The Master's Game - 1 (A game of life and death)
The Master's Game - 1 (A game of life and death) doctorwho stories

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The Master finally captures his oldest enemy. But with him comes a peculiar young woman. A glitch in reality lets everyone forget Roka, making her a mere ghost in the TARDIS. Only the Master seems to be unaffected, and as Roka tries to free the Doctor, she gets closer to her enemy than she had ever expected.

The Master's Game - 1 (A game of life and death)

"This might have been the day I met the most dangerous man in the universe. My life would never be the same"

For days the Doctor had been acting strange, fidgeting way more than usually, constantly checking things on the console's monitor and jumping from one place to the next, only to step out for a few moments and then return without having done anything. Roka observed him from the shadows, as usual.

Right now he couldn't see her anyway and she wasn't in the mood to remind him of her presence. The young woman was rather unsuspicious. Quite small and lanky, the short blond hair of her pixie cut falling into her eyes. She wore ordinary jeans and a t-shirt above a flannel. Comfy. Just the way she liked it.

It was the fourth time this day - for whatever reason she still counted them - that the Doctor landed the TARDIS and stepped outside. This time Roka followed him, more out of boredom than anything else. She had spent the last days in the library, as usual, and now needed to stretch her limbs a bit.

Surprised she saw the Doctor pointing his Sonic at the blue box, making it vanish. Did he expect danger? She looked around the place. Nothing special. They were somewhere between some factory buildings and definitely near the sea, because she could hear waves nearby.

Staying close to the Doctor she followed him down a road and saw him peaking inside a few narrow alleys, always shaking his head afterwards and sometimes mumbling something to himself. When she turned around she almost shrieked.

An armed soldier stood right behind her. But his gaze wandered past the young woman and to the Doctor. He raised his hand, waving someone over and shortly after the sound of many pairs of combat boots followed. The Doctor finally heard it and spun around, the usual smile on his lips when seeing new people.

"Hey!" He stepped closer, pulling his psychic paper out of his pocket. "I'm allowed to be here, see?"

A rough dozen soldiers had gathered meanwhile and past them stepped another man, a bit smaller than the Doctor, with slightly tousled bright blond hair and wearing mostly black, except a red shirt that was lurking out beneath his hoody.

The Doctor's face turned white and alternated between worried and surprised and... relieved? "You were dead... I burned your body," he said in an almost apologizing tone, while fixating the man's every movement.

The other one looked up and wore a wide grin on his face. "No, you lit the fire and walked away. I just rolled over." He stuck out his tongue. "I really tricked you there, eh?" "No, you didn't. I checked. You were dead!"

"Well... maybe I finally found a way to come back..." He bowed to the Doctor and poked his chest. "As often. As. I. Want." Taking a step back he took a strand of his hair. "Well... the color got messed up though. I don't like blond..."

The Doctor looked shocked. "I heard rumors... And suspected it could be you. What are you planning this time? You don't just appear somewhere without causing havoc." "Aaaaw, listen to you..." The man's grin got even wider. "Can't I just visit an old friend? Maybe I missed you."

"Yeah, that's why you brought a whole army squad with you..." "Oh, did I?" He turned around and looked surprised. "Whoops. Totally forgot about those... Ahh.... How about... shoot him? Or no... no no no.... don't... actually don't." He turned back to the Doctor and his grin faded away. He raised his hand. "Take him prisoner."

The soldiers obeyed immediately. One of them bend the Doctor's hands onto his back, leaving him not much room to move. Roka had hid behind a trash bin, frantically trying to find a way to help. But what could she do against so much fire power?

For now she couldn't do much more than carefully following them. Being a glitch in reality could prove to be of use for once since they wouldn't see her. But still she tried not to be too obvious. Did that hooded man just look at her? No, he turned around again.

"Doesn't look like you to directly attack me." The Doctor sounded angry. "You're usually much less efficient."

"Hey, I just came back from the dead. Aren't you supposed to be happy? That's really not nice of you. And before you ask... I need you out of the way. For good this time. No tricks, I promise. Just a clean nice death. Or... two... depending on how much fun I have."

After a short time they entered one of the factory buildings. It looked old and partially abandoned. Inside they followed some steps downwards, where the soldier rudely pushed the Doctor into a room. "Enjoy your stay, my dear friend. It won't be for too long."

From there on the men spread. Two guarded the door, but the blond one put the keys to it inside his own pockets and moved away. Roka followed him, careful to not make any noise. A single person could still notice her when she behaved too obvious. Just when at least a third person was within the same room, they forgot about her for good.

Some stairs later they entered an office room. It was big and twice as long as wide. Half of it had been turned into some sort of workshop though. Lots of it looked very alien to Roka, but since she had gotten skilled with all kinds of tech stuff during her years in the TARDIS she still recognized a few devices.

The man left through another door, leaving her alone in the room. She took the opportunity and silently looked around, moving towards the big desk at the upper end of the room. Maybe there was something that could explain this strange situation.

Suddenly she felt a jolt on her neck. A hand had grabbed her collar. "Now to you..." She got turned around, directly facing the hooded man. Surprised she stared into his hazel eyes. He had an aura of danger around him that made her body freeze and her heart racing.

"You're with the Doctor, right? Not nice of you sneaking around here... really not nice. And very unlike him not to mention you." He grabbed her throat. "Not begging for your stupid little life. Talk and I might let you life... for a few minutes at least." He grinned and let Roka go.

Rubbing her throat she stumbled a few steps backwards, still keeping eye contact. "I... I won't talk."

"Yeah, yeah... of course not. Would be boring if they would always talk immediately, right? How about we start with you handing me over that perception filter? They might work on my men, but not on me." "I don't have one" Roka said toneless. "It's just the way I am."

"How peculiar... Why don't they see you? And you really should answer, cause I'm very... very creative with humans." And Roka explained in as few words as possible what she knew herself about it.

She had been born dead, but a few moments later, as if time had reset, she had been born again, perfectly healthy. Although whatever had made this happen also had turned her into a ghost. People forgot about her very existence in usually not more than a few seconds or minutes. Every memory of her wiped from their minds until they got reminded of her.

Either if she herself reminded them, or sometimes when she was alone with a single person. What else could she do than to explain it? If that guy killed her now, who would help the Doctor?

"He never mentioned me, eh? Bad, bad Doctor. Always forgetting his friends." He grinned again. "He better had, so you would know that I can just look inside your pitiful little brain and see if you're lying." "Well... then you should see that I'm not." She threw a mean gaze at him. "Why do you want to kill him? If he's your friend, then..."

"Because I hate him!" He stepped closer. "And because he walked right into my arms, which spared me from looking for him and spending months developing a plan to get him locked away. Lucky me. And now he will die and so will you. Arm in arm if you wish." He stuck out his tongue.

That man was absolutely crazy. And dangerous. His very presence made her shiver. Roka had to be careful, very careful. And quick. And smart. And she had absolutely no clue what to do.

"Take me as a hostage instead. If... you tell him you got me... he won't interfere with your plans." The man burst out into laughter. "Not bad. Really... but we both know he would try anyway. Always saving the day, doesn't he? Try again." He sat down on an armed office chair, leaning back, intensely staring at Roka.

Quick... she had to be quick. "I..." She looked around, her gaze falling onto the workshop part of the office. "I'm really good with tech. You could say, I'm some kind of janitor for the Doctor... so..."

"I don't need human hands muddling around with that stuff." He looked slightly interested though. "Uhm... I can repair lots of parts inside the TARDIS. I'm really good." But she knew this wouldn't help.Those cold staring eyes were still resting on her, making it hard to think.

What could satisfy a man like him? A man that seemed mad, but also intelligent. She had nothing to offer... nothing but... Raising her head she stared directly into his eyes, a shiver running down her spine. It was hard to put all her remaining confidence into her voice.

"What about a game?" she slowly asked. His eyes widened a tiny little bit, but he said nothing. "I... do whatever you want. And in return you let the Doctor..." No, he wouldn't let him go. And even if he would, the Doctor would try to come back.

As much as the thought hurt her, she knew he had to stay a prisoner for now. " You let him live. And if I try even the smallest thing to help him or whatever... you can kill him."

There was a grin slowly spreading on his face. Mad and wide. "Oh, I see... Yes, I clearly see what you're planning." He stood up again, stepping closer to her. Way too close, completely ignoring any personal space. "Alright. This is fun. The Doctor's life... in the hands of a pathetic human."

He looked down to her, his voice was menacing. "How long do you think can you sustain? How long can you work on a little plan behind my back without me noticing? And do you really think whatever you come up with is so clever that it can beat me?"

Roka stared up to him, feeling anxious and not even a tiny little bit as confident as she tried to sound. "Yes, I do." Her own gaze became malevolent. "You don't know who I am, right? Of course not. He never talks about me. How rude..."

He came even closer, slightly bowing down towards her ear and his voice became quiet and very cold. "I am a Time Lord, like your precious friend... I am the Master. And you will obey me."

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