In the space of a heartbeat, the world can change. An accidental discovery, a choice between right and wrong, whether a life ends on the cold linoleum of a hospital floor, or whether that life is given new breath and resurrected by one young, stupid human, who thinks their life is less important then your own.
It took four beats of my hearts to decide to play the part of a stupid ape myself, and I burst into the MRI room, jabbering about space-rhinos and making a general spectacle of myself. All the while, the Plasmavore had not a clue that I might be just as alien as she. Hidden, she said she was, and proudly waved her marked hand at me as she tinkered with the MRI machine. Increasing the power to kill every living thing in the hospital, if they didn’t run out of air first; I couldn’t stand for that.
It took three beats to put six and three together to get fish, and I outright lied to the woman. The Judoon soldiers were increasing their catalogue scans, and she wouldn’t remain hidden for long. I knew she’d need to assimilate another human’s blood to hide again, and lucky me: I was the only human in the room. Well, as far as she knew.
It took two beats, as she pierced my throat with her straw (rather an undignified death for a Time Lord, being sucked dry through a bendy-straw) to slow my pulses, even as she drained my blood in calm, calculated gulps. I could feel my body shutting down, my mind growing muzzled, and I gauged how much more I could loose before it became a problem. Then, I knew nothing. The world had gone black.
It took one beat, a single beat, forced into existence by the sharp blow to my chest, for me to rouse from death, and I felt warm human lips against my own, forcing air into my lungs. I gasped in atmosphere that was devoid of oxygen, and felt my respiratory bypass kick in. My vision cleared, and fell on the woman, Martha Jones. Her eyes were sliding slowly shut. No more air — she had given me her last.
I didn’t waste it.