After a very tense moment, K9's eyes lit up again and he raised his head. A quick scan suggested that his systems were intact and fully operational. The Movellans, on the other hand, remained still, their systems completely shut down. K9 extended his antenna and scanned the nearest Movellan. His power pack had been drained and his computer circuits had overloaded and gone into emergency shut down, like all his comrades throughout the ship. Satisfied that the danger was over, K9 began trundling through the door and made his way to the power room.
Donna's eyes flickered open and she rubbed her head with a groan. There was a small bump where she had banged her head on the computer bank, but other than that, she seemed intact and unhurt. Struggling to her feet, she looked around the power room, which would have been pitched into darkness, were it not for the emergency lighting, which kept flickering on and off. Donna moved slowly across the room. She nearly jumped with fright when she saw bits of Commander Tarn scattered across the floor, but it was the sight of the still figure on the floor that really alarmed her.
'Doctor!' Donna cried out, dashing over and kneeling down at him. Dread and despair flowed through Donna as she looked at the Doctor's prone body, which laid unmoving, eyelids tightly closed. 'Oh God, please no!' Donna wailed, tears streaming from her eyes, 'You can't be dead! I've seen your future and you're not dead!'
'Well that's nice to know,' said the Doctor. Donna jumped back with a yelp of surprise as the Doctor stood up and got to his feet. 'Why are my companions always assuming I'm dead?' he continued.
Donna promptly strode back to him and whacked his arm hard, making him yelp slightly. Then she grabbed him in a big bear-hug and held tight to him. 'You are completely impossible, you know that?' she said, smiling with relief.
'Oh well, the impossible is what I'm best at. I've won awards for being impossible, you know,' the Doctor replied, smiling broadly. He spotted the remains of Tarn on the floor and his face dropped slightly. 'Dear me, he doesn't look too well, does he? I wasn't expecting that to happen!'
Donna let go of the Doctor and looked down at what was left of Tarn's head, shuddering at how he still came towards her after she hit him. 'What exactly did you do?' she asked quietly.
'Well, I manipulated the generator's power to create an electro-magnetic pulse, which spread through the whole ship. It acted the same way as your little mental-defence barrier did on the bridge, only on a much larger scale. It should have deactivated all the Movellans on the ship, hopefully. Tarn only exploded because you had knocked his head off.'
Donna looked a little guilty at this. 'I was just trying to knock him out of the way. Didn't expect his head to snap off like a twig.'
'Shoddy workmanship, I'd expect,' said the Doctor reassuringly. 'All the same, you saved my life Mrs Temple, thank you very much.'
'Oh, just call me Donna,' she replied. Her smile dropped as a worrying thought crossed her mind. 'Hey, what about K9? Won't that pulse thing have gotten to him?'
'Your concern is noted Mistress Donna,' replied an electronic voice, 'But this unit is now fully functional.'
Donna turned in surprise to see K9 coming down on the gravity platform. 'I have managed to repair the platform, Master,' he explained, gliding over to them.
'Good boy, K9,' the Doctor said approvingly.
'Hold on a second,' Donna interrupted, 'Your voice! It's changed!'
The Doctor beamed. 'She's right, K9. You've got your old voice back!'
'Affirmative Master. EMP has caused recalibration of speech circuits.'
'Wait a second, what do you mean by 'getting his old voice back,' Donna demanded, not liking to be left in the dark.
'Ah well, it's a long story. You see, K9 had laryngitis for a while and it changed his voice.'
Donna couldn't help but laugh at this. 'A robot dog, with laryngitis! You've got to be kidding me!'
The Doctor ignored her outburst of giggles and made a quick examination of the power generator. 'Not much power left here,' he declared, 'This ship will soon be just a piece of scrap metal floating in space.'
'Won't the Movellans build another time ship?' Donna asked, trying to control her giggling.
'Oh, I don't think so, no,' said the Doctor assuredly, 'This ship was just a prototype. It's likely that the rest of the Movellan fleet will assume that the ship was a failure and won't bother to build any more.' He turned to Donna. 'Now then, I think it's time we got you back home as well, don't you agree?'
Donna's smile faltered at this. 'Yeah, I… I guess so.'
The Park was still deserted as the TARDIS materialised on the grassy plain. Donna got out first, with the Doctor following her. 'Are you sure you got it right?' Donna asked doubtfully, 'I mean this is the same time and place that I've left?'
'Well actually, a few seconds earlier,' said the Doctor, pointing over to a nearby set of trees. Donna's jaw dropped as she saw another Donna and the Movellan trooper she had first met become engulfed in a red light and vanish into thin air.
'Okay, you've convinced me,' Donna breathed, 'You've got better steering skills than the skinny space boy.'
'Oh, thank you very much,' said the Doctor, deciding to take the statement as a compliment. He looked a little more seriously at her. 'Are you sure you want to go home? It may bend the laws of time a little, but there's plenty of room on board the TARDIS if you want to come along!'
Donna looked at him, eyes glistening with tears. 'I'd love to, but… I've got a husband here, a life. I didn't want to leave the TARDIS in the first place, but I've moved on since then. But, all the same…' She then began to sob uncontrollably.
'Oh, don't worry, I quite understand,' reassured the Doctor, 'and I'm sure my future self would understand too.'
Donna stopped sobbing and looked the Doctor in the eye. 'The thing is… that version of you in the future… He didn't recognise me when we first met. He didn't remember any of this happening, and he'll never remember that I've got my memories back. I'll still be 'dead' to him. Why? Why won't you remember any of this in the future?'
'Well, I don't know,' shrugged the Doctor, 'nor do I know why my TARDIS and not that of my future self picked up your distress call. Still, I suppose that's something to look forward to, isn't it?'
'I guess so,' smiled Donna weakly, 'but is this the last time I'm ever going to see you?'
'Oh, I hope not!' beamed the Doctor, 'I think there's a strong chance we'll meet again, in the future.'
'You better believe it, spaceman! I'll be keeping an eye out for you.'
'And I you, Donna Temple-Noble,' said the Doctor, holding out a hand, 'Goodbye. And thank you for saving my life.'
Donna didn't take the hand. Instead, she grasped the Time Lord in a great big hug. 'Goodbye Doctor,' she sobbed into his scarf, 'and thank you. For everything.'
The Doctor smiled to himself. He and Donna must get on very well in the future! After a few seconds, they reluctantly let go of one another and with a wave of his hat, the Doctor entered the TARDIS and closed the door. Donna stepped back and watched as the TARDIS light started flashing and, with the same groaning-organ noise, slowly vanished from sight.
Donna smiled to herself. She felt more alive than she had ever done in her life. She had no idea how to explain all this to Shaun, Gramps and Mum; but at that moment, it didn't seem to matter. She now knew who she was again and everything felt right again. Turning on her heels, she began the long walk back home.