“Amanda? Amanda Darieux!” the Doctor said, beaming. Amanda looked round, confused at the sight of the dishevelled young man who had called her name. Reacting like lightning the Doctor said, “Miss Darieux, I’m such a huge fan of your act. The Amazing Amanda! I must have seen you twenty times!” This seemed to do the trick as Amanda’s confusion turned to a coquettish smile and, like a panther, she slinked over to where he was standing.
He was not entirely certain for the moment whether he hadn’t met her yet or if she didn’t recognise this regeneration. His life got so confusing sometimes.
“Always delighted to meet a fan,” Amanda purred, holding out her hand, which the Doctor kissed demurely. “Especially the good looking ones,” she continued. The Doctor smiled, thinking that flirting seemed as natural as breathing to Amanda. He idly wondered what would happen if he put her in a room with Jack. Possibly some sort of thermo-nuclear reaction.
He was pulled from his thoughts as he realised that Amanda was smiling expectantly at him. He quickly reviewed the last thing she said and realised she was waiting for a name. Wary of messing with his own timeline he cautiously replied,
That was the annoying thing about Immortals, for a time traveller. With most species you could know instantly where you were in their timeline because they aged. But with Immortals, and Jack too, the Doctor mused, you actually had to pay attention to the date.
“Have we met before?” Amanda asked, smiling seductively.
“Not sure. Just trying to work that out actually. What’s the date?”
“Yes, but what year?”
“1995, silly!” Amanda said with a laugh, but the Doctor could tell she was about to file him in the category marked ‘lunatic’ and beat a hasty retreat. He thought hard and fast. Yes! His third regeneration had met her in 1923 and his last one had met her earlier this same year. He beamed.
“I’m the Doctor.”
“Well, it was nice meeting you Doctor Smith, but I…”
“No! Not Doctor Smith, the Doctor. Just the Doctor,” the Doctor said impatiently. Sudden realisation dawned on Amanda’s face.
“Oh! You’ve…um…oh what’s the word?” she said, bouncing on the spot and snapping her fingers.
“Regenerated,” supplied the Doctor with a grin.
“Regenerated!” she walked around the Doctor, examining him closely, “Well, I must say, this model is a lot cuter than the last one,” she commented, running her hands over his shoulders.
“Stop it,” the Doctor chided, “So why are you here?” he asked. Amanda looked blankly at him. “Oh come on Amanda. There’s only one reason you would visit a museum.”
The Doctor left the implication hanging, his sly smile and raised eyebrow speaking volumes. He was impressed that Amanda was able to make her face into an expression that pulled off both demure and affronted at the same time.
“I don’t know what you mean. I came for a bit of culture,” she said, mustering all the indignation she could, but a smile was already creeping back onto her face.
“Really? So it’s just pure coincidence that the famed Star of Bombay is currently on display here? The world’s largest sapphire?”
“Is it?” Amanda started to protest, but knew she was defeated and stuck out her tongue at the Doctor. “So I suppose you’re going to stop me?”
“No. I’m going to help you,” he replied, grinning and bouncing on his heels, “Now, I’ll create a distraction and you grab the gem.”
“What? Now? Are you mad? I was going to come back tonight,” Amanda hissed.
“Unfortunately there’s no time. Do you see those four gentlemen over in the corner?” he indicated four tall men in dark suits, “Let’s call them competitors. So if you want to get to the gem before they do it has to be now. So grab the stone and run!” with that the Doctor crossed to the nearest guard, slapped him on the back of the head and pelted off down the corridor, the guard and his mate giving pursuit.
Amanda looked around quickly, the Doctor’s ridiculous plan had somehow worked, all attention was on the three figures and all backs were turned on the gem. Working quickly she found the alarm circuitry and snipped the appropriate wires with the lucky wire snips she always kept in her purse before removing the Star from its pedestal. She hastily crammed it in her purse and slowly backed toward the exit.
At that moment, the Doctor came pounding back into the room. He had managed to outpace the guards, who were for the moment out of sight.
“Got it?” he yelled breathlessly. Amanda nodded. “Then run!” he yelled. Amanda fell into step beside him and the two ran out of the museum. Nobody tried to stop them leaving, as it seemed they had yet to realise what had happened. The Doctor led Amanda around the side of the building to where the TARDIS was parked. They barrelled through the door and collapsed onto the floor, laughing.
“That was fun!” the Doctor exclaimed, panting hard. Amanda pulled the Star of Bombay from her purse and looked at it. The sapphire was the size of an ostrich egg and absolutely perfect.
“It was worth it. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a sapphire so flawless.” Amanda said reverentially.
“That’s because it isn’t a sapphire,” the Doctor said, standing, “and I’m afraid you can’t keep it.”
“What do you mean it’s not a sapphire? And more to the point, what do you mean I can’t keep it? The hell I can’t!” Amanda said defiantly, standing and placing her hands on her hips. The Doctor gave a wry smile, as her petulant stance and expression reminded him of Rose. He walked back to her and placed his hands on her shoulders, staring into her eyes.
“Amanda, that stone is a Nadarian generator. It is an energy source more powerful than ten of your suns. In the wrong hands it could be used as a weapon that could wipe out this entire solar system in one go.”
“Well I don’t care. As far as I’m concerned, this is the most valuable sapphire on the planet. And I’ve got it. You’re asking me to give up a fortune because it might be dangerous if it possibly fell into the wrong hands.” Amanda said, pushing away the Doctor’s hands and folding her arms.
“Not possibly, Amanda. Those men I pointed out? They’re aliens, members of a criminal syndicate who want the generator to sell to the highest bidder. That’s why I came here, to get it first,” the Doctor explained patiently.
“So? What do I care about aliens? If they want it so badly I’ll sell it to them,” Amanda pouted.
“Amanda! You don’t mean that.”
“No,” she admitted, “But why can’t I keep it? I’ll hide it until they go away.” Amanda whined.
“It has to be destroyed Amanda, it’s the only way,” the Doctor said gently, reaching for the stone.
“No!” Amanda yelled, snatching the stone away from his reach. The Doctor sighed and turned to the control console. He twisted some dials and activated the TARDIS. The central column began to move and the familiar thworp thworp of the engines could be heard. “Where are we going?” Amanda demanded, the Doctor didn’t answer but within a few minutes they had landed. He strode over to the door and flung it open, beckoning for Amanda to look through the door.
Cautiously she peeped her head out. They were surrounded by a lush and verdant forest, and in the distance the shining spires of a large city could be seen.
“This is the planet Hetep nine, in the Sedjem Galaxy. Population of sixty-five billion, with colonies all over the galaxy,” the Doctor explained, “Come on,” he said and pulled Amanda back inside. He started the engine again, this time for only a few seconds. Again he opened the door and again Amanda looked through it. She gasped.
The landscape around them was a barren desert as far as the eye could see, except in the distance were the same spires she had seen before. Now they no longer gleamed, but were instead a crumbling ruin.
“We’ve travelled one hundred years forward from the last spot. The Aenan, a people from a nearby galaxy that had been warring with the people of Hetep, had a Nadarian generator. They used it on the Sedjem Galaxy. Nothing survived.”
“Nothing? It’s all gone?”
“Every last living cell in this system was destroyed on a molecular level. Now I don’t know about you, but I think that would kill even an Immortal,” the Doctor’s voice was cold as he spoke.
“That’s not fair. I didn’t realise. I would have never…” Amanda stammered, as a tear rolled down her cheek. She looked once more at the planet that had been Hetep IX and mutely handed the Star to the Doctor. As she did so, the cold look left his eyes and he was back to his usual bouncy self.
“Good girl,” he said and bounded back into the TARDIS. Amanda followed and watched him as he pulled a lever on the console. After a few seconds he went to the door and opened it. A powerful orange glow flowed through the doorway, flooding the TARDIS with light and momentarily blinding Amanda. “Come over here, you’ll want to see this,” the Doctor said, beckoning.
Amanda came and saw that they were in the orbit of a sun. She gasped,
“How is this possible? Shouldn’t we have burned up?”
“Nah. The shields on the TARDIS are more than a match for your common garden variety sun. Mind you, we shouldn’t hang about too long, even with your Immortal healing, you might get a nasty case of sunburn,” he said before fishing in his pocket and producing the generator. Amanda looked at the pocket in amazement. “It’s bigger on the inside,” the Doctor explained with a grin. He then took a few steps backward before bowling the stone like a cricket ball, tossing it into the sun.
“That’s that then.” Amanda said sadly.
“Watch,” the Doctor said. After a moment a brighter, white light appeared on the surface of the sun. From it emerged a creature shaped like a bird that seemed to be made of the sun’s fire. “A Phoenix,” the Doctor proclaimed happily. Amanda looked sceptical, so he continued as he closed the door and headed back to the console, “Oh it’s not a phoenix like the legends, but they do come from encounters with that species. They’re brilliant creatures, made from pure energy. The Nadarian generator is really a Phoenix egg,” the Doctor was lost in his own rambling explanation now, focussed entirely on the controls of the TARDIS. “The generator works by drawing on the life-force of the unborn Phoenix. By tossing it into that sun, we gave it the extra energy it needed to hatch. Brilliant creature, brilliant.”
“That’s wonderful Doctor. But can I go home now?” Amanda said, a little impatiently. The Doctor glanced up at her and his expression softened,
“You did a good thing today,” he said, smiling. Amanda smiled weakly back. “One last stop and I’ll take you home.” the Doctor said, a glint in his eye.
The door of the TARDIS opened, Amanda stepped out and let out a squeal of joy. She was surrounded by more gold and gems than she had ever seen. She pirouetted excitedly, clapping her hands in delight, before turning back to the Doctor.
“What is this place?” she asked.
“This is the Morian mine of Telguuth. Legend has it that it has bottomless seams of every precious stone and metal known. It will be mined by humans in about…ooh…two thousand years or so. But, in the meantime, I thought it wouldn’t hurt for you to help yourself to a little reward,” the Doctor said, grinning.
His smile was returned by Amanda with one that could have lit up a galaxy. She gave him a peck on the cheek and danced off into the piles of wealth that surrounded them. The Doctor watched and chuckled as she selected the finest examples, all the while singing Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend.