selenak: (Master by Cheesygirl)
[personal profile] selenak
Sorry for any not yet replied to comments, replies will come, I’m having a couple of busy days. On to “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds”, requested by [personal profile] ffutures, a Doctor Who story I wrote in the hiatus between seasons 3 and 4 of New Who about Lucy Saxon, the Master’s wife, which means no canon post s3 is referred to. The story is here.

Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds

The title was a given and begged to be used. (I’m sure it was used by a lot of other people besides me for a story about Lucy.) Between “diamonds in the sky” being the catchphrase used by the little boy Martha talks to in “Utopia” which will then recur in a sinister, heartbreaking context during “Last of the Time Lords”, and Lucy’s first name, well, I had to.

Harry told her, early on, what she'd have to do in the extremely unlikely case he'd be defeated by the Doctor.

If you’ll recall, Last of the Time Lords give us the hand with nail polish snatching the Master’s ring from his cremation in true Dracula fashion, and Lucy was the obvious suspect. Equally obvious was the idea that he’d set this up. I mean, this is the Master. While it wasn’t beyond him to die purely out of spite (which as we now know this particular regeneration is indeed capable of), survival in most other regenerations’ primary game.

"But," Lucy protested, "would it not be simpler to, well, kill him? If there is even the slightest chance he could undo your work, Harry?"

Obvious question. Given that sometimes the Master actually makes sincere efforts in this direction but generally he prefers to go more for the tormenting-the-Doctor option, with a couple of saving-the-Doctor-options thrown in if he’s Delgado, the “best enemies” explanation really is the only one that works.

The thing that struck her about her husband's expression was that there was no laughter in his eyes, no smirk curving his mouth, as he replied: "Oh, but I couldn't possibly kill him."
She was suddenly very aware that wearing an evening dress in a permanently air-conditioned environment made her feel cold. Then the twinkle returned to Harry's eyes as he continued: "Where would be the fun in that?"

Lucy had thought the fun would be in ruling the Earth, with her at his side, but apparently Harry didn't see it that way. She didn't say anything out loud, though. She just gave her promise.
"My faithful companion," he said, and embraced her.

Something that if you were familiar with Classic Who was striking was Lucy/The Master as a parody of the Doctor-Companion relationships, both on a Watsonian (the Master is doing this intentionally) and on a Doylist level. (Lucy and the Master behind the door while the journalist is being torn apart by the Toclafane as a vicious flipside to the Doctor and Rose being breathlessly excited in the werewolf episode, say.)

Lucy used to love that phrase, right until the moment she discovered where it came from. There were a lot of UNIT files accessible on a former UNIT carrier, and she didn't have to do much day in, day out while Harry ruled the world, taunted the Doctor and found other ways to amuse himself, ways that did not always include her. It wasn't that she was going behind his back, it really wasn't. She was being a protective wife, looking for a way to kill the Doctor that wouldn't make him regenerate and would not make Harry angry with her. That was why she looked for the files. She didn't find what she was looking for. Instead, she found a list of "known companions of the Doctor" and photos of "the Doctor and his companions". None of the photos showed the man currently kept prisoner on the carrier, but Harry had explained about regeneration, so she did not expect them to. But she kept coming back to the one which showed a man with grey curls and a cape just like the one Harry had worn for meeting the American President at the air port, and the blonde girl gazing up at him, adoringly.

The Doctor and Jo Grant, the file said, his faithful companion.

She never looked at another file again.

Simm!Master wearing a Third Doctor style coat in the air port scene echoed by the Twelfth Doctor doing that as well which now echoes theMaster and the Doctor both: this show was made for easter eggs. Anyway: my Watsonian explanation is that when it comes to the Doctor and his Companions, the one combination the Master had the longest and most interactions with were Three and Jo, and that’s one big reason why Lucy had to be an upper class blonde.

Harry talked about drums in his head; not to her, to the other , but she listened, nonetheless. Lucy didn't hear drums, but sometimes, she imagined she could still smell the furnaces. That had been her first impression of the future, when Harry took her there: the horrid stink of burning flesh, and somehow mixed with that the mouldering dampness of decay.

The Ninth Doctor took Rose to see the end of Earth on her first outing. The Master takes Lucy to see the end of humanity in hers. Again, love the parallels. Also: Lucy of course isn’t sane. Obviously in Last of the Time Lords, when she’s a shattered wreck, but the adoring fangirl who dances to the invasion of the Toclafane in The Sound of Drums isn’t the picture of mental health, either. The Master gets the drums; I gave Lucy the smell of burning flesh to plague her.

"Utopia," Harry had muttered, then laughed. "Oh, Doctor, you're going to love this!"
That was one reason why she never went down on the surface, though she could have asked. The one time she had done, early on, she had encountered the same smells, and the air was clean, so clean in her castle in the sky. She insisted on it. It was always clean.

The staff still managed to smell. "Can't we get better people?" Lucy asked, and Harry patted her cheek and told her she was adorable. He didn't seem to understand that it was deliberate sabotage, especially by the Jones family. They did it because they knew it reminded Lucy of Utopia. Somehow, they knew, even though she never spoke of it. They probably imagined it would make her feel guilty, which was ridiculous. She had made her choice. She was the most envied woman on the planet. Why would she have regrets?

This is Lucy as the plantation owner’s wife, basically, projecting because she’s incapable of facing the enormity of what they are doing to their victims.

Nonetheless, she didn't like the way the Jones girl and her mother smelled, and because Harry wouldn't get her replacements, she got them good, new uniforms, and insisted they showered each morning before coming into her presence. She even gave them soaps and deodorants, which were hardly manufactured on Earth anymore, only for her, because Harry wanted her to feel pretty, of course. One would have thought Francine and Tish were grateful, but no. Somehow, they still managed to smell of steel and burning flesh and the sweet, foul scent of decay.

It never stopped. It never, ever stopped.

I think if the Master’s brand of evil were more banal and smaller scale, Lucy would not be troubled. If, for example, he were simply a tycoon letting unseen people slave in his factories while giving her pearls, she wouldn’t blink, and definitely wouldn’t crack. It’s the global scale, the constant presence of people now his and her slaves, and of the Toclafane, and knowing what the Toclafane are that makes the “it must be their fault” projection work less and less. And then there’s the entire matter of the Doctor, and what his continued presence on board the Valiant implies. Which brings us to:

"He didn't hypnotize me, you know," Lucy said to the old man sitting in his wheelchair. It was night, well, what passed for night time on the Valiant , but Harry wasn't in her bed, so she found herself wandering to the one person she knew wouldn't be asleep, either. "You mustn't think that."

"I don't," he said, and though his voice, that old-man-voice, reminded her of her father, she did not like it at all. It was whispery, like a fly's hums in a spider's web. Lucy did not allow for any spider-webs on board the Valiant, of course. No insects would ever get up here and spoil everything.

What did the Doctor make of Lucy? I think he felt vaguely sorry for her at this point. But no, he didn’t think the Master had hypnotized her, or that she hadn’t chosen the Evil Overlord’s Consort gig out of her own free will. Then again, he could get at least the “the Master is impossible to turn away from” motivation.

"I'll be with him always. Forever."

"Child," he said, "you don't have forever to give. Be grateful."

If you think that doesn’t sound like the Tenth Doctor’s way of speaking, well, he’s in his 800-years-withered-old-man stage, when I imagine he’d fall back on the essentials in terms of expressing himself.

"I suppose you think you do?" Lucy said archly, using her most disdainful tone, the one that used to have great effect on the servants, back when there was good service and not people who were ungrateful for her efforts to keep them clean. "But you don't. You'll see."

He probably thought she was harmless, too, just like Vivienne Rook had done. None too bright, harmless, decorative. He probably thought she was expendable. Interchangeable. A pretty toy, just like the billions of spheres who had made themselves so pretty in the stink of Utopia.

"I'm sorry," he said.

"You will be," Lucy replied, and left.

This isn’t just rethoric in her case. Remember, Lucy is the one with the gun in the end, and in this story’s interpretation at least, it wasn’t a spontaneous action on her part.

Finding the pyre wasn't that hard. Harry had told her it would be in Tarminster, which she had thought to be a tribute to herself, given her father was Lord Cole of Tarminster, until the UNIT file featuring that photo of the Doctor and Jo Grant had pointed out this was where "the Doctor crossed swords with the Master when the Master visited Earth for the first time".

All not invented, and noted by many a viewer paying attention to the extraneous stuff the BBC used to put out on hits website (like Lucy’s father’s title). Tarminster being the location for the Master’s debut adventure in Classic Who made the location for his funeral pyre a very fanboy choice of RTD; at this point, he probably didn’t plan on bringing the Master back during his tenure, and had no idea whether or not Moffat would, while leaving the possibility open with that ring scene. He basically had the Master come full circle on Earth.

Oddly, the smell didn't bother her, though it was exactly the same as in Utopia. She waited until the Doctor had gone, and then took the ring. It was still warm against her palms, and she heard the laughter, quite distinctly.

"I made my choice," she told it. "I keep my promises. We'll be together forever. Just like this."
She was supposed to get the ring to Cardiff; there was a rift there which would allow Harry to reconstitute himself, that was what he had told her. Unfortunately, she would never get to find out whether it would have worked. Lucy opened the necklace she wore and slipped the ring on it, then put it around her neck again.

"An accessory, darling," she murmured. "A truly decorative accessory. I'll never put it off. Together, like that, forever."

The laughter stopped; instead, she could hear a low hum. Quite like a fly trapped in a web. Well, there would be insects down here, of course.

"I can't tell you, Harry," Lucy said serenely, "how happy I was that you didn't want to spend eternity imprisoned by him. Now that all those nasty misunderstandings are cleared up, I must confess I was a bit worried, at times, that you really did it all for him, every single thing from the time you came to this planet. Silly old me. But that's the past now. We'll be together, like you said. You and me. A Time Lord and his faithful companion."

I must admit, this punchline - the idea of Lucy winning and getting what she wants – the Master all for herself -, of the Master being trapped for at least Lucy’s natural life time in a ring not because she betrays him but because she’s really that obsessed with him, turning his getaway plan into a trap, was what made me want to write the story to begin with. What I would not realize for years until [personal profile] londonkds pointed it out to me was that in two subsequent stories which otherwise have nothing to do with this one – a Blake’s 7 crossover and a Torchwood crossover – I would go on to use a similar punchline for the Master, i.e. him ending up trapping himself through an escape ploy that was also meant to screw people over. But then, “The Master hoisted on his own petard” is a classic Doctor Who trope, and so is "The Master underestimating a Companion" - only in this particular case, not the Doctor's but his own.

Date: 6 Jul 2017 20:28 (UTC)
dhampyresa: (Default)
From: [personal profile] dhampyresa
The Master hoisted on his own petard” is a classic Doctor Who trope, and so is "The Master underestimating a Companion" - only in this particular case, not the Doctor's but his own.

Makes perfect sense to me.

Date: 6 Jul 2017 20:44 (UTC)
ffutures: (Default)
From: [personal profile] ffutures
Thanks so much for doing that - I loved the story, and you've made a couple of things a lot clearer.

Weird thought for current canon - what if it was Missy that took the ring?

Date: 7 Jul 2017 16:55 (UTC)
watervole: (Default)
From: [personal profile] watervole
Interesting stuff about Tarminster. I never knew that.

Date: 8 Jul 2017 10:04 (UTC)
londonkds: (Default)
From: [personal profile] londonkds
The ending of "Last of the Time Lords" is a direct parody of the end of the Flash Gordon film.

I didn't know about the Tarminster reference. Oh, RTD.
Edited Date: 8 Jul 2017 10:05 (UTC)


selenak: (Default)

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