WARNING: If you haven't seen the last couple of episodes, contains
spoilers! Plus, it's a very silly story.
(In Plot and Loophole I most unfairly accused the Master of not being
as evil as he seemed and some of his incarnations are determined to
set the record straight...)
Part One: Library Liberation Front
by V. Jewitt
In which the Delgado and Jacobi Masters set out to restore their
properly evil reputation from rumours going round the Round... (It's
harder than it seems.)
(Er. I don't think Nameless had a library, but it does now. Or might
do, if it survives this. It has at least two librarians, though, so
it's about time.)
The original Master sighed as he walked down Nameless. He resented
the interference of his later selves. Was he about to take orders
from two future insane and decaying future incarnations of himself?
"It seems I am," he reflected aloud. After all, what use was the
Doctor's ultimate nemesis if no one believed his threats?
Having had his patronage of the new Nameless library revealed, he
supposed the easiest thing to do was to counter that with its
destruction. It was inconvenient, since he despised most of the
Round's inhabitants and without a book handy might have to talk to the
tin pepperpots, idiots and incompetents who surrounded him.
He searched his pockets and found a box of matches. With that in
hand, he walked up to the library door, only to be nearly knocked over
as the core UNIT team ran out, closely followed by the Second Doctor
and an agitated orang-utan, who often ran the Nameless library as
light relief from his more trying post at the Unseen University (where
the books were that much more likely to attack their readers).
"Get back!" roared the Brigadier, as Benton and Yates tried to wedge
the doors shut.
The Master turned to the Doctor. "Shouldn't the Third Doctor be
"He's busy. In some fan fiction," the Second explained. "I thought
I'd come along. I've got experience of this kind of thing."
"What kind of thing?"
He paused and considered. "Well, it is a little different, but
apparently bringing books into a place Outside continuity with all the
reality problems that accompanies it has... How can I put this?"
The Brigadier joined them. "All the book characters are trying to
get out, even the non-fiction. If they reach the main street and the
Round it'll be cross-over chaos and the place will never recover.
Besides as fictional characters in a place outside Reality, they look
rather like ghosts."
"Basically, there'll be trouble," summarised the Doctor. "Probably
with explosions and PLOT holes and Death, and Polly getting terribly
The Master thought and then offered them his matches.
"Oh, good!" said the Doctor. "I think the Brigadier brought some
dynamite with him. We can blow up the library!" He caught himself
guiltily and added, "Although, of course, we _should_ try and think of
something else first."
The Brigadier didn't see anything to complain of in this solution
either, but Benton coughed.
"Have you got a cold, Benton?" demanded his commanding officer.
The Sergeant pointed him in the direction of the Librarian. "I don't
think the monkey's too keen on that idea. Sir!"
The Librarian weighed up his intervention against the 'monkey', but
decided that the former was more important in this moment of crisis.
"Ah," said the Brigadier. "I suppose he has got a point. Any
Giles arrived at this point and spent a moment in consultation with
the Librarian, before turning to the Brigadier. "Blow up the
library? That's your solution, is it? Oh, very intelligent!"
The Second Doctor gave him a reproachful look. "I hear you did it
more than once yourself..."
"These fictional characters," began the Master, who had been
thinking. "Could we reason with them? Are they intelligent?"
The Second Doctor shared a look with the Brigadier. "Well, let's put
it this way: some of them are extremely intelligent and some of them
are barely coherent."
"Besides," added the Brigadier, "who's going to volunteer to
negotiate with Dracula?"
He faced the Master. "Yes. He appears to be leading the rebellion.
Well, one faction of it, at any rate. I wouldn't want you to imagine
there's any kind of actual organisation in there."
"Hmm," said the villain. "I do remember requesting that particular
The Brigadier glowered. "I might have known you'd have a hand in
"I may need to quote you on that," responded the Master. He glanced
from one to the other and a small smile crossed his face. "Gentlemen,
I believe I may be just what you needed!"
Benton coughed at the Brigadier again, who frowned, but waited for
him to speak.
"Are you going to trust _him_, sir?"
Meanwhile, the Master explained to the Doctor. "As a black-hearted
villain myself, I may have influence that you lack."
"Ook ook OOK," said the Librarian. "Ook?"
Giles thought about it. "I can't imagine it would really make much
"Well, I know, but how exactly were you planning to put them in Dewey
He folded his arms. "I'm not insulting your knowledge of cataloguing
and classification, but if there are hundreds of escaped book
characters in there, it could be difficult!"
Giles sighed. "No, Library of Congress certainly wouldn't be any
The Master approached the bulging library door.
"Let me in! I demand to speak with Dracula!"
"And who are you?" demanded a muffled voice from the other side.
He dusted an invisible speck from his black tunic. "Well, for one
thing, I'm a founder of this library. You owe your existence here to
me. And for another - I am the Master and you will obey me!"
The door opened and he passed on through.
The Brigadier, Benton and the Doctor watched. The Brigadier was
"He was on his way here and he's behind the foundation of this
library. We might have known he was up to something."
The Second Doctor said, "Now, Alistair, I think we should give him
the benefit of the doubt this once."
"I'm having that dynamite put in place," said the Brigadier. "I
don't trust the chap one iota!"
Benton said, "Yes, sir!" He then paused to add, "You do know he's
taken the matches with him, don't you?"
The Master entered and surveyed the chaotic, ghostly crowd of book
characters that surrounded him. One thing he didn't see was a certain
"Where is Dracula?"
A nearby elf pointed to the window and the shaft of sunlight that lay
in front of them.
"Ah," said the Master. "How unfortunate. Well, let us begin the
Oliver Twist stepped forward. "We want more, sir!"
"Yes," asserted Jane Eyre. "Everyone else here is a fictional
character, but we are less, having had our books themselves brought in
like this. We want existence and freedom from the book covers."
The Master stared back at them coldly and lit a match. "I want an end
to this nonsense and the lot of you back between your covers! Or I'll
burn this place to the ground and that will be an end to it!"
Everyone shrunk back nervously.
"Don't!" begged a talking mouse.
The Master held on to the lit match. "Then let's see if we can come
to some more profitable agreement, shall we?"
"Excuse me, Brigadier."
He turned impatiently. "What is it, Mr Giles?"
"I think the Librarian has done something reckless..."
The Jacobi Master was not any better pleased than the original.
Considering that it was the behaviour of two of his earlier selves
that had led to the rumours, he could not see why he had to justify
himself and he determined on a token act of villainy that would not
occupy too much of his morning, before he could retire to the Doctor's
stolen TARDIS and build something ingenious out of the cardboard boxes
he had been collecting.
The simplest thing to do, he decided, was to find one of the Doctor's
many companions and put them in danger. He might even allow himself
an evil chuckle afterwards. That ought to do it and then he could get
on with something a little more interesting.
When the Librarian reached the Master, he was alone, aside from Noddy
and the White Witch.
The Master blew out his second match. "Yes, I've dealt with the
crisis. Of course, if you want to ensure they are in Dewey Decimal
order, or alphabetical or whatever takes your fancy, I'm sure these
two library assistants will be happy to help."
He smiled at the orang-utan. "It's perfectly simple. All it takes
is a little logical thought and everyone's happy. Well, happy enough
for the moment."
"I'm not 'supposed' to be evil, you miserable ape! I _am_ evil!"
The Librarian looked at him.
"It doesn't mean," said the Master coolly, "that I can't use my own
particular skills to save the library if I choose..."
The two decaying Masters had assigned qualified observers to watch the
progress of their other selves - qualified in this case meaning
thoroughly evil and corrupt - and while Davros was watching the
Delgado Master from the shadows (becoming irritable and bored with the
lack of events), the Rani had tracked the Jacobi Master to a siding
off the main train line into Nameless.
"Help!" shrieked Mel.
He glared at her. "Stop that noise!"
She looked back crossly as he finished tying her to the tracks. "You
do know this is about the most unoriginal thing that's ever happened
to me, don't you?"
"I'm merely trying to do my bad deed for the day," he returned
without interest. "Nobody told me I had to be inventive."
Mel sighed. "Well, do you mind thinking of something else? I could
be here a long while before somebody finds me!"
"That, my dear girl, is the idea!"
She said, "Yes, but I don't think you realise -."
Suddenly, he stopped and stared back at her in confusion. "Oh,
dear. What's happening? Did I do this to you?"
Mel watched him with suspicion. "Er. Yes."
He hastily set about untying her. "My poor child. I'm so
embarrassed. What could have come over me?" He frowned.
"Are you sure you're the Master and not Dr Jekyll or someone?" she
asked as he untied her ankles. "I did hear there was some trouble at
He stared at her. "The Master? I don't think I would go that far..."
They both stopped as first of all, the use of that name had its effect
on Yana, that particular Master's alter ego, and secondly, as a fuming
Rani appeared on the scene.
"Oh, no, not _you_!" said Mel.
The Rani ignored her and turned to the Master. "I was supposed to
merely watch your activities, but I thought I might as well put you
out of your misery and tell you that you've failed!"
"You are accusing me of failure?" he said. "I should point out that
I have survived where you fell with the rest of our kind!"
She shrugged. "I'm not interested in that nonsense. Would you like
to hear your scores?"
"If you must, then get it over with!"
Everyone else wanted to know what the Master had done. He folded his
arms and dragged out their suspense for as long as possible.
"I know," guessed the Doctor, "of course, you did something terribly
clever with the date stamps!"
"Doctor, you never fail to amuse me! I simply used my natural
The Brigadier was annoyed. "Look, just tell us what you did, or
we'll arrest you!"
"Very well," said the Master. "Any fool could have done the same,
however. I merely threatened to burn the library down if they didn't
stop their nonsense. And then as a concession, they are to be allowed
free rein inside the library after closing hours. Two of them - one
good, one evil - will act as library assistants the rest of them time,
taking it in turns, of course. If any of them try anything, I
promised to leave the matches with the Librarian here."
They all searched for something to say in return, but no one could
find any flaw in his actions.
The Master smiled. "Oh, and I'd have Sergeant Benton clear up that
pile of dust if I were you."
"Pile of dust?" echoed the Brigadier.
"Yes," he returned, as he headed for the door. "It belongs in Mr
"Abducting a companion and placing her in mortal peril," reported the
Rani. "5 points. However, since tying Mel to the tracks is
practically a public service, 3 points deducted. 5 more deducted for
switching back to that professor persona and untying her, plus 4 more
deducted for tying her to the tracks of a long-disused siding!"
"Minus 7," calculated Mel. "You might as well finish untying me. I
did try to tell you about the railway."
The Rani stepped in. "Leave her where she is. Finish untying the
girl and your final score will be minus 20."
"What do I care for your scores?" spat back the Master and untied Mel
purely because the Rani had told him not to.
"Thank you!" said Mel, and ran for it.
The original Master strolled away from the library, feeling pleased
with himself, having bested the Doctor for once. It only then
occurred to him that saving the library from destruction and acting as
peacemaker in the crisis, might not impress his later selves. His
expression darkened, but then, was he about to be dictated to by that
pair of blundering idiots?
And in a nearby alleyway, Davros totted up his scores to an impressive
Prelude - Part Two - Part Three - Coda
This Time Round was created by Tyler Dion. All characters are
copyright of the BBC and BBC Wales, except for those copyright of
Terry Pratchett and WB / Fox.