived in this universe. Gwen Cooper was not unlike herself in many aspects, but best of all she sympathised and she listened. She’d listened carefully as one particularly emotional day had encouraged her to open up. The only one who actually made time for her. “Rose, sweetheart, you’ve got to stop this talk,” she spoke in a soft, almost calming welsh tongue as she stroked her hair affectionately. “Even if we somehow did get aboard, it would be too dangerous to carry out any sort of plan. I know you miss him; I don’t pretend that I don’t miss Jack. But we have to think what they would want for us, Rose. Do you really think your Doctor would want for you to wind up dead? Or worse yet, in the Master’s possession?”
“No,” Owen looked up from his work on the other side of the rift monitor, a challenge in his tone as he stared at the blonde with irritation. “Please, let the whining bitch go. See how soddin’ far it gets her when she ends up as one of the Master’s whores, having him parade her in front of her beloved Doctor.”
Ianto sighed as he slumped into the nearest seat, taking up a mug of his renowned coffee from the side. “He’s not wrong. Pretty girl like you, he wouldn’t think twice. You’re better off giving him a wide berth, Rose.” He arched an eyebrow delicately, “We all are.”
“Jack and the Doctor will get out of there,” Gwen reassured her, a hopeful smile upon her unique features. One which only just managed to hide away her true fears. “They’ll think of something and come back to us. This wont last forever, I think you know it was never meant to be, as much as I do. Just have a little faith in what you truly believe in and try and relax.”
Tosh winced at her choice words. It was like showing a red flag to a bull. She didn’t disappoint. “Relax! You’re tellin’ me to relax? To kick back and become subservient like the rest of the bloody human race, while that maniac destroys half of the Earth and forces the rest into slavery?” She crossed her arms defensively, that spark the Doctor had always loved about her, still burning brightly within her dark eyes. “You might all be used to being the Captain’s seconds. Only taking orders from the man himself and hiding away when them going gets tough, but I just can’t. If there’s one thing I’ve learnt this past year, being away from the Doctor, it’s that sometimes you’ve got to be your own. You have to stand up and at least try to make a difference. Cos’ if you don’t, no-one else will.”
Everyone, surprisingly including Owen, was silent then, seemingly taking in Rose’s words and finding themselves unable to deny them. She was right, of course she was, but it didn’t change the fact that he was the biggest threat they’d come up against.
Tosh turned back to her computer screen, her eyebrows rising in almost acceptation of the routine these days. It was Friday, his weekly broadcast day. “Talk of the devil,” she muttered as she tapped into the speakers.
Rose rolled her eyes skyward as the Master’s sickly sweet voice filled the hub. The Time Lord clearly needed a nice padded cell with a bonus straight jacket, and she was more than happy to contribute to his downfall if given the right opportunity.
These broadcasts were only to keep the world in check. A few choice threats and insane contributions on his part, and he kept himself entertained by the world’s dormant stasis. He often flaunted and made fun at the Doctor’s state, only proving her theories that he wouldn’t have got where he was now, should the Doctor be at his full strength. He didn’t play fair or fight fairly and he indulged in it, showing his power by humiliating a physically older than his years Doctor. God only knows what an immortal Jack was going through.
“But before I leave and prise your eyes from my frankly delicious face and your ears from my charming, voice of a… very masculine nightingale,” the Master drawled, his features grinning at them from the screens. “I take much pleasure, a very lot indeed, in announcing that I’m on the lookout for all those sexy, devilishly attractive blondes out there. Since I think I have commented on several occasions of my fetish for those of the fairer hair.”
This caught Rose’s attention and she seemed to suddenly take interest, sitting up straighter in her seat to get a better look at the screens.
The image of the Master winked, a smirk emerging on his expression as he practically bristled with excitement at the prospect. “Yep, you heard me right ladies, please control your excitement and listen a bit more. I need staff to live and work up above you, on the Valiant, and if you’re an attractive blonde and want a little life reassurance, then you’re for me. Literally!”
He arched an eyebrow, seemingly refocusing the camera on the room beyond him and its inhabitants. Rose’s heart stopped as it settled on the Doctor and his disgusted expression, momentarily. “Course, you’ll get to interact and socialise with the very lively lot already aboard, but I think you’ll find you wont be able to take your eyes off of your Master, from when you arrive. Which can I say, I honestly don’t object to.”
“So,” he shifted the camera back on to him, smiling unnervingly back out at his viewers. “If you want to try out for me, I guarantee you all safe passage to Canary Wharf, which is where I will be picking out my favourites for hire, on the day after tomorrow. The toclafane will not harm a single one of you, unless instructed.” He traced his jaw with his hand, unable to suppress the excitement sparkling in his dark eyes. “Working for me will be an experience you’ll never forget.”
The screen froze out then, leaving only his smug expression, before Tosh switched him off all together.
Rose smiled smugly at the rest of the team as they slowly all turned their eyes on her. “I’ve got myself an interview to get to.”