Ten Seconds

by Masterpwn [Reviews - 1]

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  • Teen
  • Swearing
  • Action/Adventure, Introspection, Mystery

Author's Notes:
Chapter Summary:

The Doctor and Donna are learning more about the little enigma in the TARDIS besides her exceptional building skills. Said little enigma makes new enemies as a lovely day at the beach goes sour....


The TARDIS makes a smooth landing and the Doctor swings the scanner around. "There we are! A nice, normal Florida beach, like I promised Donna!"

Amanda comes back into the console room. "Florida? That's where I live." She's wearing a sea blue tee-shirt and a pair of black shorts. "The TARDIS left me a butterfly covered bathing suit," she says, lifting her shirt a bit to show it off.

Donna carries some towels, a basket, and a beach umbrella out of the TARDIS and Amanda follows her carrying sunscreen and a trowel in a large bucket. The Doctor sighs and joins the procession.


"C'mon Doctor, how do you enjoy a beach properly when you're dressed like that?" complains Donna, eyeing his TARDIS blue suit.

"By enjoying it," he replies.

She shakes her head as she lays out the towel. Amanda is by the water line, white war paint striped on her face where she intentionally applied too much sun screen to rub in. She is beating the sand forcefully with her shovel, and, just before a wave rolls over the spot, she quickly scoops it up and drops it in the bucket. She repeated the process until the bucket was full and packed tight, then placed it off to the side, a few feet it the shore.

"-brought a packed lunch for later," Donna says as he returns his focus to her, "I hope we didn't forget anything."

"It's fine Donna," he says as he turns his gaze upward again.

Amanda was filling an identical bucket using the same punishing process on the sand as before, but he had no idea where she got the extra bucket from. Then he realises she's already filled three buckets. How did she do that?

"Do what?" Donna asks, and he realises he must've said that last bit out loud.

"She's pulled buckets out of nowhere and filled four of them already," he says as she places said fourth bucket off to the side.

"Huh," she stares hard. "That's odd." She shakes her head. "She is an odd girl." Donna turns her attention back to the cocktail she is holding in her hand.

That's beyond just "odd", he thinks.

He decides to think of something else, so he looks around. There's not a large crowd, since the sun is beating its way though and overcast sky. He doesn't keep himself distracted for longer than that before his mind wanders back to the walking atom bomb who is currently toting the buckets closer to their umbrella. Staying a good thirty feet away, she dumps the buckets on their tops, leaving them like that until all four are sitting in an uneven square-like shape.

He mentally asks the TARDIS to check up on her, hoping she's not affecting the environment. He doesn't want to endanger anyone. The TARDIS responds, listing current statistics of her condition. Okay, she's not affecting the enviro- What?!? Her brain activity has risen to 2502% of normal. She snaps his head to look at her again. She's currently piling mounds of sand around the sand towers still hidden under the buckets, acting like there's nothing wrong. What is in her head?


THWACK! THWACK! THWACK! Scoop, plop, shush. The water recedes. THWACK! THWACK! THWACK!

It's hard work, building a sand castle. A proper sand castle, not something made with rainbow toy buckets and shovels, not something resembling a wet pile of sand, not with a moat that eats away at it's base. Nope, a good and proper sand castle.

So here she is, beating the excess water out of the soaking sand by the shoreline. The sand must be damp, so that the water molecules bind the grains together. If there's too many water molecules, they act as lubricant rather than being cohesive. After pounding a shovel full's worth of sand into the proper condition, she scoops it up and puts it in the bucket, letting the sea reset the sand before her into a smooth, shining surface. At one point, a minute crab washes up and she pauses her grueling task to pick it up and carry it to a safe, scraggly crag before returning to work.

She's carried at least five buckets out with her, but she'll only need four. So on she goes, filling up a grand total of four buckets. She waits 'til no one's looking to fetch the rest of her buckets, 'cos people might think she pulled them out of thin air, but nope, she's just storing them in her own miniature trans-plane dimensional pocket. Shhh. Don't tell anyone.

THWACK! THWACK! THWACK! Scoop, plop, shush.

Finally filling the fourth bucket, she carries them up the beach, closer to the umbrella and away from the water, just past the high tide line. With a thump, she puts them down in the flattened and damp surface she made earlier, and begins piling up more soil of the same quality. Eventually, she has four buckets and the space in between them completely filled up to two thirds the way up the buckets. Taking them off and tossing them aside, she begins patting everything into position and smoothing it at the same time.

With that done, she begins using her fingers, a stick, and a paper clip to shape the sand into something presentable.


Done! Time for a moat. She carefully digs out a deep space a few inches away from the walls. After finishing that, she takes many very small sticks and pokes them into the ground at the bottom. She then pours a little water into the moat and voila! Finished.


The Doctor, seeing her sitting back and admiring her work, goes to get a better look at her newly made castle and Donna joins him.

"Very nice!" he says as he approaches, and he means it. The castle itself is very detailed. Four towers are topped with battlements and ballistea made of sticks. All down the tower are small slits where archers would shoot from, and seeing light from inside, he realises that the tower is hollow. He returns to looking at the top and sees an open trapdoor atop each tower, with multiple sticks supporting the roof. One tower has no top at all and he looks inside.

"I left that one open on purpose so you can see what each tower is like inside," she tells him.

There's one central branch from with many smaller sticks without any bark on them extending at intervals, poking into the walls and holding little ramps of sticks in place. The ramps are wrapped in small strands of seaweed, holding them in neat row. There was a small archway at the bottom of the tower facing the courtyard.

The courtyard itself has stables, an armoury, barracks, and a blacksmith's forge, all made of seashells, seaweed, rocks, and more sticks. Honestly, where did she find all these sticks? And look! A drawbridge made of sticks.

"Don't stick your hand in the moat," she warns them, "It's full of pointy sticks."

More sticks, she says. The construct itself is incredible. Either she's a master and genious engineer, or there's something else holding it together. "It's well made for certain."

She nods. "I'ma build something else now," and with that, she grabs all of the buckets and runs back down to the water.

"The castle's really good," Donna says with delight.

"There's something wrong with it," he says, and whips out his sonic. After scanning it he announces, "There is something wrong, I'm getting an energy reading from it, but it's not the source."

"Then what is?" she ponders.

Raising the sonic, he starts turning in a circle, and stops when he points it in Amanda's direction. "She is," he states grimly.

"How can she be a source?" Donna inquires as she turns to watch her beating the sand mercilessly and putting it in a bucket.

"I'm not sure." He asks the TARDIS to send him another update and finds her brain activity has risen 8%. Is she holding it in stasis telekinetically? That's a hell've an ability.

"Why don't you ask her?"

"How would I do that? Just walk up and say, 'how are you holding this sand castle in stasis without any technology?'"

"Yeah," Donna says, "Just ask her rather than trying to figure it out behind her back."

Amanda now seems to be carrying her buckets back towards them, so he doesn't reply.

"I'm gonna build the Pyramids at Giza and the Great Sphinx," she proclaims proudly, and gets right down to business. Donna returns to her towel and the Doctor stands there and watches her work.


"Commander, the target has revealed its presence."

"Set a course."

"Yes, Commander," it hisses in reply.


Amanda has just finished her sphinx and is piling sand up for the pyramids when Donna comes over.

"It's very good!" she tells her.

Amanda looks over at her creation. "Oops."


"I forgot about the nose," she says as she scoots over to it. With a quick swipe, she knocks the nose off its face and scoops it up, flinging the spare sand aside. "Better," she says, and returns to her pyramids.


After Donna sat down with her and helped pile sand for the pyramids while Amanda started working details into the smallest one, the Doctor moved away, back to his chair under the umbrella.

"He scanned my castle," she says to Donna, not really a question. "What did he find?" she asks, deciding against catching her thoughts, hoping Donna will just be honest with her.

"He said there was something about energy and stasis something or another."

"And?" she presses.

Donna hesitates for only a moment. "He said you had something to do with the energy, I didn't believe that though."

She just smiles. "It's not perfect."


"The castle," she finishes detailing the exterior of the center pyramid. "It's not perfect."

"I think it is," Donna insists as she finishes smoothing the largest structure.

"Well, it is now," she starts stripping away sand from the surface of the largest pyramid, like the desert sands did to the original so long ago. "Because I'm keeping it that way, holding it in optimum condition. The towers wouldn't hold together for long if I let it go, because it's sand, and I hollowed it out. Eventually, it will dry and stick like that, but it will be very fragile."

"How are you doing that?"

"With .00000103078 percent of my current brain capacity," she claims idly.

Donna sits dumbfounded for a moment, then says, "Oh."



"We are approaching the target's location, prepare to capture it."

"Yes, Commander."

"Commander! The Doctor's TARDIS has been detected!"

"Seize it first, the girl must not be allowed to escape!"


Before she finishes her work, Amanda stands up suddenly and looks to the sky.

Donna hops up with her. "What is it?"

The Doctor notices her actions and stands too.

She walks over to him and gives his shoulder a poke. "The TARDIS's been moved, something's comin' for me now."


The ship lands in a concealed location nearby and a group of creatures ambushes some locals. Taking them aboard the craft, several minutes pass. Then a gaggle of beach goers exits the craft.


The Doctor, Donna, and Amanda are on high alert, but nothing seems out of the ordinary. People leave and arrive as they were doing before. It's a while until a specific group comes, and Amanda begins staring at them intensely. "Them," she says pointing.

The Doctor looks at them, an ordinary group. "Them what?"

"Them aliens."

"What are we g-" Donna begins before Amanda takes off towards them.

He groans. "Not again!" and they both chase after her.

She stops five feet from them and shouts loud enough for the whole coast to hear. "Help!"

Then she begins running past them towards the parking lot and the group follows her. People start getting up. As she runs past a group of buff men who were previously playing frisbee, they move to stop her pursuers, and other beach goers get in their way too, holding the aliens back as she flees.

"This way, Donna!" the Doctor says as he takes her hand and leads her away. By the time they get to the lot, she's lost in the maze of cars. Donna's about to call out when she sees the aliens regrouping at the edge of the lot. Apparently, the blockade of bodies wasn't quite enough.

Both the Doctor and Donna as well as the aliens begin their search carefully and stealthily through the lot.


She was going to use the Doctor and his TARDIS like a shield, or a trampoline. She was gonna bounce around with those two in their crazy box and never let anyone catch up. That's a problem since the TARDIS is now out of range. Still, even with her safety net gone, the show goes on.

She begins swinging on the trapeze.

Running up to them, she calls out for help, acting terrified. Then she takes off. As she expected, people move to get in their way.


Tearing through the parking lot, she finds a random car to hide under.

Half the crowd closes their eyes as she prepares to do the triple.

The aliens as well as the Doctor and Donna's feet appear on the gravel.

Here goes nothing.

She concentrates.

Spinning gracefully through the air.

She goes tearing through the lot, sprinting between cars, and everyone takes off after her.

Catch! She stands before a wildly cheering crowd.

Watching the feet disappear from her place of safety under the car, she smiles.


"Wait," the Doctor orders as he takes the sonic from his pocket.

Donna stops. "She's going to get away!" she cries, gesturing to the receding forms.

"Let her, she'll be fine." He turns in a circle while holding the buzzing device in front of him. "This way," he says as he weaves in between cars. Finally he stops in front of a dark blue minivan. "You can come out now," he tells it.

For a minute, nothing happens, then one particularly dirty Amanda comes crawling out from under the car. "Heya Doc, Donna."

Donna gapes. "But you just went running off!"

"Yeah, I did, n' I stayed right 'ere too."

"How'd you do that?"

"Psychic projection," she says with a proud nod.

The Doctor frowns deeply at her words. "Well, now we need to get back my TARDIS," says, sharply changing the subject.

She turns to him and gives him a silly grin. "And the TARDIS needs to get her Doctor back." With a giggle she walks off to nowhere in particular.

"This way," he calls.

Turning on her heel, she walks in the opposite direction. "Just testing," she says jovially.


"Commander, the girl has escaped."

"Initiate the secondary plan then."

All of the Zygons drop their disguises, reverting to their original forms.