“I don’t like what you’re wearing,” the Doctor comments.
The Master lowers his perception filter. “Better now?” he asks. He’s back in his suit.
“Or the company you keep,” she finishes.
The cold is biting. “I’m assuming it was you who hijacked the MI6 car,” the Doctor says, and despite the politeness, her tone is accusatory.
The Master smiles, but it is not at all similar to O’s smile. It lacks warmth. It lacks compassion. Was all of that just a ruse?
“That was fun,” he replies, his unhinged nature flooding back in his face.
The Doctor moves closer to him threateningly. “And assassinated C?”
“Mandraffian Laser Rifle. One shot. I’ve still got an eye for it.”
The Doctor is breathing faster and deeper now. “Why were the Kasaavin assassinating spies?”
The Master leans on the railling. “The Earth’s intelligence services were starting to realise their presence.”
Answers. Good. Answers are good.
“And so you brought them to Earth?”
The Master chuckles. “They were already here.” The Doctor can sense the satisfaction in him. “I just persuaded them we had interests in common.”
Control. Control, she tells herself. Control.
“The Kasaavin are embedded across the whole of this universe, spies from another dimension. As I said to Mr Barton, think of them as Russia... but bigger. Sleeper agents everywhere, waiting to be activated, amassing information in case they need to attack. And, I mean, you know me. I can't help myself. I have to stick my oar in,” the Master monologues.
“ What have you done?” the Doctor asks.
There is considerable tension in the air. The Doctor’s pretty sure her blood pressure is way past the normal range. They physically might be apart, but their minds were so close, boiling next to each other, one in frustration, the other in cruel satisfaction.
A ringtone buzzes.
“Sorry,” the Doctor says. “Must change the ringtone.”
She discreetly pulls out her sonic screwdriver. “Sent it to voicemail.”
“The Kasaavin. They’re not under your control, are they?,” she says, exuding some level of confidence that made the Master recoil slightly, but visibly.
“Why didn’t you die when the Kasaavin attacked you?” he snaps.
For the very first time in this conversation, the Doctor cracks a smile. “Me and Yaz, both time travellers, fizzing with artron energy, and my DNA not matching the rest of humanity, we confused them. And I don't think they're as stable in this dimension as they'd like to be.” She adds that last part very deliberately, and the Master’s eyes, for a second, show fear.
“What deal have you made with them?” she pushes on.
The Master looks away for a second, then bores into her eyes. “I showed them and Barton what was possible,” he says. “Of course,” he adds, “ultimately, the Kasaavin are just the mechanism. They … they don’t share my ambition, my vision…”
“And what vision is that?”
“Maximum carnage,” he replies, his grin wider than ever before.
The Doctor knows she’s losing control of the conversation again, but she doesn’t care. “I don’t understand!”
“No, no, I know you don’t,” the Master says nonchalantly, “but you will.”
The Master regains his posture. “And the best thing is, everyone loses except me. Barton and the creatures to the dirty work, and once they’re done, I get rid of them, having destroyed your precious human race in the process.”
The Doctor can hear her hearts beat. One-two-three-four. One-two-three-four. If everything went right, she’s already won.
“Win, win, win,” the Master says.
That pushes her off the edge. “When will it stop for you? The games, the betrayals, the killing? When?” she screeches.
“Why would it stop?”
No, no, no. Answers. Bad. Answers are bad.
“I mean, how else will I get your attention?”
One-two-three-four, One-two-three-four. She’s lost control.
There’s a glint in the Master’s eyes. “Tell me, Doctor, when did you last go home?”
“Why? What does that have to do with anything?” she says, but she’s pretty sure the words are just intonated breaths.
“I took a trip home, to Gallifrey,” the Master says. “Hiding -” he spits that word out “- in its little bubble universe.” He moves in closer. “Not sure how to describe what I found -”
Five minutes ago she wanted the Master to speak. Now she just wanted him to stop.
No. No. No. That can’t have been -
Oh, the Lords of Gallifrey, no.
“How about all of the above? Our home ...”
Everything she did is now -
“ … gone.”
The Doctor’s numb.
“Razed to the ground.”
All she wants to do now is run.
“Everyone killed, everything burned …” There’s something genuine in his voice, but she can’t place it.
Not the children. Not the children. “You’re lying!” she screams. A last ditch effort.
The Master looks at her incredulously. “You should really take a look,” he suggests. “But of course, you won’t be able to -”
He grabs her neck and pushes her against the railing.
“Just thought I’d let you know before I -”
Something perks their attention. Men, shouting.
The Doctor smiles, and the Master loosens his grip. “But - troops - how did they?”
“Oh, that’s me,” she says. “A message, meant to be intercepted. Telling them how valuable you have been as a double agent, for the Brits, sending Nazi information. Two can play at this game.”
The Master’s frozen in shock.
“And, uh,” she says, nay, nearly gloats, “thanks for this!” The Master’s TARDIS keys jangle in her hand.
The Doctor repostures herself, and hops into the lift. “What are you waiting for? Run!” she yells, as the lift starts to descend.
As the Master fades from view she sees him pull out a -
The cable of the lift snaps.
“OK Doctor,” she reassures herself as the lift accelerates, “if you time this right -”
She lurches forward, breaking the grilled doors of the lift, and lands on the rough, wet ground face first.
Then she hurts all over.
With difficulty, she gets up. Her legs hurt. Her arms hurt.
But the urgency of the situation grounds her into reality.
She looks up, and there’s the Master, rapidly descending the tower, leaving dead troopers in his wake.
She runs. She’s all wobbly, but she runs as fast as can. Her knees collide, but that doesn’t matter, she needs to keep running.
She can sense the Master’s onto her. She’s glad that the lift cable snapped. She needed that head start.
She doesn’t look.
She runs until she finds Noor and Ada, standing outside the hut - no, the TARDIS.
Ada looks disturbed at the Doctor’s injuries.
Noor shares a look with Ada. “Is this it?” she asks. “It wasn’t here a week ago.”
Panting, the Doctor replies, “Bet it wasn’t! So arrogant - it didn’t even change shape!”
“Okay, my two best secret agents, look who stole some keys,” the Doctor says.
“Why is this house so important?”
“Because it’s not a house -” clink “- it’s a machine that travels in space and time!”
The doors open, and the Doctor can sense the Master close by.
“Hop in, you two,” she ushers, “the owner of this TARDIS isn’t very pleased, by the looks of it.”
The TARDIS door closes behind them.
“Why is it so important?” Ada asks.
“And why are we stealing it?” Noor adds.
Exhale. “Because this is my way back to my friend and saving all of humanity,” she replies.
Her newfound companions look nonplussed.
“I know you think I'm mad, but give me five minutes and you'll think I'm the sanest person alive.”
Their looks didn’t change.
“OK, maybe that was a bit of an overstatement,” she relented.
“How do we save humanity with this machine?” Ada asks, and the Doctor grins.