There's still a lot of yelling and flying food, when the doors burst open and new orderlies pour into the room to help stop the full on riot, leaving them unlocked and wide open. A small shape darts out from under the nearest table and makes a beeline for them.
"Donna, there! C'mon!"
The hunters reach the doors before they do and they all take off in pursuit of the girl.
The Doctor and Donna kept two steps behind the hunters and the girl was nowhere to be seen. They were only keeping up with her because they were following the ones with the keener tracking senses.
"Doctor, we're losing them."
He stops. "Donna, wait here."
"Oh no, that's not happening spaceman!"
"No time, wait here!" He takes off without another word.
He moves faster without Donna there since she runs a bit slower than he does. He also doesn't want her getting hurt, the Litians are dangerous to both their quarry and everything in between. Why they want the girl so badly is beyond him anyways. He finally catches up with the girl's pursuers to find that they have cornered her in the hall. With no keycard to unlock the door, she can't go further.
One hunter turns while the others ignore him. Drawing his weapon, the Litian blocks him from getting any closer, but doesn't advance. The Doctor whips out his screwdriver and points it at the electronic lock. Activating, the door unlocks and the girl pushes it open, taking off again with two in hot pursuit.
The third, however, begins to stalk forward. "The girl is ours, begone."
"I won't let you hurt her!" he yells in fury.
He hisses and raises his weapon. "You have interfered too much, piddily human."
Suddenly, the screeches of his comrades echo through the halls and he turns to look down the hall, but cannot see them. Before he can move away, the Doctor steps forward and applies pressure to delicate points on its neck, and it passes out cold. When he looks up, she's standing there, though he doesn't remember her coming down the hall again.
"How'd you-" she's cut off by a fit of coughing. Clearing her throat a couple more times for good measure, she speaks again. "How'd you do that?"
She cocks her head. "Can you teach me?"
He chuckles. "Maybe someday."
She shrugs in response. "Good enough."
Just then, Donna comes running up, panting. "Whole lotta runnin'," she gets out between gasps.
The girl looks at her. "Donna Noble," she turns back to him. "The Doctor," She places a closed fist on her sternum in a gesture of referring to herself. "Amanda," She lets her arm dangle by her side again. "Been a pleasure, bye," she says. And immediately begins walking away.
"Now wait a minute, you can't just go swannin' off!" the Doctor protests.
She gives a backwards wave, wiggling her fingers. "Sure I can, this is me, swanning off, see ya!"
Donna pipes up. "I said I was gonna help you, and if you leave now, I won't be able to help you." Amanda stops walking and Donna continues, "What if they come back? You might need help then, but we won't be there to help you."
She offers a resigned sigh. "Fine then," she says, and turns to face them. "But any funny business, and I'm gone."
Donna smiles. "No funny business, I promise."
The walk back to the TARDIS was uneventful, but filled with conversation.
"So, I don't want to pry, and you don't have to answer if you don't want to," Donna begins, "But how did you wind up in there?"
Amanda doesn't hesitate a second before answering. "I hear people talking, but they don't believe me."
"How can they not believe you if they just said something?" Donna responds confusedly.
"I ask them the same thing, but they don't want to admit anything, 'cos they think that they might be called crazy too."
Now she is really confused. "I don't understand."
Amanda stops walking and they stop too.
After a pause she says, "I hear them talk," and resumes walking, the Doctor and Donna following.
"I think she means she can hear people thinking, Donna," he says.
"Oh," is all she can reply. "Can you hear me think, too?"
"Yeah, that's how I know where we're going, 'cos you have it in your head, and you think it out loud."
She seems to detect her embarrassment. "Just don't think anything loudly that you don't want to say," she says without even turning to look at Donna's red face.
"How would I do that?"
The Doctor interrupts quickly. "She probably only hears what you have in the forefront of your mind."
Amanda nods. "Yeah, don't think it out loud."
Now it's the Doctor's turn for questions. "Any idea why they were after you?"
"They want the secrets," she replies cautiously.
"What kind of secrets?" he asks carefully.
"Dangerous ones. You could devastate planet Earth with secrets such as these," she remarks, then quotes. "'A text of fearsome power must not be shared with others.' Zeami, Japanese playwright."
Donna blinks. "Right."
"Many always burn the knowledge, it's a terrible shame. Like the Library at Alexandria. I can hear it from way long ago, I have to forget everything though, otherwise my head hurts." She slows her steps a bit. "I have a terrible memory, started doing pathetically in math during high school. Math was never my strong suit, and when I started forgetting a lot, it looked like the teacher was writing in some sort of Elvish to me or something."
Donna stifles a giggle at her Elvish comment.
"I suppose that last bit is funny," she says.
Her face turns red once again at her uncanny ability to detect her thoughts.
"Here we are!" exclaims the Doctor jovially.
"Can you hear it?" she stops and says abruptly, staring at the blue box before her.
"Hear what?" Donna asks.
She sways her body slowly back and forth. "The singing, can't you hear it?"
The Doctor smiles. "That's the TARDIS," he tells her.
"She has a lovely voice," she says, giggling.
The Doctor pulls out the key and opens the doors, leading everyone in, Amanda bringing up the rear.
Her mouth forms a little 'o' as she looks around the console room in awe. "It's dimensionally transcendental!"
The Doctor glares at her. "I prefer it when they say 'It's bigger on the inside.'"
The TARDIS hums a pleased greeting to all three of them and she giggles in delight, patting one of the coral struts as she passes it.
She continues examining the room, now having moved forward, running her hands softly and reverently over the console itself. "Seems a bit of a simple statement though." She shrugs. "It's easier to think it's another dimension anchored to a little box, but it's nothing like that really."
He huffs at her. "Sure."
"What's its function?" she asks.
"Weeell, it travels through all of time and space, free of charge."
Now she's bouncing around like a kid. "Where we going?" her accent and demenour making the statement a little odd sounding to Donna, enough so that she almost didn't catch what she was saying.
"Into the time vortex," he replies.
Her eyes merely widen in excitement, like she doesn't have words for it, before abruptly turning to Donna with a sour look on her face. "I'm not adorable."
The Doctor just laughs as the TARDIS dematerialises with a wheeze and an amused hum.
She jumps up and down. "Heyheyheyheyhey!" she's walking around the console, tapping every coral strut as she goes. "Doctor, can you can teach me Venus-something aikido?"
"You mean Venusian Karate."
"I suppose." He shrugs. "Not now though."
Again she jumps around. "Heyeheyheyheyehey, can I explore the TARDIS?"
"Sure, go ahead," he says, sending a telepathic request to the TARDIS to keep her out of trouble. She responds with a noncommittal hum saying I can't promise anything.
Wandering down the hall, she peers into open doors as she passes by them. There's a pool, an observatory (how does that even work?), a garden (she'll have to come back to that), and wow, she can't skip this room.
As she passes through the door, a massive library stretches out before her. "Now that's just showing off," she breathes, looking up at the multiple storeys of endless shelves of books. She moves between the shelves, dragging her jaw after her, which she had dropped on the floor. Snapping her mouth shut, she delicately runs her fingers over the spines, before spotting a title she might like to read. The Endless Wonders of the Known Universe. Like something out of a fairy tale. Grabbing the book, she finds a chair, and begins to read at an unbelievable speed.
Donna looks at the Doctor. "What'd think of her?"
"I think she's a bit impossible."
"Well, she's childish some, but not that bad."
"Not that," he says, "More like I don't think she's actually human. I need to find her and look her over in the infirmary."
"Let's go find her then."
He asks his TARDIS where she is and got library in return. Mentally thanking the old girl, he takes Donna's elbow and gently pulls her in that direction.
Walking into the library, they see her on an armchair by the happily crackling fireplace, nose in a book.
The Doctor addresses her. "Good choice, The Endless Wonders of the Known Universe, one of my favourites." He plops down on armchair across from her, and Donna settles herself on the sofa, facing both chairs and the fireplace. "Just skimming through?" she asks, noticing how far she is into the book and how thick it is.
She offers a quick glance over the top of the book. "No, I've read all of it so far," returning her eyes to it, she flips a page.
"Fast reader then, yeah?" Donna inquires.
Amanda turns another page. "Yeah."
They watch her for a moment, turning a page every few seconds.
"What page are you on then?" she asks.
Barely a moment later, paper ruffles. "479."
Donna gets up and goes to peer over the top of the book, watching her eyes move down a page, not even side to side as they would if she were actually reading each line. Leaning forward just a bit more, she gets a good look at the pages. "The print's so small!"
"It's a big book for a big universe."
She returns to the sofa.
"Amanda," the Doctor says to get her attention, "Can I talk for a bit?"
They wait in silence as she continues reading. Finally she lowers the book, keeping a finger between the pages to hold her place. "Yeah?"
"Would you come to the infirmary for a while?"
She frowns. "I ain't sick."
"Never said you were, I just want to run a few scans, there may be things on the TARDIS or certain planets you could be allergic to," he smoothly lies. "Just want to make sure you'll be fine."
"Need a bookmark."
The Doctor produces a colourful strip of silk from his pocket and she accepts it, puts it in the book, places the book on an end table, and rises. "Okay, let's go."
In the infirmary, the Doctor pats the table. "Hop up," he orders, and she obliges. "Right, now if you could just lay back and relax, wearing anything metal?"
"Righty-o," he says as he puts the scanner into position. "Hold still."
She closes her eyes as the machine starts up. Three beams of light, each a different color, sweep over her body, then it powers down. "All done, quick and easy!" He looks over the scans. "Don't see any immediate problems! I'll just go over this a bit more closely just to make sure."
She sits up. "I'm gonna go back to the library and finish reading."
"Have fun," Donna says enthusiastically, and she leaves.
She looks at him expectantly.
"Donna, do you mind if I look over these alone?"
She gives him one more skeptical look. "Sure, Spaceman, see you later," she says and leaves the room.
With Donna gone, the Doctor takes a seat in front of the machinery and begins to read the information.
Amanda closes the book. Undoubtedly, her favourite wonder is the mysterious cliff face with undecipherable writing from the dawn of time. Maybe she'd ask the Doctor about it, mysterious and dawn of time sounds right up his alley. Returning the book to its proper place, she leaves the library.
Down the endless halls, twisting, turning. They might come back to find her. They might come back...
The second she comes to this realisation, she takes off in a sprint down the corridors to find the Doctor.
Inside the infirmary, the Doctor is absorbed in his readings.
Hyperactive nervous system equivalent to a Time Lord...
...Brain activity 1987% of a normal human...
...Arton radiation present in extreme levels...
...DNA affected by an unknown...
...Lungs capable of tolerating heavy gases such as O3...
...Metabolism 300% above normal...
...Lethal levels of neutron radiation prese-
He swiftly turns the monitor away from view and stands to face her. "Yes?"
She bows her head and shuffles her feet a bit. "Can I stay? On the TARDIS I mean?"
"Oh, yes, of course! You can, er, stay for as long as you like."
"Whoo!" She runs forward and gives him a quick hug before pulling back. "Thanks!" She then turns on her heel and runs straight back out the room.
He turns back to the screen, wondering what his newest guest is really hiding. Secrets she had said. He'll have to find them out.
Wandering through the halls, she comes across a spring green door. Smiling, she pushes it open to find a room with deep brown carpets, and a dark forest green and sea blue colour scheme. Odd, but she likes it. The bed looks comfy, and there's a dresser, desk, nightstand, bookshelf, and a random oversized bean bag chair. In other words, it's very ideal. There's a Lego Death Star set in a box, sitting on the desk, waiting to be constructed in her free time. She lovingly pats the doorframe. "Thank you girl," she whispers, and proceeds to get ready for bed.
Screams surround her, unknown things whistle by her head in the dark. So dark, she can't see anything, nothing but a large pair of pale gold eyes, unswervingly locked on her. They come closer, massive claws scraping the ground as the creature moves. She wants to run but she's frozen in place. It huffs from its nostrils and hot air hits her face. As it opens its mouth to snap her in half, she wakes, shaking and cold. IT. IS. COMING. Screaming internally, she clamps her hands over her ears and lies awake the rest of the night.
"'Morning, Doctor!" says Donna as she walks into the galley.
Donna goes about making her breakfast as the Doctor studies some clear sheets of plastic-like paper, printed with charts and scribbles.
"What'd you doing?"
"Going over these scans again."
Donna sits down across from him with her breakfast. "Is there something wrong with them?"
He plops them back down onto the table. "Nothing is wrong with the scans, what's wrong is what was scanned."
Donna gasps. "Is she not human? She looks like one. Well, you do too, Martian, so I guess it doesn't mean much."
He shakes his head. "She is. Weeell, I say she is, but it's more like she was, now she's sort of not."
"Sort of not?"
"Human, but with altered DNA."
"I can't tell why, but her DNA's mutated, and here," he sifts through the papers and picks one out. "This is her average brain activity," he holds it out.
She takes it and looks it over, the TARDIS translating the alien language on it. "1987% of what?"
"Putting it simply, that's how active her brain is," he takes it back. "The average human uses 100% of their brain power daily, consciously and sub-consciously, every automatic and motor function," he continues, "The fact that her mind uses nearly 20 people's worth of brain power is incredible! Aaand entirely impossible."
"Is she alright?"
He shrugs. "That does seem to be the case, though honestly, I'm not even sure how she's alive."
Donna's face becomes increasingly worried. "Is she sick? Can we help?"
"Technically, yes, she's sick. In fact, she's completely irradiated with neutron radiation, absorbed it in lethal amounts, but her cells don't degenerate and she doesn't emit any radiation or display effects of it. As for the helping, I have no clue."
"What is neutron radiation?"
He sighs. "It's a byproduct of nuclear reactions, like in a nuclear power plant, or the aftermath of an atomic bomb. It penetrates deeply into tissue, and there's no possible way to purge all of it from her body."
"So we can't help her."
"No, I'm afraid not. We can only watch her to make sure she doesn't affect anyone else."
"Do you think the radiation is what altered her DNA?"
"No, I think it was something else."
"What else could've done it though?"
"That's something I intend to find out."
"Find out what?" Amanda says groggily as she enters the room. She's cleaned up nicely, but still looks tired.
Donna immediately thinks solely of her breakfast and nothing else.
"Find out exactly where you'd like to go today," he says without hesitating. "First day aboard the TARDIS, rise and shine, we've got a day of adventure ahead of us! You pick were we're going today!" He hops up, gathers all the papers, folds them, and sticks them in his pocket before the TARDIS can translate anything for her. "Eat up and I'll see you both in the console room later!" With that, he exits the room.
"He's a morning person then?"
Donna shrugs. "Mostly I think he doesn't sleep."
"Like, ever? Or like, you never catch him sleeping?" she asks as she sits at the table.
"More like, he take short naps every other week."
She frowns. "How's he manage that then?"
Donna waves her hand dismissively. "He's always on about his 'Superior Time Lord Biology' nonsense."
She sits up slightly. "Wassat?"
"Wassa Time Lord? Sounds pompous."
Donna laughs. "You're tellin' me!"
The Doctor ambles into the console room and sits down on the jumpseat. He keeps staring at the scan printouts like he's going to be able to divine their meaning spontaneously. Sighing, he folds them up and puts them into his pockets just as the pair of companions walks in.
Amanda spots him on the jumpseat and immediately bursts into giggles.
"Donnaaaa," he begins, his tone reproachful, "What did you do?"
"I told her about you, that's all."
"Did you really get arrested and sentenced to scrub the entire floor of the Mashidish Palace of Naois II with a toothbrush?"
"It's not my fault I got the royal jewels confused with a banana, they look a lot alike!"
Both of the girls erupt into a series of giggles that don't stop for at least five minutes.
"Are you done?" he says with annoyance as they both catch their breath.
Amanda shakes her head. "Yeah, yeah I think I am."
Then they both burst into giggles again for no reason. "Oh, I'd rather you were fighting," he complains with a sigh.
They collect themselves again. "Ok, I'm really, truly done now."
"Right!" The Doctor prepares to take them out of the vortex, flipping switches and pressing buttons. "Where would you like to go?" he asks with furvour.
She immediately opens her mouth, then quickly shuts it. Furrowing her eyebrows, she sits on the jumpseat and strokes her chin lightly, deep in thought. "I think..." she pauses, then jumps up. "Let's go someplace that nobody's ever been to before!"
The Doctor sets criteria for the randomiser and gives it a spin while slamming down the most important looking lever and the TARDIS shakes as they go shooting out of the vortex. The TARDIS lands with a great thump! and they all fall to the floor.
Amanda's the first one up. "Where are we?"
The Doctor grandly gestures to the door and she doesn't waste another second before practically flying out of the room.
Amanda is greeted by lush, low-lying flora and a sky packed with unfound constellations. Her mind instantly begins connecting dots and de-connecting them in different patterns and shapes. Finally, as the others join her, she finds the perfect shape. "That one," she says, pointing to the newly made gathering of the distant, shining orbs.
"That one what?" inquires Donna.
She starts pointing out the stars in her constellation. "That star and that one make a nose, and those ones over there make eyes," she says, making sure they know which stars she's talking about by describing them in reference to the larger ones. "-see, if those make a tail, it looks like a wolf."
Donna considers her words and the heavens sanctioned out above. "I suppose you're right."
"I dub it," she pauses for effect. "The Bad Wolf constellation," the Doctor physically recoils at her words, unbeknownst to the both of them. "It was made from something never done before, from something that dared, from wild chance, and the right view." She doesn't notice the shocked and devastated look on the Doctor's face, nor can she sense his feelings because of his mental shields. Unperturbed, she continues speaking. "I wish I was that Bad, Bad Wolf, but no. No, I'm an in-between wolf."
She turns back to them, but by then the Doctor had schooled his features into a calm mask. She gives a loud, "Arrooo!" before running past them and the TARDIS straight into a field of flowers that gleam in the starlight.
"Hey Doctor," Donna says, "You see that one tree over there?"
He looks up. "Yes."
"Every plant here reflects the light from the stars and the moons, and there aren't any other trees, just these flowers and the grass," she prods at the soil with her shoe, gesturing to the ankle high plants. "And that tree there, it doesn't reflect anything, it's really dark."
The Doctor gives it a more concentrated look. "A very good observation, Donna."
Amanda hops up from her cross-legged position on the ground with great agility. "I'm gonna go investigate," she proclaims, and takes off.
"Wait a minute," Donna calls, but she's practically there already.
Just before she gets to the tree, however, she disappears completely from view.
The Doctor rises from his relaxed place on the ground and starts after her. "Amanda!" he calls, but gets no reply. "Come on, Donna."
As they approach the tree, the Doctor takes notice of the fact that all plant life stops in a prefect ring around the tree. "Donna, stop for a moment," he says, just before her foot crosses the line, "Look."
She examines the ring. "Bit odd."
"Let me scan this before w-"
Before he can finish his sentence, something grabs him and drags him into darkness.