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Faustian was the first story in the audio anthology Master!, produced by Big Finish Productions. It was written by Robert Valentine and featured Eric Roberts as the Master, Laura Aikman as Lila Kreeg and Alistair Petrie as Magnus Drake.

Publisher's summary[]

Drake Enterprises is the most powerful company on Earth. Dr Lila Kreeg is its most valued asset. But her experiments open a doorway which allow an evil back into the universe. The Master can offer Lila the world, so long as she obeys him...

Plot[]

Dr Lila Kreeg is hit by a blast and is towered over by the Master, the haunter of her dreams. He tells her that she should not have meddled with things that she did not understand, words which she knew that she would one day hear. She knew that her story, which began a week ago, would end like this.

A week previously, on 23 April 2223, Lila announces a test run of Project Yellow Brick at Drake Interplanetary, teleporting a cargo pack 10.2 metres across the laboratory. Her colleague Eddi Bhole and supercomputer ARIEL commence the experiment, creating a warp tunnel which collapses.

Lila remembers her father telling her that she was never good enough and her mother telling her that she hated her. The Master says that she does not need them; she only needs him.

Eddi has ARIEL shut down the system and Lila awakens, her life having flashed before her eyes. She had seen her father's harsh homeschooling, her mother threatening her with Daleks, the pair of them arguing the night that she decided to leave home, her girlfriend breaking up with her and when she met Eddi. The last thing that she saw was Cathrin Travers lying dead on an office floor. She suggests that she and Eddi tidy up the mess.

Cathrin watches footage of the experiment's failure and threatens Lila, saying that she should tell Magnus Drake about it. Lila calls her bluff, knowing that she would not dare to, and says that they need more time and resources. However, Cathrin believes that R&E has become a rogue department since Lila took over and, if she had her own way, she would shut them down.

Eddi asks if Lila had to antagonise Cathrin, but Lila says that nothing will come of it. Over a tannoy, Lila is summoned to Drake's office, which comes as a surprise as neither she nor Eddi have ever seen him.

Lila goes to Drake's office and explains to him that the test run showed signs of temporal distortion, an avenue which she would like to explore, but he tells her that the company's mission statement is to rebuild the world following the Dalek occupations. When she brings up how wealthy this mission has made him, he reminds her that his money kept her out of prison when she was kicked out of the University of Cambridge. He makes Cathrin her project supervisor, meaning that her approval will be needed from now on.

On Meteor Shower, Jake Azezello reports on the race to create a new propulsion system for the transport of supplies and personnel to the Outer Space Defence Halo. A contract which many expected to be given to Drake Interplanetary was instead given to Raxle Technologies, who are soon to give Starship Ilium 1 a test run. Drake, however, is not concerned about this as Yellow Brick will render such ships obsolete.

Overriding the requirement for Cathrin's approval, Lila has ARIEL repeat the failed experiment with only minor changes, creating a warp tunnel. Lila finds herself somewhere else and hears the Master, who shows her eternity, promising to share all of his Time Lord knowledge, including that of time travel, if she frees him.

Upon awakening, Lila goes home and tells her cat that she thinks that she might have finally cracked. She hears the Master in her dreams and learns some of his secrets.

Lila applies what she has learnt to Project Yellow Brick, dispensing with traditional numerics and using equations that better describe time and relative dimensions in space; that is, equations in Gallifreyan. She successfully inputs them into ARIEL and Eddi says that she might just be a genius.

Drake asks Cathrin about the unapproved Yellow Brick test and says that Lila's insubordination can no longer be tolerated. Cathrin has all of Lila's equipment and research confiscated and informs her that security will escort her off of the premises.

Lila and Eddi go to a virtual bar where she tries to convince him not to give up on Yellow Brick despite them having been fired, which he says is too dangerous without a backer like Drake. They are served virtual drinks by the Master, who invites Lila back any time. Eddi abruptly leaves.

On Meteor Shower, Jake Azezello says that Penny Carrington will report from the crash site of the Ilium 1 before talking about the main story: the waste of Lila's genius. He changes into the Master and converses with Lila, saying that he will help her, and gives her a fright by appearing outside of the television. She then calls Eddi with the suggestion that they steal their equipment back to complete the experiment and sell the result to China.

Eddi waits outside for Lila, who is sneaking into the equipment depot and communicating with the Master whilst doing so. She hacks the system to make it think that she has presented her ID and takes all of the equipment, going with Eddi to an abandoned warehouse in Limehouse East. ARIEL, whom Lila has set back up, says that the project is impossible and implies the use of particle recombination technology, which was made illegal after the Leapfrog experiments at Cambridge. Eddi realises that Lila was responsible for said experiments.

Lila has ARIEL read the Leapfrog files and tells Eddi about her past, explaining that she had a breakdown following the volunteer's death at Cambridge and only got better upon coming to believe that it had been destined and, as a result, she had no need to feel guilty. The Master's voice tells her that all of her pain will soon go away.

Cathrin is informed of Lila and Eddi's theft and makes an order for the equipment's return. She receives a call from Drake and tells him that they are doing everything that they can to recover it; he reminds her that she has never seen him angry and advises her not to change that.

After a dinner of chow mein, Eddi heads home and tells Lila not to work all night. She is relieved that he has gone and asks ARIEL to prepare for the experiment. Outside, Eddi makes a call and offers to give Lila's location at a price. The warp tunnel opens up communication with the Master and Lila tells him that she will soon bring him back. However, he does not trust Eddi, although he thinks that he still has a part to play.

Cathrin enters the warehouse with Eddi, who tells Lila that he has once again gone where the money is. Lila is surprised when Cathrin, instead of handing her to Drake, demands a 70% stake and to be provided with a working prototype within twenty-four hours. Lila accepts the offer and, once Cathrin leaves, she accepts Eddi's apology and says that she probably would have done the same thing. They continue their work, although she does not tell him why she had ARIEL read about Leapfrog.

That night, Lila initiates the final test run. ARIEL, who begins to malfunction, reports an unexpected buildup of positrons and electrons which begin to coalesce, forming the Master. The rig is overloading, but Eddi is unable to stop it and tries to get the Master to safety. Needing more life energy, the Master absorbs Eddi's, killing him, and announces that he is finally back.

The Master tells Lila that she should not have meddled with things that she did not understand and says that she will obey him, but she is strong-minded and is able to resist. She recognises his attempts at using gaslighting, emotional blackmail and artificial time limits just as her parents had and keeps him within the containment field. She offers him a deal: power and glory in exchange for access to Drake Interplanetary, an offer which he accepts so that he might be able to use its resources to leave Earth in the future.

Lila and the Master go to Drake's penthouse, on the way to which Lila ignores a call from Cathrin, who proceeds to make a call to Drake's office. The pair interrupt a call between Drake and Inga, having incapacitated Drake's security guard, whilst Cathrin heads to the office.

Drake offers the Master powers and riches to leave him unharmed, saying that the President practically owes him his job, but the Master intends to usurp Drake's identity by stealing his ID tag. After giving Lila the opportunity to leave the room, which she does, the Master takes the tag from him and feeds him to his own sharks.

Lila looks out of the office's window at the city's skyline as the Sun rises. The Master says that she can now do whatever she likes so long as she accepts that she belongs to him, which she does. As her first wish, she asks him to deal with Cathrin, who turns out to be waiting already. Unlike with Drake's murder, Lila chooses to remain in the office whilst the Master kills her. He laughs.

Cast[]

Uncredited[]

References[]

Notes[]

  • For the Master, this story takes place after Day of the Master.
  • Despite the synopsis calling the corporation Lila works for "Drake Enterprises", the actual name in the story is "Drake Interplanetary".

Continuity[]

External links[]

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