“Total disaster,” Chris thought a little later, was a phrase that summed up well what had happened on Ipsico 9. After an hour or so they’d come across the ruins of a vast city, its buildings reduced to shards of hardened sugar. Chris had seen ruined cities on the news, but being inside one was a different thing– she saw doors and windows jutting out of the rubble, bringing home to her that people had once lived here. The Doctor had said this place used to be beautiful, but Chris now realised this didn't really matter. Her own house was ugly, but it still felt safe, and felt like home. Here, the safety of a million people had been stripped away, and now these ruins were all that their lives had left.
It didn't seem as if the Doctor had similar thoughts. In fact, Chris wasn't even sure that she’d noticed they’d come to some ruins. She was still staring intently at her spoon, going “Oh!” when the frown’s intensity lifted and “Ah!” when it increased to a snarl.
“I don't like this place, Doctor,” said Chris, hoping this would make her look up. The gambit worked; she turned away from her spoon to look round at the world beyond her.
“No, of course you don't,” said the Doctor. “Who would? I always forget what it must be like, seeing something like this for the first time. Especially for someone as young as you.”
She knelt down to Chris.
“Sometimes I look away,” she said, “because I've seen the same things so many times, I can't bear to look at them all again. But,” she sighed, “when you say the pain never goes away it's a disservice, because it is worse, seeing something like this when you never have before. Feeling it in your bones, that there are things like this in the world.”
She stood up.
“I've spent a lot of time protecting myself,” she said, “when I should be protecting you. You’re right, Chris. This is an awful place.”
They walked on quickly through the sugared ruins.
Unseen, shapes scuttled through the jagged scrap.