Chapter Twenty Six

Rose was stunned into silence while the Doctor read on.

"Hand, what hand?" Donna said.

"I lost a hand right after my regeneration. It was lopped off in battle by a Sycorax. That was on top of that ship I asked you about on Christmas Day when you told me you had a hangover, I believe. Anyway, somehow my friend Jack found it and kept it in a jar. He called it his Doctor detector and I hope that's the only reason he had it. But I took it back and it was in my TARDIS when the Master took it. He used the genetic material from the hand to artificially age me but apparently he wanted to do more with it."

"But why you? He's supposed to be the superior one," Rose said.

"Probably because deep down he recognizes he really isn't superior. I've defeated him so many times and outwitted him so perhaps he was going to use my DNA in the hope of creating my equal. Doesn't say why but perhaps this child would be his heir? Only reason I can think of for creating a child in these circumstances."

"And when was he thinking of doing this then?" Rose said angrily.

"Not sure. But it must have been sometime before I showed up if he was going to use the hand and not me. Then again, the hand wouldn't fight back," the Doctor said. "When he brought the subject up about children, Rose, what did you tell him?"

"I said I didn't think it was the right time," Rose said. "We had enough on our plate without adding a child and I just thought we should wait until we left office."

"I think the Master had other ideas," the Doctor said grimly. "I'm willing to bet he would have drugged you into insensibility, for the extraction of your eggs and for the implantation. Or just strapped you down and let you scream while he did it. Either way would have worked for him, I'm sure. He doesn't care as long as he gets his way. And that's what he's been doing since he got here from the future, getting his way. Well, he's gotten his way long enough," the Doctor said angrily as he slammed the folder down on the table. "Come on, we need to get out of here and get to the safe house before someone finds us."


The Master walked around Jack as he stood silently in the laboratory. He had finished his brainwashing and unstrapped his new assassin. To his delight, Jack obeyed his command to stand at attention without any resistance.

"What is your name?" he asked Jack.

"Assassin Delta," Jack said without emotion.

"Excellent. What is your mission?"

"To find the Doctor and Rose and capture them or kill them if they resist," he said.

"Good. Who do you serve?"

"The Master," Jack said without hesitation.

"And how long will you serve him?"


"Excellent," the Master said. "Now, you have your orders. I want you to start with the escape pod and work your way out from there. Talk to anyone nearby and if they've seen the Doctor and Rose, make them tell you where they've gone…by any means necessary. Is that understood?"

"Yes, Master."

"Good. Now go and obey me!"

The Master chuckled when Jack turned and headed towards the lab door.

"My immortal assassin. Bless you, my wife, for making him indestructible. Too bad that gift of mercy and love is about to be turned against you," he said as Jack left.


The Doctor, Rose and Donna hurried towards their destination. They tried to keep near rocks or trees so Donna would have somewhere to hide in case Toclafane showed up. But so far there was no sign of them after a quarter of a mile. The Doctor could see a quaint little cottage in the distance that he figured was Clarice's house. He could see a barn and a shed behind it and saw a fenced in area with some cattle roaming inside it. Behind him, Rose carried the sack and he looked behind when she was silent for a time. He noticed how sullen she was and he slowed so she caught up with him.

"You're upset about what the Master wanted to do to you?" he said.

Rose nodded.

"It's just another betrayal in a long line of em," she said. "Nothing I said or did mattered to him. I was just a means to an end. I thought he loved me but he never did. Everything he did was to get back at you and destroy the Earth. I just hate being so gullible."

"You're not the first one he's betrayed. I told you; even the smartest have fell prey to him. What matters if you're free now and away from him and not at his side gloating about what he did."

"But what happens if he catches up to us?" Rose said.

"We'll worry about that when the time comes," the Doctor said. "For the moment, concentrate on the here and now."

Rose nodded. Suddenly, the Doctor froze and commanded in a terse voice for everyone else to stop. Rose and Donna froze and a second later they saw the reason why when a Toclafane came out from behind a rock. Rose gasped when the Toclafane headed straight for Donna but the Doctor grabbed her hand, stilling her.

"Who are you and what are you doing here?" the Toclafane said with a feminine voice when it reached Donna.

"Donna Noble, Medic," Donna said, pulling her ID out of her pocket and showing it to the Toclafane. "I'm doing a house call at that house over there."

The Toclafane came in close and scanned the ID while Donna stood still. The Doctor and Rose kept silent and watched while Donna calmly stood her ground. The Toclafane finished its scan and flew off while Donna's shoulders slumped.

"Whatever that key thing is, I want one now!" Donna said when the Toclafane was safely away from her. "I'm tired of flashing my ID every five steps. Those things are menaces! What the hell are they anyway? You said they're from the future. In the future, there are annoying ball aliens?"

"I've never seen them before," the Doctor said.

Donna froze.

"Okay, I haven't know you that long but even I know that's an unusual statement for you," Donna said.

"I don't know what they are; they seem to be a new species. But I'm determined to figure out what they are and stop them," the Doctor said.

"Can we bring one down?" Donna said.

"Harry acted like you couldn't do that. He boasted that they were indestructible," Rose said.

"The Master makes a lot of empty boasts, just so you know," the Doctor said as they resumed walking towards the house. "I've escaped from more of his inescapable traps than I care to admit. So just because he says something is indestructible doesn't mean it is. We just have to find the Toclafane's weak spots."

They finally reached the house after another twenty minutes and knocked on the door. It was opened by a beautiful young lady with long, flowing blonde hair, heart shaped face and blue eyes. She gave the Doctor a quizzical look and the Doctor introduced themselves and told her why they were there. The woman's eyes bulged and she chuckled.

"I'm sorry, it slipped my mind, monsieur," she said. "I received a message but I have had so many things to do today that I forgot you were coming. A thousand pardons. I am Clarice. Come inside, please!"

The Doctor thanked her and Clarice stepped out of the way while they walked inside.

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