“What fun this will be!” the Doctor was saying. “Travelling the universe with my devastatingly sexy former archenemy, having adventures!” She set a course on the TARDIS console. “All set. Now, you were going to show me why you were called the Master?” She ran an experienced hand up the Master's stomach.
“Yes indeed,” the Master growled, then remembered something. “Though perhaps we could stop off at the planet Upsilon-47 first?”
The Doctor frowned. “Isn't that the planet renowned for its famous plastic surgeons?”
The Master paused a moment then let out a deliberately loud laugh. “Really, Doctor! You must get over this dreadfully provincial habit of characterizing a planet as if it could be summed up completely by one of its characteristics.”
“Well, they mostly can, can't they?” She listed them off on her fingers. “There's Biblios, the library planet, Desperus, the prison planet, Frontius, the desert planet, Necros, the planet of the dead, and Upsilon-47, the planet of people who want bigger mating apparatus.”
The Master blustered, “I'll have you know, Upsilon-47 is a wonderful planet with a vibrant artistic community, a theatre so avant-garde that it shouldn't even exist for another thousand years, and an annual Hrrugathan Poetry Festival, the only one to be held in a non-methane-based environment in the entire galaxy.”
“Hrrugathan poetry? I've heard of it... yes, isn't that the one performed by juggling the entrails of semi-decomposed fish?”
The Master sneered gently. “It may appear so to the common people. To the cognoscenti, it is a splendid art. Why, the kind of fish chosen, the degree of decay, the angles at which one juggles them... all are factors that speak of the most exquisite judgment,” he said. “And you consider it to be merely Planet of the Plastic Surgeons!”
He folded his arms to hide his Dalek bumps.
“Who would have imagined that the planet would be undergoing dreadful peril just at the very moment that we happened to visit it?” the Doctor yelled over the sound of laser guns. She had yet to find a new outfit and her breasts peeked out enchantingly from underneath her vest.
“Yes, an amazing coincidence,” the Master muttered sourly. “You know, given that you have a time machine, you think you'd be able to avoid this sort of thing.”
“We've got to get to the core fast!” she yelled, completely ignoring him. “Let's run down this series of corridors which look exactly the same! I bet it's at the end of them! Here, this door!”
The Master followed behind her. He began to barricade the door against the angry Upsilonians as she explored the room. “We could very easily have run back to the TARDIS. You know, the direction away from danger. There's sure to be plastic- that is, Hrrugathan poetry on some other planet.”
“We can't just leave these poor people alone! The harmonic resonance is building up to dangerous levels in the central core! The entire planet could blow up!” The Doctor waved her sonic screwdriver over the interface. “There's some sort of blockage in the system causing feedback... Hmm, that's odd...”
The Master looked at the central core of the planet's power grid. It was a massive gold, thronelike chair, chased with shimmering crystalline lines which reminded him of a computer chip. A thing of beauty and power. It called to him.
“Never fear, Doctor, I shall sit in the chair and plug myself into the planetary system. I shall merge myself with it, becoming more than mere man. My splendid Time Lord consciousness shall transcend its limits, and I shall grapple with an amount of power that would burn out the mind of a lesser mortal in an instant. Oh, but I shall prevail.” He caressed one arm of the chair with long fingers.
“Actually, you may not need to,” the Doctor said. “It seems the Upsilonians are very environmentally friendly. Their entire planet is powered by recycled matter, but there's a block in the system, which is causing the buildup. I've traced it to this chair.” She pressed a button. The central portion of the seat recessed, revealing a bowl full of murky fluid. “You should be able to get at it from there. It's a pity you don't have that plunger built in anymore!” she said brightly.
It was difficult for the Master not to feel a deep and abiding sense of betrayal at the universe.
“Well, it was rather a pity that you had to come in contact with the overflow of...”
“Let's call it energy,” the Master said firmly.
“All right, energy, after unblocking the system,” the Doctor said. “But I feel the Upsilonians did a wonderful job decontaminating you.”
“Yes indeed,” the Master said.
“But what happened to your etheric beam locators?”
“Burnt off during the decontamination process, I'm afraid,” the Master lied. He put his hands on his hips and leaned against a nearby tree in what he fondly imagined was a dead sexy pose, to show off his complete lack of Dalek bumps.
“Ah well,” the Doctor said. “We probably won't need to locate that many etheric beams.”
“If the situation comes up, I am certain that we will manage somehow.” He prowled towards her. “And now that we are on the famed beaches of Xllraphon, Doctor, I shall finally show you why it is that they call me-”
“Ooh!” The Doctor sat bolt upright. “Did you hear that? It sounded just like the cry a plucky young adventurer makes when they've been cornered by a mob of approximately eighty to a hundred people! Let's go see what astonishing event is taking place!”
The Master sighed.
“And what a nice young man he was!” the Doctor said. “Quite sturdy, too. It was such a pity he didn't want to travel through space and time with us. It seems like it would have been just up his alley.”
“Yes indeed,” said the Master, steepling his fingers. “Such a pity- muwhahahaha.”
“Was that an evil laugh?” the Doctor asked suspiciously.
“No, not at all. Just clearing my throat. Mucus, you know. Muwhaha.”
“What was it you were saying to him when you pulled him aside?”
“Oh, just trying to convince him to come with us,” the Master said. “I tried my best, but he seemed very afraid of space travel, and all its many, many potential situations for explosive decompression, for some reason.”
“Well, perhaps we could stop off at Earth and grab a new companion.”
“WHAT? I mean... what do you need a companion for? You've got me now.”
The Doctor wrinkled her forehead. “It's just not the same somehow. I like having a companion who I can introduce to the wonders of the universe. Something about their wide-eyed appreciation helps me to stay young. Anywhere I take you, you've already tried to conquer it at least twice.”
“And succeeded more often than not, thank you,” the Master said indignantly.
“Well, but you've never really held on to any of them.”
“Details, my dear, sheer details. I held on to Rygel V for over six decades.”
“Did you? I didn't know that. What happened, native rebellion?”
“If you must know, I got bored.”
“The fun's in the conquering. You should know that.”
“I don't know what you mean.”
“Well, you never stick around once you've saved a place, do you? Buy a little villa, grow Freesian applesheep? No, it's straight off to the next danger zone.”
“So you just left?”
“My dear, I did have a reason.” It was infinitely easier to admit this to the female Doctor than it would have been to her predecessors. “No matter how much I ruled Rygel V with an iron fist, you never showed up.”
“What year was this?”
“Approximately five hundred solar years from now.”
“Ah yes. I think I was observing the evolution of the Metabelian Snakes. I'm sorry that I missed you.”
“Well, never mind,” the Master said grumpily. “I probably would have killed you with my diabolical masterplan, and then we never would have fallen in, that is to say, wouldn't have gotten, mmmhrm mhhrm.” For some unfathomable reason, he felt a warm rush of blood to his cheeks.
The Doctor apparently took this as sadness over having failed to kill her rather than an emotional declaration of affection. “Oh, come on, cheer up. Let's pick up a nice Earthling. You'll see that a companion is a great thing to have. They make you see the whole universe as new again!”
“Oh, all right. But you're responsible for feeding and watering it. And it has to be a girl!”
“Wonderful! And I'll tell you what, we'll have a bit of a vacation while we're at it.”
“Who would have thought that just as I was returning to Earth, the Daleks would try to invade for the thirty-seventh time?” the Doctor said.
“Amazing,” the Master said through gritted teeth. They crouched behind the burnt-out shell of a car, watching the patrols of Daleks.
Just then, a teenage Earthling, slouching down the street in a strange hooded garment that looked somewhat like the sacrificial robes of the people of Gnarros III, finished his can of carbonated beverage and punted it down th street, where it rolled into a gutter. This attracted the attention of the scout Daleks.
“PICK UP. YOUR REFUSE. AND PLACE IT IN. THE APPROPRIATE RECYCLING RECEPTACLEEEEEEE!”
“What the hell are you supposed to be?” the Earthling yelled. “The new garbage cans the Council put in? Well, screw off! I don't respond well to authority figures because of my broken family life!”
“THIS IS YOUR. FINAL. WARNING. YOU WILL BE- CONSIDERATE! CONSIDERATEEEEE!” The Daleks turned their exterminator arms onto the boy.
“Oi! You lot!” the Doctor yelled. “What are you doing?”
The Daleks turned to each other. “THE HUMAN. ADDRESSES US. IMPOLITELY.”
“USE OF. OI. NOTED!”
“I'm not a human! I'm the Doctor!” the Doctor said.
“DOCTOR. YOU SHOULD. UNDERSTAND. THE DALEKS HAVE VOWED. TO HONOUR YOUR MEMORY. BY BECOMING GOOD.”
“Well, that is... extremely odd, actually. I mean, I'm not dead anymore.”
“THE PRIOR YOU. IS DEAD. THE DALEKS KEEP. THEIR. WORD!”
“If you're good now, then why are you invading Earth?”
“ALL DALEKS ARE NOW CONSIDERATE. ALL NON-CONSIDERATE ORGANISMS WILL BE. DESTROYEEED!”
“Look, that's not how being good works,” the Doctor said. “Invading other planets and destroying their people is not particularly considerate.”
“INCORRECT. WE HAVE. CAREFULLY RESEARCHED. BEING GOOD.”
“THERE WAS NOTHING. ABOUT PLANETARY INVASION. IN. EMILY POST!”
“These garbage cans are crazy, man!” the Earthling cried.
“Don't worry. I'll get you out of here,” the Doctor told him. “Did I hear you mention a broken family life? Do you feel you have important life lessons that could best be learned in an atmosphere of danger and excitement?”
You didn't always have to be a Time Lord to see the oncoming future. But it helped. The Master sighed again.
The TARDIS was quiet. The Master listened suspiciously. “Where've you put the brat you picked up?”
“He's having a nap in one of the other rooms. You know, there's actually a lot of rooms in this place. It's just that I seem to somehow spend the bulk of my time in the console room.”
Distractions- gone. “Well then, Doctor, before we crashland on an alien planet or fall into a black hole, I shall finally show you why it is that I am called the Master.”
“Sounds smashing,” the Doctor said. “Almost as much fun as flying into a solar storm!”
“Mmyes. Quite,” the Master said.
There was a sequence of rather impatient noises.
It was not a particularly good 'Oh'. ”What? What? What is it now?”
“Nothing.” The Doctor looked a little dubious. “I guess it's just that I've never really seen one from this angle before.”
That was not a sentence to inspire confidence. “...Just what is it that you are trying to imply?” Dimly, the Master began to consider that the mortal enemies angle was still not entirely ruled out. He could forgive being dumped in a sewer system for nine hundred and thirty-six years, but some things were going too far.
“It just seems very...”
“Yes?” He had at least four items in his jacket with which he could kill the Doctor. It would be a shame, a terrible shame, but if she finished the sentence the way he thought she would...
The Master's shoulders sagged with relief.
“Are you quite sure it's going to fit?” the Doctor asked doubtfully. “I mean, I haven't had the opportunity to really go thoroughly over this body's capabilities, but it seems rather unlikely given the outside dimensions of the area.”
“Don't worry, my dear,” the Master purred, “I believe you will find that it is bigger on the inside.”
And they all lived fairly happily until the vortex loop control broke down in a rather unexpected way and stranded them on the Planet of the Vomiting Toads, which boasted a rich cultural heritage, if you agree that the precise regurgitation of luminescent flora constitutes a cultural heritage. But that,and the three revolutions and two alien invasions the Doctor became involved in during their escape, is another story.