“I’m Donna Noble, last of the Time Lords, who the hell are you?”
“Romana, President of the Time Lords.”
Donna frowned, suspecting that, in his final moments, the Doctor may have left out one or two important details.
“Where’s the Doctor?” asked Romana. “This is his TARDIS, isn’t it?”
“Yeah, but he copped it a few months back. Epic, it was. Lots of stuff blowing up. Fate of the universe at stake and all that, and he took my hand right at the end and said, Donna, Donna, my love, I want you to carry on my awesome legacy to the universe. Then he gave me this book.” She pulled a book out of her coat pocket and waved it at Romana. The title was untidily scrawled in thick black marker pen (the atrocious handwriting was undoubtedly the Doctor’s). It read: How To Carry On My Legacy by The Doctor.
Romana twitched. “I... see.”
“It’s quite long,” said Donna, “and almost as bad as listening to him jabber on when he was off on one of his rants, but I do remember you being mentioned in here somewhere.”
“How very thoughtful of him,” murmured Romana.
Donna took a flick through the book. “Ah, here we are. ‘Romana, Time Lord.’ Apparently I’m supposed to either kiss you silly, then shag you senseless-“
“He did not write that...”
“Or one of us is supposed to exile and/or abandon the other in a parallel universe and break my hearts into tiny little pieces like the soulless unfeeling...” She paused. “The next bit’s scribbled out,” she said diplomatically.
Donna put the book away and gave Romana a speculative look. “Well, I don’t see any parallel universes around here, so...”
Romana sighed, then she shrugged. “Oh, I don’t see why not,” she said. “Besides, I’ve always had a bit of a thing for redheads.”
Donna sniffed. “So you’re my nemesis/evil ex-boyfriend/reluctant ally/occasional lover?” She arched an eyebrow that was almost as impressive as her cleavage. “I thought you’d be better dressed.”
“Give me that,” said the Master and snatched the book from Donna’s hands. He grabbed a pen from his pocket and swiftly started scoring bits out and making his own additions. Then he handed the book back to Donna.
She read his edits and frowned. “So, he was actually hopelessly in love with you?”
The Master nodded solemnly.
“And it was only so he would ‘finally properly completely know it was really actually over this time I mean it’ that you tried to conquer and/or destroy the Earth. A lot.”
“Okay, okay, it’s got to have something in here about how to stop your latest evil scheme that is purely to show me how much our relationship is over and not at all some freaky Martian courtship ritual thing...” She turned the page. “Heh, you know he’s given all your incarnations marks out of ten?”
The Master made another grab for the book, but this time Donna was ready. She stepped neatly out of the way and then smacked the hefty volume into the back of his head. The Master crumpled to the floor, unconscious.
“Evil Time Lord nutters, nil points; Donna Noble, twelve,” she muttered, flipping open her mobile to call the authorities.
There were a lot of edits under Martha’s entry, and lots of the scribbled out words appeared to be variations of ‘guilt,’ ‘sorry’ and ‘oops.’ Finally Donna found something that look like a complete sentence: ‘K-9 of her own, maybe? Mark V.”
She eventually located Martha in one of the many, many, many UNIT HQs scattered about the south-east of England in the early twenty-first century and presented her with a large cardboard box.
“It’s a present,” she said, feeling very pleased with herself.
After a brief hesitation, for the box was now jumping around rather alarmingly, Martha took the box and opened it up. A small puppy leapt out and into her arms before it began to slobber all over her face.
“What’s this for?” she asked, smiling over gritted teeth.
Donna, oblivious to everything except how proud she was of her improvisation, said, “It’s a puppy.”
“I can see that. Why’ve you given it to me?”
“Parting gift from the Doctor. Who is now dead, by the way. He seemed to want to give you some sort of metal box that was really a computer disguised as a dog with silly little wheels that were unsuitable for almost all terrains; I thought a real dog would be better. His name’s Canine, by the way.”
Martha held the puppy at arm’s length and tried to avoid his adorable little eyes. “Canine,” she repeated. “Donna, you do know I’ve got a job here, right? That my CO’s going to throw a fit when he finds out I’ve got a dog in here and that-”
She was interrupted by Canine’s yapping. It was very loud and getting louder.
“Yeah,” said Donna, shouting over the noise, “picked him up out on Orion VII, the previous owner said he’d been trained to start barking in the presence of any of the twelve most deadly species in the six freewheeling galaxies, whatever that means.”
Something behind Martha exploded, followed by a great deal of gunfire from just outside the door. She took a firm hold of Canine and pulled Donna down behind her desk. “I’ll take him,” she said.
“Well hello there, gorgeous.”
Donna quickly flicked through the book for ‘Jack Harkness, Captain’ and scowled at the entry. It was just four words, written large enough to cover the entire page: Do Not Shag Ever. Ever was underlined three times.
“Fuck that,” muttered Donna, before planting a smacker on the Captain’s lips.
“I thought it was going to be hellish, what with trouble turning up everywhere we landed before he went and got himself killed, but it’s actually a pretty quiet life, give or take the occasional megalomaniac who wants to take over stuff or kill a lot of people.” She lowered her voice to a conspiratorial whisper. “I’m beginning to think that maybe it wasn’t so much that trouble was everywhere as that he was this bloody great magnet for it.”
Sarah nodded sympathetically and poured her another cup of tea. “I sort of realised that when Harry told me what UNIT has to deal when the Doctor’s off the planet.” She passed the milk over then sat back in her chair. “The thing is, I’m afraid I’m very much the same nowadays.”
“How about a holiday then? Bring the kids. It’ll be fun.”
Sarah raised an eyebrow. “The Doctor used to make offers like that. Or try and kidnap Maria.”
“It wouldn’t be for long. I’m getting quite good at this,” she patted the book, “and mostly not much happens anyway. Not in the way of extreme terror or imminent mortal danger anyway. Lots of other stuff happens. I meet nice people, eat good food, see amazing things... it’d just be until I pick up a companion of my own.”
“Isn’t there anything about that in the book?”
“Yeah, but I think he was drunk when he was writing it, or high, or mad: it’s mostly to do with stowaways and accidental-on-purpose kidnappings.” Donna rolled her eyes. “Like, anyone’s going to be daft enough to stow away on the TARDIS.”
Sarah gave a little cough.
“Oh. Right. Sorry. How about that trip then?”
Sarah patted her hand. “Maybe another time. When Luke’s a bit older. But feel free to pop back whenever you like.”
“Oh, good lord.”
“I’ve got two hearts and everything,” said Donna proudly. “And a TARDIS. It really works too.”
The Brigadier had turned rather alarmingly pale. Donna thought it might be a new alien virus; she should probably start doing scientific things to defeat it at once.
“Ah,” said the Brigadier, as the lab door opened, “Sergeant Benton, perhaps you could take care of Miss Noble here?”
“Well, with the Doctor off the planet for goodness knows how long, we must take help where we can find it: it seems that Miss Noble is to be our new scientific advisor.”
Two weeks later, Donna accidently-on-purpose kidnapped the Brigadier. She’d always had a bit of a thing for men in uniform. And he did have a very nice moustache.