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Authors: Malcolm Hulke

Tags: #Science-Fiction:Doctor Who

Doctor Who: The Sea-Devils (10 page)

BOOK: Doctor Who: The Sea-Devils
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The two prison officers yanked at the Doctor’s arms and led him out of the office. He didn’t try to protest any more. Clearly Trenchard was so deeply involved that he would never now listen to reason.

As the door closed, the internal telephone buzzed.

Trenchard lifted the receiver. ‘Governor here.’ A voice at the other end told him that the young lady visitor had left her naval Jeep and was now roaming somewhere in the grounds. Trcnchard’s voice touched an almost hysterical note as he said, ‘Then find her... immediately... NOW!’ He slammed down the ’phone. He was finding it difficult to breathe, and put his hand just under his heart to feel how fast it was palpitating. He knew that he should really visit a doctor, but he was afraid of what he might be told about that heart of his.

With a sudden feeling of total exhaustion, he slumped forward on his desk and buried his face in his hands.

7 Captain Hart Becomes Suspicious

‘What exactly will I be looking for, sir?’ asked young Lieutenant Ridgway.

‘That’s a good question,’ said Captain Hart. ‘But if I knew the answer to that, I wouldn’t be sending you there to look.’

At Captain Hart’s request, a submarine had arrived from Portsmouth. The captain was Lieutenant Robin Ridgway, R.N., whose boyish looks unnerved Captain Hart; it was incredible to think that a young man who but a few years ago was in his school XI was now entrusted with millions of pounds’ worth of naval equipment. He had explained the situation to Ridgway—the sinking of the ships and the continual mechanical problems on the oil-rig. What he had not explained was the existence of the Sea-Devils, because he did not want the young lieutenant to think he was a fool.

Lieutenant Ridgway referred again to the sea-bed charts on the wall of Captain Hart’s office. ‘I suppose there could be some geological explanation,’ he said, more thinking aloud than making a definite statement. ‘A movement in the sea-bed, perhaps, or some magnetic phenomenon.’

‘I take it you’re equipped with hearing and seeing aids?’ said Captain Hart.

‘Television eyes,’ affirmed the lieutenant, ‘and underwater “ears”. Plus sonar, of course.’

‘Good.’ Captain Hart stood up, to indicate that the briefing was over. ‘I want you to radio me a full report the moment you re-surface.’

‘Yes, sir,’ said Ridgway.

‘All right,’ said Captain Hart. ‘Carry on. And good luck.’

‘Thank you, sir.’ Ridgway turned smartly and left the office, with a nod of farewell to W.R.N. Jane Blythe.

Jane waited until Ridgway had closed the door behind him. ‘You didn’t think it better to tell Lieutenant Ridgway about the Sea-Devils, sir?’

‘I don’t think they can do any harm to a submarine—
if
they exist,’ replied Captain Hart. ‘Do you feel I’ve sent him into danger unforewarned?’

‘It’s not for me to say that, sir,’ said Jane.

‘I may be wrong,’ said the Captain, ‘but look at it this way: if I’d told him what we have only
heard
, and have never seen for ourselves, is it possible he might
imagine
he was seeing Sea-Devils? You see, this way we shall get an objective report.’

‘Yes, sir,’ said Jane, clearly not convinced that what Captain Hart had done was right. ‘If I may mention something else, sir: isn’t it time that the Doctor and Miss Grant were back here? They’ve been gone rather a long while.’

Captain Hart gave thought to that. ‘Give Trenchard a ring. Find out whether they got to him, and when they left.’

While Captain Hart took up his favourite position at the window, and watched young Lieutenant Ridgway return to the submarine now berthed alongside the quay, Jane Blythe telephoned Mr. Trenchard. Then she reported to Captain Hart.

‘Mr. Trenchard says that they’ve been to see him, and now gone back to London, sir.’ She added significantly, ‘He mentioned that he personally called a taxi for them, to take them back to the quay in the village.’

Captain Hart turned slowly from the window. ‘He called a taxi for them? What about the Jeep I lent them?’

‘Exactly, sir,’ said Jane, not wishing to say outright that Captain Hart’s friend must be a liar.

He scowled. ‘What a peculiar way to carry on. You’d better send someone to collect that Jeep.’

‘But sir, why would they take a taxi when they had a Jeep? And isn’t it odd that they haven’t called back here?’

Captain Hart thought for a moment. Then he went to the clothes-stand and took down his cap. ‘You have a very suspicious mind,’ he said, allowing himself a little smile. ‘I’m going to drop by and see old George. If the submarine reports back, you can reach me at the château.’

While Captain Hart, in thoughtful mood, was driving his car to the château, the Doctor was being brought in handcuffs into the Master’s room at the prison.

‘Ah, Doctor,’ said the Master, producing a hardback chair, ‘do sit down.’

Two prison officers pushed the Doctor down in to the chair.

‘Do you run this place now?’ asked the Doctor.

The Master smiled. ‘You might say that I am a privileged guest.’ He nodded to the prison officers. In response they unlocked the Doctor’s handcuffs.

The Doctor rubbed his wrists. ‘Thank you very much.’

But the prison officers quickly grabbed the Doctor’s arms, twisted them behind the back of the chair, and replaced the handcuffs so that he was now firmly attached to the chair.

‘That’ll be all,’ said the Master, and the two prison officers departed, closing and locking the door.

‘You realise,’ said the Doctor, ‘that I ’phoned through to UNIT and gave them a full report when Miss Grant spotted you at the Naval Base?’

‘I realise,’ said the Master, ‘that you are lying. If you’d done that, why come back here to investigate in person? Now let’s get straight down to business. I’ve had you brought in here because you may be able to help me.’

‘To escape?’ asked the Doctor.

‘My dear fellow,’ the Master laughed, ‘I can leave here any time I wish. I only stay on because it makes a useful base for my operations.’ He paused for effect. ‘I am planning to contact underwater friends.’

The Doctor was genuinely surprised. ‘How do you know about them?’

‘From the Time Lords’ files,’ replied the Master, truthfully. ‘It’s been particularly useful to me,’ he went on, ‘the way our old friends the Time Lords keep a record of everything.’

The Doctor asked, ‘What do you hope to gain by helping the Sea-Devils?’

‘Power,’ said the Master. ‘I shall use them just as I’ve used the Ogrons.’ He smiled reflectively. ‘And there will be an additional reward—the pleasure of seeing these humans, of whom you’re so fond, being exterminated or made into slaves!’

‘What do you want me to do?’ asked the Doctor.

The Master turned to the table on which stood a compact black box with dials and controls. ‘That, Doctor, is a calling device. It is on the same wavelength as the Sea-Devils’ mental waves. I have spent some time here designing it. You might assist me to perfect it. I can manage alone, but with your technical ability it might be easier to complete the task.’

The door opened and a prison officer came in. ‘The Governor wants to see you,’ he told the Master. ‘Come along.’

‘I’m having a very important discussion,’ said the Master, put out by this interruption.

‘Never mind about that,’ said the prison officer. ‘I said “come on”, so jump to it.’

The Doctor was amused. ‘Better trot along, old chap,’ he advised the Master. ‘You’re still a prisoner, you know.’

Annoyed, the Master picked up the black box, thrust it under his arm, and went with the prison officer. The door was closed and locked. Alone, the Doctor started to try and slip his hands through the handcuffs. He quickly realised that there was no escape that way.

George Trenchard looked terrified, like a little boy who knows he is about to be caught for doing something terribly wrong. ‘I tell you,’ he said to the Master, ‘Captain Hart’s car is at the gates now. He wants to see me.’

The Master was quite calm. He sat in the most comfortable big leather chair in Trenchard’s office, the compact black box on his knee. ‘Perhaps he wants to talk about your golf tournament.’

‘What if he’s twigged that something’s up?’ Trenchard knew that his whole body was twitching with anxiety.

‘He’s only going to do that if you don’t behave normally,’ said the Master. ‘Pick up that internal ‘phone, and tell the gatehouse officers to admit Captain Hart immediately.’

Trenchard hesitated. He felt that he wanted to be sick. ‘There’s something I didn’t mention to you. That girl—she somehow got away. She must be roaming in the grounds somewhere. Naturally, I’ve got prison officers searching for her.’

‘You idiot!’ thundered the Master. ‘It was the simplest matter to put her under arrest.’

The Master’s momentary outburst hurt Trenchard. He had always been used to people being very polite to him. ‘There’s no need to be rude,’ he complained, clearly upset. ‘We can’t all be geniuses. In any case, it wasn’t my fault.’

‘I’m sorry,’ said the Master untruthfully, realising he had gone too far. ‘Perhaps we are both rather on edge. May I suggest that you lift that telephone, and give Captain Hart clearance to enter the grounds? Then, if he asks any difficult questions, you will have to bluff it out, which I’m sure you will do admirably.’

‘He may want to see you,’ said Trenchard. ‘You’d better be reading, or doing exercises or something, in your room. Then I can show you to him on the monitor.’

The Master got to his feet. ‘You’re forgetting, the Doctor’s in there. But I have a much better idea, something that will really put Captain Hart’s mind at rest.’ He outlined his idea to Trenchard, then had himself led away by a prison officer.

Hand trembling, Trenchard lifted the internal ’phone and told the gatehouse officers not to keep the Captain waiting a moment longer.

Four minutes later Captain Hart was shown in to Trenchard’s office. By now, Trenchard had composed himself and greeted his visitor warmly.

‘John, my dear fellow,’ said Trenchard, ‘made up your mind about the tournament?’

‘I’m here about the Doctor and Miss Grant,’ said Captain Hart. ‘You told my secretary that they went by taxi back to the quayside, presumably
en route
for London.’

‘That’s right,’ said Trenchard.

‘I lent them a Jeep,’ said the Captain, ‘and it’s now parked down by your gatehouse. I find that a little odd.’

Trenchard felt his mouth suddenly go dry. He had completely overlooked the possibility that the Doctor and Jo had arrived in a vehicle. ‘I simply can’t explain that,’ he said, with all honesty. ‘How very strange.’

‘There’s more,’ said Captain Hart, and recounted how Jo Grant had claimed that she saw Trenchard’s prisoner freely moving around the Naval Base.

‘Absolutely ridiculous,’ said Trenchard. ‘Young women can be very fanciful, so I’m told.’

Captain Hart now came to the real purpose of his visit. ‘Would it be possible for me to see your prisoner, George?’

‘All right, old chap,’ said Trenchard. He opened the huge oak cupboard doors to reveal the monitor screen and controls. ‘Not without a few modern security devices here, you know!’ He turned on the monitor screen.

The picture on the screen showed the Master sitting hunched up on a rough wooden chair, reading. There were heavy manacles on both his ankles, connected by a strong chain. He was in a tiny cell that had no window. Captain Hart had seen men in cells before, but nothing quite as primitive and restrictive as this.

‘Thank you,’ he said, and Trenchard turned off the monitor screen. ‘Are the chains absolutely necessary?’

‘The man is a vicious criminal,’ said Trenchard. ‘We feed him properly, of course, and take the chains off for an hour once a week to let him exercise his legs. But I don’t run this place as a holiday camp for his benefit.’

‘So I see,’ said Captain Hart. ‘Well, Miss Grant must have been mistaken. I’d better let you get on with your work.’

Trenchard, now in a cheerful mood, showed Captain Hart to the front door. ‘I must say, old chap, it was pretty odd of them to leave your Jeep here and take a taxi, but I can’t say that I’m really surprised. They seemed a strange couple.’

Captain Hart nodded, and said he’d send someone along to collect the Jeep. Then he got into his car and drove away.

Trenchard hurried back into his office and issued orders for the Master to be brought back to him. He could have had the Master returned to his own room, and then gone to see him there. But it gave Trenchard confidence to talk to people in his own office. Recent events had undermined his self-confidence quite enough, and he intended to build it up again. When the Master entered he was still carrying the black box.

‘I convinced him,’ said Trenchard, jubilantly. He had no intention of mentioning the Jeep to the Master, in case the Master was angry with him for not hiding it somewhere.

‘Congratulations,’ said the Master. ‘I hope that I played my part satisfactorily?’

‘What? Oh, yes, first-class performance, except that you didn’t have to
do
anything but sit still reading.’ Trenchard went on. ‘I had to do all the talking.’

‘Which I’m sure you did very well,’ said the Master. ‘Now I’d better get back to completing this device.’ He tapped the black box with his Iong slender fingers.

‘How long before you can have that thing working?’ asked Trenchard.

The Master shrugged. ‘A matter of hours. Only a few more problems to solve.’

‘And you’re sure it’ll do the trick?’

‘This,’ said the Master proudly, ‘will emit a signal exactly on the enemy’s wavelength. It will lure them into a trap, which
you
will set. Think of it, Trenchard, the agents who are sinking these ships will be caught! A grateful country will give you anything you ask for.’

Trenchard blushed. ‘I don’t want any reward, old man. Just doing my duty. Tell me, have you finished with the Doctor?’

‘Not yet;’ said the Master. ‘He’s going to help me complete my work.’

‘Good,’ said Trenchard, feeling that everything was beginning to turn out all right now. ‘Well, I’d better get one of my prison office chappies to escort you back to your room—just for appearances!’ He lifted the internal ’phone to call for an officer.

BOOK: Doctor Who: The Sea-Devils
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