Part 2: ...comes help, backup...
"Doctor?" Donna asked. She blinked in surprise as a tear broke free and ran down the Doctor's face. A smile crossed the Doctor's face, one filled with fondness and wonder.
"You're still full of surprises," the Doctor said softly.
"What are you talking about?"
The Doctor held Donna's wrist up.
"Two heartbeats. Donna, you have two hearts."
"How do you mean, two hearts?"
Wilf and Donna had spoken at the same instant, both as surprised as each other. The Doctor nodded again and a look of realisation crossed her face.
"You have regenerated, Donna. You've got two hearts and...how long can you hold your breath? I mean, now?"
Donna took a breath and held it in as the Doctor turned to Wilf.
"Regeneration is mostly a process of mind over matter, Wilf."
But even so, she realised it must have been the combination of human and Time Lord minds that had given Donna her new body. The ingenuity of a human, to grow what she needed, and the ability of the Time Lord to make it happen.
"So...you mean she went and turned herself into an alien?" Wilf asked. The Doctor turned to Donna.
"How're you going?"
Donna let out the breath she'd been holding.
"Two minutes and forty-two seconds."
A second later she realised what she'd just said. The Doctor couldn't resist a chuckle.
"Respiratory bypass system."
Donna blinked a couple of times. It was only just beginning to sink in now, that she'd managed to regenerate herself a Time Lord body. But that didn't change too much. She was still Donna Noble, former temp from Chiswick. She turned to Wilf, answering her grandfather's question.
"I've just gone a bit beyond human, gramps," she said, the nickname uttered in a tone of affection. That was when Wilf knew his granddaughter was alright. She'd been calling him that since she was a teenager, and it had been a bit of a running joke between them ever since. Wilf chuckled, relieved.
"That's my girl," he replied, the relief evident in his voice.
"Of course I am," Donna replied. She looked down at herself, well aware of the changes that had occurred within her. The Doctor cleared her throat discreetly.
"Donna," she asked, "could we have a word?"
Ten minutes later, the Doctor led Donna into the kitchen of the house that Jane Townsend had made home. The kitchen was small and cozy, as was the whole house. It had that sort of country feel to it, Donna thought. It was very neat and tidy, with just a photo perched on the end of the bench. Donna picked up the photo and looked at it for a few seconds. It showed the Doctor with her arms around Tom Waterbury, both with a wide grin on their faces. He was rather handsome, in a boyish sort of way, Donna thought.
"Nice place," she said casually. The Doctor nodded, slightly distracted.
"Jane's place, really."
Donna put the photo down and turned to the Doctor, just as the Time Lord pulled two tea cups from a cupboard and placed them on the bench.
"Yeah, what's the story with that?" Donna asked, "I mean, chameleon arch or just incognito?"
The Doctor poured the two cups of tea and handed one to Donna.
Donna took a sip of the tea.
"This is Earl Grey, isn't it?"
The Doctor nodded.
"Not supposed to have milk with Earl Grey."
The Doctor smiled slightly.
"So much still to learn," she said softly.
"You mean about being human?"
Donna's eyes narrowed.
"Which brings us back to the point..."
The Doctor sipped her tea and leaned against the bench.
"You didn't seem too surprised to see me in this incarnation. I mean, no more surprised than most humans when meeting my other selves."
Donna tilted her head slightly.
The Doctor had opened her mind, Donna was well aware of that. And when she'd learnt about regeneration, that day that so much had happened, the possibility of the Doctor regenerating into a woman had crossed her mind, briefly. The Doctor nodded slightly.
"It caught me completely off-guard, Donna. I needed some time to get used to it. I settled down here, just to get my bearings."
She nodded out the window, where a dilapidated old shed stood in the shadow of a small larch. Donna took her meaning - that was where the Doctor had kept the TARDIS. She raised an eyebrow.
"What'd you get up to?"
The Doctor considered it for a second. She'd done a lot in those three years, settling into the role of town troubleshooter and confidante. She'd helped the people of Portduun with their problems, given advice and touched a few lives. How to explain that that was when she'd finally begun to see the smaller picture. She pushed herself off the bench and walked through to the living room, indicating for Donna to follow her. She nodded to the photos on the mantelpiece above the brick fireplace. Donna stepped over and looked at the first one.
"Hold, on, that's..."
The Doctor smiled wryly.
"The chap who hit you. Darren Paye."
She sipped her tea again.
"He's the manager of the local bank. Married for two years with a child."
Donna looked closely at the photo. He was wearing a suit and tie, the very image of respectability. At least, until Donna noticed what was poking out from just under the collar. It seemed to be the edge of a tattoo. She frowned slightly.
"He has a tattoo?"
"Used to be the image of rebellion."
Donna turned and shot a close look at the Doctor.
"I never helped him directly," the Doctor replied, "but when I returned he told me I'd had an effect on him."
The Doctor nodded to one of the other photos. This one was of a young girl with curly blonde hair. She wouldn't have been more than 11 or 12 years old.
"Jane Thompson. She sends me - Jane Townsend - a bunch of flowers on her birthday, every year."
Donna tilted her head.
"What'd you do for her?"
"Brought her into the world."
Then Donna's jaw did drop, surprise overcoming all other thoughts. It was a couple of seconds before she could speak. Which was a new experience in itself for her.
"You...you...I never thought of you as medical."
"I did what I had to."
Donna nodded thoughtfully.
"There was more to what I did, too."
"I went up to the school, every Friday afternoon and told stories to the children. Entertained them for an hour or so."
There was a wistful look on the Doctor's face and Donna wondered why.
"What sort of stories?"
Realisation dawned immediately and Donna gasped.
The Doctor sipped her tea and nodded.
"I got the idea from Sarah, really. She's written a whole series of novels, you know."
Sadness crossed the Doctor's face.
"Jane can't do that, of course. She can't have any memories leaking through. She misses it, you know."
Donna nodded. That was something she'd ask about later. There was a more pressing question on her mind. It sounded like the Doctor had had a wonderful life in Portduun, a normal life. The life that the Doctor never really could have lead.
"So why'd you leave?"
The smile dropped from the Doctor's face.
"The Slitheen attacked, with a time-based weapon. I managed to reverse the effects."
Donna nodded thoughtfully.
"Any temporal scarring?"
"No, I took care of that."
"And the Slitheen?"
The Doctor tilted her head.
"I couldn't have done it without John and Alistair."
Donna sipped her tea, then nearly sprayed it as a thought crossed her mind. Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart and John Benton wouldn't have been expecting a female Doctor.
"The Brig's moustache must have jumped off his face."
The Doctor nodded in agreement, then sipped her tea. Her head snapped over a second later as she realised what Donna had just said.
"Wait - how far back do your memories go?"
That was something Donna hadn't considered. She reached back into her mind - her new mind - digging through centuries of memories. The wonders of the Universe unfolded before her. Adventures all across the Universe, strewn throughout time. The Doctor standing tall, always with someone by his side. Well, most of the time anyway.
"Companions," she said softly, "you've had so many companions."
Donna lingered slightly over the memories of Jack Harkness, then reached back further. Jo, Turlough, Leela, Rose, Tegan, Nyssa, Romana, all of them were there, all the way back to...
She shot an accusing look at the Doctor.
"You never told me you had a granddaughter!"
The Doctor just tilted her head and smiled enigmatically. But as Donna was about to ask, she realised she'd missed something. Something the Doctor had said to her earlier, just before they'd come to the house. Her expression turned serious.
"What did you mean," she asked slowly, "when you said you couldn't stay like this?"
The Doctor seemed to deflate slightly, and Donna caught a glimpse of some emotional pain in her eyes.
"I'm not really the Eleventh Doctor. More like incarnation 11.1."
Donna raised an eyebrow.
"Parallel timeline convergence?"
The Doctor shook her head.
"Tempo-probabilistic quake juxtaposition with the TARDIS during the regeneration."
Donna winced. She knew it was bad news. It was a googol-to-one chance that such an event would happen, but the consequences would be catastrophic. The Universe had created a parallel version of the Eleventh Doctor out of nothingness, and a TARDIS to go with her. The TARDIS was fine, the Universe had had hundreds of TARDISes flitting around in it before the Time War. But the Doctor had done so much, had so many timelines intersecting with his, that to have two full Time Lord Doctors roaming around would put a strain on time itself. Alternate realities would start leaking through. But in human form, this Eleventh Doctor wouldn't cause that strain.
"How did you know?"
The Doctor looked down for a second before answering Donna's question.
"Another Universe leaked through. A universe of fiction."
Donna raised an eyebrow questioningly.
"Bond," the Doctor replied, "James Bond."
The Doctor shook her head sadly.
"He travelled with me for a while. Wonderful man, when you get to know him."
There was something in the Doctor's voice, something that Donna recognised. She'd had that note in her voice herself, before her wedding.
"You were in love with him, weren't you?"
The Doctor nodded. Before she realised what she was doing, Donna stepped forward and hugged the Doctor.
"He came through as a Time Lord," the Doctor said softly, "then he had to go back."
Donna patted the Doctor comfortingly on the back, allowing her to cry on her shoulder. The Doctor broke out of the hug and wiped the tears from her eyes. She looked at Donna for a few seconds, then seemed to come to some sort of decision. She reached down and pulled one of the bricks out of the fireplace. It was a hollow brick, and a key dropped out of it. It was about the same size as a modern door key. To others it would have appeared as an ordinary TARDIS key, but to Donna's eyes, it seemed to be faintly glowing. She immediately recognised what it was. The Doctor had given most of his companions their own keys. But this was the TARDIS master key, the one that bound TARDIS and Time Lord together.
"I think you should have this," the Doctor said. Donna blinked.
"But...that's the master key to your TARDIS?"
The Doctor smiled reassuringly and put the key in Donna's hand.
"She's your TARDIS now, Donna. Jane Townsend won't be needing to gallivant through time and space."
Donna went to hand the key back.
"It's the life you've always wanted, isn't it?"
That was when Donna saw the truth. Yes, this was the life she'd always wanted. And Jane Townsend, human, living her life among humans, growing old and dying, was the life the Doctor had always wanted. Free of the curse of the Time Lords.
"Thank you," Donna breathed. Her hand closed around the key and she felt a faint touch at the back of her mind, a soft, subtle link from the TARDIS letting her know it was there. She hugged the Doctor again, then the Doctor nodded.
"Could you give me a hand with the chameleon arch?"
Donna nodded and the two of them turned and headed for the shed.
Tom Waterbury looked up as an elephantine wheezing sound echoed throughout the police station, then did a double-take as a blue shape began to appear in the middle of the reception area. He breathed a sigh of relief as the shape began to resolve itself into a police box. He'd seen the TARDIS in Jane's shed the last time he'd seen the Doctor, and had even been inside it. Although he hadn't known that it arrived with such...fanfare. He waited for it to finish materialising, then rose to his feet as Donna stepped out. His heart fell as he realised she wasn't the Doctor.
Donna shook her head.
"Fraid not. The name's Donna Noble."
Tom extended his hand and she shook it, then nodded out the door.
"Jane should be here in a few minutes."
Tom's heart skipped a beat.
"She's not the Doctor any more?"
Donna shook her head.
"No, and she won't be, either. She's Jane Townsend, until death do you part."
Tom nodded thoughtfully. He welcomed the news. To tell the truth, his fiancée's double nature had been weighing on his mind, ever since he'd learnt the truth. Although that hadn't stopped him proposing.
"She thinks she saw me get knocked down - I mean, just bumped, by a car. Darren Paye won't inquire as you won't be charging him-"
Donna waited for Tom to nod before continuing.
"-and my family won't poke about either."
She pulled a slip of paper out of her pocket and handed it to Tom.
"My number, if anything does come up."
Donna suddenly glanced at the door into the police station. She must have regenerated herself some Time Lord listening gear as well, as she could hear footsteps approaching the door of the police station. She reached back and opened the TARDIS door.
"Gotta go, Jane's here."
She closed the door behind her, then stuck her head out again.
"By the way, try giving her a guitar."
She closed the door before Tom had a chance to reply, then activated the dematerialisation routine. The TARDIS dematerialised as nosily as it had come, leaving Tom alone. Just for a second. He looked up as Jane Townsend stepped through the door. She looked around curiously and then her gaze fixed on Tom.
"Was there an elephant in here?" she asked. Tom frowned, playing the part.
Jane blinked a couple of times, then stepped forward and kissed Tom on the cheek. He returned the kiss then slipped his arms around her, holding her tightly yet gently. She returned the hug and they just stood, holding each other for a few moments. Tom made a mental note to find Donna's address and send her a thank-you card. And to wish her luck with her new role. For a second, he wondered where that police box had taken her when she'd left the police station. Then he felt Jane's lips on his and all other thoughts went out the window.
Donna brought the TARDIS into hover mode and let it sit there in the vortex, just hovering for a while. She could still feel the touch of the TARDIS at the back of her mind and she knew it would take some getting used to. And there was still one thing she had to do, before she'd go anywhere in this timecraft. She reached into the pocket of her jacket and pulled out a gold pocket watch, one with a series of Gallifreyan inscriptions on the cover. She knew exactly what was in it, but she didn't know what would happen when she opened it. She tossed her head back.
"One way to find out, I suppose," she said to herself. She extended her arm completely, holding the watch in her right hand. Then she flipped it open.
What appeared to be a gold cloud emerged from the watch. Donna watched it as it drifted around the console room, completing a full lap before stopping in front of her. It formed into a shape. A phantom image of the Doctor she'd just left.
"Are you trying to do what I think you're trying to do, Donna?"
Donna tilted her head.
"You've been bouncing around the galaxy for...over a millennia, even if you did mislead Rose about your age. Never with anywhere to call home."
There was a slight hint of sympathy in Donna's tone and the Doctor nodded in agreement.
"As you've said, Jane Townsend - that's you, in case you're forgetting - is having the life you've always wanted. But interrupted."
Donna nodded to the watch, still open in her outstretched hand.
"But this time it'll be permanent. Isn't that sorta what you've wanted?"
The Doctor paused before answering the question. She had enjoyed the travelling, the joy and thrill of not knowing what would happen when she stepped through those TARDIS doors with her companions. But at the same time, she had always had a longing, somewhere in the recesses of her mind, to find somewhere to settle down. A longing that had only increased since the first time she'd left Portduun. Yes, it was sort of what she'd wanted. She'd pretty much said as much when she'd given Donna the TARDIS key.
"I'll do it," the Doctor said, "but there are some of my memories you won't get."
Then the phantom image of the Doctor moved forward, stepping into the same space occupied by Donna's body. Donna felt the energy disperse over her body, a faint tingle from the tips of her toes to the ends of her hair. She felt the new memories enter her mind, seeing the final adventures of the Tenth Doctor and the adventures of the Eleventh through their eyes. Not all of them, of course, there were some things it would be dangerous for her to know.
It would take some time to get used to, and there were a couple of adjustments she wanted to make before she reunited with her mother and grandfather. The police box may have been distinctive and durable, yes, but that was the Doctor's TARDIS. This was her TARDIS now, so it should really should be a bit more Donna-ish. She didn't have a sonic screwdriver, this incarnation of the Doctor had lost it earlier. She'd have to do something about that, Donna thought, but firstly she needed to tweak the chameleon circuit. She quickly sent a text message to her mother, then she set to work.
Portduun, Cornwall, England
January 9, 2010
1447 hours local time
Maiden's Point was one of the best lookout spots on the coastal cliffs around Portduun, as any of the townspeople would tell you. One of the roads into the town passed about sixty metres in from the edge of the cliff, and it was on this road that a small, dark blue hatchback was just pulling up. Sylvia and Wilf climbed out, then Sylvia locked the car behind her. Wilf looked around, not seeing any sign of his granddaughter. He turned to Sylvia.
"This is Maiden's Point, isn't it?"
"Yes, Dad. The highest cliff on this road."
She didn't know why Donna had asked them to meet her there, but she supposed Donna had her reasons. Sylvia gestured to the left, then to the right, where the road sloped off in both directions. Wilf glanced around again, then nodded out towards the ocean. He could see the faint outline of a ship on the horizon, and a fleet of fishing ships a bit closer in. A couple of clouds were drifting lazily overhead, and he could hear crickets chirping in the knee-high grass between the road and the cliff's edge.
The idyllic tranquillity was shattered as a wind blew up, accompanied by a rough, grating vworp-vworp sound. Wilf protectively stepped over in front of Sylvia as they looked around for the source of the noise. Sylvia was the first to spot a shape beginning to appear out of thin air, on the grass a few metres away from the edge of the road. It was short, about a metre or so tall and appeared to be painted a shade of pale blue that was almost grey. As the shape solidified, they were able to make out what the object was.
"A filing cabinet?!" Sylvia exclaimed, incredulity in her voice. Wilf blinked in surprise as he realised Sylvia was right. A two-drawer filing cabinet was appearing out of thin air right before their eyes.
The filing cabinet thumped into solidity. It stood there for a second or two, then the lower drawer slid open smoothly. After a few seconds a head of red hair appeared over the top of the open drawer, followed by a face. It was Donna, and Wilf was the first to realise she was somehow climbing a set of stairs. Donna reached the top and stepped over the edge of the drawer, then glanced back at the TARDIS.
"That'll do," she said to herself before turning to where Wilf and Sylvia were waiting. Sylvia looked absolutely flabbergasted and Wilf was looking at her with undisguised curiousity. Donna paused. How to explain the TARDIS to her family. Well, Wilf would be alright. It was her mother she'd have difficulty with.
That seemed to snap Sylvia out of it. She looked from the filing cabinet to Donna, then back to the filing cabinet.
"What...what is that thing?"
Donna stepped in front of the TARDIS and slid the drawer shut with her foot.
"It's called a TARDIS. Time and Relative Dimensions in Space, in case you were wondering. It's the Doctor's timeship."
She nodded to Wilf.
"That blue box you saw us leave in, gramps."
"Don't be silly! You couldn't fit a person in there."
"It's bigger on the inside. Trans-dimensional engineering."
Sylvia blinked. So Donna was still that weird Doctor-Donna she'd been after that regeneration thing. That was when Sylvia realised that this was her daughter now, this beyond human half Time-Lord who now, it seemed, had the ability to go anywhere in the Universe. And judging by the name of the TARDIS, it sounded like some sort of time machine too. Then, strangely, Sylvia felt a wave of pride go through her. She knew that Donna had saved the human race during that business with the Daleks, and Wilf had told her a few more of Donna's stories, when Donna hadn't been around. She'd found a new level of respect for her daughter, but she'd never been able to express it. Until now.
"And you're going to go gallivanting around space...and time?"
"In this filing cabinet?" Sylvia asked, with a note of disbelief in her voice. Donna nodded and there was no mistaking the determination in her reply.
"Well, it's either that or leaving a fantastically capable timecraft sitting in the corner of my bedroom for the next however many centuries. Bit of a waste really."
Sylvia didn't need to look to know that her father was nodding his head in agreement. So, this was what it was going to be. The least she could do was let Donna know how she really felt, just as the Tenth Doctor had suggested. She stepped forward and put her hand on Donna's shoulder, meeting her daughter's half-alien eyes.
"And I know," she said firmly, "you'll be brilliant out there."
Donna felt a wave of disbelief go through her, and a flippant reply was on the top of her tongue before she saw the look in her mother's eyes.
"Oh my God," she breathed, "you really mean that."
Sylvia just nodded, then she stepped in and hugged her daughter for a second, then stepped back. A tear broke loose and rolled down Donna's face.
"This doesn't change anything," she said. Sylvia nodded.
"Didn't think it would. You've always been stubborn as a-"
Donna grinned for a second, a gesture slightly reminiscent of the Tenth Doctor.
"Yeah, that's me all over."
This time it was Wilf who replied. He was glad that Sylvia had finally told Donna, but there was another question that was on his mind.
She looked over at him. Those new eyes of hers would take some getting used to, he thought.
"That woman Doctor, did she just give you this TARDIS?"
Donna tilted her head.
"Bit of a long story there. Short version is..."
Donna gave a quick explanation of the Doctor's situation, and both Sylvia and Wilf were nodding along by the end of it.
"What about the watch?", Wilf asked when she was done. Donna tapped the side of her head.
"It's all up here now, all those other memories. Everything the Doctor's seen since we parted ways."
Sylvia and Wilf exchanged a look, which caught Donna's attention. Then a memory, one of the ones she'd just acquired, came into her mind's eye. A rainy night in Chiswick, the Tenth Doctor standing in the rain and Wilf standing in the doorway. A warm smile crossed her face, and she blinked back another tear.
"Oh gramps," she said softly, "that's so sweet."
"Every night, Doctor, when it gets dark...," Donna quoted.
"...I'll look up on her behalf. I'll look up at the sky, and think of you," Wilf finished. Their eyes met, and despite that new alienness about her, the emotion in her gaze showed that she was still his granddaughter. Donna stepped forward and embraced Wilf.
"Thank-you," she whispered. They broke apart a second later, and Wilf nodded towards the TARDIS.
"So I guess you'll be off in that thing, then?"
Donna tossed her hair back. She'd been doing that a bit since she'd regenerated, she realised. Maybe it was just one of those things that came with this incarnation.
"Yeah, as soon as you grab your suitcase."
That was from Syliva. Donna nodded.
"Well you don't think I'm going to go out there alone, do you? I mean, come on, there's so much out there..."
Donna trailed off. Wilf had been as enthusiastic as she had been about her travels with the Doctor, and all he'd ever asked was that she remember him when she was out there. It was the least she could do. She smiled again as her grandfather's face lit up, then she nodded towards the TARDIS.
"The town's just a short hop, you know. I can have you there ten minutes ago."
Wilf stepped over to the TARDIS and Donna slid out the bottom drawer. He looked down, seeing the top of a flight of stairs.
"I just...climb down, do I?"
"It gets a bit bigger when you reach the bottom."
Wilf nodded, then stepped over and hugged Sylvia. Then he climbed into the TARDIS and started climbing down the stairs. Sylvia watched him go, then turned to Donna.
"You'd better bring him back in one piece."
They hugged again, then Donna turned and entered the TARDIS. She turned back at the top of the stairs, a mischievous smile on her lips.
"It's live band night at the Crown & Boar tonight. And I think there's going to be a little surprise in store. A good one, obviously."
Donna nodded, then descended into the TARDIS. The staircase descended into a corridor, which ran for a couple of metres before opening up into the console room of the TARDIS. Wilf was standing just inside the console room, looking around in awe. And it was quite a sight, Donna thought, even if she did say so herself.
The walls were covered in white marble panels, with the roundels seemingly carved out of them by an artisan's hand. The floor was also marble, albeit dark green, and six fluted ionic-style columns rose from the floor to the ceiling at regular intervals around the console. The console was also made out of white marble, with the controls having the same carved look as the roundels. The effect was like stepping back into some ancient civilisation at its height, which was what Donna had been trying to achieve. She crossed to the console and cleared the coordinates, then turned to her grandfather.
Wilf jumped, then glanced around again.
"I know you told me it was bigger on the inside, but still..."
"You'll get used to it."
Donna set the coordinates for a quick hop to the town, where they grabbed Wilf's suitcase, then she set the coordinates for another planet. One she'd been wanting to visit for a while, but where the Doctor never would have taken her.
Gallifrey. Or what was left of it.
The central column finished moving after a couple of seconds and Donna activated the scanner.
"Where are we?"
"The Doctor's homeworld. What's left of it."
A second later, Wilf realised what Donna had said.
"What, do you mean it's...?"
"Yeah. Won't be a second."
Wilf nodded. He wasn't entirely sure what Donna had in mind, but he got the impression it was something she had to do. He watched her as she headed for the staircase that led out of the TARDIS. And unnoticed by either of them, a mauve light on the console started flashing.
Donna made her way down the corridor and ascended the stairs. The drawer slid open automatically as she approached. She reached the uppermost stair and stood on the top of the staircase, with seemingly nothing between her and the vacuum of space itself. She knew there was a force-field surrounding the TARDIS, providing her with a breathable atmosphere.
She looked around at the scene before her. She'd seen one like it before, when the Doctor had shown her the Earth's formation. But the scene before her, the chunks of rock drifting through space, the ruins of spaceships, both Dalek and others, and the glimmering distortions where time had folded back on itself, all this was the result of destruction. She could see it in the Doctor's memories, when the Citadel had stood tall, dominating the continent of Wild Endeavour. The Time Lords, so old in their wisdom, striding through the corridors of time as easily as space. Donna felt a tear roll down her cheek. The Doctor may not have really considered Gallifrey to be his home, but he had lost so much. Originally as a protest against the Time Lords, he now travelled and fought evil because he was the only one left to do it.
Well, he wasn't alone now and that was something he needed to know. Donna turned and descended the staircase, already composing the email she'd send to the Doctor. She paused for a second, wondering how to sign it, then the perfect thing came to mind. 'Good Wolf'. She entered the console room and crossed to the console, firing off the email in under a minute. Then she turned to Wilf, a grin on her face.
"Right then, Granddad, where do you want to go first? I know, how's Midnight sound?"
"Was that the world made of diamonds?"
"Yeah, that's the one."
Donna stepped around to the console and went to reset the coordinates, then suddenly froze.
"How long's that been flashing?" she asked, surprised, nodding towards the flashing mauve light. Wilf looked over.
"I dunno, I didn't see. Is it important?"
Donna nodded, and a hint of excitement came into her eyes. She glanced at a couple of the other controls, her head moving around in that sudden, bird-like manner she unconsciously adopted when surprised.
"It's a Gallifreyan distress beacon."
She looked up and nodded towards the entrance to the console room.
"There's someone out there. Someone survived."