Chapter Thirty Seven

After dinner, Grace followed everyone back down to their apartments. The Doctor mentioned the Toclafane they brought with them and Grace asked to look at it. Grace sat on the floor beside the sofa and unwrapped the blanket covering the orb while the women went into the bathroom to start dying Rose and Martha's hair.

"Wow, never thought I'd see one of these things up close," she said.

The Doctor peeled back the panels and Grace peered inside. She made a face when she saw the distorted face.

"This took over the Earth? A piece of shit with a face on it?" she said.

"Well, I wouldn't call it that but yes, this is a Toclafane," the Doctor said.

"Someone shot it in the head, I notice."

She looked at the Doctor and looked at Jack when the Doctor glared at him. Jack gave her a sheepish look.

"It was preparing to attack us," he said to her. "He doesn't approve of guns."

"You didn't object when I shot that cop's motorcycle," Grace said to the Doctor.

"Shooing a motorcycle's one thing, shooting a living being is another," the Doctor said. "But what's done is done."

"This looks like a life support system," Grace said, pointing to a device over the Toclafane's mouth. "I suppose you'd need one without a body. Where'd the brain go though?"

"I'm guessing computer harddrive replaced that," the Doctor said.

"But they're thinking beings so it must be A.I.? Weird," Grace said. "And these are what we're going to become?"

"It seems so," the Doctor said.

"So, this killing spree, is it because the human race goes bonkers by becoming these things?" Grace said.

"Not sure. That's what I like about you, Grace, always asking questions."

"With you around, there's always a lot of questions," Grace said, closing up the orb. "And you're going to fix this mess the Master made? How? By finding another atomic clock?"

"Nope. I'm intending to do what you did the last time, reverse time and fix it so all this never happened."

"Good luck with that," Grace said. "I don't know how much help I'll be this time around."

"Why wouldn't you be much help? You helped me defeat the Master your first time out and that's quite an assignment for a novice."

He frowned when Grace gave him a scrutinizing look.

"I like this look," she said. "I mean, you looked cute with the curly hair but this is nice too. How'd it happen this time?"

"Well, my eighth body regenerated during a long war called The Time War. The next body regenerated when I absorbed radiation and saved Rose's life. Now there's me," the Doctor said.

"And how long have you been with him?" Grace asked Jack as he sat down beside her.

"Well, I traveled with his previous self for several months and we got separated and I met him again a couple months ago and got stuck with him again. How long did you travel with him?"

"One day."

"One day?" Jack said. "What'd you do, Doc, kick her out the door the moment she complained about the toilet seat being left up?"

"I didn't go with him. He offered, I didn't go," Grace said.

"Why not?" Jack said.

"I had my career to think of and I thought I was needed here on Earth," Grace said. "Plus, I ended up dying when I was around him."

"Join the club," Jack said.

The Doctor snickered when Grace gave him a dubious look.

"Do you have a track record when it comes to your friends dying and resurrecting?" she said.

"Only the nearest and dearest," the Doctor said, patting her on the shoulder.

"Wait, how did you come back from the dead?" Jack said.

The Doctor excused himself and got up from the floor while Grace told Jack what happened to her. He walked into the bedroom and wrinkled his nose when the pungent odor of hair dye hit his nostrils.

"Phew! That stuff reeks!" he said, walking over to the bed.

Rose and Martha were sitting on the bed, plastic shower caps covering their hair while Donna and Clarice sat on the floor in front of them.

"It's hair dye, it smells," Rose said.

"I know but…blimey, can't you humans come up with something odorless? I have sensitive nostrils."

He walked over to Rose and lifted up the edge of her shower cap.

"Are you cookin'?" he asked.

"If by cookin' you mean is the hair dye workin', yes, it is," Rose said. "Probably another ten minutes and it'll be done."

"Brilliant. Then I can air out the room or go jump into the pool, anything to get the smell out of my nostrils."

"Aw, poor baby," Donna said. "Can face down the Master but runs at the smell of hair dye."

"You don't have a nose like mine, Noble! You may be able to tolerate it but it's giving me a ruddy headache. I'm going back into the living room now until the smell is eliminated. Good day!"

He turned crisply on his heel and walked out. He sensed someone behind him and looked over his shoulder at Rose.

"Go back in there!" he said, pointing to the bedroom door.

"Aw, I'm sorry, is my hair bothering you?" Rose said sweetly.

"Go back, I'm not kidding," he said.

Rose tickled his chin and headed back into the bedroom. The Doctor shook his head and walked into the living room.


"Were finished," Rose called out a half hour later.

They four women came into the living room and showed off their new look. Rose's hair was completely brown and Martha had red highlights.

"Very nice," the Doctor said while the women turned and modeled for him. "I like it. Now at least it'll be harder for people to recognize you."

He was about to say something else when suddenly the TV came on by itself. The Doctor looked around, trying to see if anyone was sitting on a remote control.

"It does that if the Master wants everyone to hear some message of his," Grace said, rolling his eyes.

"He can control all tellys? That's impressive," the Doctor said.

He chuckled when Rose booed the screen the instant the Master came on. He was sitting behind his desk while two Toclafane hovered behind him.

"My people, greetings and salutations from your most benevolent Master," he said in a sickeningly sweet voice.

"Benevolent, my ass," Jack said as he leaned back on the chair behind him.

"I know you are living your busy lives, working in service of me and struggling to survive which is why I am speaking only to a handful of people. The Doctor and his cronies who are now missing but will be found, I promise you!"

"Can we watch Teletubbies? They're more interesting than you are," Jack yelled at the screen.

"Doctor. You may have thought you've outwitted me but I have not been idle during your absence. You see, I know you've been gathering together your former friends to try to stop me. But guess what? I've been doing the same."

The Doctor sat up straight and glared at the TV screen.

"I have several of your former companions in my custody, Doctor, and I'm searching for others who traveled with you. And once I have them all, I will torture and execute them one by one…unless you and your friends surrender peacefully."

"You bastard," the Doctor growled.

"So…I will give you twenty four hours to come out of hiding and surrender before I start killing your friends. So far I have…Sarah Jane Smith and her son, Luke. Dorothy "Ace" McShane, Mickey Smith and Jo Jones. Those are the ones I've found alive, there may be others and if there are, I and my Toclafane will find them and bring them here to face torture and death. The price they must pay for being your allies. But if you surrender peacefully with those who are with you, I will spare them and allow them to go back to their lives. Remember, Doctor, you have twenty four hours before the televised executions begin. So make your choice wisely."

The TV shut off and there was complete silence in the room.

"I have to go back. I can't let my friends suffer and die because of me," he said. "If I give myself up, maybe that'll be enough to satisfy him and all of you can go free."

"I'm not leaving you," Rose said.

"Neither am I," Martha said. "I started this with ya and I'm gonna finish it with ya."

"I'm not leaving either," Donna said.

"And you'll have to pry me off you before I leave," Jack said.

"I'm going too."

The Doctor looked at Grace when she said that.

"He doesn't know about you," he said to her.

"Don't care. I want to see the Master finished once and for all. What have I got to lose anyway? There's as much suffering and torment down here as there is up there. Besides, I kept thinking about you all this time and regretting my decision not to go. I'm going this time."

The Doctor nodded and smiled. He looked at Clarice.

"And you? I can tell him you ran," he said.

"No, I need to make up for what I did. I don't want to be a coward anymore. I want to help you because you've been kind to me and gave me a second chance. Besides, I agree with Grace. It's Hell down here and Hell up there, what's the difference?"

The Doctor nodded.

"I don't want you to go but it's your decision. You're all adults here but I'm sure most of you know the Master probably won't show any mercy so be prepared for that. Very well, my friends and allies, we go together, surrender and face whatever comes our way."

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