"Good heavens, Jo," said the Doctor with the tact for which she loved him, "you look terrible."
"Thanks." Jo smiled wanly, plopping her ungainly purse onto the lab workbench. The Doctor, like most mornings, was sitting at the workbench exactly as he had been when she left the previous night, chipping away at the puzzle presented by his sabotaged dematerialization circuit. "I slept poorly."
"Are you ill?" asked the Doctor with genuine concern.
"Oh, no. It's that I was just dozing off to sleep when I suddenly realized that I really walked on another planet yesterday. Popped right back awake."
The Doctor smiled, as she scaled the stool next to his and, elbows on the workbench, propped her head in her hands. "Exciting after all, isn't it?"
"Yes," Jo nodded, eyes closed. "Enough to keep me awake almost until my alarm clock went off ..."
"You're improving, Jo!" The Doctor went on again about how he was going to make a scientist out of her yet. Despite her best intentions Jo dozed off - until, that is, the Doctor caught her attention with the words "next time".
"Next time?" she said, startling almost awake. "Do you mean that the Time Lords are going to send you on their missions like that all the time now? What kind of exile is that?"
"Well, with you-know-who loose and me designated the Time Lords' secret weapon against him ..." the Doctor said. "However, there's only one way to find out." He stood and went to the TARDIS, stopping just outside to bow Jo in.
If Jo hadn't been so short on sleep she would have realized that she wasn't up to another interplanetary adventure right now. But if she hadn't been so short on sleep it wouldn't have been a problem. In any case she allowed the Doctor to usher her into the TARDIS.
A trill from the science station caught Kirk's attention. "Captain," Spock announced after a moment, "the TARDIS has materialized aboard."
"Confirmed, Captain," said Uhura. "Security reports the Doctor and one companion to be on their way to the bridge."
"It's about time," said Kirk, smiling. The rest of the bridge duty watch - except Spock, of course - were smiling too.
In less than a minute the Doctor bustled onto the bridge, a young woman Kirk didn't know barely keeping up with him. It was the new Doctor that Kirk had only met once; a tall, aristocratic old dandy in a ruffled shirt and a red velvet smoking jacket. Kirk was having more trouble associating this man with the Doctor's previous bowl-haircut spacetramp incarnation than he had had when the first old gentleman had metamorphosed into the tramp. After all, Kirk had known the old man for weeks, but the tramp for years.
"Captain," said the Doctor in a rush, "there may not be much time -"
"I thought your fellow Time Lords exiled you to the twentieth century when they changed your face," said Kirk calmly. "Have you got the TARDIS working again?"
The Doctor's train of thought seemed quite derailed by the interruption. "No I haven't. The Time Lords've sent me. You see -"
"You haven't introduced your companion," Kirk interrupted again. He thought he heard Sulu smother a chuckle.
"Jo Grant," said the girl, stepping to the command chair as Kirk rose to shake her hand. She was a blonde of no more than twenty, Kirk guessed, mentally throwing this one back as too small. She had a friendly smile.
"Captain James T. Kirk. Welcome aboard the starship Enterprise."
"Captain!!" shouted the Doctor. "You may be in terrible danger! If the Time Lords have sent me to you, it's probably because - You see, there's a renegade Time Lord called -"
"Spock," said Kirk, crossing in a leisurely fashion past the Doctor to the turbo-lift door, "it's nearly shift change; you have the bridge. I'm going to show the Doctor to our guest."
"Guest?" the Doctor snapped. "What guest?"
Kirk guided the time-travelers to the Enterprise brig. In the first cell stood a man with neatly groomed black hair and a neatly trimmed black goatee in a black tunic-and-trousers suit, including gloves. The overall effect of the color scheme was enhanced by touches of white: the shirtcuffs, and in the goatee at the corners of the mouth; but there was a touch of gold, too, strangely jarring, in the buckle on the black leather belt around his tunic. The man's glare at Kirk, the Doctor and Jo was nearly as intense as the glare of the forcefield emitters lining the door of the cell.
"You were saying, Doctor?"
Kirk watched the Doctor struggle between relief, and chagrin that the Enterprise crew had apparently needed no help from him. "You realize that this man is a Time Lord, as I am?"
"Bio readings made it pretty clear."
"I'm gratified but surprised that you didn't take him for me with another new face."
"We have our differences, Doctor," Kirk admitted, "but not so great that I'd expect to find you plotting against the planetary government of Andor."
Relief won out. "Well, I shall leave him in your capable hands. Fancy a game of chess?" He began leading the way out of the detention area into the hall. Kirk followed him and Jo, returning the nod from the sentry on duty, Stevenson.
"Doctor," said Jo, "if I'm forced to watch a chess match I'll only fall asleep."
"Right. Captain, is there somewhere Jo might have a lie-down?"
"I could have Spock assign you temporary quarters -"
"Oh no," Jo objected, "I don't mean to be that much trouble." But her speech was slurred, and she was leaning against the corridor wall. Kirk realized that he'd been noticing signs of sleep deprivation in her since she'd appeared on the bridge.
"An empty bed in sickbay, perhaps," the Doctor suggested.
Kirk mentally reviewed the afternoon's status reports. "There should be plenty available."
"Thank you, Captain," smiled Jo. "I'll find my own way, if you'll give me directions."
Kirk smiled back and pointed to the turbolift. "Deck Five. The sickbay complex occupies all the space inside the circle of the corridor. Tell Dr. McCoy I said it was all right."
"Thank you." Jo set off, and Kirk led the Doctor to the recreation room.
The Doctor hadn't troubled to say, but from the friendly banter Jo had nevertheless surmised that the Doctor was known to the crew of the Enterprise. Still she felt a little awkward walking into the ship's ward and surprising a doctor and a nurse there, who were no doubt rarely confronted without warning by people they didn't recognize.
"May I help you?" asked the doctor. He and the nurse were in blue. The only other person Jo'd seen in blue at a duty station was the alien with the pointed ears on the bridge; she guessed that he must also be some sort of doctor or scientist.
"Jo Grant," she said, extending her hand. "I'm with the Doctor."
"I'm the doctor. Oh, him!" The ship's doctor shook her hand and introduced himself as Leonard McCoy, and the nurse as Christine Chapel. At his ease he developed - or affected - an accent from the deep southern United States. "The Doctor still ...?" With one hand he indicated a height slightly in excess of his own, and with the other index finger he described an arc over the bridge of his own nose.
"Yes," said Jo, giggling and then feeling disloyal for it. In her agony of drowsiness she didn't wonder why McCoy thought the Doctor's nose or height might have changed.
McCoy grinned. "And what can I do for you?"
"The captain said I might be able to find a temporary billet here."
"The Doctor keeping you up?"
"Not intentionally. Do you have a bed in the ward I can use?"
"Nonsense, little lady." Jo gave McCoy the benefit of the doubt and assumed he called all his female patients "little lady". "Those are for paying customers, and you're a guest. There's a bunk in my office."
Shortly after the captain and the Doctor had left the detention area, Spock arrived. He too came to the force-shielded doorway of the first cell, and stood there regarding the occupant. Stevenson silently stood and joined him.
The captive slowly stood from the bunk where he'd been sitting and went to the doorway, stopping just in front of it, hands behind his back like the Starfleet officers in at-ease. He looked them both over with complacent expectation.
"You are the Master," said Spock. "We will obey you."
The first officer reached for the forcefield control panel and deactivated it.
The Doctor moved his queen to King's Level Two 4 and took Kirk's knight. "Checkmate."
Kirk was amazed. "I thought you were going after my queen."
"You were meant to have done." The Doctor grinned; against his usual 3D chess partner, Spock, he had yet to win. "I confess to having used a strategy that's not been invented yet, called the Thetilsol gambit."
Kirk froze. "Thetilsol?" he snapped. "The city on Andor?"
The Doctor was nonplussed. "Yes. It was first used in competition in a tournament there in 2547 -"
Kirk interrupted, rising, "The Master was operating in Thetilsol when we caught him."
"Well, it was your mention of Andor earlier that -" The Doctor broke off - he must have realized what Kirk was thinking as Kirk charged the intercom. But it was too late. Six security men - including Stevenson - entered the rec area and held phasers on everyone there.
Kirk reluctantly raised his hands so that the other crew would follow suit, though the Doctor only stood and put his hands in his pockets, a grim and angry look on his face. "What's the meaning of this?" the captain demanded, though he already knew.
Sure enough, now that the room was secure, the Master entered. Kirk's heart sank - Spock was with him. The black-clad Time Lord walked up to the Doctor, but when he spoke he addressed Kirk. "Permission to come aboard?" he asked with apparent sincerity.
Kirk ignored him. "Spock?"
"Captain," Spock acknowledged, as if nothing were out of the ordinary.
"The Master is a powerful hypnotist," said the Doctor. "With humans, all that's usually required is eye contact." Kirk wished he had mentioned it earlier.
"Your first officer's loyalty to you is perfectly intact, Captain," said the Master. "It is merely -" He smiled. "- inaccessible. It actually astonished me the difficulty I had, finding the paths past his shields, without his noticing. It has taken me since our first face-to-face meeting on Thetilsol, up until a short time ago. Of course, once I had found those paths, they only made him completely mine. Him and, with his help, as many of your crew as I wished."
"What's your purpose in this?" Kirk asked.
"In good time," said the Master. "Lock them all up," he told the guards, singling out Kirk and the Doctor, "these two in a cell by themselves."
END OF CHAPTER 1
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