17th October, 1978, 12:13pm
“We could use some more grenades, sir,” Yates says, tensely, propped as he is between the wall and one of the few soldiers still standing and lowering his empty revolver. “This isn’t making any difference and I’m out.”
“I know how to stop them!” The Doctor cries suddenly.
“Then do it!” Alistair orders, firing his own last bullet.
The Doctor runs a hand over his face. “I can’t,” he admits. “I need more power. I need my TARDIS. If this was the 90s or early 2000s, maybe I could do something with your mobile phones but-”
“Oh, never mind. The point is, I’ve done as much as I can do.”
“Not much,” the Doctor’s face crumples. “I am sorry, Brigadier, if he had left me my TARDIS…”
And then, just as Alistair is about to give his final platitude, about how it’s been an honour, as though summoned by the Doctor’s words, that familiar sound starts up once more. The Doctor takes a few steps towards the flickering shape in the corner, pure delight spreading over his features now.
“I told you she didn’t work properly,” he says joyfully, and is wrenching the door open virtually before the TARDIS has fully materialised.
The Master, enraged to the point of madness, practically falls out of it. His eyes are flashing, he’s dishevelled and looks positively deranged.
The Doctor only beams at him. “My dear Master. You’d best give your organic clones an order to stop now that you’re back with us.”
For a moment, Alistair thinks he’s angry enough to allow himself to be ripped to shreds out of spite, but after a moment, with a final glare, he jerks his hand in a harsh gesture, brow furrowed once more, and the clones stop moving.
There are a few seconds where everyone breathes a sigh of relief.
Alistair strides over, and grabs the Master harshly. “Arrest him,” he orders, handing him back to the men still thronged behind him. “Doctor?”
The Doctor pokes his head back out of his TARDIS, “Hmmmm?”
“We need to finish this,” Alistair reminds him patiently.
“Oh, yes,” the Doctor says vaguely, before ducking back in.
Alistair pinches the bridge of his nose and sighs deeply. He takes a moment to check that the Master is restrained. He is, and rather roughly too, Alistair isn’t sorry to see. “Watch him,” he says gruffly, and Yates wavers to a fully upright position, and nods. Alistair just hopes he doesn’t collapse into him.
Then the Doctor walks back out of the TARDIS with a long stretch of cable. He has the smallest recorder Alistair has ever seen in his hand. It looks oddly like the outside of the TARDIS, but he’s too used to the Doctor to bother commenting on it.
“What’s that?” he asks, as his ears pick out a girl’s voice, talking at some speed.
“This,” the Doctor answers, beaming with a paternal pride, “is your future, Brigadier.” He starts connecting his cable to the reassembled machine on his bench. And then glances up to focus his beam on the Master, fingers still working to fix the wire the way he wants. “You didn’t last long there did you? How embarrassing, Master, beaten by a group of humans.” He goes back to reconfiguring his wire.
“Doctor,” Alistair says urgently, what about the...the amorphous mass?”
“Don’t worry about it,” the Doctor says airily. “As he said, it’ll take 40 years to come to fruition. I’ll go up to the caves and disconnect it from its solution, kill it in utero as it were. Perhaps I’ll wait until Jo gets back, she’ll enjoy the trip.”
Alistair sighs again. “If you’re sure, Doctor.”
There’s a flash, and a fizz, and the teletropic scanner starts whirring and spinning. The organic clones in front of them begin to fizz and froth, white goo soaking their cheap clothes. Their faceless heads begin caving in,like punctured footballs.
“Urg,” says one of the recruits rather expressively.
They stand as the creatures slowly dissolve into puddles of sticky, viscous matter. The Master looks furious enough to start stamping his feet.
“That should be all of them,” the Doctor says, turning his scanner off. “The psychic link they share with one another and him should mean even the ones elsewhere around the country just suffered the same fate.”
Alistair looks around the room. Around him, men are shakily getting to their feet. “Right...I suppose I’d best start vetting a cleaning crew. And I need to check in with Captain Hawkins.”
The Doctor gives him a quick smile, and steps up to the Master, “And as for you, you’re a danger to all life in the universe.”
He tilts his chin up, “Going to kill me, Doctor?”
“Of course not, but this time I’ll oversee your security arrangements myself.” He looks old, and abruptly rather sad. “Come on,” he says to the men holding him. “We’d best take him somewhere secure. I’ll sit with him.”
“All sorted, Doctor?” Alistair asks as the Doctor enters his office without knocking.
The Doctor smiles slightly, “Amorphous mass reconstituted into its constituent parts, and the Master safely under lock and key.” He settles himself on the end of Alistair’s desk and they sit in quiet for a few moments. “The recruits?”
Alistair puts down his pen, expression turning grave. “Seven dead, a few with long hospitalisations ahead of them. But the majority will be fine. I’ve given Yates three weeks of R&R. My daughter isn’t speaking to me,” he adds ruefully. “I missed her match.”
“Well,” the Doctor says with an expression Alistair can’t parse. “She’ll forgive you.”
“Hmm. Was there anything else you wanted, Doctor?”
The Doctor’s expression opens a little, tucking away whatever thoughts are still lingering. “I have picked up some strange radiation spikes in Northumbria, I thought Jo and I would have a look.”
Alistair looks at the stacks of paperwork and reports still on the desk. “What about all of this, Doctor? How am I supposed to explain what happened here?”
The Doctor stands up, and heads for the door. “You’ll think of something Brigadier, UNIT always does.”