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Prey was the second story in the audio anthology Master!, produced by Big Finish Productions. It was written by Robert Whitelock and featured Eric Roberts as the Master, Chase Masterson as Vienna Salvatori and Laura Aikman as Lila Kreeg.

Publisher's summary[]

Impossibly glamorous assassin Vienna Salvatori has a new target. Crossing time and space, Vienna takes one final job to free her from this life.

But when the Master is hunted through the slums and ganglands of London, the line is blurred between predator and prey...

Plot[]

Having travelled through a warp tunnel, Vienna Salvatori is on the edge of Earth's mesosphere and dives towards the ruins of Canary Wharf, ready to deploy an anti-grav chute after passing the planet's proximity sensors.

The Master, who has been posing as Magnus Drake for several months, observes his sharks and wonders if he could make them any more interesting by introducing a shark-eating creature into the tank. Lila Kreeg sets up a video connection to Chancellor Li Zhao of the Zhongguo Alliance to discuss the Alliance's supply of promethium, which the Master claims is inadequate for Drake Interplanetary's needs. Threatening to go to another supply chain, he demands more than half of the Alliance's total output a month at the same price, an arrangement which she has no choice but to accept.

Vienna arrives at her destination, communicating with RTPL54777 and freeing him from a freezer to assist her in her mission. After she decides to call him Artie, they head to the main Limehouse sewer outlet to access a weapons cache.

The Master tells Lila that he wants the promethium to maintain an advantage over everybody else on the planet, reminding her that Drake was at the top of the food chain before he was killed. They are aware that Li Zhao will be unhappy with having lost her profit margin and the Master says that, in her position, he would be ready to kill.

Vienna and Artie arrive at the sewer outlet and descend into the tunnel to the weapons cache where Vienna arms herself with a bazooka. Artie informs her that the headquarters of their target, Magnus Drake, are at Ludgate Citadel and they depart.

Lila informs Cutlass Leader that the delegation from Zhongguo will be arriving at Limehouse Spaceport and that they will be in his protective custody upon landing. The Master, distrusting of everybody, orders him to arm himself and head to the spaceport immediately.

Artie scans the penthouse and detects two life forms there, deterring Vienna from going through with her plan to take out Drake with her bazooka. However, she wonders if she might be able to use her rifle.

The Master plans to treat the Zhongguo delegation well until after they deliver the promethium, at which point he will withhold payment from them, which Lila determines is to force them to negotiate from a point of near bankruptcy. The aggressive takeover of the last of the world's major power blocs to stand against Drake Interplanetary would leave the Master as de facto emperor of Earth.

An impact sensor is set off in the office below the penthouse. The Master sends Lila to investigate and, once she is thirty metres from the Master, Vienna fires her bazooka at the top floor. The Master spots the projectile and hides under the table, leaving with Lila in his penthouse flier when she came looking for him. Artie informs Vienna of the flier, which she damages with her bazooka, sending it on a crash course for the slums of Notting Hill with an 82% likelihood of the passengers' survival. Vienna and Artie steal a skimmer and head there.

At the crash site, the Master and Lila are largely unhurt and prepare for a siege from the people of Notting Hill. The Master makes contact with Cutlass Leader and orders him to come and collect him, an order which he is hesitant to comply with but eventually agrees to. The Master believes that an assassin paid by Li Zhao is after him. He and Lila exit the wreckage when Sassparilla threatens to set it aflame and are taken to King Muggy.

Vienna and Artie arrive at the Notting Hill gate, which Vienna successfully flies over in the skimmer using the sloped roof of a recycling plant.

The Master and Lila are held near some tethered geronts. Once Sassparilla has left, the Master says that he will ally himself with these people, whom he sees as his ticket out of Notting Hill. He believes that he will be able to make use of the chaos that will ensue once his assassin arrives.

The people of Notting Hill pay Vienna and Artie no notice, assuming that they are mercenaries. They spot the Master's crashed vehicle, which the locals are stripping down, and Artie detects EM traces of the Master's ID tag within a mile. Vienna determines that he has been captured and, when the locals start looking at them, Artie uses his electro-rams to knock those around them unconscious.

Sassparilla tells the Master and Lila to get up and leads them to King Muggy at gunpoint. King Muggy sends Sassparilla to inspect the compound and demands to know who the Master and Lila are. The Master gives his valuables to him as gifts and says that King Muggy is too clever to kill him and Lila given the opportunity that they present.

Vienna and Artie reach the compound and see a sign saying "The Court of King Muggy". Both stealth and an offensive are likely to result in their deaths, so Vienna decides to simply ask for entry.

The Master finishes explaining his situation to King Muggy and offers to give him real power in return for his assistance.

Vienna approaches Sassparilla and tells her that she has captured Artie for King Muggy and that she plans on handing him over in person. However, Sassparilla refuses to give her entry until she threatens to take Artie elsewhere, promising Sassparilla that King Muggy would not be happy. When Sassparilla tries to take him, Vienna hurts her and tells her to order her guards to leave her alone. Vienna then has Artie place a limpet mine on the gas tank, timed to go off in six minutes.

King Muggy checks Drake's cyber profile which seems to confirm the Master's identity, but he claims that he cannot be seen to let the Master and Lila go for fear of looking weak. The Master suggests that he kill Lila, which he agrees is a good idea, but he is interrupted when Vienna enters, demanding that the Master and Lila be handed over to her. Before a battle can begin, Vienna informs everybody of the limpet mine and they scatter before it explodes. After it does, King Muggy and Sassparilla tell Vienna that they will kill her. She and Artie go after the escaped Master and Lila.

Lila is angry with the Master, but he claims that he was buying time as he could sense that Vienna was close. Lila is sceptical, however, that he would have stopped King Muggy if Vienna had not shown up. They go into the tube station, armed with a gun which the Master picked up.

Artie tells Vienna that to follow the Master and Lila into the London Underground would be to risk only a 17% chance of survival due to the mutated humans known as Trogs. He also informs her that to vacate the contract would cause him to explode, forcing him and Vienna to head into the tunnels against the odds.

Lila uses a radio transmitter to contact Cutlass Leader to have a train sent to recover them, sending him to Holland Park tube station. She and the Master hide from Vienna, who descends to the platform with Artie. They narrowly avoid a group of twenty Trogs and look for somewhere to hide near the platform to await Cutlass Leader. Artie detects the Trogs, which Vienna incapacitates for a time with her flash grenades, and, still under attack, detects the Master and Lila. Artie sacrifices himself to render all of the Trogs unconscious.

Vienna calls out for the Master, saying that she knows who he really is. He presents himself and shoots her, demanding to know who hired her. However, her communications were coded and she does not know who the contractor is. Wearing a blast-proof vest, she is unharmed and fights him, knocking him onto the tracks as the train arrives. The mercenaries disembark and fight the Trogs. Artie is not fully destroyed and tells Vienna to take his cranial unit to allow him to guide her to the service tunnel to Lancaster Gate. The Master survives, having found the dead man's pit, and asks Cutlass Leader for his weapon as he needs to vent. He opens fire on the Trogs.

The Master leaves with Cutlass Leader, who tells him that Lila has gone to meet the Zhongguo delegation. He decides to postpone the trade meeting, sure that Li Zhao is not the contractor due to the knowledge that Vienna had, and asks that Lila be told to meet him at the Vauxhall Building. Cutlass Leader informs him that there is a lot of chatter on the security channels about some sort of news event.

In her shuttle, which is changing course per the Master's orders, Lila hears a news report about an unidentified spacefaring vessel heading to Earth. She orders the pilot to get her to Magnus Drake immediately.

Cast[]

References[]

Animals[]

  • Geronts are violent, mutated boars which tripled in size after the Dalek plagues. They have terrible digestion.

Individuals[]

  • Cutlass Leader works for a corporate militia.
  • Jexie Reagan is Vienna Salvatori's business partner.
  • Roach lives in Notting Hill. King Muggy tags him with an explosive for trespassing.
  • Zagro is part of King Muggy's gang. King Muggy has him switch off the music.

Locations[]

Objects[]

  • The Master wears a watch made of rhodium which is twice as valuable as one made of platinum.
  • The Master wears platinum cufflinks.
  • The Master wears a ring of twenty-two carat white gold with a diamond.

Science and technology[]

  • Vienna mentions Earth's mesosphere.
  • The Master makes promethium alloys.
  • Artie is a fully-equipped war droid with rapid fire plasma guns, timed limpet mines, EMP charges and electroshock rams. He is disguised as a menial bot.
  • The cache contains anti-grav packs, flash grenades, a sniper rifle and a short range surface-to-air laser-guided bazooka.
  • Vienna requests a thermal lance and comes across an anti-grav pack.

Notes[]

  • With its reference to Jexie Reagan and Vienna's retirement plans, this story continues directly from the 2018 Vienna story Retribution.

Continuity[]

External links[]

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