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By Michael Mayo

‘A new body ... at last!’
- the Master (The Keeper of Traken)

It was the most popular planet in the galaxy.

Millions of tourists poured in and out of Belex's docking bays every hour. Hundreds of different alien species came and enjoyed days of luxurious rest and relaxation under the famous yellow suns all year round.

The capital of Belex was a huge city, covering a single continent the size of North America from coast to coast. It was one of the most impressive of its kind. Huge, circular, onion shaped buildings shot hundreds of feet in the air, and little air-cars darted to and fro, zooming in and out of the various skyscrapers and dodging in between them like scurrying rats.

The floor of the city was full of creatures from a million different planets. They bustled about, pushing and shoving their way past everyone else, trying to get to the shop or entertainment centre they were looking for. It was a sea of aliens, swarming everywhere in an uncontrolled mass.

The Doctor looked with distaste down at the crowd. The TARDIS had materialised on a sort of metal plateau overlooking the shopping centre. Long flights of steps led down into the crowd below.

‘Peri, I think we'll go by air-car,’ called the Doctor. Peri came out of the TARDIS and shut the door.

‘Wow,’ she said, surveying the hordes of people below, ‘That's certainly a lot of people.’

‘Yes, well we won't be going down there I'm afraid. I'm going to hail a cab.’ The Doctor waved to a small green and yellow air-car that was passing. It spiraled down and landed about fifty metres away across the other side of the plateau.

The Doctor and Peri ran across the silver metal floor and pulled themselves into the passenger compartment. Once the door was closed, the air-car lifted off again.

The driver was a short, human looking chap. The Doctor handed him a slip of paper on which he had written their destination. As soon as the driver saw the address he tried to suppress a look of recognition.

‘You do know where to go, don't you?’ asked the Doctor suspiciously, leaning forward from the back seat where he and Peri sat.

‘Uh, yes sir. Should be there in a few moments.’

‘Good.’ The Doctor sat back in the comfortable reclining seat next to Peri.

‘Who is it we're meeting?’ asked Peri as the air-car shot along at an enormous speed, weaving in and out of buildings.

‘I'm not quite sure. An emergency summons simply gives you the location.

‘Emergency summons?’ asked Peri.

‘Yes, that's what the TARDIS received. When another TARDIS is in danger of exploding or rupturing the time continuum, it automatically sends out a summons. Being in its proximity, you and I are obliged to answer it.’

‘But it could be a trap,’ said Peri. Surely the Doctor would have foreseen that possibility?

‘Actually, Peri, the only thing that can send out a summons is the TARDIS itself. Only in the most severe emergency will the TARDIS decide itself to send out a summons. Operators such as myself are unable to do so. Any TARDIS picking up a summons has to respond immediately.’

The air-car began to slow. It was now hundreds of feet above the surface of the planet, and with great precision it flew into a rectangular docking bay about half way up a particularly large building.

It landed with a bump amongst several other parked air-cars. Some of them were similar green taxis and some were privately owned or hired vehicles.

The doors of the air-car opened. Peri and the Doctor stepped out onto the landing platform. The Doctor turned to the driver. ‘Ah...’ he said, ‘I guess you're expecting some form of payment?’

‘No sir. I've already been paid. Have a nice day sir.’ The driver shut the doors and the air-car pulled away from the docking bay with a roar.

The Doctor was mystified. ‘Already been paid?’ he said to himself.

The two wandered out of the docking bay and into a corridor. ‘Now, Peri, look out for corridor five-B, preferably the part of it where the room numbers are in three figures.’

The two were soon hurrying along what seemed like miles and miles of the same endless, identical corridor. On each side there were little metal doors with numbers on them. They had found the corridor coded five-B, and now they were walking along, pushing past green and red coloured aliens.

Peri hadn't realised how repulsive most of these aliens looked up close. Some seemed to walk on their hands, others had three legs, and some particularly ugly ones merely rolled along!

Soon they had been walking for an hour, and Peri started lagging behind. The Doctor stopped to wait for her. ‘Oh hurry up Peri,’ he urged, ‘only five hundred and seventy-two doors to go.’ The Doctor set off again. Peri groaned and reluctantly pushed herself along.

Finally they made it. Room seven hundred and sixty-four. The Doctor stopped happily outside it and waited for Peri to come puffing along. ‘Here we are,’ he said confidently.

There was a red light on the door, and it lit when the Doctor touched it. ‘You may enter,’ grated a computer voice. It sounded like it had been through an eggbeater.

‘Thank you,’ said the Doctor cheerfully. The door slid open and the Doctor and Peri stepped in. The interior was darker than the corridor. The decor was very alien. It was globular and undefined, similar to the curved exterior of the building. ‘Hmm, Draconian, I think,’ said the Doctor as he wandered around. The room was lit with a green light, and the bright yellow light from outside was shut out when the corridor door slid shut.

The apartment was what you'd expect. There was a round table, a kitchen area and a couch all in one room. The bedroom was obviously in a separate room behind a greenish door.

The Doctor put his hands into his pockets and wandered around examining the apartment. ‘Glad you could make it,,’ said a vaguely familiar voice behind him. The Doctor spun round. The Master stepped out of the bedroom, his glistening evil beard and velvet black outfit bringing back terrible memories for the Doctor. The Master held up his Tissue Compression Eliminator with a smile for the Doctor to see.

‘I thought you were -’

‘Dead?’ asked the Master. ‘Apparently not. The Rani is so treacherous. She escaped and left me stranded on Earth. Luckily I recovered my TARDIS.’

‘And here you are,’ said the Doctor, ‘come to claim your revenge, no doubt.’

‘So to speak,’ said the Master. He trained his gun on Peri. ‘You, Miss Brown, are a pest. I trust you haven't forgotten Sarn?’

Peri gulped. ‘No,’ she said.

‘How did you imitate an emergency summons?’ asked the Doctor.

‘Oh, it was quite a simple matter. I merely switched off the temporal feedback receptor.’

‘You did what?’ blurted out the Doctor, ‘Do you want to kill us all?’

‘I assure you it's perfectly safe. I shut it down for only a few moments.’

‘It doesn't make any difference. You could bend time back on itself!’

The Master chuckled. ‘Only if it's left like that for a long time. I merely used it to attract you here. And incidentally, I've made quite a remarkable discovery.

‘You're a fool,’ yelled the Doctor angrily.

‘Be silent!’ ordered the Master, ‘And come here.’

The Doctor stepped forward, and the Master indicated to him to step into the bedroom. The two entered and the door slid shut, leaving Peri alone. There was a wheezing, groaning sound, and the door dematerialised.

Peri ran forward, more surprised than shocked. She ran her hands over the smooth green wall where the door should have been. But there was nothing. The Doctor and the Master had vanished.

‘You've refurnished it,’ exclaimed the Doctor as he wandered around the Master's console room. ‘I don't like it.’

It was a mirror image of the Doctor's TARDIS' interior. Except that it was jet black. ‘I quite like it,’ said the Master. ‘It lends an air of...’ he searched for the right word.

‘Stupidity?’ suggested the Doctor. ‘Can't you be a bit more original?’

The Doctor wandered over to one corner of the console room. He knelt down and examined an intricate looking chair. He guessed it had been set up by the Master especially for him. It came complete with wrist clamps and a helmet.

‘I like it,’ said the Doctor. ‘What's it for?’

‘You'll know soon enough,’ said the Master. He motioned with his gun at the chair. ‘Please take a seat. You're just in time for its first trial run.’

‘Oh,’ replied the Doctor. He didn't have much choice. Reluctantly he sat in the Master's pride and joy. The wrist clamps clicked shut and a steel waist band clamped around his stomach.

‘Now Doctor,’ said the Master as he strode over to the black console. ‘Let me explain. As you are no doubt aware, I borrowed this body from a friend of yours.

‘Rather a crude method, I thought,’ said the Doctor acidly. ‘Hijacking! Hmmph!’

The Master looked distastefully at his enemy. ‘Regretfully possessive regeneration does not destroy the host's mind. It merely subdues it.’

The Doctor laughed out loud, suddenly realising what the Master was getting at. ‘You poor old chap. Been having some personality problems lately? I always thought Tremas was a hard nut to crack, even for you.

The Master came over to the Doctor and leaned over him, glaring into his eyes. ‘I'm going to take your regenerative powers away and use them for myself. I want to be free of that miserably good friend of yours.

‘So you finally worked out how to do it, did you? How?’

‘While I was searching for the Emergency Summons circuit, I suddenly realised how to do it. An Emergency Summons transmits information on a telepathic plane receptive to TARDISes. Therefore, I can drain your remaining regenerations telepathically.’

The Doctor took a deep breath. ‘Well, I'd say that's one of your more insane plans. Perhaps not ‘quite as bad as that Logopolis fiasco, though.’

The Master carefully took a small, hand-sized circuit board from where it rested on his console. He held it up. ‘This is my discovery. The Emergency Summons control board.’ The Master stepped over to the Doctor's chair and slipped it into a back panel of the chair. ‘It's supposed to be undiscoverable.’

‘Have you ever thought about what might happen if you go disturbing other planes? Especially if you try to warp the fabric,’ said the Doctor. The Master merely chuckled in reply. He lowered a metal helmet down over the Doctor's head. ‘Look, old chap, I really don't think you should do this, for both our sakes.’

‘Since when have you ever cared about me, Doctor? You left me to burn on Sarn. Do you remember?’

‘You would have destroyed everything if I hadn't stopped you!’ yelled the Doctor.

‘You owe me, Doctor!’ said the Master. And he pressed a button that hid inconspicuously on his console.

The chair the Doctor was trapped in suddenly began to vibrate uncontrollably. The entire room blurred and twisted as if it was a reflection in water and someone had suddenly dropped a handful of stones in it.

The Doctor screamed as his life-force poured out of him. The Master was thrown across the room and smashed into a wall. His console exploded sending sparks and fire everywhere, and the Master blurred. He faded and shimmered, pulsing in and out of reality like a yo-yo. Then he clamped his hands to his ears and exploded in a flash and a ball of red flame.

Peri sat in the room by herself on the couch, wondering what to do next. What could she do? Leave in the TARDIS without the Doctor? She didn't have the faintest clue about how to operate the machine. She sat there, depressed, hoping that the door would materialise again and the Doctor would come back, preferably minus the Master.

And it did. She was overjoyed. The green door rematerialised in the same place on the wall as it had been before, and from it stumbled the Doctor. He was holding up the Master, and after the two emerged a billow of smoke poured out through the door.

‘What happened?’ asked Peri. The Doctor hauled the Master over to the couch and laid him down. The Master's body had been hideously scorched. His face was bloody and burnt, as if he had been blasted by a blowtorch. ‘Why are you helping him?’ Peri drew back in horror at the sight of the man she hated.

‘Oh Peri, how can you be so heartless. Anyway, it's not the Master. It's Tremas.’


‘I'll explain later.’ The Doctor knelt down next to Tremas' body. Tremas was alive, just.

‘I'm ... I'm sorry Doctor,’ the Master, or Tremas, whispered, forcing each word out through his burnt lips.

‘It wasn't your fault Tremas,’ insisted the Doctor. ‘You had no choice. The Master controlled your actions.’

‘It was terrible Doctor,’ muttered Tremas. ‘All the time I was awake. Fully conscious. Alive. Yet ... yet I could do nothing to stop him.’

The Doctor looked on his old friend sadly. So many times had he seen that face and hated it. Yet it wasn't the body that was evil. It was the mind.

Tremas tried to mumble something else. ‘I tried, Doctor, believe me I tried. I was useless against his evil. I can't even remember how many times I tried to kill you ... and my daughter ...’

Tremas coughed and began to choke.

‘No!’ cried the Doctor, and he tried to raise his friend into a sitting position.

But it was too late. Tremas was dead.

The Doctor let Tremas' shoulders slip out of his hands and fall back to the couch. Then he sat there for a few moments, shattered like a pane of glass. ‘Why do the innocent always suffer, Peri?’ he asked sadly. ‘I didn't even get a chance to tell him about Nyssa.’

‘Perhaps that's the way it was meant to be,’ said Peri solemnly.

‘Yes,’ said the Doctor. He stared at the corpse for a few moments then stood. ‘It's time we went.’ The Doctor put his arm around Peri and the door that led into the corridor opened automatically. It closed behind them and they wandered back toward the docking bay.

The room they had left was silent, the green light giving it an awesome quality of some sort. The smoke that still hung in the air was slowly sucked out by the automatic ventilation system.

Tremas' twisted and scarred body on the couch suddenly convulsed. A white aura surrounded it, and it began to pulsate. The skin came together and healed. The blood that had previously covered his tattered body dried and cracked, falling away to reveal fresh, clean skin.

The Master awoke. ‘At last,’ he said to himself as he stood and brushed away the dried and dead skin that still clung to him. ‘At last I am free of him! You are such a fool, Doctor.’

The Master chuckled evilly, then stepped through the green door into his TARDIS. It closed behind him, and dematerialised into the swirling vortex.

This item appeared in TSV 9 (October 1988).

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