"I am the Master!" screamed the cybernetic humanoid as he lurched bizarrely out of control around Unimatrix Number Nine.
"We are the Cyber-Borg!" came the reply, "And you have been imperfectly assimilated. We will try again."
"But I can help you! If only you allow me to keep my individuality and LISTEN TO ME! I AM THE MASTER!"
"You are weak and will be assimilated. Resistance is futile. Individuality is irrelevant." The voice had an air of finality; Of the grave. Still the master struggled.
Nearby, his daughter Susan waited for a chance to (escape?) or (help her father?) she was too frightened to know what she would do when the chance came....
Forty-five hours earlier The Master (as he preferred to be known) arrived in his TARDIS and stepped out onto the purple soil of Kaleidoscope the fourth planet in the Ontren system. The world had been named Kaleidoscope by its settlers, show people, entertainers and surrealist artists, who had built a society here of infinite diversity and strangeness. Until the Cyber-Borg, the unholy alliance of Cybermen and Borg, had assimilated them.
The Master, one quarter human and three-quarters Timelord, had arrived here with his daughter Susan just in time for the assimilation.
The old man threw the whisky down his throat and refilled the glass. The saloon was in the style of Earth's wild west towns of the Nineteenth Century, but there was a digital jukebox in the corner playing an old Elton John record from the Twentieth. The old man narrowed his eyes as he looked closely at the mysterious stranger.
"So you're a doctor, eh? I was a doctor. 'Fore I got too old and my hands got shaky. You know how old I am? Have a guess. Go on have a guess." The old man grinned with a gleam in his eye as he challenged the stranger. He'd thrown this same challenge at many other men and none had been able to guess.
The stranger smiled back and nodded slowly as he thought about it. The electric fan in the ceiling spun with a gentle whirring above the old spittoons on the dusty floor. The desert dry air gently circulated.
"I'd guess you're at least two hundred," the stranger declared in the accent of an English Victorian gentleman, "give or take a decade perhaps."
The old man was shocked into silence for a moment and then he suddenly laughed out loud. "Two hunderd? TWO hunderd? Well sir I guess you are the first one who's ever made an OVER-estimation'a'my age, an' that's a fact!" He shook his head. "Two hunderd!"
He stopped and looked the stranger in the eye. "No sir, I'm one hunderd an' twenny. 'Spect I'll die soon. I'm ready to die whenever the good Lord sees fit to take me. Ain't nobody lives to be two hunderd. Nobody human anyways."
"Well, perhaps not," agreed the stranger, "but I'm over nine hundred myself - and I'm half human." He waited for a reaction and was rewarded only by the other man's cynical expression. "Surrre you are, friend. Nine hunderd eh? Half human eh? What's the other half - iffen I might make so bold as to ask?"
"Well, it's a long story and I suppose I've some spare time to tell it in, while I'm waiting for the inevitable confrontation with the Cyber-Borg interface. My family is from a planet a long way from here." The stranger sipped at his curious drink, a banana smoothie with a wine gum in it on cocktail stick, and continued, "You wouldn't have heard of it, Gallifrey it's called, though. Tell you what, I'll tell you my Doctor story If you tell me your Doctor story, eh? Eh?"
The other man scratched his grey beard and poured himself another whisky, "Alright, I enjoy swapping stories. Here's how it goes with my family," He moistened his larynx with a drink and continued, "We're ALL doctors in my clan, ya might say. My daddy was a doctor and his daddy afore'im. Right back to when the Skags took us from Earth and brung us to this world as slaves."
The Gallifreyan looked surprised. "Oh? The Skags? But you seem to live peacefully alongside the Skags now."
The other man nodded, "Yeah, well, it was long time ago. Then our people got th'upper hand for a time an' then a starship from Earth came and.... well, like I say, 'twas a long time ago." He pushed back in his chair a little and stretched out his legs. "My son's a doctor. AND my grandson." He smiled with pride, "My grandson is a doctor AND a Starfleet officer t'boot! He travels all over this whole quadrant'a'the galaxy, carrying on the McCoy family tradition'a'docterin'." Pouring more whisky he said, "So what's YOUR doctor story, Doctor?"
The nine hundred year old doctor (who didn't look a day over forty) ate his wine gum and nodded, "Alright. My turn then. It all began when a traveller brought a young woman to Gallifrey many years ago."
The Doctor smiled at the recollection and continued, "The traveller arrived, before I was born, accompanied by my mother, a wild young woman named Leela, of the Tribe of the Seveteem, who married a Gallifreyan, who became father to me, grandfather to one of the worst menaces in the universe and great-grandfather to young Susan..." He paused again, gazing into empty space, and then shrugged, "But I'm getting ahead of myself, a bad habit of mine, I'll start again..." He sipped his strange drink. "I was the traveller who brought Leela to Gallifrey.."
The other man interrupted, " Ah thought you said she arrived there afore you was born?"
The Doctor nodded, "Yes... I told you I had a bad habit of getting ahead of myself!"
Th Master twitched in his assimilation unit as the cyber-borg creatures, half biological, half technological, paced back and forth checking instrument readings and performing their pre-progrmmed duties.
Susan had managed to get into a crawl space between decks and was staying very, very quiet. She remembered why she left Galifrey, on the run from her own people, the timelords, with her grandfather in a type 40 travel machine or TARDIS, as she liked to call it. She'd spent some time on Earth and enjoyed the Earthlings habit of acronyms. T.A.R.D.I.S. meant Time And Relative Dimensions In Space. Of course, her own people didn't speak English or make acronyms in that language but Susan had been young (by Timelord standards) and, for a while, had enjoyed the game of pretending to be a normal Human schoolgirl. It was even one eighth true, in a way.
She remembered her father's treatment of her. Violent. Domineering. Physically abusive. The things he'd done to her. She froze, becoming like a statue of fear and disgust at the memory.
She also remembered her father's attempt to rule Galifrey and lead the Timelords in a war of universal domination. The Galifreyans were corrupt and easily led, decadent, stupid, descendents of the greatest race of geniuses the universe had ever produced. Oh, how the mighty are fallen.
Only her grandfather had realised the danger in time (and in Time). He was in line to become next president of Galifrey when the Master (daddy, ugh! Sick!) had marched in with his fascist goons and taken over the planet.
There was a time when her grandfather had been head of the Timelord Academy and her father was merely one of the masters rather then "The Master". Then her father's experiments went too far and he became changed forever.
Susan shivered below the floor of one deck and the ceiling of another and began to send herself into a meditational state.
The Doctor smiled a broad smile and waved his arms triumphantly. "There!" he said, "We've landed. California, USA, 1960s, Beach Boys concert."
"Really?" Jamie McCrimmon, a young strapping kilted highlander, spoke with his tongue firmly in his cheek, "Why do I doubt you Doctor?"
"Why indeed?" replied the Doctor, a short man in baggy check trousers and and old black coat. He had something of a look of the Marx Brothers about him. "I'm never wrong. Well, seldom, anyway." He operated the Tardis door control and walked outside. "Bring your swimsuits!" he called to Jamie and Zoe, "ummm, and your coats!" he added, as his shoes crunched across the Seattle winter snow.
A mile away, armed guards patrolled the perimeter of a facility which had surrounded itself with razorwire and electrified fences. Cameras watched in all directions.
In a control room, deep inside the facility, a tall powerful muscular figure with shrewd eyes watched the monitors which took the digital video feed from those surveilance cameras. He watched his soldiers patrolling and then turned to his assembled elite in the control room. He raised a glass to them and declared "It is done! Manticore is ours, and soon the world! We control the X7s!"
His followers cheered, "Khan! Khan! Khan!"
Captain's log, USS Enterprise NCC-1701-C, stardate: 19603.54, Captain Rachel Garrett commanding. We've come to the edge of Federation space to investigate a spatial-temporal disruption with some very unusual readings. On our journey here our sensors told us the disruption field existed, then didn't exist, then existed again, then didn't exist and so on. Federation scientists need the phenomenon observed from close up and the task falls to us.
Commander Tanok was at bridge science station I with Lieutenant Sanik at science II. They were hurriedly running tests and comparing results across the two science stations. They appeared very agitated. Something was wrong. Very wrong.
"What is it Tanok?" demanded Captain Garrett, "What's happening there?"
Tanok took a deep breath, "Captain, I believe we should retreat from this area of space while we still can. We may be in grave danger."
Captain Garrett knew the vulcan Tanok well enough to trust his logic and his instincts. Without hesitation she instructed her helm officer "Get us out here!"
However, as the ship turned about a wave of temporal and spatial distortion shook every deck. A moment later, the Enterprise was silent, empty, deserted.
There was a place. It existed inside a wormhole through the centre of all the galaxies. It had no linear time. The beings there were content to be as they had always been. In fact they had no concept of any other kind of existence.
Then something changed.
Other beings called humanoid came into this place and brought with them the concept of time.
The timeless beings began to be aware of the relationship between this place and the time vortex. The beings sent orbs out across the vortex into the Bajoran system.
Time began to seep into the timeless place and with it came corruption to the eternal peace of the timeless beings. They began to play games with the temporal universes.
The beings began to dip into the vortex and manipulate the flow of events. They became playful and competitive. They appeared to the humanoids in the form of gods, demons, prophets and angels. Also as pixies, gremlins, fairies, elves and genies. They plagued and blessed and cursed and taught the humanoids on thousands of worlds and through the entire history of the galaxies.
When they were fully corrupted by time felt ready to bring the humanoids up to the the same level as themselves.
They created a form called Q and sent Q to lead the humanoids out of the prison of linear time.