"Doctor, it says right there that it's not supposed to do anything," Amy says. "You've been running scans on it for ages! How do we know it's not one of River's lame time traveling archaeologist jokes? 'You don't have to be mad to go running about in time and space but it helps'?"
"No, she wouldn't waste her time like that. If she sent this to me, it must have been for a reason." The Doctor gives the button on the box a deep and meaningful stare.
When Amy fails to be impressed, he gives it an even deeper and more meaningful prod, a prod full of absolute intent. Never before has a button been prodded more significantly.
The box, completely heedless of this fact, continues to do nothing. The Doctor sighs. Amy sighs. The box does nothing. The Doctor sighs again, a bit more pointedly.
Amy goes to put the kettle on.
"It's just that I've lived nine hundred years and I've never in my whole entire life met a button that did as much nothing as this button does when you press it!" the Doctor says into the phone.
"Yeah, sure," Amy says into her own phone, "but you don't just go up to Margaret Thatcher and say 'excuse me ma'am would you mind pressing my big red button'! You're nine hundred bloody years old!"
"Yes, and this button-- Amy you're not even paying attention. This is serious."
"Oh, yes, very serious. Very, very--"
"Stop humoring me," the Doctor snaps.
"Enjoy prison," Amy snaps back. She hangs up her phone and storms off.
"Alright, you could humor me a little," the Doctor calls through the thick glass. "Amy? Amy...? Blast."
"Look, just give them the box."
"Amy, they're a class two-grape civilization, they're not ready for this kind of technology."
"What technology? It's a box full of dummy wires and a big stupid button that doesn't do anything!"
"Yes, but that's not the point. The point is--"
"The point, Doctor, is that we're going to be executed in the morning if you don't fish that damn thing out of your pocket and hand it over--"
"The point," the Doctor says, "is that I just picked the lock on your handcuffs."
"Promise me we're going to go to Rio next."
"Space Florida's like Rio, isn't it?"
"It's not, Doctor. It's really, really not."
"At least it's warm here. That's nice."
Amy shifts a little against the palm tree, trying to find a comfortable angle. Palm trees are not as nice to be tied to as they are to be lounged around under. The fact that the top of the palm is on fire isn't helping, either.
"I can't believe you bit the Space Pope," she says. "Nine hundred years of time and space and when someone tries to play with your toys you shriek 'no, it's mine!' and bite his hand?"
The Doctor rests his head against her shoulder. "You smell pretty," he says vaguely.
"No more banana tequila for you, Doctor."
"No more banana tequila," he agrees.
"Okay, now who's going around inappropriately biting people?" the Doctor asks. "Not me!"
Amy rounds on him, teeth bared, eyes flashing, and the Doctor experiences a sudden and visceral understanding of that particular term Storm, the Oncoming.
"You explained to your old pal Siggy 'I hate women' Freud that you have here a little box," Amy hisses, brandishing the item in question.
"With a button," she elaborates, raising the box above her head and then bringing it down very firmly on the Doctor's.
"That doesn't do anything when you press it--"
"Ow! Ow! Amy, please--"
"And you ask him what! He! Thinks!"
"Amy! Amy Amy ow stop it! I'm sorry!"
Amy throws the box across the TARDIS so hard it dents the wall.
"I WANTED TO GO TO RIO," she screams.
The Doctor uncurls, slowly and hopefully.
"Rio," he repeats. "Yes, Rio, I can do Rio. Rio right now."
He scurries behind the TARDIS console, and hides.
"Rio sucks," Amy says tiredly.
"It's not usually this, ah, earthquakey," the Doctor says apologetically.
Amy laughs a little, and huddles farther into her shock blanket.
"The medics say they can reattach your leg," she says, "when they find it."
"Ah, well, legs come and go. I just...I wish I'd figured out that blasted box before-- well. I suppose it all worked out alright."
"Bus full of children, box that does nothing," Amy teases. "Hard decision, hero-boy."
"Oh, get off."
They sit in companionable silence for a time.
Amy pulls the box out of the folds of her blanket, and sets it gently on the Doctor's chest.
"Oh, Amy Pond," the Doctor breathes. "You're a wonder."
"And don't you forget it."
"River," the Doctor gasps, coughs, wipes the blood off his chin. Artillery fire is loud in the distance, and is getting louder. "River, I need you."
"Anything," she says, cupping his cheek in her callused palms.
"The box," he manages. "You have to... you have to tell me. Why doesn't it do anything?"
"This box!" the Doctor growls, wrestling it out of his tattered coat.
River's face goes blank, and she settles back on her heels. She sets down her rifle, reaches inside her own coat, and produces her little journal. In it is a diagram of the box, a set of temporal coordinates for the TARDIS, one week back, and a notation, in the Doctor's handwriting: 'Please kick Mr. Heinlein in the shin for me'.
The Doctor gives a great, heaving sigh, and lets his head thump back against the sandbags.
"This is for you," he says, and slides the box on to her lap.
"I'm sure I'll find a use for it," she agrees. She tucks it into one pocket of her coat, the book into another pocket, and shoulders her rifle once more.
"Geronimo," she tells him, smiling bravely. And then she swings herself over the top of the trench and is gone in a spatter of icy mud.
"Geronimo," the Doctor agrees. Amy is warm and heavy against him and they're going to make it. They're all going to make it.
He begins to laugh.