"For years this war has gone on, all over the world! Where can you have been not to know this?"
"Oh, here and there," said the Doctor humbly. "I'm a scientist, you see, and we were exploring -"
"A scientist?" the colonel interrupted. "You are a scientist?" The flush was fading from his face.
"Why?" said the Doctor, with odd suspicion. "Are you interested in science?"
"Take the boy and the girl to holding," the colonel told the captain of the soldiers. "I will take the scientist to the Master."
The captain responded with a stiff-armed, palm-out salute. "Hail the Master!"
"Hail the Master." The colonel's salute was less formal, flipping up from the elbow; but the very casualness somehow chilled the Doctor...
The colonel's Master looked exactly as in the poster on the Berlin street. He was a little man, with a little mustache, with a little droop of hair at the top of his forehead. He was wearing a khaki military uniform which, like those of all the soldiers the Doctor had seen, included an armband sporting a symbol that the Doctor vaguely recalled to have some religious significance.
When the Master looked up from his desk and saw the Doctor he smiled and stood.
"Doctor!" cried the Master. He waved the colonel off, "You may go. Doctor, please have a seat."
"Yes, Master." The colonel left without a question as the Doctor sat in a chair that faced the desk.
"This 'Master' business," chuckled the Master, sitting casually on the edge of his desk. "I find I rather like it.
"I thought I must meet you here again, given your fondness for this world. Well, after our last encounter I decided to change my strategy. I decided I had to pretend to be one of them, insinuate myself among them, work with a long-range plan."
The Master leaned forward, looking at the Doctor with eyes widening with intensity. "I chose this time period for its potential, the earliest possible cusp of this world's atomic age. This tribe - pardon me, nation - was in a shambles, disaffected, steeped in the aftermath of losing one of humanity's paltry wars - ripe for exploitation. I assumed the identity of an inconsequential nobody, a paperhanger. I entered their politics, and by playing on these people's dreams and fears and racism - both here and abroad - I have made myself the most powerful man in the nation ... and soon, in the world!"
The Master actually shook his fist in the air for these last few words. His voice had risen too. He seized control of himself with an effort, shoving his hands together behind his back as he rose and began to pace behind the desk.
"Of course, my true goal as always has been to advance their technology to their advantage. You know that. The acquisition of power has merely distracted me." He laughed carelessly. "That is why I'm so pleased to see you. I've been too occupied just with..." He stopped pacing and waved his hand at a map of Europe. "...administration, to do the real work." He became pensive for a moment. "If I were to do this again, I'd try a less long-term scheme."
"But now -" His face clouded. "Now intelligence reports say that my - our enemies are trying to build an atomic bomb. That must not happen!" He was shouting again now, but not at the Doctor. "With your help to drive these puny humans on, I will destroy my enemies and spur these insects on to technological glories they could not even imagine without me! With them at my back I will sweep through the universe, crushing all resistance, until all of space and time has realized my vision of perfection!!"
The Master was shouting and shaking his fist at the ceiling now - or at the universe. This climax seemed to be a catharsis of sorts - after a moment he looked over at the Doctor, fist still raised, outright madness in his eyes.
The Doctor finally spoke. "Do you have any idea the horrible enormity of what you've done?"
The Master didn't react at first. Then he said, "So that's the way it is to be, is it?"
The Doctor continued, "You have changed this people's history monstrously. To a monstrous degree and in a monstrous manner. How many people have been killed - people who were to live long, useful lives? How many people meant to create have instead been driven to destroy? How many in the future will now never be born?
"This is not perfection. It is perversion. I shall do anything in my power to stop it."
The Master now lowered his fist, and lowered his gaze. "I'm sorry, Doctor."
Then in a flash he lunged over the desk at the Doctor. The Doctor jumped in his chair, staring wide-eyed at him.
"I am the Master!" he barked. "You will obey me!"
The Doctor stared into his eyes. Then he said, "You are the Master. I will obey you."
To Chapter Three
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