The Doctor plunged back into the house, expecting to be greeted by the flaming touch of the argon laser, but the Master had retreated back into his radio lair at the top of the house, taking the Array with him in the helium/neon laser.
After a moment's indecision, the Doctor vaulted up the first flight of steps. He saw the banister suddenly develop a blackened streak. A corresponding hole, with a brief tongue of flame, appeared in the panel of the landing. He dropped down but heard the door above slam closed again as the Master once more retreated.
The Doctor hesitated on the second floor before making the last dash up the final flight of steps to the work room above, where the Master had set up his equipment. He heard a furious banging from behind the closed door, and he wondered if the Master had realized that the satellite was not responding to his radio signals. Was he dismantling equipment, or barricading himself in?
The door suddenly jerked open, and the Doctor leaped backward and ducked into a bathroom doorway on the landing. The door jamb burst into flame. He skittered onto the bathroom counter to avoid the searing ray of light. The scorch mark ran a dark strip across the far wall of the bathroom, melting a streak in the tiling above the tub. The door above slammed closed.
Outside, the Doctor heard two shots, and a sudden chorus of yells and exclamations from the soldiers. Whatever had happened, things did not seem to be going well out there. He rolled off the counter, landing on his feet, and raced up the stairs. The door opened just at the last minute, and a burning streak ran from his shoulder to his neck, taking part of his left ear lobe in a brief, excruciating flame; then he hit the door full force.
The blow of the door staggered the Master on the other side of it, but he regained himself and pushed back, forcing the door closed.
Meanwhile, at Jo's warning to the soldiers, Diana drew the weapon and leaped forward. Benton dropped instantly at sight of the weapon, but Diana had been drawing it only as a gesture. She rolled forward out of the wheelchair as two rifle shots whizzed overhead.
"Don't shoot the girl!" Benton shouted. The image of killing a child, even an armed child, was unbearable. And he was sure she was under the mental control of the Master. He slipped his own gun out of its holster. He was a crack shot, and could disable her if he had to.
But Diana rolled to a sitting position with her back to Benton and fired her precious two shots with astounding and rapid accuracy. The first bullet smacked into a bee hive that was perched at the edge of the tree cover closest to the house. Under the impact of the widebore army slug, a quarter of the hive disintegrated onto the heads of the soldiers beneath it. A swarm of bees piled out into the air like a shimmering wave. It tore into the woods where the soldiers were stationed with a live, loud hum. Without hesitation to check the effectiveness of the shot, she swung the gun a few inches and fired at Jo Grant, further up the hill. This shot was less successful; it drove into the tree just in front of Jo's face, driving out splinters and ricochets. With a cry Jo dropped down into the cover of the grass, blinded with blood and pain.
Diana threw down the gun, leaped up, and tried to race down the drive toward the road. Sgt. Benton intercepted her. As soon as she threw down her gun, he slipped his own sidearm back into place, confident that he could subdue her without injury.
She had been eager to try out her legs. The memory that had been imbedded into her nervous system was far reaching and efficient. As Benton tried to bring her down in as gentle a tackle as possible, her hips suddenly seemed to flip over and she came up into the air in a spectacular jump. The back of one of her legs caught him across the face and neck. She turned in the air, scissoring his head between her two legs. They both crashed to the ground.
She twisted further against his throat and chin; the burly sergeant was stunned to find himself helpless and breathless for a moment, and then she was up and gone, pelting down the drive.
Men were tearing in retreat down the hill as well, fleeing from the swarm of bees. Soldiers were shouting, the Brigadier foremost, but the well organized team had been routed for a moment.
Still, as the swarm diverged after one band of men who fled toward the pond down the hill, another band of two or three soldiers came out of the trees and once again intercepted Diana.
Two hard kicks from legs like pile drivers dropped one of them, but the other two saw the danger in being gentle with her. They fell on her heavily and pulled her down. One of them sat on her legs while the other shouted for assistance.
Some of the men had remained at their places, and the Brigadier quickly rearranged the cordon to make a more effective guard.
He hurried down to their new captive.
"Miss Wilmer!" he shouted. "Miss Wilmer!"
"It's no good; she's gone over, sir," Benton told him. "How'd she get that power in her legs?"
"Allied with the Master?" the Brigadier demanded. "It's not possible!"
Without answering, Diana continued to struggle, desperately trying to get her legs under her.
"She's got to be restrained!" Benton exclaimed.
They carried restraints for the Master, and the Brigadier reluctantly nodded at Benton. "Be quick about it, then, and keep her out of the way of gunfire," he ordered briefly.
Benton and the two others picked her up bodily and hurried down the hill while she struggled. Quickly, they dug out handcuffs and fastened her to the steering wheel of one of the jeeps down on the road.
"I'm sorry, Miss," Benton said as they finished. Her response was to lash out from the driver's seat of the jeep, trying to kick him.
"Keep an eye on her," he called to the radio operator who was doubling as sentry over the vehicles.
He and his men hurried back to their positions.
* * * *
"Jo, can you hear me?" Mike Yates asked Jo, bending over her while one of his men took up a position nearby, rifle ready.
"Yes," she said, struggling to sit up. "I don't think the bullet hit me."
"No, it was the splinters," he said, quickly pulling out his clean handkerchief and putting it to her face. The sight of a mask of blood over her face had made his heart stop for a moment, but as he applied the handkerchief as a compress, he could discern that her bones had not been shattered. She was not shot.
"Can you open your eyes?" he asked urgently. "We've got to get you away from here."
"There's too much blood," she said, trying to open her eyes. "I think they're all right, but it stings."
"Come on," he said, getting her on her feet and getting his shoulder under her arm. Moving quickly, he half helped and half carried her down the hill to the temporary base below. There was a field medic in place, and he took over for the young captain. Yates hurried back up the hill.
Benton moved quickly and carefully along the cordon of men and joined him after a moment.
"What's the status?" Yates asked.
"Still in there, sir," Benton told him. "And the Doctor's in there too, free, but handcuffed and unarmed."
"What's the Brig saying?"
"As soon as the men are back in place we're to give it a rush; you're discretion."
"All right. Take three to that side and I'll lead two over here. The rest are to wait until I signal."
"Yes sir." Benton slipped away.
Up on the top floor of the lodge, the Doctor maintained a steady pressure against the door. It began to feel like there was nobody on the other side. He stepped back and rammed it with his good shoulder. Nothing responded. There was a chance that he would break through to a laser blast in the face, but he decided to risk it. One more great blow with his shoulder, and he broke down the door. The room was empty. He crashed to the floor with the force of the blow, unable to regain his balance with his hands bound only inches apart in the handcuffs.
But he felt the string snap as he broke through it, and saw that it led to a clumsy and lumpy box with a wristwatch attached to it. It was anchored to a shelf with layer upon layer of duct tape. He leaped up and threw himself out the window.
The Master's exit had obviously been tidy and precise: through the open window, a short drop to the roofing below, and then another drop to the ground before racing into the trees for a discrete retreat. In a much greater hurry to get away from the bomb, the Doctor crashed through the glass and sash, fell to the roofing below, slid down the inclined surface, skipped off the edge of the gutter, and hit the ground a tremendous thump. He still had the presence of mind to cover his head with his handcuffed hands. The entire wall above blew outward in a sheet of flame. A wave of heat passed over him, and then shattered glass and burning bits of drywall, insulation, and roofing rained down like hail.
The front of the top floor did not blow out like the rear did, but sheets of flame suddenly appeared along the roof and licked out the side window on the top floor. But the roar of the explosion was terrific.
At the other side of the house, Mike Yates had been ready to give the order to go in. "The Doctor's up there!" he exclaimed. From the other side, he heard Benton kick in the other door.
"Get around back," he told his two men. "Don't come in unless I call." He wondered if anything could have survived that explosion. He rushed inside, rifle ready.
Benton and two others were sweeping the main room; one checking the kitchen and another the downstairs bathroom. Smoke and heat already radiated toward them from the flaming top floor.
"I'll try the second floor, sir," Benton volunteered, starting up the steps.
"I'm with you."
They got up the first flight, but a furious fire was already engulfing the upper flight. The room at the top was an inferno.
They backed away, helplessly, their lungs searing in the terrific heat.
"Go on, it's hopeless," Yates said. "He's a goner." They quickly backed down the steps.
"Clear the house!" Yates yelled. "That roof will come down any minute. Let's go. It's no good." They hurried out.
Hallos and calls from the back of the house brought them around to see the Doctor stretched out on his face in the grass, the two soldiers doing a quick check for ambush before daring to take a look at him.
Benton quickly checked him. "Doctor?" he asked.
"Get these blasted hand cuffs off," the Doctor choked, and then fainted.
* * * *
"All right, Miss Grant, lots of blood from any face wound of course, but I think it's fine," the young medic said as he passed the stinging antiseptic over the cuts in her face. "Eyes look good." He began applying bits of tape over the deeper nicks in her forehead. "Shouldn't scar you."
"That's good news." She winced and kept her teeth clenched together. She had been moved back to the line of vehicles, out of the "hot zone" of the confrontation.
Two or three vehicles up the line, Diana watched this scene with annoyance. She had hated the sight of the brief moments of warmth between the Doctor and his assistant. She hated their friendship as though it were a personal insult to her. And she hated it that Jo had survived.
Deeply angry and resentful, she swiveled back around to ease the pressure from the handcuffs. Now it was her turn to be imprisoned, attached to the steering wheel of this army vehicle. It was all like a smack in the face.
"Actually, you've done quite well, my dear," the Master said.
She gasped. He was in the passenger seat alongside her. He put a finger to his lips to tell her to be silent, and then he produced a lockpick from his pocket. She obediently offered him her wrists.
"But how did you get here?" she whispered. "Master, the medic will see you, and there's a sentry."
"Oh no," he whispered back. "They're about to be diverted for a few moments, my dear." He calmly worked on the right bracelet until it suddenly sprang open. Just then they heard a tremendous explosion from the top of the hill and saw a single tongue of flame shoot up into the air above the trees.
Diana instinctive shrank back as the explosion rocked the hill, while the Master calmly worked on her other wrist.
The sentry, never looking back, raced toward the hill with the medic, carrying the emergency equipment.
"That's done," the Master said. "And here is the knife that you dropped." He passed it to her. "We ought to do something about escaping." The jeep in which they sat was locked in place by other vehicles surrounding it. "Come along," he said, and he led her up the row of army vehicles to a truck in the front of the line. She thrust the knife into her belt and followed him.
When the fireball went up, the medic had quickly gathered his field kit and run to the scene. Jo would have gone with him, to help, but the sentry sent her back to the vehicles for blankets. There were emergency supplies in several of the trucks.
She stopped short as she saw Diana scrambling out of the jeep. Instinctively, Jo ducked down in time to avoid a backwards glance from the girl. Then she saw the Master leading her to one of the trucks in the front of the line. They climbed in.
Jo quickly followed. The Master had to hot wire the ignition of the truck to get it started. He quickly popped up the hood. While he was busy, with Diana alongside him, watching his deft work on the engine, Jo decided to take a chance. She climbed up on the rear bumper and cautiously rolled over the open tailgate into the wide bed of the truck. Quickly, she crawled under the personnel bench where the soldiers normally sat during transport. A long flap of canvas, used for covering equipment in bad weather, lay crumpled on the floor. She pulled it over herself and peeped out of the tiny slit between the edge of the cover and the bed of the truck. In a moment, the Master's head appeared at the driver's station, and the door slammed. Diana's head appeared alongside on the passenger side. Her door slammed, and the truck roared into life. They pulled out. Bracing her hands and feet against the bolted legs of the bench, Jo hung on doggedly and told herself that this was the best thing to do. She had no idea where the Doctor was, but surely he had gotten out before the Master had set off that bomb. After all, the Master was not carrying either laser. Surely, she told herself, the Doctor had gotten them away from him and escaped.
* * * *
"He got away," the Doctor told the Brigadier as the medic carefully touched a medicated pad to his burned ear lobe. The Doctor winced, knocked the medic's hand away, and exclaimed, "Oh let it go, man! It's no good!"
"Calm down, Doctor. I've got the men searching the woods for him. He can't get far," the Brigadier told him. "I've sent men down to watch out for Miss Wilmer, too. How did he get her out of that wheel chair?"
"Cybernetics," the Doctor said briefly. "Where's Jo Grant? Look, I would like to get off this stretcher." he started to stand up, groaned, and sank back.
"Just take it easy, Doctor," Lethbridge Stewart told him. "You can't fall off a roof like that and come up swinging. We have it under control."
"You let a sixteen year old girl with two bullets scatter half your platoon and you're telling me you've got it under control?" the Doctor demanded.
"Well we couldn't shoot her!" the Brigadier shouted. "And you! Where's that Array thing this time? Gotten away again?"
The Doctor subsided. "I'm afraid it has," he admitted. "The laser was blown to bits in the explosion. I'm sure the Array has gone back in search of a way to adapt to our ecosystem." He sighed and let the medic cut away the ragged remains of his shirt at the shoulder and look at the laser burn.
"Oh nasty," the medic muttered.
"Look, where is Miss Grant?" the Doctor demanded. "And did you jam the satellite?"
"Yes we did, and Miss Grant is safe," the Brigadier began, and was interrupted by his radio. He pulled it out and pulled up the antenna. "The Americans are going to change the control frequencies again. Go on," he said into the radio, forgetting his code name for this assignment. He wondered if any other blasted thing could go wrong.
"They're all gone, sir," Yates' voice said.
"All who?" the Brigadier shouted.
"The girl, that Diana Wilmer, and Jo Grant, and one of the trucks," the voice said over the radio. "We think the Master's got them again."
"Get the vehicles out on the roads. All points bulletin. Get the authorities notified," the Brigadier said. "Start setting up checkpoints."
"Yes sir. We're onto it."
"Check points from here to the coast, Yates!"
Without waiting for a signature, the Brigadier slung the radio back in its place in his belt. For a moment, the Doctor actually looked tired and defeated. While the medic bandaged his shoulder, he looked at the Brigadier.
"We'll recover them," the Brigadier said quietly.
"Diana Wilmer hates Jo Grant," the Doctor said.
"I saw it while we were in there. She's jealous of Jo. She's gone way over, Brigadier."
"We certainly saw evidence of that," the Brigadier muttered.
"Where would they go?" the Doctor asked, more to himself. "Can they follow the array?"
"Don't you know?"
He shook his head. "I don't know," he admitted. "I don't know where it will go; I don't know where they'll take Jo, and I don't know what they're going to do."
* * * *
"What will we do, Master?" Diana asked as the time lord sped them over the narrow country lanes at high speed. His voice was calm, his eyes intense as he watched the road. "There may be weapons stored in the back. Climb over and see what you can find."
She nodded. She turned, set her hands on the top of the passenger seat, and climbed into the back of the canvas covered truck. Jo held her breath, but Diana moved directly to the rear, her eyes intent on a latched metal box.
Jo knew that this was only the vehicle assistance kit. It was much too small to hold any conventional weapon, such as a rifle. But to Diana's inexperienced eye, it was a good find.
"There's something back here!" she shouted. She quickly attacked it and worked at undoing the two rusty latches that secured it. It was hung in easy reach of the tail gate, so that a person outside the truck need only reach in and open it.
The Master slowed the vehicle. "What's this?" he exclaimed, for the shimmering, cloudy form of the Array was hovering over the road ahead.
Diana, facing the rear, suddenly sat up on her heels. "The soldiers are chasing us!"
Jo had no idea why he was slowing down, but it was now or never. With the canvas sheet around her, she rolled out from under the bench and charged directly into Diana, who was leaning forward in a crouch, off balance.
Diana screamed as Jo slammed into her, hung on, and launched from her legs. The force of the impact rolled both of them over the open tailgate, out onto the road. Jo took the worst of the impact on her left shoulder and side.
The truck sped up, and the Master raced away, through the shimmering curtain of the Array, which still hung uncertainly in place.
Diana's sturdy, cybernetic legs enabled her to spring up. "Master!" she called. But he was speeding away, leaving her behind rather than risk capture from their pursuit.
Jo, on the outside of the tackle that had brought them to the hard road, was much less able to move.
"I think my shoulder's separated," she gasped. She tried to sit up. The canvas, luckily, had spared her from skinning herself in the desperate dive for freedom. But knife-like pains cut through the shoulder when she moved.
"You!" Diana exclaimed. "You did this! He would have taken me with him!"
"Look, there's the monster you unleashed," Jo gasped with a grim nod to the Array. She still could not sit up. "And if it's hungry enough, it will have both of us. I'd run if I were you."
Diana turned at the warning, but the Array, as even Jo suddenly realized, was exhausted. It had been held in dormancy for too long, and it did not have the strength to adapt to its environment nor to change its environment. It did not approach any closer. It was, in fact, fading: slowly disintegrating.
Diana turned back to her. The teen age girl looked quickly at the pursuit, but they were still fairly distant. She drew the knife from her belt.
"Don't, Diana," Jo said.
"I couldn't kill you before," she said. "But you've ruined everything. Wasn't it enough that you had the Doctor and all your friends liked you?"
"Diana---" Jo began.
The soldiers were too far away to be of any use, but as Diana would have dropped onto Jo with the knife, a singing, whining sound suddenly increased in volume, and something like a bb pellet tapped off of Diana's chest. It was quickly followed by another. There were trees on either side of the road, and the swarm seemed to materialize from no where. Jo screamed and rolled up into the canvas, and Diana, suddenly confronted with the swarming bees that she had unleashed, shouted once or twice, and then sprang away as the agitated swarm followed her breathing and body warmth.
In the fast approaching lead jeep, Osgoode put the field glasses to his eyes. "Look at that young lady go!"
Benton was driving, full speed. "It's a good thing she's got cybernetic legs. She'll make for the pond. Radio greyhound five to pick her up. Tell them to mind the bees. We'll see to Miss Grant. The others are to pursue the Master---for all the good it will do."
Osgoode nodded and picked up the handset.
* * * *
"There now," the Doctor said much later as Jo gingerly flexed her left arm and made a fist. "Don't tell me that electronic acupuncture is a hoax. A western doctor couldn't have you moving like that so soon after a fall. But," he added, taking up the cotton sling from his workbench and dropping it over her head like a necklace. He pulled it down into place to comfortably accommodate her arm. "No heavy use of it for a good three or four days. We can diminish the pain, but the injury is still there."
"It does feel better. Thank you, Doctor."
The Brigadier entered the lab. He met the Doctor's eye directly. "Got away," he said.
The Doctor made a sound of resigned disgust as he coiled up the wires from the frequency generator. "Thought as much. His TARDIS could not have been far away."
"And Diana?" Jo asked.
The Brigadier put his hands behind his back. "I don't know. By all rights she should come to trial---"
Jo was shocked. "She should not come to trial!"
Both men looked at her. "Well, she kidnapped you, for a start," the Doctor said.
"Yes, after being tormented all her life with loneliness, and then tempted by the Master, and then tormented again by seeing----" But Jo cut herself off.
"By seeing what?" the Brigadier asked.
Jo did not answer. She did not want to say it, but the Doctor knew. By seeing Jo with the Doctor. But the Doctor did not voice Jo's thoughts.
"By seeing too much," he said instead. "By having her legs given back to her with no preparation. By being conveniently sacrificed by the Master. She's a confused child."
"She was determined to assist an enemy of the entire world in his plot against it."
The Doctor countered with his ace. "When the Master put a gun in her hand and ordered her to shoot Jo, Diana did not do it."
Jo held her breath. The truth was, Diana had not been able to force herself to do it, but she had wanted to.
"And then when Diana might have shot Jo out in the open, she also deliberately missed," the Doctor said.
The Brigadier was not convinced. "We don't know that---"
"She must not come to trial!" the Doctor barked. "Think how it would look, man! No Master, no Array, and this young girl. We cannot make her answer for his crimes. She did not understand what was happening."
The Brigadier became quiet. He waited for a full moment, and the Doctor calmed down, too. But Jo realized that the Doctor had taken up the argument only because it had mattered to Jo herself.
"And so what do we do with Diana Wilmer?" the Brigadier asked at last. "She could prove dangerous. You two feel sorry for her, but she has shown a criminal inclination."
The Doctor gazed out the window of the lab "Talk to Dr. Wilmer. Make an arrangement. She can be kept in secure care. Perhaps emotional and mental therapy will improve her outlook."
Lethbridge-Stewart took in a breath and let it out, considering. "All right," he said at last. "But it will be very secure care."
"Wilmer can afford any arrangement that you stipulate." The Doctor glanced at Jo, his eyes concerned. But he added, "Perhaps Dr. Wilmer lacks affection for his daughter, but I'm sure that he's eager to keep this matter quiet. He'll cooperate with you in arranging her care."
"Right then. I'll see to it." And the Brigadier strode out.
The Doctor approached Jo. "You all right?" His voice was gentle.
"She was badly used," Jo said. "Sometimes the worst crimes of the Master are the ones that nobody notices very much." She looked up at him. "And yet he only took advantage of a cruel situation. He didn't create it."
"Hardly." And the Doctor inclined his head. "Human beings have always been very good at being cruel to each other, Jo. That should come as no surprise to you."
"Then why is it so important to go charging about space to settle things?" she asked suddenly. "What have we been doing for the last few years? Autons and Nestenes and Daleks. What about people? Human beings?"
This question took him back. "We've done a lot of good," he reminded her. "And we've seen the wonders of the universe."
She lowered her head. "Doesn't really matter when you come back to earth and are confronted by Diana Wilmer." Her voice was quiet.
"Yes it does." His voice was still gentle, but firm. "It matters to the other races and species that you help. Surely they count for something, just like humans."
"Yes," she said. "But humans count, too. I feel like I've been crusading for the universe, but I've left my own home in a tip." She glanced around the cluttered lab. "All of this can't be just for time travel and beating back Cybermen. Why haven't we ever put it to use for ordinary, everyday people?"
He became genuinely indignant. "My dear Jo, I have written numerous articles and papers designed precisely for advancing beneficial technologies," he told her. "I am trying to help humans along by acceptable, gradual means. It's not my fault that they are so determined to stay stuck in their self-centered rut."
"No," she agreed. "But it's my fault. I'm a human being. There's a lot to do here on earth that has nothing to do---" And she stopped herself.
"To do with what?" he asked. "With UNIT?" He hesitated. "With me?"
"With time travel."
For a long moment, he didn't answer her, and she stayed where she was, with her head down. After a long pause, she said, "And you wonder too, what it's going to do to all of us in the long run---"
"All of us?"
"Mike Yates, and Sgt. Benton and the Brigadier---"
He did not understand. "What should it do?"
She shook her head. "I don't know myself." She glanced at her wrist watch. "Look, I'd better go. It's awfully late, and I'm exhausted."
But he was concerned. He walked with her to the coat stand and helped her into her jacket, adjusting the shoulder of the garment over her sling. "We've accomplished great things, Jo. I couldn't have done any of it without you."
She suddenly smiled up at him, not wanting him to worry. "Thank you, Doctor. I just need a good rest. I'll be all right."
"Well all right then." But he was still puzzled. She offered him another smile, and she went out. He stood in the silent lab, watching the doorway after she exited. For a moment his face showed only confusion and concern. The timer on the electronic acupuncture box began to beep. It caught his attention. He strode over to it and switched it off. Then he noticed the diamondizer, its top still open. Curious, he examined it. He took up his jeweler's glass and began to effect repairs to the squat, futuristic machine.
When the Brigadier passed the lab an hour later on his way to a debriefing, he saw that Jo Grant had gone, and the Doctor was busily working on his latest invention. Everything seemed back to normal.