"There's a fog rollin' in, Doctor..."
He turns to face the unnatural line of mist pushing its way steadily towards them. Whipping out his sonic screwdriver, he scans it. "It's nerve gas," he spits out in surprise and turns to her. "Run!"
And zip! off like a rocket. Nerve gas. Caught in that and they'll be out like lights. Or at least she will. Not sure about him and his "superior Time Lord biology" nonsense. And Donna'll be fine, lovely filtration system in the vents of that bunker. Even if that doesn't do any good, she's safe in the little walnut of a house. I hate walnuts. They hurt to get hit with. Is that really where her train of thought is going right now? Switch rails girlie, we got bigger cows to hit.
"Oi, we actually gonna outrun this fog, Doc-"
"Scratch that, are we gonna outrun what's in the fog?"
"Erm," he says, not even panting. Well, she's not either, so maybe his superiority lies in athletics as compared to most people. Alien biology my behind.
She shakes her head and almost trips over a branch. With some fancy footwork, mainly involving taking two ridiculous hops at high speeds, she recovers. "And can you shut off that beeping?" she raises her voice to be heard over the sound.
"What beeping?" he yells back.
"What'd ya mean what beeping? The one that-" She stops running. "Oh, pish, it's in my head."
The Doctor jogs back to her. "That sounds familiar," he says.
"No." He grabs her hand and yanks her along, diagonal to the direction that they were taking earlier.
"Whoa, whoa, whoa, let me find the beeping, it's driving me mad. I need to turn it off."
He pulls out his screwdriver. "Maybe that's what's drawing the... whatever that is, here," he takes off with his sonic to find it.
Amanda is appalled by his sudden change of heart while the fog of death is bearing down on them. "I'ma find it first!" she cries and races off after him.
Turns out, they didn't really need to race, they found it at the same time, on a boardwalk sticking out over the lake. It kind of looked like a long round beetle.
She blurts out questions like a machine gun. "What is it? Is it a bug? Is the thing coming here to eat it? Can you make it shut up? Should we put insecticide on it?"
He rapid fires responses in the same manner. "I don't know. It's not a bug. Maybe. I can make it shut up." He directs the sonic's attention to it. "And no, we don't need to put insecticide on it."
A second later, the beeping stops, and Amanda breathes a sigh of relief, then stops.
A large reptilian shape is looming in front of them, sliding by slowly into the water. Kind of like a dinosaur, maybe a plesiosaur, but with feet instead of flippers. Huge three-toed feet with wicked claws. Her eyes widen. "It's bigger than a semi, ooooo!" Reaching out as if to touch it, she says, "I wish I brought a camera."
The Doctor hops up. "Zygons!"
"They're Zygons!" He looks at the shape as it slides below the water and watches it until it disappears, shiny scales rippling under the water until they're hidden by the stirred up muck.
"That thing is a Zygon?" she asks, head cocked to the right.
"No, no, no, that was a Skarasen, Zygons alter them, make them into cyborgs." He shakes his head nostalgically. "Last time I saw one of those, it was eating oil rigs in the North Sea!"
"But this is the South, don't need no Yankee monster down here."
He groans loudly, and she laughs.
"Alright," she says, tone getting a little more serious, "So, what more about this creature then?"
"I'm not sure if it's the same one or not," he tells her, shaking his head somewhat.
"Where was it last time?" she inquires, attempting to gather some information as to be of help.
"Loch Ness," he claims idly.
She does a double take. "I'm sorry, are you saying the Loch Ness monster is in Florida?" she's starting to feel lighted-headed and is wheezing slightly, but can't for the life of her remember why.
"Weeell, it might not be the same one, I am not sure. It may have crossed the Atlantic, but what for? If it ca-"
That was all she managed to hear before she drew one too many breaths from the light fog around them and passed out.
He hadn't realised they were standing in the fog until Amanda hit the deck. Literally. Probably painfully too. He realises he needs to get out of it too, before he loses consciousness. Scooping her up, she weighs practically nothing (eat more than a granola bar or two a day, kids), he jogs from the pier. It took him a long time to pick his way back, so he had plenty of time to think. Mainly he thought of why the Zygons would be after her. There is so much more than what meets the eye when it comes to this girl, who he slung rudely and unceremoniously over his shoulder. Out of all the things in the universe, Zygons, for Rassilon's sake. He is going to find out what she is hiding, and what she means by "secrets".
He sticks his tongue out, analysing the air around them, and determines the fog carries a light sedative in it. Light enough for his body to filter out without effect actually, so he needn't worry then. When she wakes up, he is going to get some answers.
She opens her eyes slowly to see nothing but the waxed leather of the Doctor's luxurious duster. Oh, she's slung over his shoulder. How rude. Immediately, she begins wiggling to get put down. "Oi," she says without humour. He sets her down.
With the Loch Ness critter settled in the lake, the mist has dissipated. "Let's go check on Donna."
"Wait," he orders, wanting to grill her for answers by themselves.
"Tell me why the Zygons are after you," he says, not really expecting an answer.
"How the hell should I know?" Furrowing her brows, she grows somewhat irritated. "You're the one with the alien brain stuff, you figure it out."
"What is so special about you that alien races are trying to capture you?" his voice is charging up for a full Oncoming Storm.
She shrugs. "I can do fancy things with my noggin bowl material, that's all."
"That is not all," he practically growls.
She shrinks away slightly. "That's all I know?" she says hesitantly, face formed into a look of confusion.
"What about theses 'secrets' you talked about before?"
Her face relaxes and her eyes widen almost imperceptibly, like she's completely forgotten the Storm in front of her, "Oooooh, yeah, them things. I hear stuff's all. Lots of stuff, really important stuff. Nuclear launch codes for one thing. Not sure how I got them, but they're in here," she tells him, pointing to her head.
He stares at her, a little dumbfounded. "Nuclear launch codes? How in Rassilon did you get them?"
She giggles. He said an alien swear. "Told ya, I don't know." Stifling her delight at his possible use of an extraterrestrial cuss word, she clarifies best she can. "One day I didn't have them, next day I did. They seem just random things too, so I wouldn't know that they were launch codes, except I do, 'cuz that's what they are." She pauses. "I could also describe the football teams' play books from the last Super Bowl. That's American football, not soccer," she shrugs. "Not really a football fan, so I don't really care."
He doesn't quite understand how. "They're just there? Just like that?"
She nods affirmation. "And then I forget them. It hurts to hold too many things in my head at once, so I forget them until I need them again."
"Hmm." He opens his mouth to offer to help her find out how, but thinks against it, as she wouldn't undoubtedly not want any other presence in her mind, and snaps it shut again. "Alright, let's get back to Donna," he says, nowhere near sufficiently supplied with information, but undoubtedly all he's going to get right now, because she's begun looking all around like there's diamonds on the ground.
Amanda opens the door to the bunker with the grinding of gears and a long creak. "SPACEMAN!"
They walk in to a very grumpy-looking Donna.
"Jeez, Donna," the Doctor complains.
"You were gone for forever, and the flippin' door wouldn't open!" she gripes at him rather loudly.
He looks back at the door currently being shut. "It opened fine just then."
As Amanda turns from closing the door, she gives them both a naughty smile.
"What'd you do then?" Donna demands.
"I didn't do anything!" she claims, hands raised in surrender, look of innocence on her face.
They both look at her, disbelieving.
She attempts a light deflection. "I'm serious, I did nothing to the door while we were away!"
Donna crosses her arms. "What do you do to it while you were here then?"
She deflects. "I did nothing but open and close the door, Donna, stop being suspicious of me since you can't open it. It takes skill."
She sighs, but the Doctor presses on a bit. "Mind skill or actual skill."
She pouts. "Both," she says, "The door can't be opened by one person, it's under too much pressure and is way too heavy. Meant to seal out water and radiation and stuff, that is." Finally she slumps her shoulders in defeat. "I telekinetically force the bulkhead open and then shut again."
Donna smirks lightly. "So you just turn one of them wheels for show then?"
She shakes her head adamantly. "No, I use my arms to move it, and my mind to push it." Suddenly, she spots the untouched Avengers blu-ray on the low-lying coffee table, still with a light layer of dust. "You didn't start watching the Avengers! Donnaaaa, I told you Tony Stark is the best. You really should, it's a great movie, and Tom Hiddleston is hot," she grins and waggles her eyebrows. "Mmm, Loki."
Donna doesn't know wether to find that funny or really flippin' weird. She supposes it's normal for teenage girls to like good looking actors, so she goes with funny.
Moving over and snatching the case up, she pops it open and sticks the disc into the player. "Tony Stark is the God of Snark, Natasha is bad-ass, Banner is cool, Steve Rogers is da man, Loki is sexy, Thor is an ox, and that archer guy is a bit scary," she proclaims with earnest, settling onto the couch.
"I am a god and I will not be bullied by-"
Amanda covers her eyes.
Smash! Smash! Slam, Smash!
Once the big green man stalks away, Amanda uncovers her eyes and makes a sad cooing sound over the beat up Norse God of Mischief and Lies. "Poor, misunderstood Loki Laufeyson. Or Odinson. Take your pick. We'll watch Thor next so you'll understand what I mean. Then we can watch Iron Man, I love Iron Man. Marvel is awesome."
The Doctor got bored barely ten minutes in and looked around the small bunker. Nothing worthwhile. He experimented with the bulkhead, indeed finding it too heavy to move. He peeked into her bedroom but stopped when she gave him the stink-eye. Eventually he gave up and sat down on the sofa with them and watched the rest of it. He kept cringing at the violent parts, which mostly included that Loki character, whom he did not seem to like. Oh well, Loki's still better than Thor in many aspects. Thor is an idiot.
As the credits roll, Amanda gets up and takes the disc out. "It's late, we can watch the other ones tomorrow," she says, gesturing to the watch she had retrieved when she donned her new outfit. "If you like, Donna, you can take the bed. I'll take the couch and the Time Lord can have that fluffy rug over there, a throw pillow, and a blanket."
"Oi," the Doctor protests.
She waves her arms at him. "Shush you and your superior biology," she waves out the rug, making sure there's no dirt on it, then puts it back down. "Donna, guest, bed, very comfortable. Amanda, hostess, couch, semi-comfortable. Doctor, male, comfy rug. Take it like a man."
"That's not fair," he protests again. "I'm a guest, too."
She smiles. "Yeah, that's why I'm giving you the comfy rug. I could always go get a scratchy and thin one." She sets a blanket out over it and tosses a pillow from the couch on top of everything. "Next time, don't lose the TARDIS, and we'll all sleep in comfy beds. 'Sides, you prob'ly won't sleep anyways."
He gives her his meanest scowl just short of the Oncoming Storm face that sends lesser men fleeing, but just as per usual, it doesn't seem to bother her. He's gonna need a new tactic.
Donna shuffles off to the "loo," as she calls it, while Amanda organises the discs on the shelf and takes out five others, stacking them on the table in front of the couch for later.
The Doctor settles onto the mat and pulls the blanket up a bit, resting his head back on the pillow. It's not all bad. Donna's gone off to sleep and Amanda's settling in, wiggling to find the right fit against the cushions. The TARDIS is still humming softly in his mind, letting him know she's still alright.
Psychic projections, telekinesis, the radiation, mutated DNA, this is all adding up to something, he just can't see what. It's frustrating him to no end, this mystery sleeping across the room on a sofa. A five foot tall enigma wrapped up in a very furry looking blanket.
Hours pass, and he's still no closer to a revelation. The oddest thing yet isn't the altered biology, not her psychic abilities, nor the incredible brain power, but the alien knowledge. Calling the TARDIS interior dimensionally transcendental rather than the normal "bigger on the inside comment", threatening the vampire in the way a Sontaran would. The level of impossibilities surrounding the person. It's so highly unlikely that he doesn't feel the need to use another descriptive element. He needs more data.
Hearing a distressed whimper, he looks towards the source of the sound. Amanda's face is distorted in fear and pain and she's waving her arms in front of her like she's trying to ward off an attacker. The Doctor rises and carefully moves over, wary of her flailing. Waiting until she pauses her haphazard deflections, he places a hand on her shoulder and gently shakes her. Suddenly, her eyes fly open and she grabs hold of his arm tightly, almost to the point of pain, staring at his elbow like it's the only thing in the world until her wits come around again. She releases her grip on his appendage and wriggles back into the blanket.
"Thanks," she says.
"Don't mention it. Well, actually, maybe mention about what you were having a nightmare about."
"Gold," she exclaims loudly, then lowers her voice. "I dreamt of- of... what was I dreaming of?"
He tilts his head slightly to the side. She couldn't have forgotten that fast... except she just did. "You said you were dreaming of gold."
She blink. "Was I now? Interesting."
"What about the gold?"
"Erm..." She thinks for a moment. "Maybe I was playing Terraria."
"What?" What is Rassilon's name is that?
"Terraria. Yeah, maybe I was mining gold on that."
He shakes his head in bewilderment. "Are you sure?"
"Nope," she states, ever so lightly popping the "p".
He frowns, that's one of his things. "What kind of gold, though?" he inquires again, hoping to get a better answer nonetheless.
She furrows her brows and thinks intensely. "I'll find out, 'night, Doctor." With that, she falls back down on the couch with a thump and begins snoring lightly.
Jeez, he thinks, because that was in any way reasonable.
Returning to the rug, which is actually quite comfortable, he resumes his puzzling over the elephant in the room. Dreaming of gold. More data, fun.
"RISE AND SHIIIIIINE!" yells a very excited Amanda who is standing near the foot of the bed, arms raised to the air, making a very Y shaped and annoying alarm clock. Donna nearly jumps out of her skin at her volume. Sitting up, Donna complains. "Do you have an indoor voice?"
Not lowering her volume, she tells Donna. "YES, I DO, YOU'RE LISTENING TO IT!" she then lowers her voice. "This is my indoor voice too. Every volume is both indoor and outdoor. Why bother sorting them into groups? Inconvenient, that is." Making vertical shooing motions, she keeps pestering her.
"Alright! I'm getting up," she gripes.
"I've made breakfast, I've been told I make some of the best eggs. They're scrambled though. And I also made bacon and toast. I made a lot of food. Don't worry, none of it is expired, I promise." She leaves the room.
"Well isn't that wizard."
The Doctor beams. "Good morning, Donna!"
"I went out and got eggs and bread and all this morning, nice food. Eat up!" she tells them, grabbing a chocolate chip chewy granola bar and tossing it on her plate, which now has nothing but a granola bar and bacon on it.
"Guess what?" she asks the Doctor.
"You know what your dream was about?" he pokes at the question lightly.
"You stole the food?"
She scowls. "Well, not exactly, but stop guessing, you're bad at it."
"When I went out this morning, I determined that the TARDIS is in the lake," she proclaims proudly.
Donna raises her eyebrows. "How can you tell that?"
"Kinda like sonar." She shrugs. "Sort of. I mean, I can hear her in little waves, but not all the time," she adds quickly. "Mostly it's solid sound, but this morning, she was sending little bursts of song. I could count the time between little waves. If she's really far away, they can take seconds to reach me, if she's close, milliseconds. I experimented by running all around and I figured out without trying to do any numbers directly that she's prob'ly in the lake." She shakes her head disapprovingly. "There's prob'ly still complicated math involved, but I try not to think about it."
"How can you tell that she's there if you didn't count anything?" he asks speculatively.
"Well, I ran in one direction, and listened, then I ran in another direction and listened, and I ran all around listenin', an' that's what I figured out," she gives a firm nod of finality. "In the lake, Doctor."
As the three of them gathered outside, Amanda stares out over the water. "I can't believe the damned Loch Ness monster is in lake Okeechobee."
"Language," Donna chides.
She gives a disgruntled hum in response, then says. "Had time to think of something clever, Doctor?"
Well, he had a bit. Mostly he was thinking about why aliens were after her, but he had thought up something. Sort of. "I have a plan," he states with purpose.
"Yeah? What's it then?"
"It's not entirely formulated yet."
She blinks in disbelief. "You don't have a plan?"
"I do," he raises his left eyebrow at her. "I will bet a tenner the Zygons are in the lake with my TARDIS, but I'm not entirely sure how to get to them."
Donna pipes up. "Why not lure them out?"
"Good idea, Donna!" He turns to Amanda. "That'd be your cue then, just let me scan a few things real quick."
She scowls. "Gotta do what do then, but I ain't leading them here. We'll move away from my home a bit first."
He pulls out his sonic. "Molto bene," he says and begins leading them away.
"Very well," Amanda says randomly.
The Doctor shoots her a quick sideways glance and, finishing his program with the sonic, he tucks it back into his pocket.
"Can I lure them out now?" she asks.
He nods. "Yep," he confirms, popping the "p".
She stops moving and stands still as a stone for a quick moment, then continues following. "'Kay," she says.
"Commander! There is a signal once more!"
"Assume the human forms and go after her!"
"Yes, Commander," he says as he moves out the the control room.
They're sitting alone the three of them, no need to involve any random innocent by accident, around a wooden table in a shabby park by the shore.
Amanda looks up as a small crew of community workers walk into the area. "Them," she tells him without hesitation.
The Doctor stands and Amanda and Donna follow his lead, but before he can do anything, Amanda speaks up. "Take us to your leader!" she demands loudly. The Doctor stares; that was his line.
The Zygons exchange looks.
"Come this way then," one Zygon tells them. None of them have any weapons present, which is a relief to the Doctor. He can keep this peaceful, there is no need of any fighting or bloodshed. At a relaxed pace, the Zygons lead them to a rather nondescript area. Unsurprisingly, they're teleported aboard with a short-range teleporter.
Amanda stumbles and he catches her with one arm, placing the other hand on the shoulder of a very woozy looking Donna. They both quickly recover though, and are escorted deeper into the ship.
"Commander, we have taken them prisoner," one Zygon tells him. "They surrendered easily."
He turns to face them. "Well done, Zarys, take the girl to the cells and-"
"Hold on now," interrupts the Doctor. "Can I ask why?"
The red blob-ish form in front of them regards him for a moment. "She has considerable power, she will make a most useful weapon."
Amanda goes to say something, but he cuts her off with a wave of his hand. No instigation is necessary right now. Not necessary ever, really. "Who told you this?"
"A source most valid, that is all you need to know."
He shakes his head. "She's not a good weapon," he says, "Honestly, even if she had power like you're suggesting, you'd be hard-pressed to keep her focused for more than ten seconds."
He hears a sound of indignation behind him but ignores it.
"We would have ways," he replies ominously.
"I highly doubt it, she's really scatter-brained and wild." He can practically feel Amanda seething with rage behind him at his insults, but mercifully, she remains quiet. He can tell he's going to get an earful later, but this is worth it. "I also have no idea what you mean by power." Shaking his head he continues. "She has minimal abilities, I've been traveling with her for a bit," he's vague about the 'bit', "And she's just the average human with a inborn and minute psychic capabilities. Really, humans are born all the time with them, they give off unique signals and all. Nothing important really, and not worth fighting over." He refuses to spare her a glance right now, since the look on her face is possibly going to be more fierce than his full Oncoming Storm.
The Zygon Commander turns to her. "What is it that you can do?" he asks.
She pauses and thinks. "I can cause that psychic projection thing, but only with my own form, and never for long... I can interfere with electronic equipment too, only I have to be able to touch it to do so. I can also push some stuff around. I can hear people think too, but that's only because they have no mental shields whatsoever. Very exposed, humans." She stops. "All I can tell I can do really."
He turns away from them and has a brief discussion with other members of his crew, then turns back to them. "Perhaps we have been misinformed. Subject yourself to a thorough scan so we can be sure."
The Doctor grows worrisome, but it doesn't show on his face. He's scanned her already, and while the Zygons' equipment will not be as advanced as his, they will still detect something abnormal, way beyond what he presented. This is not good.
"Okay," she pipes up charmingly, no hint of any previous anger in her voice.
One of the Zygons approaches her with a device in his hands. He holds it in front of her face and slowly sweeps it up and down, then goes over the readings with the Commander. He notices Amanda's fingers crossed behind her back.
"She is very normal for a human. Perhaps we were wrong," comes a hissing voice, and he returns his attention to them.
What? She's anything but! Deciding against announcing his confusion, he instead opts for: "See? Just a big misunderstanding!"
That went amazingly well. He thinks. The Zygons have returned their captives used as body prints, claiming they will have no memory of their time aboard the ship and have actually apologised for the discrepancy. All in all, a perfect conclusion to a day on the beach with a minor extension. Amanda's keeping a friendly demeanour, and he knows it's for show. He's still going to need those Crexiliacin earplugs, blocks out undesired sound at an adjustable amount while not filtering out other things. One of the many precious possessions that he does not tell anyone about, let alone share. He can see the wrath behind the mask, and he really hopes she can understand that it was for show, he didn't mean it, she is very unique.
"There you are!" he cries happily upon seeing his TARDIS brought out into the control room. She hums an enthusiastic greeting.
The Doctor exclaims in joy when he sees his ship. She is angry. She doesn't care why he said what he did, he still shouldn't have said it. She is full of wrath, and anything nearby is going to be caught up in the blast, regardless of their participation in the event or what they have said or done. And she had to cover for his stupid mistake, and it gave her an instant migraine. She can't possibly be thinking straight right now, but she doesn't care. Between the pounding in her head and the red tint to everything she sees, regret will be sown this day.
But here they are, climbing into his precious machine, who leaves her utter silence, obviously detecting her anger. She turns to give the place one last look. For a moment, time stood still as her eyes zipped back and forth across the control room, noticing every detail as the Zygons prepare to leave Earth. Everything seems dark. She will make sure that they will not come back for her, that no one will remember this. She reaches out and gently taps a small panel, some form of odd machinery, too quick for anyone to notice, and steps inside, closing the doors. The TARDIS dematerialises, but her song is rueful.
Naught a minute after they've gone, the self-destruct activates instantaneously, killing everyone aboard the vessel.