Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Daily Doctor: Pirate's Gold II

With one last almighty jolt, the TARDIS came to a standstill. Donna raised her head from the brace position and chanced a look around.

The Doctor stood at the console, silent and still, eyes closed, for a moment more, then he snatched up his long brown coat and wriggled into it. "You may want a hoodie," he said, nodding at the coat-stand.

"Hoodie? To see fire art?" Donna didn't think that sounded like a good match.

He grimaced. "That's just it. We didn't end up at Antares at all. You know the TARDIS...likes to do her own thing."

"So where are we?"

No reply was forthcoming, but the Doctor gave a forced smile and gestured to the door. "Let's take a look."

Donna grabbed her hoodie as she passed its place, and cracked open the door. Outside was a black night, filled with the sounds of rustling leaves and creaking branches. A cool breeze slid over her and chilled her skin. She turned back to the Doctor and was about to speak, but he had his deadly serious face on. She shrugged and stepped out. He would follow when he felt like it.

Leaf litter crunched under her boots. Donna sniffed the air. She'd never smelled a forest like this before - it must be a very strange and distant planet. There was no light except for the stars that glittered through the canopy not too far over her head. "Doctor," she called softly, "we're going to need torches--"

He pushed a light into her hand and came to stand beside her. She shivered, and remembered the hoodie, then slipped it over her head. The Doctor shut the TARDIS door with a click, and rested his fingertips on it. "Why here?"

"Why? Where's here?" Donna shone her torch in a circle and saw only strange-looking trees and bushes. The stillness was starting to get to her; if not quite creepy, she had a definite sense that they were being watched.

A cry split the night. Like a human scream, yet different enough that it couldn't possibly be, it echoed around what must be a valley between hillsides. Donna flinched and her hand went to her heart.

The Doctor tensed and whipped out his sonic screwdriver. He aimed it ahead, where the sound had come from, and activated a pulse. Examining the readout, he began to mutter.

"All right. Enough of the silent treatment. Tell me what's going on!" Donna poked him in the ribs.

He frowned at her. "Earth. 2014. Southern hemisphere. New Zealand, I think."

Donna relaxed a little. "Oh. That's okay, then."

"Well, it would be completely normal, if not for the readings..."

"Which are?"

"One humanoid and several non-humans approaching on foot." The Doctor paused to slap his screwdriver against his hand. He read it again and shook his head. "And they have a sonic device much like this one."

"What? How close?" Donna gripped her light and pointed it into the trees.

The Doctor didn't need to answer - many footsteps sounded in the forest, and the next moment, a crowd of hairy, foot-high creatures with incredibly long noses emerged into the little clearing. In their midst, a blonde-curled woman in a white sheepskin jacket, wielding a sonic screwdriver.

"Hello, Sweetie," she said.
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