Chapter Thirty Nine

By the time the Doctor was on board the Valiant, it was nearly dawn in England. He had spent the day finding parts in more electronic and department stores, hurriedly cobbling together a mind scrambler ray and putting together more perception filters for his friends. The mind scrambler device resembled his sonic, except it was bulkier and had a red lens. Unlike his sonic, the device shot out a beam of energy that disrupted the neural impulses in the brain and rendered the subject unconscious. He put the manipulator in his jacket pocket, next to his sonic and held the scrambler in his right hand, keeping it ready while he tried to get his bearings on board the ship. He was deep within it, judging from the pipes mounted on the walls. He fingered his perception filter, making sure it was in place as he slowly walked towards the end of the corridor. He moved stealthily, keeping to the shadows, and smirking at the guards he passed who were unaware of his presence. He finally found Tish mopping the floor of one of the corridors. He came up to her and touched her arm, putting his finger to his lips when she nearly jumped out of her skin.

"The prisoners, where are they?" the Doctor whispered. "And my TARDIS?"

"They're all heavily guarded. Both by guards and Toclafane," Tish whispered back.

"No worries, my filter works on both," the Doctor whispered. "Have you see them? Are they alright?"

"For the most part. The Master roughed them up but they're alive. They just brought down Jack and Martha and a couple of others but no Rose. I think he kept Rose with him," Tish whispered.

The Doctor's jaw clenched but he kept his anger in check.

"Where are your mum and dad?" he whispered. "We need to start a rebellion here before he starts executing everyone."

Tish beckoned to him to follow her and the Doctor followed her to a room where Francine and Clive were resting. The Doctor frowned when he saw Francine. The room was designed for them to have a place to rest in between their duties. It was bare except for a mattress on the floor and a table and lamp beside it. Francine was lying on the mattress under an old green blanket, visibly ill. The Doctor's rage burned inside him when he saw how sick she was.

"He's been working us nearly round the clock," Tish said to him. "We get a few hours rest in here and then back out we go. It's punishment for not stopping you and Rose when you escaped. Mum's body is breaking down from all the work and stress she's gone through."

"I'm sorry, Francine, I will sort this and stop him," the Doctor said. "Clive, Tish, can you help me stop him?"

"Anything to get back at that bastard," Tish said.

He handed two filters to her and Clive and explained how they worked.

"When you leave here, go to the cell block and see if you can rescue everyone, get them out of the cells and give them these perception filters," he said, handing the filters to Tish. "The Master won't be fooled but it'll help you lot evade the guards and Toclafane. I'll find the Master and keep him occupied so he won't trouble you."

"Good luck," Tish said.

"And you," he said.

Clive patted him on the shoulder and wished him luck. Then Francine took his hand.

"Doctor," she said weakly. "I was wrong about you. They told me you were evil but the evil one is Saxon. I'm sorry I judged you wrong."

"S'alright, won't be the first time someone thought I was a baddie," the Doctor said. "You just rest, we'll take care of everything."

Francine nodded. He wished her daughter and husband good luck. Clive and Tish put the filters on and led the Doctor out of the room. On the way to the cell blocks, they froze and the Doctor's blood turned cold when he heard Rose's anguished scream somewhere above them. He told Clive and Tish to go ahead and free the others. He gave Tish the sonic and explained to them how to work it. Once he was done with that, he hurried towards the lift while Tish and Clive hurried to the cell block.

When the lift door opened and he saw a guard inside, he used the mind scrambler on him. The guard's eyes bulged as he convulsed and then he collapsed to the floor as the Doctor stepped inside and hit the up button.

When the lift doors opened, he was inside the conference room. The Master was standing in front of the conference table and he grinned when he saw the Doctor.

"Just the man I've been looking for. Thought this whole checking out the missile sites was a ruse," he said to him as he came into the room. "Not to mention I sensed you coming onto the ship, Time Lord senses and all that."

"Where's Rose, what have you done to her?" he said.

"My wife? Oh, she's here, right beside me," the Master said. "Come and see."

The Doctor's hearts caught in his throat as he made his way around the table. He had put the scrambler inside his jacket pocket and he hoped the Master wouldn't order his guards to do a search as he came near him. He came around the table and froze, his hearts nearly stopping when he saw Rose.

"I decided to punish her by aging her like I did you," he said, pointing to the wrinkled and aged Rose gasping at his feet. "I decided not to go to 100 since most apes don't live that long so I aged her to around 80 years old."

He laughed when he could see the rage on the Doctor's face. The Doctor tried to lunge at him but he whipped out his laser screwdriver.

"Kneel or I age her to 500 years and let her become a pile of dust!" he said to the Doctor.

The Doctor realized that if he sacrificed himself he could buy his friends some time. He kneeled in front of his enemy while Rose weakly begged him not to do it. The Master snickered when Rose slowly got up on her hands and knees and crawled to him.

"Aw, how cute," the Master said when the Doctor opened his arm and let her slide into it. "That gives me an idea," he added, adjusting his screwdriver.

"You're going to age me again," the Doctor said.

"Yes. But…I'm going to make sure you can't do a damn thing to fight back this time. I'm tired of you escaping and undoing my clever plans. So this time I'm going to make sure you stay aged and…I'm going to transmit it all over the Valiant so your captive friends can watch their fearless leader become a weak old prune. Now…stand up, both of you."

The Doctor helped Rose to her feet, his hearts aching when he watched her struggling to get up. The Master called for the guards and when his back was turned, the Doctor put his forehead against hers.

I will stay with you, Ma'dori, he thought to her. We'll suffer together.

Rose managed a weak smile and the Doctor kissed her cheek before the Master turned back around. The door opened and the guards came inside, surrounding them.

"Come with me," he said to the guards. "I'm going to take them to my office and film them and I need you to keep them in line. If the Doctor tries to resist, shoot him."

The Doctor supported Rose as she slowly walked with him out of the room. The guards surrounded them and held their guns at the ready while the Master skipped out of the room, whistling cheerfully.

"Aaah, this is going to be a wonderful morning, I can tell!" he said as he strolled down the corridor towards his office.

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