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Somebody Doesn't Like the Competition

Title: Somebody Doesn't Like the Competition
Fandom: Doctor Who
Series: Doctor Who/TOC Files
Characters: Three, Sarah Jane, UNIT, OC
Word Count: 9884
Rating: G (I believe)
Notes: This is the fifth installment in my planned series to have Alan Kelly meet all of the Doctor's incarnations. Thanks to an earlier poll, I have a few ideas brewing for later stories. Thanks to Ray for being my beta and making sense of my disjointed scribblings.
Disclaimer The Doctor, Sarah Jane, UNIT and the TARDIS belong to the BBC. Alan, Ryan and Evan Kelly and Shannon Flynn are mine.





Lethbridge-Stewart followed the nervous theatre manager through the narrow halls to the star dressing rooms. He was babbling on about the "monsters" that had attacked. When the call had come, he had listened with some disbelief. Why would aliens attack a concert and a pop one at that?

"...locked it up in a storage closet."

"What was that, Mr. Wellbourne?"

"The Competition. They knocked one out-or killed it, I don't know-and locked it in a storage closet. I have a couple of men guarding it."

Lethbridge-Stewart turned to the sergeant behind him. "Benton, get a detail on that and send word to the Doctor."

"Yes, sir." Benton saluted and left.

Wellbourne stopped and knocked on the door. It was opened by a man probably in his mid-thirties with hair just short of brushing his shoulders. He was wearing a vertically striped shirt and flared navy corduroys. "Come in."

Wellbourne entered. "This is Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart of UNIT. He's here to ask you about the, um, incident."

"UNIT?"

"Yes. The United Nations Intelligence Taskforce, Mr..."

"Kelly, Alan Kelly."

The Brig smiled at the delivery. Think your James Bond, do you?

Lethbridge-Stewart followed the manager into the small but comfortable room where two other men, similarly dressed sat on a couch.

"My brothers Evan, Ryan."

There was also a woman with long auburn tresses pulled back from her face. She wore a loose Indian cotton shirt and denims.

"And I'm Shanon Flynn."

"You seem to be holding up well."

"I'm still shaking," said the one in the navy stripes. "To see that thing bearing down on me..." He shuddered.

Lethbridge-Stewart knew the man was putting on a front. There was something of the soldier about them all. "Do you have any idea why it would single you out?"

"It didn't like our music?" answered the third man.

Lethbridge-Stewart glared at him like he would one of his men for unwanted flippancy.

"We don't know why, sir," answered the woman with a soft brogue, "but I'll admit I'm curious."

"Weren't you scared, Miss--"

"Flynn. Petrified."

At that moment, Torres arrived. "The Doctor's ready, sir."

Miss Flynn closed her eyes and smiled. What a peculiar reaction.

"Very good." Lethbridge-Stewart turned to the band. "I would like to see this thing you captured. Mr. Wellbourne says you locked it in a closet." They were already standing and heading for the door. "My scientific advisor is already there and he doesn't like to be kept waiting," he added unnecessarily as they walked past him.

****************************

Sgt. Benton found the Doctor taking readings in the theatre with a device that looked like a brass calculator.

"They actually captured one?" He and Sarah looked up. "Alive or dead, Sergant?" he asked as they went backstage.

"I don't know, Doctor. They chucked it in a supply closet."

They had reached the closet guarded by Kendrick and Andersen. The Doctor simply aimed the sonic screwdriver to unlock it. He flicked the light switch illuminating the small, shelved room complete with boxes, small props, broom and recumbent alien.

Sarah Jane peered behind the Doctor at the creature. "It looks like an ape."

"Recognize it, Sergeant?"

"They were working for the Daleks during that business with Styles."

"You mean that peace conference a couple years back?" asked Sarah Jane. "There was mention of an assassination attempt. Was that them?"

"Indirectly."

"It's alien then?"

"Oh, very. They'e called Ogrons. Nothing special as far as a species go. Brutish thugs that hire themselves out as mercenaries." He knelt beside the fallen beast and checked the creature's cheek. "Well, this poor fellow's not going to be of any help."

"So we're still stuck with no leads."

"We do know one thing, Sarah Jane. Whoever's behind this is rich enough to pay the Ogrons or powerful to enough to promise them something. We just need to figure out who and why."

At that moment Lethbridge-Stewart arrived with three men and a woman, presumably the band.

"Ah, there you are, Doctor. These are the gentleman and lady that put--is that an Ogron?"

"Does it look like one?"

The Doctor looked at them and saw they were focused on him. "Well? What are you lot staring at? Never seen a genius before?"

"We know you're a Time Lord from Gallifrey, you have two hearts and travel in the TARDIS."

The Brigadier nodded. As he suspected, far more than their cover.

"Fascinating. Have we met?"

Three of them exchanged a knowing look.

"For us, yes," answered the woman. "For you, not yet."

"Time travelers." It was beginning to make sense. "That's why you were singled out. Traveling through the vortex gives off a distinct energy pattern.

Whoever sent these charming creatures wanted me and found you instead."

"Makes sense in a self-centered kind of way," said a second man.

"Ryan, shut it. This could be why he doesn't like you," the first hissed.

"This is all very interesting," said the Brigadier, "but I think we should continue this back at headquarters. Benton, get a detail of men to take the body out to the back. Oh, and make sure they get a tarp to cover it."

"We can do it with a lot less fuss," said the woman.

"You don't know where UNIT is," Sarah Jane told them.

"We won't need to," said the first man, "as long as the TARDIS is there." A smile spread across his face. "Last one there is a rotten egg." He disappeared.

***************************

Alan found himself looking at the front of the TARDIS. "Hello, beautiful," he said as he ran a hand along the wood paneling. Oh God, I sound like Jack! He was slightly tempted to go inside but as he was trying to get the Doctor to accept them, going into the TARDIS uninvited was not the thing. Instead, he rested his head against it. "I know you're a sentient being," he spoke out loud. "We've communicated before-after a fashion-and you've saved my life so I like to think of us as old friends. Thing is, I don't know if you have a personal timeline, or, because of your very nature, you're aware of every moment you experience. Anyway, I'd like to share with you our encounters and perhaps you can show them to the Doctor and make him a little less resistant towards us."

He laid his hands on the panels and felt a tingling in his fingers as well as a presence in his mind. She did know all that happened and would happen to the Doctor. She knew the idiosyncrasies and the faces of all his incarnations and all the companions that entered her doors. There were times she had tried to warn the Doctor of a dangerous situation but he had ignored her.

You sneaky thing. No wonder you took such a liking to me. You knew all about me. He stood back. "At least I'll have an ally when I meet earlier incarnations."

"What are you doing with my TARDIS?"

****************************

Sarah Jane felt slightly dizzy and Evan Kelly steadied her. "It'll pass."

"I prefer the TARDIS. I can even get a cuppa inside."

"We can stop for one if nobody's shooting at us." Evan smiled.
At that moment the others arrived with the body. She expected the Doctor to give the Ogron a detailed examination but the first thing he did was turn to the TARDIS and stride over.

"What are you doing with my TARDIS?" she heard him demand.

"At least he's the one getting the Doctor mad this time," she heard Ryan mutter.

They walked around to the opposite side of the TARDIS to see the Doctor fuming at Alan who stood looking quite relaxed.

"I repeat, what are you doing with my TARDIS?"

"I knew you'd have a tough time believing we knew you so I thought if I could get the old girl on my side, things might be easier."

"You communicated with the TARDIS?" Sarah Jane couldn't help herself.

"This is the first time we've held something resembling a conversation, but yeah."

"How did you know you could?"

"I didn't know, I just hoped. Last time we saw each other was because the TARDIS latched onto a telepathic signal I was sending to them." Alan motioned to his team.

"You think she recognized you then because of now?"

"Yes and no...I'm sorry, I didn't get your name."

"Sarah Jane Smith." She held out her hand.

He shook it. "Col. Alan Kelly."

"Colonel?"

"Introductions later," said Ryan. "It looks like the Doctor's about to blow a gasket."

"Well, he is very possessive of the TARDIS," commented Shannon.

Sarah Jane couldn't argue with that. She had seen him stroke the console and coax it to get it to behave. For there to be someone else who could actually speak with it must hurt. "But how would she recognize you?"

"The TARDIS is connected to the time vortex. She knows everything that will happen and has happened to the both of us." The Doctor looked at Alan. "We must have met more than the one time."

"This is the fifth. So, you believe us now?"

"The evidence is overwhelming. I can't argue it."

"That's interesting, not wanting to argue the point." Ryan had a crooked grin on his face.

The Doctor pierced him with a glare. "Young man, I said I couldn't argue the point, not that I didn't want to."

Evan clamped Ryan on the shoulder. "It seems no matter which one you meet, you can ruffle his feathers."

{So, who had fifteen minutes in the pool?} Alan questioned.

{Shane.} answered Evan.

{Hah! Like taking candy.}

{I loathe you all.}

************************************

The Brigadier arrived at UNIT HQ and headed immediately for the Doctor's lab. The alien body was lying on the floor but no one was around. He stepped further into the room and noticed the TARDIS door was open. "Doctor!" he called. "Are you going to examine this...thing?"

The Doctor appeared in the doorway. "That 'thing', Brigadier, was once a living creature and there's no need to treat it like a piece of furniture."

"Then perhaps you should pick it up off the floor.

The Brig treasured the look on the Doctor's face. It wasn't that often that he got to bring the man down a notch.

"Yes, well... Colonel, if you would. Somebody clear off the table."

Colonel? The Brig watched as the man he had pegged as their leader stepped forward and helped the Doctor by taking the creature's legs. The rest of the group, including Miss Smith, cleared a table of the Doctor's many incomplete-possibly forgotten-experiments. Once the Ogron was laid out they gathered around to look at it.

"When we saw them before, they were working for the Daleks. Do you think they still are?"

"No. The Daleks would see them as failed investments." The Doctor smiled. "Probably consider them just stupid apes."

"What about the Master then?"

"Miss Smith?"

"Well, I've heard you and the Doctor talking about him. He's the Doctor's major headache, isn't he?"

"Ten out of Ten, Sarah. The last time I encountered them, they were employed by the Master."

Lethbridge-Stewart folded his arms behind his back and absent-mindedly tapped his riding crop on the bag of his leg as he paced the Doctor's laboratory.

"We're keeping this incident out of the press' vicinity."

Sarah Jane cleared her throat.

"Present company excluded of course, Miss Smith." The Brigadier smiled. "Of course, you are bound by--"

"I know. I know. I'm a very good girl, Brigadier."

"By now the Master will know his attempt failed. What he couldn't know is the nature of Col. Kelly and his associates. He'll therefore assume that the Ogrons killed you."

"He'll make a second attempt." The Doctor smiled. "Excellent reasoning, Alastair. I'm proud of you."

"Simple tactics, Doctor."

"We use the signal to get the location," said Shannon.

"But won't The Master, if it is him, suspect that we know?" asked Miss Smith.

"Very probably. but he'll be so driven to accomplish his goal, he'll overlook it. Megalomaniacs suffer from acute blindness. They believe they cannot fail. I'll lower the TARDIS shields allowing the perpetrator to read its energy signal. Using the TARDIS, I trace the source and we have the location of origin. I trust I can depend upon you, Col. Kelly, to make certain that I'm extracted from the Master's little tea party. He's known throughout the cosmos as a poor host"

"You can count on all of us, Doctor."

**************************************************

Shannon watched the Doctor as he worked about the console. This incarnation was much calmer that the previous incarnations she had seen. He was more methodical in his movements. It was strange after the exuberance the others had exhibited. It seemed this one was aiming for the suave debonair man-of-the-world persona. She tried picturing him with his hair slicked back and holding a martini.

"Do I amuse you, Miss Flynn?"

Oh, back to "Miss Flynn". He called me Shane last time. "Sorry. I was just thinking of something else."

"I was wondering since you seem to keep staring."

Embarrassed to be caught out, Shannon couldn't come up with a decent response.

"No doubt you are comparing me to what you've seen of later incarnations." The Doctor looked up from the device he was working on. "You do realize they only became that way due in part to me."

"Oh, absolutely. It's just that, um..." God, how do I tell him his looks will only improve with age without hurting him? "Your appearance seems younger the further along you get."

Oh, so I'm an old man, am I? The Doctor smiled.

"Well..."

"You should have seen the shabby little man I replaced. Younger in appearance but with all the refinement of a raccoon caught in a downpour whilst raiding a garbage hamper."

Shane laughs.

"But by your own argument--"

"No, no, my dear. I'm a response to that--that chimney sweep."

Shane grinned.

"Surely you can say something nice about him?"

"Yes. He was a genius, but I'm much smarter."

"Of course."

"So, do you have a favorite of my future selves?"

Eight!

"Just the ones I've met."

"Very diplomatic of you. So I make it at least to ten."

"I guess I shouldn't have said."

"Must remember to collect that fiver from Damon next time I see him."

"Time Lords use money?"

"We borrow other culture's currency when making friendly wagers."

{Are you guys ready?}

{In position} came Alan's reply.

{Same here} said Ryan.

"They're ready."

"Time to bait the hook." The Doctor pulled a small lever and the TARDIS gave a slight shudder.

Shane's machine started beeping. "Getting a reading." She fed the coordinates into the TARDIS.

"Tracking the source," the Doctor said.

{Anything, Ryan?}

{Yeah, somewhere north of us.} He gave her the coordinates.

When she saw the point where the two lines intersected, she ran the numbers again to make sure. "Crap."

"Do you have the point where they arrived?" asked the Doctor.

"It's the point where Alan and Sarah Jane went to get a reading."

************************************************

Alan woke to a splitting head. OK, this is getting ridiculous. At least he wasn't bound or tied down in any way. He was still locked up, though.

{Guys, the plan backfired. The idiots took me instead.} He didn't get any response. "Must be out of range. Maybe I can--" He stopped, wondering if the

room was bugged. Instead, he simply tried to contact the TARDIS. He reached something similar. The emotions he read were of a being cowed into submission and forced to do things against its will.

He broke contact when the door to his room opened and two Ogrons stood there. One of them began grunting and growling. Seeming to realize that Alan couldn't understand, it motioned with its gun.

Alan walked between the two along the corridor, their clanging footsteps echoing. Strictly utilitarian. Probably a freighter of some sort. Or course, best disguise. Freighters are considered harmless.

His escort stopped on front of a door and one of them pressed its against the sensor to the right. The door slid open and the second Ogron shoved him forward. The room was sparsely furnished with a desk, some chairs, a lounge and a cot. In one corner stood a tall cabinet, most likely for supplies and such.

"Welcome. I hope they didn't treat you too roughly."

Alan turned to see a man, seemingly middle-aged with a saturnine face complete with a graying goatee. He was wearing a dark Nehru jacket and trousers that would fit in well in this time period.

"No, I'm okay. Just don't know why I'm here."

"Good. They can be a bit overzealous at times. Please, take a seat." He motioned to one of the chairs facing the desk.

OK, a considerate kidnapper. I do not like where this is going.

"I have a business proposition for you."

"Do you use this unique approach on all your potential partners?"

"I thought it best to get you away from any outside influences."

"And what's to keep me from leaving?"

"I have your quaint device and none of your abilities will extend beyond this ship. Above all," he leaned forward and stared into Alan's eyes, "I am the Master and you will obey me."

***************************************************

{Ryan, I need you to get to these coordinates.}

{Shane, what's going on? Is that where the Ogrons are?}

{No, it's where they were. They took Alan and Sarah Jane is stranded.}

{OK, Evan and I are on our way.}

"What is it?" asked Evan.

"The Ogrons took Alan and we have to go get Sarah Jane."

"So Alan was the intended target all along. How could we have missed that?"

"Because the Doctor was so sure he was the target and we believed him."

"I sense a little hostility."

Ryan just rolled his eyes. "Let's just go get Sarah Jane."

They arrived at the coordinates that put them at an isolated bend in the Grand Union Canal. "Great. We might as well have gift-wrapped him. No witnesses."

"There's a boat tied up on the opposite bank," observed Evan. "Should we check?"

"Let's see what we can find here first."

They pulled out their torches and examined the ground. The grass was torn up in spots that proved a struggle but there were no signs of anyone getting away on foot.

"We'd better get back and come up with a plan."

Ryan looked at his older brother. "I can't get a location on him at all." He tried to keep the worry from his voice but knew it wasn't working.

"OK, that can be explained away without resorting to the worst. Not being able to get a reading on his machine could be due to something jamming the signal.

As for not reaching him telepathically, he could be unconscious. That's happened before, right?"

"Usually, yeah, but I can't even sense him."

"Let's get back and see if the Doctor can make any sense of this."

"Calm and reasonable. The ideal older brother. OK."

*************************************************

The Doctor looked at the readings and shook his head. There was something very wrong. At that moment, the two Kelly brothers returned without Sarah Jane.

He was not surprised. They were both visibly upset.

"Tell us you got the source of the signal," demanded Ryan.

The Doctor could not understand what the man held against him. "Unfortunately not. The signal dispersed before I could get a clear reading."

"That's not right," said Evan. "You should have been able to get something."

"Whoever this is really doesn't want us to find him." Ryan's face was cold. "They so do not want to mess with me."

The Doctor at that moment knew Ryan Kelly would be a formidable foe. There was something more behind his mercurial mood swings. It was as if there were two personalities inhabiting one body.

"Doctor?"

He turned to Shannon. "Yes, m'dear?"

{Huh. He always seems to like Shane.}

{Oh, shut it.}

{Ryan, why the heck do you care so much if the Doctor likes you?}

{It's just--I want to prove that I'm not....Crud. It's my ego, isn't it?}

{My guess.}

{Did I mention that I hate you?}

"Obviously the Ogrons had the ability to transport to wherever so wouldn't they have a device on them to do just that?"

"Of course! How simple!" He rushed out to the body and began to search it. "It must be the only frequency that can pass through the shield. If I can match it, I'll be able to get the TARDIS through as well."

"Just the TARDIS?"

The Doctor looked at Evan. "Your machines should work as well." He spotted a chain around its neck and tugged. At the end of the chain was a round medallion. The Doctor turned it over in his hand. The workmanship was intricate and quite remarkable.

"Now we have something to work with."

********************************************

As he continued to talk, the Master watched Col. Kelly's face. This might take a little longer than most if the stories are true. His psychic abilities might make it a bit harder but he was looking forward to the challenge. As it was, he hated depending on someone else-let alone a human-for his scheme to work.

The man was too honorable for simple greed and power to convince him so other methods had to be used.

The Master noticed Kelly's eyes had glazed over and his face had gone slack. "Who is your Master?"

"You are," he replied in a monotone. "But only in a day that doesn't end in 'y'," he finished in his real voice.

The Master sat back in his chair. I was so sure I had him.

"Really, does that line work? 'I am the Master and you will obey'," Kelly mimicked. "Sounds like something from a B-movie."

"Your abilities are far more remarkable than I thought. No mind. I do have a contingency." He nodded to one of the Ogrons and the creature left only to return a few moments later with the woman.

Kelly sat up straighter the minute he heard the woman's protests.

"Miss Sarah Jane Smith, an investigative journalist with a UNIT pass. For you to have such an item you must know the Doctor."

"Who?"

The Master would have been amused at her pretense had he the patience. "When you were first brought with the colonel, I thought you a hindrance. Now, however, you could prove most useful."

Kelly tried to hide his concern. "Oh, that is so passé."

"When you find something that works..."

Miss Smith struggled fiercely against the Ogron's hold. "Alan, you can't! The Doctor and your friends will find us!"

I should have gagged her so I wouldn't have to hear her protests. She does have more fire than Miss Grant-which isn't saying much.

"They have no way to locate us, Sarah Jane. He's jamming all signals."

"There must be something."

"Not that I can think of."

The Master could hear the resignation in Kelly's voice and was even more pleased by the look on his face. He clasped his hands together. "Have you reached a decision?"

"What do you need me to do?"

***********************************************

The Doctor immersed himself in his work. The Kelly brothers had disappeared, probably to expend some energy while they waited. Miss Flynn remained sitting in a corner perusing a book she had found in the TARDIS library. The Doctor smiled. Now if only Sarah Jane could master patience like that.

She looked up. "How's it coming? Can I do anything?"

"You can contact your friends. I believe I've done it."

Shannon stood. "It didn't take as long as you thought."

"I must be more of a genius than I realized." He smiled. "Are they on their way?"

"They were out on the firing range so it might take some time for them to get away. It seems the troops are surprised to see pop stars using automatic weapons."

"And you didn't feel the need to join them?"

She grinned. "As hardened as they are to seeing strange things, a woman with a rifle just might put them into therapy."

Evan and Ryan arrived. "I take it you have good news," said the former.

"I believe so." His hand hovered over the dematerialization switch. "Now aside for a rescue mission, we need to find out why they needed Alan and stop them." He looked at each of them waiting for acknowledgement. They nodded. "All right." He flicked the switch and the central column started its rise and fall.

*******************************************************

Alan was sitting on the cot next to Sarah Jane. To say she was upset with him would be a gross understatement. "The Doctor would have my hide if anything happened to you," he said trying to defend his actions.

"We could have fought back somehow."

"The Master has the upper hand at the moment. We just have to bide our time. At some point he's going to need me to use my abilities and that's when we make our move." Whatever that move may be. "Do you know anything more about this Master bloke?"

"Not much. The Doctor and he crossed swords a number of times. I think he's a Time Lord."

"The name would back up that theory. What is it with those anyway? Bit pretentious."

"Oh, I know. I mean they even call themselves 'Time Lords'." She sobered. "How many more do you think are out there, wandering about like him?"

"I dunno. A handful maybe-relatively speaking. We did meet another who went by 'the Monk'."

"Must be a pious member of the brotherhood." Sarah laughed.

"The Doctor."

"He said, when he was younger, he wanted to make the cosmos better."

"Truth?"

"Cross my hearts." Sarah smiled.

"Tall order."

The door to their cell opened and two Ogrons entered motioning with their guns and grunting.

"What could the Master want now? We've haven't been here all that long."

"Unless he's been driven to use an escape craft."

The Ogron growled and Alan took it to mean "Shut up".

When they reached the Master's "office", the doors slid open to reveal an empty room. "It seems as if our ride has left without us," remarked Sarah Jane.

"My dear Miss Smith, I would never be so callous as to leave you to the hospitality of the Ogrons," the Master said stepping out from behind the cabinet.

Of course! His TARDIS must have a functioning chameleon circuit! "Had to move up the time table, eh?"

"My preparations were completed earlier than expected so we can now depart." He nodded and one of the Ogrons took Sarah by the arm and escorted her to the Master's TARDIS.

At that moment Alan sensed the Doctor's TARDIS and knew they were onboard somewhere. He could have easily teleported there if not for Sarah Jane. He couldn't leave her. He risked communication.

{Guys, I don't have much time. We're both OK but tell the Doctor the Master wants me to access the Ma--}

************************************************

{Alan! Alan, answer me!} Nothing. Ryan knew it would be madness to rush into an unknown situation no matter how much he wanted to get to his brother's side. Due to the abrupt ending of Alan's message, odds were that the Master-whoever he was-caught on that he was in contact with them.

"Alan contacted you?" the Doctor questioned as he followed out of the TARDIS.

"Before he was knocked out," said Shannon.

"The Master has a lot to answer for."

"So it is him."

"The Master is most likely gone. He doesn't have what he wants so he's taken Sarah Jane and Alan in his TARDIS." The Doctor motioned to the door. "Back inside. We should be able to pick up his trail."

"There was one more thing Alan said," began Shannon as the Doctor worked the console controls.

"Right. It was 'tell the Doctor the Master wants me to access the Ma--'"

A look of disbelief washed across the Doctor's face. "He wouldn't."

"What?" questioned Evan. "What's so big that he needs Alan?"

"The Matrix on Gallifrey." He set the TARDIS in motion. "It's the repository of all Time Lord knowledge. The Matrix is part of the Amplified Panatropic Computer Network, which contains the bio-data extracts of all Time Lords as well as the memories of dead ones, storing them in an extradimensional framework of trillions of electrochemical cells. It also receives input from sensors contained in the TARDIS."

"That still doesn't explain why he needs my brother." Ryan was determined to get an explanation he could understand.

The Doctor's voice took on a slightly patronizing tone. "The Matrix is accessed psychically and heavily monitored. Every bioprint is registered so there is no way to bypass it."

"Unless you had a high-level psychic who wasn't registered," said Shannon. "From what you've said, the Master is considered a criminal on your world so alarms would be raised and the moment he 'hooks up'."

"So we just get to Gallifrey and warn your people about the Master's plan. They set a trap and we snag him, freeing Alan and Sarah Jane."

"Sounds like a plan to me," agreed Evan.

"Not a bad plan. I can only find one fault."

He had to find one. "What is that?"

"I am merely tolerated by the High Council. I doubt they'll take anything on my word alone."

"But it won't just be yours, will it? They can't deny it from three others."

"Ryan, humans are not even allowed on Gallifrey. That will be something else against us. I think the fact that you're time travelers should never come up."

"And you couldn't have told us sooner? Gee, thanks, Doc."

"I realize this situation is dire, but there's one thing you must always remember."

"Yeah?"

"Never call me 'Doc.'"

*********************************************************

Sarah Jane looked at Alan as he lay unconscious on the floor where they Ogrons had dumped him. At the time she wasn't sure why the Master had knocked him out. It wasn't long after the Master had them taken into the TARDIS that she realized Alan must have been in contact with the others. She hoped he got a chance to tell them what was going one or at least enough to let the Doctor figure it out.

She sighed. Who would have thought that investigating disappearing scientists would have led her to aliens and time travel? Not that she'd trade it for anything. Traveling with the Doctor put everything in perspective. Well, saving the world would make anything pale in comparison.

Alan groaned and slowly came to. "How long have I been out?"

"Ten minutes maybe. No longer than fifteen.

He pushed himself up into a sitting position. "How are you holding up?"

"For being kidnapped by an alien sociopath, not too bad. How's your head?"

"A little tender but I've had worse."

"You did talk to them?"

"I think I gave them enough before I got knocked out."

"I only understood some of the Master's plan and that it revolves around you accessing the Matrix. Do you know what that is?"

"I can only guess. By the name, I would say it's an archive of some sort. Since he needs me, I'd say it needs to be accessed telepathically. My question is since he's a Time Lord with some degree of psi abilities, why does he need me?"

Sarah thought for a moment, paring the situation down to its most basic. "He's a criminal using you as a scapegoat. Any and all blame would fall on you."

"Not a bad theory, Miss Smith, if a little off," came the Master's voice. "When the moment is right, everyone will know it was my doing."

"That is the case with most megalomaniacs. If no one's going to know it was you, it's not worth doing." Alan looked to Sarah. "You don't happen to have a deck of cards on you, do you?"

Alan's nonchalance was very similar to the Doctor's and she couldn't help but smile. She made a show of patting her pockets. "No." She pulled out a small notepad. "This is it."

"Ever the journalist, eh? We could always play 'Hangman'."

At that moment, the name of an innocent child's game suddenly took on sinister overtones.

********************************************************

The Doctor materialized the TARDIS inside the Citadel as close as he could to Borusa's quarters. As he was persona non grata, he wanted as short a run as possible to support. He turned on the scanner. The corridor outside was clear. "We're lucky no one's here yet. Leave your weapons and follow me quietly."

"Why all the secrecy?" asked Ryan as he removed his rifle and pistol. "Can't you just go to the big-wigs and let them know what's going on?"

"I'm more or less tolerated here. You see, I went against one of the prime tenants of Time Lord society." He looked back at Ryan, challenging him to say something sarcastic. The man knew enough to stay silent.

He paused in the hallway listening for following footsteps. "Gallifrey has a strict policy of non-intervention. In the early years of the civilization when we first started with time travel, some were mistaken for gods while others introduced technology into primitive cultures. Both instances lead to the destruction of those cultures."

"Once bitten, twice shy. I've come across that a number of times," said Evan. "It can lead to stagnation if not handled properly.

"You sound like a diplomat," the Doctor commented.

"I should think so as I am one."

"I usually don't get along with diplomats." He stopped in front of Borusa's door and knocked. When no one answered, he turned his attention to the keypad to the side of the door. Now Borusa had always had a bit of an ego so the combination would relate personally to him. What's more personal than his name? The Doctor tried variations on the numbers that corresponded to the letters of his name. The sixth try worked.

"If he's your friend, why did you have to break in?" asked Ryan as he looked about.

"There isn't exactly a key to leave under the mat."

"Or a mat for that matter," remarked Shannon. "Does everyone live like this? It's all very...austere."

"Yes. Not very colorful, is it? Another reason I wanted to get away."

"I don't think I could live like this; no photos, no knick-knacks, nothing personal at all."

"Except for a person," said Ryan, staring at the doorway.

A man who appeared to be in his last 40s or early 50s was standing at the entrance looking as if he had just smelled something horrible. He wore a simple tunic of grey and white over loose grey pants.

"Borusa," the Doctor greeted his teacher and mentor.

"Doctor. I should have realized it was you when the sensors went off." He sat in a chair like it was a throne and gave the Doctor a look that made him feel as if he were back at the Academy.

The Doctor felt the others gather behind him. "Borusa, I need your help."

"Why can't your human friends help you? I know you have an affinity for them but there's no need to share."

The Doctor took a deep breath. "It is because of them that I know what's happening. The Matrix is going to be taken over."

Borusa chuckled. "Really, Doctor. That is impossible. There is no way for anyone to gain access to the Matrix without our knowing, let alone take control of it."

"Excuse me, Borusa, is it? The Doctor brought us here specifically to you believing you would be the one to support us. It seems he was wrong on that count."

The Doctor wondered what Evan was up to. He knew they wouldn't give up.

"If you don't believe your Matrix is in danger, there is another crime. One of your own kind, another Time Lord, has abducted two humans, one of which is my brother. According to the Doctor, non-intervention is one of the prime tenants of your society, a crime for which he was placed on trial. I think abduction falls into the category of interference, don't you?"

The Doctor clapped Evan on the shoulder. "Well done."

"Yes, well argued," agreed Borusa after a moment of stunned silence. "I believe we can get the Council's support for such a crime. We simply do not mention the reason you believe is behind the abduction."

"Thank you, Borusa," the Doctor said warmly.

The members of the TOC chorused the sentiment and followed Borusa as he left for the Council Chamber.

*******************************************************

Alan and Sarah Jane were in the midst of swapping stories when the door opened and the Master stood there. Alan stood and moved in front of Sarah Jane.

"Very noble but unnecessary." The Master beckoned with his hand. "Miss Smith."

Sarah Jane put her hand on Alan's arm. "It's all right."

She walked over to the Master who took her by the arm. He also pointed a slim cylinder at her and Alan knew instinctively it was a weapon. What it did, he didn't know or care. Knowing it could harm her was enough.

"Outside. You go first, Colonel."

Alan followed the Master's directions and led them out of the darkened TARDIS. "That thing better not go off accidentally," he warned. "You will not like the consequences."

"As long as neither you nor Miss Smith gives me a reason to use it. Now, use that lever."

Alan gripped the lever to open the doors and felt that same cowered presence he had before. It was the Master's TARDIS. Well, that just proves that they're individual sentient beings. He released the lever.

"Outside, take the corridor to your left," the Master ordered.

With a smile for Sarah Jane, he turned and made his first step onto the legendary planet of Gallifrey. "Service tunnels. I get a chance to visit the home

of the Time Lords and the first thing I see is service tunnels."

He turned left as the Master directed and walked for nearly ten minutes without seeing another soul. At an intersection a guard in a scarlet and gold uniform confronted them.

"Halt!" the guard ordered as he aimed his weapon.

Alan positioned himself between the guard and the Master knowing the latter wouldn't risk shooting him.

"This is Officer Favar patrolling the lower levels and I've discovered two men and a woman in the restricted area--" His communication was cut off as he was engulfed in a brilliant glow. His body shrank, falling in on itself until it was the size of a small doll.
"I--I'm going to be sick." peeped Sarah.

Alan turned to face the Master, furious. "There was no need to kill him, especially like that! I was going to talk our way out of it!"

"He was reporting our location. I have worked too hard to lose everything now."
Sarah glared at him.

Alan knew this was not the place to make a stand. Underneath that smooth veneer was a very twisted individual. There was no way to could tell what he planned to do. He schooled his anger, waiting for the Master to let his guard down before he would strike. A glance at Sarah Jane told him she understood.

"Go right," the Master directed.

With one last look at the poor guard, Alan continued on. He hoped he had given the others enough information to figure out where he was and to get here in time. As there really was no way of getting out of it, he would just have to delay.

At the end of the hall was a small room verging on the claustrophobic. In the center was something resembling an operating table that could be set ant any angle. Underneath it was a number of electronic instruments that would no doubt measure his brain activity while he was hooked up to the Matrix. There were wires bundled together and bracketed against the wall until they disappeared through the ceiling.

"Make yourself comfortable, Colonel." Still gripping Sarah Jane's arm, the Master motioned to the table.

Alan sat on the table in the center. The metal was surprisingly warm. He settled into a somewhat comfortable position. This whole situation was beginning to look like something from a gothic novel; the damsel in distress, the madman/villain, and the helpless hero.

"If you would please secure him, Miss Smith."

Sarah Jane fastened the wrist and ankle restraints on Alan's left side before crossing to his right. She fastened his ankle first and, as she was closing the metal about his wrist, he looked at her, letting her know this was their chance.

With a thought, he sent the Master's weapon flying across the room. Sarah Jane ran out the door as the Master hesitated. "Don't stop!" Alan yelled after her. Relieved, he smiled.

"Impressive," complimented the Master. "But no matter." He began to apply the leads the Alan's head. "Once I turn this on, you will need to concentrate all your energies on the Matrix leaving yourself physically vulnerable. As another incentive, should you need it, if you take too long to complete your task, you will be considered a liability and eliminated."

***************************************************

The Doctor's argument for the High Council had been going nowhere fast. No matter how valid Evan's points were, he was still human. It wasn't until a report came in from a guard in the sub-levels who had witnessed three intruders and contact was lost that things had changed.

The Castellan was still unwilling to believe that anything was wrong. "Probably just a student prank," he had said.

"Then there should be no problem in taking a few guards down there. If nothing comes of it, you can think of it as exercise."

While the High Council had debated amongst themselves once again, the Doctor went to stand by the TOC who had been allowed inside the Council Chamber but could not speak unless directly addressed. Needless to say, they had not been addressed.

"Doctor, this is madness. We could have prevented that guard's death." Ryan was not one to hold back his opinions.

Borusa had finally won the High Council over and now they were on their way to the poor guard's last location. The corridors formed an intricate pattern that could easily confuse someone unfamiliar with the layout. As the Castellan had pointed out, students were prone to come down here on dares and he had been one of the best in finding his way around. Getting to the guard's location was one of the easier paths.

"Someone's coming," Shannon whispered.

The guards pressed them back against the wall as they took point. A familiar figure came running around the corner and the Doctor felt the majority of his anxiety drain away. "Sarah Jane."

She smiled with relief. "Doctor!" She rushed forward and hugged him.

"Are you all right, Sarah?" he asked her.

"I'm fine. The Master was using me to make sure Alan did what he wanted."

"Is he okay?" asked Shannon.

"He was fine even though the Master had one of the Ogrons knock him out."

"Did he bring the Ogrons with him?" questioned Ryan. "I want to have another go at them."

"No. If he had, I doubt I would have gotten away."

"Do you know where he is now?" demanded Borusa.

Sarah Jane looked at him. "I don't know how you've spent your day, but I was a hostage of a sociopath. When I had the chance to escape, I didn't take the time to note my way. It's not like there are signposts!"

Borusa bristled at Sarah Jane's words. "I still cannot see the attraction these people hold for you or your family."

"That was uncalled for, and I think she has a valid point about the signposts. Can you describe the room, Sarah Jane? It might give us an idea where it is."

"There's only the one way in. It's small and there was a gurney in the center. There were instruments underneath it and wires going up the wall to the ceiling." She looked back at the Doctor. "That's all I can remember. "Of course."

"Of course what?" asked Ryan. "Share with the rest of us."

"The room is underneath the Matrix. He needed proximity in order to tap into the system."

"The important question is do you know how to get us there?"

The Doctor smiled at Evan. "Oh, yes."

***********************************************

Alan felt like he was in free-fall at night without a parachute. He had no idea which way was up as there was no wind. He closed his eyes to fight the vertigo and to help concentrate. None of this is real. My body is lying on that gurney. Since this is in my head, I should be able to control it. He

stopped falling and stood. A good start. Now, as I'm here for research, I'll need a library.

His surroundings shimmered and he found himself in a Victorian-style library with wood paneling, wrought iron rails and spiral staircases with books as far as the eye could see-and quite possibly beyond.

"It has to be vast to hold all this knowledge."

Alan turned to see an old white-haired man in a simple pale blue robe.

"It's not often visitors to the Matrix ask for the library," said a second man, a bit younger and a bit taller than the first. "They think they can do it all themselves."

Alan stood there, mouth open. There was no way he could have created these two. If he had wanted a librarian, she would have been much younger.

"Are you two always here or did I conjure you up?

"This is your first time in the Matrix," the first said with realization. "Not bad, especially for a human."

"Thanks. Look, I need help. There's this nut called the Master."

"The Master? We have heard of this stain on our race.

"We will help you," said the first, puffing himself up.

"Since we are joined in this endeavor, we should introduce ourselves," said the second. I am Charliminiuscent and this is Mortichifilicious."

"Col. Alan Kelly." He held his hand out and they stared at it. "It's a greeting on Earth. You shake hands."

*******************************************

Charliminiuscent held his hand out, mimicking Alan who took it and shook it firmly. Mortichifilicious stuck out his hand, wanting to try the new experience.

Alan shook the proffered hand and then the two Time Lords shook each other's hand.

"I really think we should get back to business," Alan said and the older men dropped their smiles. "How can I delay without letting him know?"

Mortichifilicious walked to one of the shelves. "He is monitoring you, yes?"

"There was equipment around so yeah, I guess so."

"Well, aside from monitoring your vitals, he can monitor your brain activity enough to gauge what you're doing."

"So?"

"So we let him think you're researching, but he won't know what."

"Ah, okay. I think I can handle that." Alan smiled. "Gentlemen, pass me a book."

"This book is unfamiliar to us. It must be from your homeworld."

Alan began delving into the mysteries of Sherlock Holmes.

***************************************************

The Master looked at the time read-out. He couldn't spare much more time before the Doctor discovered his whereabouts. Normally, he would enjoy playing with the Doctor a bit more but he was not willing to risk anything at this point.

He began setting buttons on the banks of monitors. The colonel did have quite a formidable mind and he would hate to damage something he could potentially use again but the man was too moral and honest. Best to eliminate the opposition.

When the circuits overloaded, the energy feedback would fry his delicate human brain. Even if he did survive, Alan Kelly would be an empty shell. "Farewell, Colonel."

The Master entered his TARDIS and set the coordinates for one of his many bolt holes. He was not about to give up his quest for power. He just needed another way to do it.

********************************************

The Doctor remembered the way with only a couple of wrong turns. When he saw the doll-sized guard, he knew they were close.

"What the hell is that?" demanded Ryan.

"It's the guard," Sarah Jane said softly.

"A favorite weapon of the Master's, a tissue compression eliminator."

"Do you think that he--" started Shannon.

"Not while he needed him, no."

They started down what the Doctor knew to be the last corridor.

Evan paused and sniffed. "I don't like the smell of that." He took off running. Ryan and Shannon were on his heels.

The door slid open at their presence and the smoke escaped, assaulting their senses. They all began coughing. The Doctor, thankful for his respitory bypass system, slowly entered the room, vision still impaired.

"Is he here?" asked Ryan between coughs.

The Chancellory Guards entered and began to put out the fire. It wasn't until then that they saw the body on the table.

Borusa approached him. "It seems we are too late."

"Wonder why that is?" Ryan muttered behind them, his face smudged with tears and smoke.

Borusa actually looked ashamed-for a nanosecond. "It appears he has done Gallifrey a great service, sacrificing his life in the process."

"What story are you going to use to cover this up?" demanded the Doctor. "You can't tell everyone they owe their lives to a human, can you?"

"Wait!" Shannon had come to stand by the body. "He's not dead. He's in there somewhere. I can sense it."

"You'll find that's impossible," Borusa replied. "If it wasn't the smoke, the overload to his brain would most certainly have killed him."

"Just shut it." Ryan looked Borusa in the eye. "The Doctor said we had to keep quiet and make nice to get you to help us, but since you haven't, I don't think I need to anymore."

"Impossible is not a word you use lightly when it comes to Alan," said Evan. "Despite what spin you decide to put on this, his current condition needs immediate attention. We can't take the time debating."

"Since it's your fault he's even like this," accused Ryan.

"Yes, you're quite right," the elder Time Lord agreed. "We must get him up to the hospital." He looked at Alan's body on the gurney. "Take him up as he is. We don't want to move him any more than necessary."

"Thank you, Borusa," the Doctor said as he watched the guards gingerly move the table.

"The Master got away, then," said Shannon as she came to stand beside the Doctor.

"He'll be back to try again."

"What was he trying to do?"

"I'm not sure." He looked to Sarah Jane. "Do you remember?"

"I didn't understand most of what he said but I thought it might have to do with a weapon-or at least something he could use as a weapon."

"We'll have to ask Alan when he comes to," said Evan.

If he comes to, thought the Doctor as they left the smoky room.

******************************************************

When the flickering started, Alan wasn't that worried. It wasn't until the jolts of pain to his head began that he had begun to believe something had gone horribly wrong.

Mort and Charlie had seemed to know what was going on. "The Matrix is destroying your mind. He must not have fallen for our ploy." Charlie had been beside himself.

"What can I do?"

"There is one thing," Mort had said hesitantly. "You have to find a safe place in your mind and go there, closing yourself off from everything until it's safe."

Alan had winced as another jolt shot through him. "Kind of like locking myself in a shelter until the bombing is over. How will I know when that is?"

Mort had shrugged which had looked amusing in his robes. "I've no idea. Sorry."

"There's no way I can let them know?"

"If your friends are telepathic as well, they should pick up something to realize you're not dead," Charlie had answered.

"You had better do it now before it's too late," Mort had said.

"Thank you, gentlemen. It's been an honor." With that, he had closed his eyes and disconnected from the Matrix and found himself a small "safe room" in his mind.

Now he could construct this place to fit anything he wanted. After all, he was going to be here for some time. "Might as well be comfortable."

The "room" took on the appearance of his quarters on the Base and he settled back on the couch and turned on the "telly". He could only view his own memories since the whole point was for him to keep to himself. Granted, some of his experiences were the stuff of Hollywood or a BBC period piece.

Once he had finished the "episode" regarding Shakespeare, he knew it was time to go back. It felt right.

He slowly opened the door to the room and stepped outside.

The first thing his senses picked up was Ryan's raised voice. Probably arguing with the Doctor again. Yep, there was the Doctor's voice. Then a third voice argued back. Wait a second. The Doctor and Ryan arguing the same side?

He opened his eyes to see the argument occurring at the foot of his bed. The man arguing with the Doctor and Ryan had to be a Time Lord with those clothes.

Shannon, Evan and Sarah Jane were watching like it was entertainment. He gave Ryan a little push with his mind.

Ryan jerked like he was shoved. No one was close enough to have done it. "OK, who pushed me?"

The others held up their hands to say, "It wasn't me". Alan spoke up with a rusty voice. "I did."

They all turned and he couldn't help but grin at their faces. "Arguing in a hospital room. Is that done?"

"It is when the High Council doesn't want to recognize what you did," said the Doctor with a pointed look at the unknown Time Lord. "It's good to see you're all right," he added with a genuine smile.

"You scared the hell out of us," said Evan.

"We all thought you were dead," Sarah Jane added. "Shannon sensed you somehow."

Alan turned his head to Shannon sitting at the side of the bed. "You did?"

"I just knew you weren't dead. It wasn't wishful thinking. I could just tell you were in there somewhere."

"The Doctor said it was some sort of self-induced coma you did to keep your mind from being fried."

"You have such a way with words, Ryan." Alan sat up and looked at the stranger. "Who are you?"

"Councilor Borusa." He bowed his head. "What you have done here is extremely remarkable. Not only are you the first human to access the Matrix, you also saved your mind by shutting yourself off. I've never seen it done so successfully by a first-timer ever."

"Serious? That's cool."

"However--"

"There's always one of those," muttered the Doctor.

"We cannot let word of this incident get out to the general public. Knowledge of your presence is held only by the High Council and the Chancellory Guard."

"They're saying it was faulty wiring that caused the fire."

"Heaven forbid they find out one of their own had less than favorable intentions," agreed Evan.

Alan swung his legs over the side of the bed and stood slowly. Shannon was right there to support him. "Are you mad? You've been unconscious for three days."

"Only three? Okay, I may be a little unsteady but it's not like they don't work. Just help me till I get used to being upright." He paced his feet wide apart and swayed a bit but luckily did not fall flat on his face.

"Can we get out of here now?" asked Ryan. "This prison is getting to me."

"Prison?" questioned Alan.

"We had to stay confined to Borusa's quarters," answered Sarah Jane. "It would have ruined their cover story had we been seen."

Evan and Ryan had already left by the time Alan, Shannon and Sarah Jane reached the Doctor and Borusa. The latter seemed quite pissed, complaining to the Doctor of the lack of manners in humans. "Not even a word of appreciation, they just leave the very moment possible."

Alan stopped. "From my understanding, there was no need for thanks. Nothing happened."

The stunned look on Borusa's face was all Alan needed to see as he walked out.

***************************************************

The TARDIS materialized back at UNIT HQ to be welcomed by the Brigadier. "Nice to see everyone back," the officer said as they exited the police box. "Miss Smith, delighted to see you fared well during your experience."

"I was nothing more than a bit of leverage. It was Alan he wanted."

"Really?" quizzed Lethbridge-Stewart with a raised eyebrow. "That must have been a novel experience."

"For me, not so much." The colonel stepped into the room looking rather worse for wear.

"Was that another instance of you poor attempts at humor?" the Doctor asked as he followed the colonel. "I can never tell."

"I'll admit it's rare. Almost as rare as you being wrong."

The Doctor huffed but didn't bother to argue. "Yes, I made a mistake. Are you happy?"

"Now that you've admitted it in front of witnesses, yes."

Alan grinned.

"Was this your sole purpose for greeting us?" said the Doctor, changing the subject.

"Somehow the media got word of UNIT's involvement and have been nagging us regarding The Competition. They think we're holding you under quarantine. The protests haven't begun, but--"

"A press conference might be a good idea," agreed Evan. "What cover story are you using?"

"Deranged fans," Lethbridge-Stewart responded.

"May I?" he motioned to the phone.

"The operator will connect you."

"Reschedule the concert too," Miss Flynn said. "Honor all tickets."

Evan nodded and gave the UNIT operator the number.

"No agent or manager?" asked Miss Smith.

"Given our circumstances, it's better we do it ourselves," Ryan answered.

"You never did say why you're undertaking this charade?"

"Sorry, Doctor. Classified."

"It's a wee bit of fun, not just an assignment," Shane said with a smile.

"So, can you arrange for a couple of extra tickets? I know this bloke who could do with some exposure to modern culture."

"If that bloke's who I think he is, Sarah, I think we can squeeze out some seats for some VIPs."

The Doctor frowned. He also knew who that bloke was. Oh, well. Can't listen to opera all the time. Used to have fondness for the Beatles. I just hope they don't sing like time agents.

*********************************************

The Master's TARDIS lurched and he nearly fell to the floor. "Behave yourself, you bucket of bolts, or you're for the scrapheap." He worked the controls to steady it. Sparks flew as it fought him. What's wrong with this thing? It's never gone against me.

A picture of Kelly flashed into his mind. That blasted human has turned my ship against me! Somehow he knew the ship was doing this with the last vestiges of its energy. The Master tried furiously to change to coordinates but they were locked onto the Planet Tersurus.

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